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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Not an expert expert, but that seems extremely unlikely to me. Old locks aren't tightly sealed and you wouldn't really be able to tightly pack the powder inside the keyhole. You'd probably get a flash and woosh, but that would be it.
    And even if you do get a bit of a bang I doubt it'd be enough to really damage the lock all that much.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    And even if you do get a bit of a bang I doubt it'd be enough to really damage the lock all that much.
    I can't imagine a simple door lock is stronger than the barrel of a gun, and you can blow those up if you load them wrong.

    I can see a poor seal creating more of a flash than a contained explosion.

    Like I said, this is hypothetical. It sounds plausible to me, but I have no real first hand black powder experience. I know it's not C4, but *how* not C 4 is it?
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2020-10-27 at 09:59 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    I can't imagine a simple door lock is stronger than the barrel of a gun, and you can blow those up if you load them wrong.

    I can see a poor seal creating more of a flash than a contained explosion.

    Like I said, this is hypothetical. It sounds plausible to me, but I have no real first hand black powder experience. I know it's not C4, but *how* not C 4 is it?
    I'm no expert, but one big difference is that black powder burns much slower than c4. Enough so that many don't consider it a primary explosive. It needs a sealed container to create an explosion. C4 doesn't. It creates its own shock wave.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    well, Petards could be used to blow open an entire castle gate. Don't know how much gunpowder would be needed to blow open just a lock though.
    Last edited by rrgg; 2020-10-28 at 02:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    The powder charge would both need to be large enough and tightly packed enough to burst the lock before all the pressure escapes out all the holes. If the lock was loose and could be jiggled/finagled, you could probably manage it, but if the lock was set into the door? Might not be possible to pack enough powder in tight enough.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    well, Petards could be used to blow open an entire castle gate. Don't know how much gunpowder would be needed to blow open just a lock though.
    A black powder bomb to destroy a lock certainly seems plausible. But using the body of a lock to turn itself into a lock seems very unlikely.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    OK, in this hypothetical scenario, we need to get a door open and not take all day doing it. We have no axe, no battering ram, nothing else obviously better, but we have a musket and ammunition. The suggestion is to take a paper cartridge, which historically (based on the Brown Bess) contained 165 grains of powder (sources differed, but the low end was 110, and the high end closer to 200. 165 was mentioned specifically as the musket charge, so the lighter ones might have been for carbines) so about .37 ounces, rip it open, pour the powder into the lock and improvise a fuse (which I suppose you could do with the rest of the paper if nothing else.)

    If the issue is just tightly packing the powder and eliminating an air gap, I imagine you could do that by plugging the hole with the wadded up cartridge paper.

    And, isn't one of the dangers in loading a musket a greater chance of blowing up the barrel if you have a gap between the powder and a ball? Like that's why they emphasize ramming the ball down and making sure you have it seated on the powder charge?
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2020-10-28 at 08:27 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    I think the best shot (hehe...) would be to try shooting your musket at the lock.

    The issue is that there's a lot of empty space in old lock, and sticking some paper into it won't really seal it in any meaningful way. As someone mentioned earlier, black powder is not really an explosive. It just burns very quickly and produces a lot of gas in the process. It's only when the gas pressure builds up within a confined space to the point where it bursts the container that you get an explosion.
    Here is a pretty big brass cartridge filled with black powder burning with no proper seal. This is what I would expect from pouring black powder into an old lock.

    I never heard of an air gap between powder and ball damaging the barrel. And I can't think of a mechanism by which that would happen. What I would expect is to just lose some power on the ball being shot from the barrel.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I think the best shot (hehe...) would be to try shooting your musket at the lock.
    That would probably work.

    If you have the time and munitions maybe load it with shot/buck(/buckshot), several slightly smaller balls rather than one big one. One regular musket ball might still have enough energy left to hurt the user after bouncing off the breaking lock, and at least intuitively it feels like shot would lower that chance (although it does add extra projectiles, so your mileage may vary there.) With shot you could even try aiming at the wood near the lock rather than the mechanism itself and maybe damage that far enough that you can kick the door in.

