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Old 10-24-2016, 05:54 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default [Low-Tech] Historical firearms that inspired stats in tables?

Due to space concerns, it is not always easy to discover to what historical firearm a given statline in Low-Tech refers. This makes it hard to research those aspects which are not given in LT, such as the length of the barrel, the size of the ball, weight of the charge and any peculiarities of the weapon design compared to other with the same tactical role.

As an example, the rifled Breechloading Carbine (LT p. 94) is based on a hunting gun that belonged to Henry VIII and has long been on display in the Tower of London. That makes it easy to look up any details that aren't mentioned in the Low-Tech text, such as the length of the barrel (23") and the fact that it was loaded by inserting a fresh loaded chamber into the breech. Unfortunately, I haven't found the weight of an unloaded fresh chamber, but maybe I can get my brother to ask a Warden or museum staff when he's in London next.

I'd also like to know the barrel lengths being assumed for the 'Caliver' (matchlock) and the 'Carbine' (wheellock). They have very similar weights, do they have similar barrel lengths? Is the relative -1 to Bulk due to a longer barrel in the case of the Caliver or due to the matchlock mechanism, which I seem to recall from the playtest as being regarded as a source of possible penalties to Bulk when compared to a similarly sized weapon with a more advanced ignition system?

The French fusils are extensively attested in American sources, of course, but I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how the Bulk scores given in LT were arrived at.

Obviously, privately purchased fusils de chasse might be of any barrel length or chambering and it's entirely possible that some examples were in .55 caliber and had barrels short enough for Bulk -5, which judging by other firearm stats, would probably mean barrel length below 30", most likely 22" to 28".

On the other hand, we know that the military contracts at the end of the 17th century, for fusils to be used in Canada and the Carribean, specified barrel length. For that matter, we also have specifications for the early 18th century fusils. We even have extant examples of naval fusils and fusils imported into the Americas, even ones that cannot have been shortened after they were issued, because they were recovered from wrecks and suchlike.

Most French fusils in military use had barrels of 44" to 47", with the shorter fusil grenadier going down to 42" barrels. Overall length was from around 58" to 62", depending on model, specific manufacturer and year. I can't figure out how that kind of length yields Bulk -5. Those are all Bulk -6 to Bulk -7 weapons by the standards assumed in GURPS heretofore.

We know from High-Tech that a flinlock smoothbore with an overall length of 59" and a 44" barrel is Bulk -7, because that is the Bulk of the Charleville Mle 1777. A slightly shorter barrel, like the 42" barrel of the Brown Bess, is evidently enough to be on the other side of the breakpoint for Bulk -6. A very slender firearm with good balance and a low caliber, like the Kentucky Rifle, can manage to remain Bulk -6 despite likely having a similar overall length as the 18th century French fusils.

The Fusil Boucanier was longer than other French fusils, with a barrel at 48" to 58" in length and an overall length at well over 6'. Even so, I can't help but think that the listed Bulk -11 on LT p. 92 must be a mistake, especially as the Weight is still listed at the extremely light 7.5 lbs. and ST 10† doesn't exactly sound like a siege weapon.

Bulk -11 is one level worse than the Falconet shipboard gun, which weighs 500 lbs. and requires a carriage of 625 lbs., according to LT. Bulk -11 is also equal to the artillery 2.5" 'screw-guns' of Kipling fame. It's not a Bulk for a handheld weapon, especially not one that weighs less than many real Bulk -4 carbines and judging from the listed damage, ST and Rcl, fires a modest ball at velocities lower than typical late 18th century muskets.

Also, why does the text say that the Fusil Ordinaire is heavier than the Fusil de chasse and then list the exact same Weight? In any case, early TL5 French fusils were between 7.6 lbs. to 8.8 lbs. unloaded, even when they had slightly shorter barrel lengths than the late TL4 weapons which preceded them. I am curious what source it is that has full-length French military fusils at only 6.5 lbs., which is a carbine weight.

I'm also particularly curious about the historical firearm that inspired the Flintlock Carbine (LT p. 92-93). My Googling has not yet turned up any weapons that could be the inspiration for this firearm, but no doubt a good reference work on the history of smallarms will mention it, if only because of its revolutionary telescoping stock design. I'd really like to find pictures of it and information on how long the barrel is.
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Last edited by Icelander; 10-24-2016 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 10-27-2016, 06:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Historical firearms that inspired stats in tables?

Opinions on barrel lengths for the Caliver and the Carbine?

Does anyone know of French fusils that are shorter than 58" in overall length and might be the models for the Bulk-5 weapons in Low-Tech?

How about the 1690s Flintlock Carbine with a telescoping stock? Does anyone know where I might find some data on the historical weapon that inspired it?
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Historical firearms that inspired stats in tables?

Wish I could chime in on this and be of more help for you here but it would be an under statement to say my knowledge of fire arms of this era is lacking.

I do however have two books that might have something useable in them though I don't think they have the exsact guns you are looking for. If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll dig them out of storage and see if I find anything.
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Historical firearms that inspired stats in tables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Ryujin View Post
Wish I could chime in on this and be of more help for you here but it would be an under statement to say my knowledge of fire arms of this era is lacking.

I do however have two books that might have something useable in them though I don't think they have the exsact guns you are looking for. If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll dig them out of storage and see if I find anything.
Thank you, that would be kind.
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Old 10-29-2016, 03:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Historical firearms that inspired stats in tables?

Look like it was a crap shoot, sorry about that.

One of the books did have a "fusil" but it was the Fusil Mas 36 rifle. Also sadly the section it did have on muskets was not as detailed as it was on later guns so I wasn't able to gleam any useful tidbits off of "close enough" examples.
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