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Date Posted: 00:55:48 01/14/05 Fri
Author: Deacon 5 A-1
Subject: Amateur Ballistics


A Rethinking What I Always Took to be Gospel
Amateur Ballistics

Visualize skipping stones off a lake …

We all know the stories of how wildly inaccurate .69 cal. Smoothbores are. Not only do the balls bounce down the barrel, the last bounce determines the path it takes, BUT careening down the bore also imparts a curve ball-like spin to the projectile. Experts tell us that the man you are aiming at is in danger out to 75 or so yards, but your target is perfectly safe at 200 yards. I must agree. However, those fellers standing in the vicinity of you target could be at great risk.
Volley firing tends to average out the errors.
Ah, but what about gauging the range and elevating appropriately?
Perhaps we shouldn’t.
Time was, when the orders went: READY! LEVEL FIRELOCKS! FIRE!
What happens if we point the level tube at the target and shoot? On average, ignoring the odd up or down bounce, the ball leaves the barrel and drops at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. The muzzle is about 5 feet off the ground and the ball is zipping along at 1400 fps (or so I read). My math is a little (a lot) fuzzy but I believe the ball would the hit the ground at around 70 yards. All that time it would be in that 68" tall space that accommodates the average soldier without slouching.
Now what does the ball do now? It bounces up. Wind drag and impact would slow it and shorten the bounce but two more good bounces would take out 200 yards, all of it in the danger zone.
Six pounder batteries used this trick to good effect and I figure a smooth bore is a smooth bore. Rifle projectile tend to bore in where thy hit, but not so the round ball.
Perhaps this makes up for its failure in the tack driving accuracy department. Maybe the old scatterguns were a mite more dangerous than we thought.

Does this theory hit the mark or is it like MY shooting?

Deacon, 5 A-1

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