    Alternatively, use a window.

    Setting off blackpowder inside a lock seems like similar to setting off a firecracker after breaking it open. There's going to be a lot of burning powder, and you might even damage the lock with the heat applied directly into the mechanism. But there's no explosive force there to pop it open.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post

    I never heard of an air gap between powder and ball damaging the barrel. And I can't think of a mechanism by which that would happen. What I would expect is to just lose some power on the ball being shot from the barrel.
    I don't understand it either, I've just seen a lot of people who know more than I do emphasize the need to seat the ball fully on the powder charge, with warnings that failure to do so could be very bad.

    All my shooting has been done with brass cartridge ammo, so I am admittedly unschooled in the alchemy of black powder.

    This forum discusses the problem of poorly seated projectiles. I'm taking their word for it, owing to my lack of experience.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...arrels.454853/
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2020-10-28 at 10:06 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    I thought poorly seated projectiles would be a problem because a gap would leave room for the powder to burn without generating pressure to accelerate the projectile. IIRC powder doesn't detonate, it deflagrates.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    I don't understand it either, I've just seen a lot of people who know more than I do emphasize the need to seat the ball fully on the powder charge, with warnings that failure to do so could be very bad.

    All my shooting has been done with brass cartridge ammo, so I am admittedly unschooled in the alchemy of black powder.

    This forum discusses the problem of poorly seated projectiles. I'm taking their word for it, owing to my lack of experience.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...arrels.454853/
    Oh, I see what they're on about.

    When the ball is seated on the charge properly, you have a known volume between the charge and the shot. When the powder ignites, the generated gas fills up this volume until the pressure is enough to overcome the friction between the ball and the barrel and push the ball down the barrel. Since the ball is seated on the charge, it accelerates as fast as the charge burns and everything is happy.

    However gas is compressible; if you have an improperly seated shot, you have a bigger volume for the generated gas to fill. This means that depending of the speed of the burn, the pressure at the end of the barrel with the charge can potentially exceed the maximum pressure rating of the barrel before the pressure at the other end of the barrel, is great enough to push the ball down the barrel and release all that pressure.
    In addition, since an improperly seated bullet doesn't see a uniform rate of acceleration (it just gets hit by the pressure wave), it might not be able to accelerate down the barrel fast enough to relieve the pressure, resulting in a burst barrel.

    The example given in the linked forum is pushing a car with another one. If they start out bumper to bumper, then the pushing car could floor it and both vehicles can get up to quite a fast speed. It's a very different situation if the pushing car starts flooring it from several metres away.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2020-10-28 at 12:40 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Oh, I see what they're on about.

    When the ball is seated on the charge properly, you have a known volume between the charge and the shot. When the powder ignites, the generated gas fills up this volume until the pressure is enough to overcome the friction between the ball and the barrel and push the ball down the barrel. Since the ball is seated on the charge, it accelerates as fast as the charge burns and everything is happy.

    However gas is compressible; if you have an improperly seated shot, you have a bigger volume for the generated gas to fill. This means that depending of the speed of the burn, the pressure at the end of the barrel with the charge can potentially exceed the maximum pressure rating of the barrel before the pressure at the other end of the barrel, is great enough to push the ball down the barrel and release all that pressure.
    In addition, since an improperly seated bullet doesn't see a uniform rate of acceleration (it just gets hit by the pressure wave), it might not be able to accelerate down the barrel fast enough to relieve the pressure, resulting in a burst barrel.

    The example given in the linked forum is pushing a car with another one. If they start out bumper to bumper, then the pushing car could floor it and both vehicles can get up to quite a fast speed. It's a very different situation if the pushing car starts flooring it from several metres away.
    OK, that makes a lot of sense.

