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Old 06-30-2015, 05:44 PM   #1
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Wheellocks and Flintlocks

As it stands wheellocks and the different varieties of flintlocks work mostly the same. Wheellocks seem to cost more and require a spanner, Snaplocks don't operate as well in rain. There are also familiarity penalties between flintlock varieties.

Is there anything else that's significant enough to justify mechanical representation? I've heard that, for example, wheellocks are faster igniting.
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:18 PM   #2
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
As it stands wheellocks and the different varieties of flintlocks work mostly the same. Wheellocks seem to cost more and require a spanner, Snaplocks don't operate as well in rain. There are also familiarity penalties between flintlock varieties.
The rain issue is a matter of how closed the lock can be built. A wheel lock doesn't *have* to be less open than a flintlock, it just can be, because you don't need that clear space for the hammer to travel through.

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Is there anything else that's significant enough to justify mechanical representation? I've heard that, for example, wheellocks are faster igniting.
I wouldn't expect that to matter much. It's the difference between the time it takes for the wheel to accelerate to a speed that throws sparks and the time the hammer takes to fall. That might matter if you were shooting at distant targets from a moving vehicle, but really probably isn't a lot greater than other sources of variability - say the burn rate of the powder between where the spark hits and the touch hole.
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:29 PM   #3
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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The rain issue is a matter of how closed the lock can be built.
Yes? I was summarizing the differences found in Low-Tech. There is room for differentiation between weapons in how well they function in the rain.

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I wouldn't expect that to matter much. It's the difference between the time it takes for the wheel to accelerate to a speed that throws sparks and the time the hammer takes to fall. That might matter if you were shooting at distant targets from a moving vehicle, but really probably isn't a lot greater than other sources of variability - say the burn rate of the powder between where the spark hits and the touch hole.
It's certainly not going to matter much, but is it worth a bonus in a niche condition like determining who fire first?
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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It's certainly not going to matter much, but is it worth a bonus in a niche condition like determining who fire first?
Nah, the time between the trigger pull and either gun firing is likely to be shorter than the flight time of the bullet. It's not long enough to say convert a tie in the instant you pull the trigger into the guy with the faster lock hits soon enough to throw off your aim. A black powder ball probably doesn't cover 5 yards in time difference (one or two hundredths of a second), never mind any nerve impulses if you were hit.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:00 PM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
As it stands wheellocks and the different varieties of flintlocks work mostly the same. Wheellocks seem to cost more and require a spanner, Snaplocks don't operate as well in rain. There are also familiarity penalties between flintlock varieties.

Is there anything else that's significant enough to justify mechanical representation? I've heard that, for example, wheellocks are faster igniting.
Wheellocks are more complicated and more fragile. They also need their pyrite component replaced after roughly every 10th shot. The flint and iron striker of a flintlock need adjustment after every 20th shot at most.

About the only advantage I've ever heard of for wheellocks is that very finely made ones are a little more reliable in rain than flintlocks.

You generally only see the two at the same time very early in flintlock's timeline and only as a temporary thing. You get more overlap between matchlocks (for muskets) and flintlocks.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:20 PM   #6
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Wheellocks are more complicated and more fragile. They also need their pyrite component replaced after roughly every 10th shot. The flint and iron striker of a flintlock need adjustment after every 20th shot at most.
Ignoring for the moment issues of resolution is this more fragile in the sense of worse Malf or worse HT?

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You generally only see the two at the same time very early in flintlock's timeline and only as a temporary thing. You get more overlap between matchlocks (for muskets) and flintlocks.
It's not for a historical setting. I'm considering having wheellocks hang around next to flintlocks as a status status due to the increased cost of making them and lack of any egregious disadvantages.

On the other hand matchlocks look stupid and so are going to exist only as a historical footnote.
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Ignoring for the moment issues of resolution is this more fragile in the sense of worse Malf or worse HT?
Not sure if they failed more often, but if the doohickey breaks on a flintlock, you're replacing a spring. On a wheellock, you're sending it to be rebuilt. I'd say lower HT.

Wheellocks competed well with matchlocks, because they didn't require a burning string (a plus when in rain, or hunting an animal with a good sense of smell, or surrounded by kegs of powder, or stuffing a pistol in your trousers). Once flintlocks truly became established enough to overcome cultural inertia, wheellocks were left as curiosities. Cultural inertia is stronger in the personal-sidearm market (i.e. the wealthy) than it is in the weapon-we-need-ten-thousand-of-by-next-month market (i.e. the military).
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Once flintlocks truly became established enough to overcome cultural inertia, wheellocks were left as curiosities. Cultural inertia is stronger in the personal-sidearm market (i.e. the wealthy) than it is in the weapon-we-need-ten-thousand-of-by-next-month market (i.e. the military).
Although the problem of procuring enough of the latest-and-greatest and of maintaining two different types of kit often encourages militaries to stick with what they already have. Famously, hunters had been using fusils for decades when the first armies began to take them up on a small scale. European armies in the nineteenth century had real dilemmas about which new technologies to adopt, and which to skip until their successor came along, because manufacturing enough rifles for the whole army could take decades.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:49 AM   #9
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Ignoring for the moment issues of resolution is this more fragile in the sense of worse Malf or worse HT?



It's not for a historical setting. I'm considering having wheellocks hang around next to flintlocks as a status status due to the increased cost of making them and lack of any egregious disadvantages.

On the other hand matchlocks look stupid and so are going to exist only as a historical footnote.
I'd say wheel-locks have both lower HT and HP.

Wheel-locks have lots of egregious disadvantages compared to flintlocks. Costing more, needing more maintenance and breaking easier are altogether egregious. That's why even very conservative gun-makers such as the Germans abandoned them over a very short period of time (c. 20 years).

If the wealthy want more expensive guns they'll just get more decorations. In near-modern times this manifests in items such as Sadaam Hussein's gold-plated AK-47.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:23 AM   #10
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Wheellocks and Flintlocks

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Not sure if they failed more often, but if the doohickey breaks on a flintlock, you're replacing a spring. On a wheellock, you're sending it to be rebuilt. I'd say lower HT.
I assume the main thing likely to break in a wheel lock is the chain that connects the spring to the cam on the wheel shaft, probably followed by wear on the trigger sear arm - that's the highest precision part of the mechanism, since it's balancing between not applying enough force to lock the wheel, and engaging so firmly you can't move by pulling the trigger. Essentially the wheel lock is more fragile because it has those two extra delicate parts - the main spring is pretty much the same as on the flintlock.

It's worth keeping in mind there's no particular reason for the order of invention of lock mechanisms - there isn't anything about most flint lock mechanisms (despite the single name, there are several kinds) that couldn't be built by anybody who could build a wheel lock if they'd thought of it - and a lot of the details are simply a consequence of the kind of springs that were available. If spiral ("watch") springs had existing, wheel lock mechanisms would be simpler and might well be as reliable as flintlocks. If coil springs had been a little easier to make, you'd might see locks where you generated friction by pulling pieces linearly past each other. If somebody discovers appropriate metals early, modern cigarette lighter "flint" mechanisms are essentially wheel locks but with something that strikes sparks so much easier you don't *need* a strong spring to get the required forces. There are several chemicals that will work in percussion caps, and nothing about the roll of paper tape mechanism in a modern cap pistol toy wouldn't have worked instead of individual percussion caps. A slightly earlier discovery of batteries, piezoelectric crystals, any number of hypergolic chemical mixtures, or compression heating fire pistons could've sent gunlock development off in entirely different directions. An alternate history doesn't particularly need to have the same kinds of gunlocks as European history.
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