    Thanks for explaining it. I really didn't see how that worked before. I figured more space between the powder and ball would create a lower pressure.
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    The thing about historical doors and locks is that they aren't very good. Most of the time, you'll likely be able to lift the things up their hinges or use any number of simple exploits, because they just weren't designed to be able to resist entry if no one was guarding them - the expense was too great, and metallurgy not quite there. Locks especially will be simple things, and you should be able to pick them with minimal practice.

    Spoiler: Typical 16th century lock
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    The real "you can't open this" device was the bar - you basically have to destroy the door to get past that, if they are seated properly. Locks often just locked some sort of a bar or latch in place.

    Spoiler: Roman pin tumbler lock, the kind used for fancy locks, and still in use today, note how easy it is to pick - you just lift all the tumblers as far up as you can - and that problem wasn't solved until 1805
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    Gunpowder in the lock will not work, and not just because there's not enough of it. Even if you do have enough to damage or break the lock, odds are you just broke the smaller parts that made the thing openable, bent the stuff blocking the door from moving, and basically jammed the whole thing shut. Most locks in pre-modern times are made of iron, not steel, and iron is much easier to bend than crack.

    So, your best bet to disable the lock is probably either splinter the door itself by force (kicking, bashing it with a pommel/halberd) or disassemble the lock using a dagger as improvised screwdriver. Unless the lock is bolted to the wood, which is pretty likely, then it's brute force o'clock either way.

    Barring that, a wire should enable you to either pick the lock or lift the latch.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Black powder has, roughly, a 0.55 explosive equivalency to TNT. A steel cutting charge to deform/blast through a 2 inch piece of steel 1/4 inch thick requires 0.2 lbs of tamped TNT. Or a little over a third of a pound of black powder when properly set. Cast iron is generally considered far weaker due to its brittle nature, though no one really does calculations on that - p for plenty and all that.

    Enjoy your lock blowing.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    OK, in this hypothetical scenario, we need to get a door open and not take all day doing it. We have no axe, no battering ram, nothing else obviously better, but we have a musket and ammunition. The suggestion is to take a paper cartridge, which historically (based on the Brown Bess) contained 165 grains of powder (sources differed, but the low end was 110, and the high end closer to 200. 165 was mentioned specifically as the musket charge, so the lighter ones might have been for carbines) so about .37 ounces, rip it open, pour the powder into the lock and improvise a fuse (which I suppose you could do with the rest of the paper if nothing else.)

    If the issue is just tightly packing the powder and eliminating an air gap, I imagine you could do that by plugging the hole with the wadded up cartridge paper.

    And, isn't one of the dangers in loading a musket a greater chance of blowing up the barrel if you have a gap between the powder and a ball? Like that's why they emphasize ramming the ball down and making sure you have it seated on the powder charge?
    Gunpowder was used to blow the locks on safes, before nitroglycerin became the preferred explosive of choice. (You can see advertisements for "gunpowder proof locks" on safes).

    Musket powder is going to be too coarse for the limited space, I would try to grind it as fine as possible (you can do this with the butt of the musket), and pack the lock with as much powder as I can find. If the lock is particularly loose, then you might want to try to seal off gaps with some gum or something. The intention is to prevent powder from leaking out, as I doubt you could get much resistance to it. That said, when firing blanks, people can hear the difference between a load with paper wadding and and one without. It may have more to do with preventing the powder from "spreading out" inside the barrel, but sometimes I notice a little more recoil with wadding too.

    As others have said, the difficulty here is getting enough pressure for the gunpowder to work -- finely ground and tightly packed will cause a faster burn (packing serpentine powder was necessary in ancient cannons to get a proper burn, otherwise they just fizzled). Old locks aren't terribly sophisticated, so you may be able to damage it sufficiently that it can be easily forced.

    If you have enough powder, and the design of the lock is such that it won't simply direct the blast out the keyhole, you might destroy the lock. I've seen people serious injured by overloading muskets with blanks with no wadding at all . . . add enough gunpowder, and it can be bad. I've seen the fore stocks on repro Sharps carbines blown off: the Sharps has a design problem, when the tail of the paper cartridge is cut off, some powder can escape, and collect in a hollow in the fore-stock. Eventually enough collects there and a flash will set it off.

    Honestly, it might not require that much gunpowder to break a lock. It's the kind of thing that Mythbusters could have proved.

    Musket charges: The last American smoothbore musket used a 110 grain charge (.69 caliber). Generally speaking as the windage became smaller, the charge decreased. Also the switch from flintlock to percussion usually reduced the charge by about 10 grains (as the pan no longer needed to be primed). But there could be national variations (e.g. French seemed to use a heavier charge and less windage than a similar American musket). 165 grains sounds right for a Brown Bess -- which had a fairly large windage -- the Mexican Army was known to overcharge their Bess's, apparently in the opinion that more powder could make up for poorer quality powder . . .

    I too have heard that a musket can explode if the ball is not firmly seated on top of the powder. Perhaps it has something to do with the pressure and burn rate of the propellant increasing, before it acts on the projectile? It does seem to be a documented problem, and it can be a serious issue in undercharging blackpowder metallic cartridges.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Gunpowder was used to blow the locks on safes, before nitroglycerin became the preferred explosive of choice. (You can see advertisements for "gunpowder proof locks" on safes).

    Musket powder is going to be too coarse for the limited space, I would try to grind it as fine as possible (you can do this with the butt of the musket), and pack the lock with as much powder as I can find. If the lock is particularly loose, then you might want to try to seal off gaps with some gum or something. The intention is to prevent powder from leaking out, as I doubt you could get much resistance to it. That said, when firing blanks, people can hear the difference between a load with paper wadding and and one without. It may have more to do with preventing the powder from "spreading out" inside the barrel, but sometimes I notice a little more recoil with wadding too.

    As others have said, the difficulty here is getting enough pressure for the gunpowder to work -- finely ground and tightly packed will cause a faster burn (packing serpentine powder was necessary in ancient cannons to get a proper burn, otherwise they just fizzled). Old locks aren't terribly sophisticated, so you may be able to damage it sufficiently that it can be easily forced.

    If you have enough powder, and the design of the lock is such that it won't simply direct the blast out the keyhole, you might destroy the lock. I've seen people serious injured by overloading muskets with blanks with no wadding at all . . . add enough gunpowder, and it can be bad. I've seen the fore stocks on repro Sharps carbines blown off: the Sharps has a design problem, when the tail of the paper cartridge is cut off, some powder can escape, and collect in a hollow in the fore-stock. Eventually enough collects there and a flash will set it off.

    Honestly, it might not require that much gunpowder to break a lock. It's the kind of thing that Mythbusters could have proved.

    Musket charges: The last American smoothbore musket used a 110 grain charge (.69 caliber). Generally speaking as the windage became smaller, the charge decreased. Also the switch from flintlock to percussion usually reduced the charge by about 10 grains (as the pan no longer needed to be primed). But there could be national variations (e.g. French seemed to use a heavier charge and less windage than a similar American musket). 165 grains sounds right for a Brown Bess -- which had a fairly large windage -- the Mexican Army was known to overcharge their Bess's, apparently in the opinion that more powder could make up for poorer quality powder . . .

    I too have heard that a musket can explode if the ball is not firmly seated on top of the powder. Perhaps it has something to do with the pressure and burn rate of the propellant increasing, before it acts on the projectile? It does seem to be a documented problem, and it can be a serious issue in undercharging blackpowder metallic cartridges.
    Thanks. I appreciate it. I know this is more your wheelhouse than mine

    Yeah, this falls under the category "just has to seem plausible" not "best way to open doors."
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    regarding unseated musket balls. Come to think of it, I've come across a lot of instructions for digging mine chambers that mention making them fairly high relative to their width with the gunpowder placed at the bottom because that's supposed to help redirect the blast upwards and make it more destructive.

    "After you haue made a myne platte according to this doctrine or in any other manner, you must instruct the Pyoners to vndermine deepe within harde grounde, and to make the way of the myne three foote in breadth, and sixe foote in heigth, and to digge the sayd Ouen and place of greatest effect sixe or seuen foote in breadth, and nine or tenne foot in heigth, to this ende that the gunpowder laide in that place may make his vent vpwardes, and that the ayre which is within the saide holloe place may ayde the gunpowder to open and ouerturne the ground which is right ouer it."

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    I figured more space between the powder and ball would create a lower pressure.
    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    I too have heard that a musket can explode if the ball is not firmly seated on top of the powder. Perhaps it has something to do with the pressure and burn rate of the propellant increasing, before it acts on the projectile? It does seem to be a documented problem, and it can be a serious issue in undercharging blackpowder metallic cartridges.
    When the ball is seated correctly, the pressure starts up high, which immediately starts moving the ball. As more powder burns and increases the pressure, the already moving ball moves faster to make more space, thus the pressure remains relatively constant until the ball exits the barrel and all the gas is vented.

    A bigger gap between the ball and the powder gives rise to possibility of a pressure gradient down the barrel, with the pressure at the high end exceeding the tolerances of the barrel, since the pressure at the low end doesn't hit the necessary level to push the ball out of the way fast enough to let the pressure vent off.

    From reading up on other forums and about catastrophic misfires, you can achieve much the same effect with using smokeless powder in a black powder weapon - the smokeless powder burns too fast for the weapon and the pressure buildup exceeds the weapon's tolerances:

    Spoiler: Never swap powders
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    The associated story says that the man had run out of black powder and decided to cut up 20 gauge shotgun shells instead - he put 75 grains of smokeless powder in the muzzle loader (which is the equivalent of 300 grains of black powder), effectively turning his weapon into an impromptu pipe bomb.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    From reading up on other forums and about catastrophic misfires, you can achieve much the same effect with using smokeless powder in a black powder weapon - the smokeless powder burns too fast for the weapon and the pressure buildup exceeds the weapon's tolerances:

    Spoiler: Never swap powders
    Show

    The associated story says that the man had run out of black powder and decided to cut up 20 gauge shotgun shells instead - he put 75 grains of smokeless powder in the muzzle loader (which is the equivalent of 300 grains of black powder), effectively turning his weapon into an impromptu pipe bomb.
    I know that even having a different pressure profile can ruin the gun (enough manufacturers of civilian arms in the late 19th/early 20th centuries have stamped some variant of "nitro proof" or "black powder only" on the weapon itself and many more included booklets or whatnot saying the same with a gun), but in this case amount is surely more important (if you poured 300 grains of BP in it from the muzzle end and then tightly seated the bullet over it maybe results would be a little bit less spectacular but I do not think that the weapon would remain functional)
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2020-10-31 at 11:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    No, that's very much a "wrong kind of powder" kaboom. 300 grains of BP would be pretty close to a "proof" load - quite possibly enough to deform or otherwise ruin a gun, not enough to kaboom it

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Due to COVID I've been in the house a lot more and so have been watching some of my old DVD's again. Including an old favorite the TV series 'Robin of Sherwood'

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086791/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

    What I've noticed is often the heroes when using long bows (which they all do) don't have arrow heads on the arrows, they just have sharpened the wooden shaft to a point
    While this makes sense that a group who live entirely as outlaws in the depths of Sherwood Forest would have trouble getting ahold of arrow heads I did wonder how effective would these arrows actually be ?
    (Their enemies are generally the Sherrif's troops who are clad in chain mail but as they tend to fight in the forest they are obviously firing at close range)
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    Due to COVID I've been in the house a lot more and so have been watching some of my old DVD's again. Including an old favorite the TV series 'Robin of Sherwood'

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086791/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

    What I've noticed is often the heroes when using long bows (which they all do) don't have arrow heads on the arrows, they just have sharpened the wooden shaft to a point
    While this makes sense that a group who live entirely as outlaws in the depths of Sherwood Forest would have trouble getting ahold of arrow heads I did wonder how effective would these arrows actually be ?
    (Their enemies are generally the Sherrif's troops who are clad in chain mail but as they tend to fight in the forest they are obviously firing at close range)
    I've used arrows with no points, largely when I've had points come off and I wanted to keep shooting. They fly differently, because of weight distribution, but they will still drive deep into the target. It's a pointy stick moving very fast, so it's dangerous. And I'm using a 50 lb recurve, not a 100+ lb longbow.

    I think it would have a tough time penetrating armor or even gambeson. I think at close range it might be effective against unarmored targets.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    While this makes sense that a group who live entirely as outlaws in the depths of Sherwood Forest would have trouble getting ahold of arrow heads
    Not really. This is medieval Englands, with mandated archery practice, arrowheads are a dime a dozen here, you could get some from every blacksmith. Sure, for the heat-treated fancy ones, you need a specialist, but a simple iron bodkin is doable. Hell, you can even improvise it yourself in a pinch and make some from knives and such.

    And even if our outlaws somehow started with no iron and no disguises to go buy/steal some, you can always loot it from your enemies, in proud tradition of assymetrical warfare.

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    how effective would these arrows actually be? (Their enemies are generally the Sherrif's troops who are clad in chain mail but as they tend to fight in the forest they are obviously firing at close range)
    The thing about forest ambushes is that armor matters a lot less if you do them right. If your targets are under ~50 meters, you can just aim at their soft, unprotected face and not any chainmail they may or may not have. At that point, arrowheads almost don't matter.

    If you hit gambeson alone, your wooden tip will behave much like a metal one would have - if it is bodkin-shaped, it will have some trouble getting through that fiber (but at short range and from a longbow, it will get through by sheer force alone), if it is mimicing a broadhead, it will cut the fibers. Yeah, it will be dulled much faster than a metal one, but that matters a whole lot less when it comes to arrows.

    If you hit a chain mail or plate, that's when you get problems. Not only is wood easier to break, the arrow tip is directly connected to the shaft. That means a big enough force will crack or splinter the entire shaft, and both eat up energy, and that means less energy delivered to target. If the entire arrow splinters, it now has several smaller splinters that spread the impact over a large area, so unless your guy is supremely unlucky and catches a splinter in the eye, he's gonna be fine.

    Metal heads don't entirely avoid the splinter problem, but they move the thresholds quite a bit higherm especially since a slightly bent arrowhead mamy still kill you if it gets through - as plintered arrow, not so much.

    And let's not forget that the main anti-chain mail arrowhead is actually a broadhead and therefore also increases wound profile and makes extraction of arrow from person a lot more difficult. That also explains why you don't see hunting without arrowheads all that often.

    All that means that, while wooden tips will do in a pinch, they are best avoided.

    A final note on wooden arrowtips - if you have to make them, you shouldn't just sharpen the shaft like a pencil. Take your shaft and put the tip of it into a fire until its surface is charred, then take it out. Sharpen ithe resulting product into a screwdiver-like tip and then do your best to flatten it into a broadhead-like cross-section. The burning makes the wood harder, and this sharpening gets you best bang for your buck out of it. You won't see this done anywhere outside of stone age reenactment or survival guides, though, metal tips are just that much better.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Re gunpowder bursting locks, while it seems unlikely that the lock would seal well enough, what would be the effects of the sudden heat of the burn?
    Could the sudden heating crack it? (I think probably not, but I'm no blacksmith)
    Could it make the lock so brittle that a hard blow would then break it?
    How much clay/mud would you need to effectively tamp a black powder bomb to destroy the lock?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Re gunpowder bursting locks, while it seems unlikely that the lock would seal well enough, what would be the effects of the sudden heat of the burn?
    Could the sudden heating crack it? (I think probably not, but I'm no blacksmith)
    Could it make the lock so brittle that a hard blow would then break it?
    No effect, pretty much. When it comes to heating things, you need two things: heat and time. Gunpowder has enough heat to mess with an object -gun barels can be heated to glowing red by firing alone - but not enough time. You'd actually be better off by burning it rather than exploding, but there's little of it to fuel a long fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    How much clay/mud would you need to effectively tamp a black powder bomb to destroy the lock?
    This won't work for two reasons. Firstly, if the lock is in a closed door, you don't have access to its other side, and that means there are gaping holes for the pressure to escape from, at least with old locks.

    Second problem is mud, it's soft and easily deformable, an explosion will deform or splatter it far before it builds pressures high enough to break metal. This can, however, be solved by putting clay specifically on the lock and making a pottery-contained explosive. At this point, however, you're probably better off finding a rock.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Continuing the discussion on gunpowder, but on a different tangent: is there any sort of technological prerequisite which would prevent a Bronze Age society from developing black powder? My cursory knowledge of the topic doesn't suggest any real reason why it was invented when it was other than historical accident, but as I said, that knowledge is cursory, and I might be missing something.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Sulfur, saltpetre, and charcoal all appear in nature. Arguably, Stone Age people could have stumbled on black powder (though they'd have had a hard time using it for anything without at least pottery). The ability to produce it gets much greater with widespread animal herds (one source of saltpetre is dungheaps, though guano's been the primary source for a long time), and there's advances in chemistry that make extraction of saltpetre easier, but there's pretty much no time in human history that black powder couldn't have been discovered.

    Now, there's the argument that the sort of alchemical experiments that lead to the discovery woudln't have been undertaken in earlier eras, so you might consider specific modes of thought as a prerequisite technology.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Mostly itís a matter of what technologists have taken to calling them Adjacent Possible. In essence, innovative ideas about things that can then be practically applied require certain developments and mindsets to be in place before they are discovered/invented even if they are technically possible between both natural law and some off-purpose use of then existing technology.

    Black powder would definitely qualify as one of those things that was technically possible from almost the earliest point in recorded history but was not an Adjacent Possible until much later.

    In theory thereís nothing saying that a human living near the calorie poverty line wouldnít witness some extremely unlikely natural occurrence where in all the three elements made a fast burn/slow explosion, imagine in his head that this could not only be useful, but consistently reproducible and controllable, imagine how that would be applied in a practical sense to warfare that seemed better than fire (better be a big boom he sees, or why bother?) extrapolate that it was those materials that caused it, realize that it wasnít specifically those materials so much as the elements witthin, begin an empirical process greatly hampered by a lack of chemistry being a thing yet where he determined exactly what the right composition is, find a way to reliably obtain those materials in a society where excess productivity is low and trade is often limited to more luxury items by bulk constraints, obtain the capital needed to produce consistent and reliable black powder in more than trace amounts in an age where credit/banking is primitive, demonstrate that black powder to a local leader who frankly hasnít seen significant technological change in his life, get him to visualize the possibility of employing it militarily (while assuring said leader that his elite status as a warrior or gentleman planter wonít change), find a new set of capital to actually set up production facilities, train a work force (who come from...somewhere?) prior to the concept of most items being craftsman work, establish a supply chain (again, in a pre-capitalist world), and then go through the whole process again to make that into anything more than a pot of black powder that will probably need to be remixed on site.

    Or he sees a flash in the dark where the guano was, asks Zeus for protection, and gets on counting his sheep.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Continuing the discussion on gunpowder, but on a different tangent: is there any sort of technological prerequisite which would prevent a Bronze Age society from developing black powder? My cursory knowledge of the topic doesn't suggest any real reason why it was invented when it was other than historical accident, but as I said, that knowledge is cursory, and I might be missing something.

    While others have mentioned the unlikelihood of stone age people figuring it out, a bronze age civilization is quite plausible. To make bronze you need an infrastructure, you need to be able to mine and smelt ores, so an accidental discovery of explosive would very probably lead to further experimentation. And I'm pretty confident the ancient Egyptians or Greeks could figure out a use for gunpowder.
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