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Author Topic: Brown Bess standard loadout?  (Read 6253 times)

Kaso

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Brown Bess standard loadout?
« on: October 23, 2016, 10:25:11 pm »
No, I have no desire to get into black powder, but I had a random question concerning the Brown Bess musket.  The Brown Bess was of course the standard infantry arm for the British army for over 100 years.

Does anyone know the number of cartridges an average redcoat would carry?  I am sure there were variations throughout that 100+ year service life, but was there ever a 'standard load out?'

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    Grant

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #1 on: October 23, 2016, 11:30:37 pm »
       It varied, actually a great deal up to the cartridge area.  I've seen pictures and references to one and two 18-round cartridge boxes, spare "magazines" little more than leather bags with loose loaded cartridges in it along with said 18-round boxes and also instances of 32 round boxes.  That's just of the british stuff.

         I've got to get around to drilling out a cartridge box for myself.....been wanting one ever since I got my charleville .69 caliber musket.  Gotta make paper cartridges too.
     

       
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #2 on: October 23, 2016, 11:53:00 pm »

    It varied, actually a great deal up to the cartridge area...

    ...That's just of the british stuff.
    Okay, I will give the context of my question:

    I was listening to the German song Fridericus Rex this evening, a patriotic song boasting about the superiority of his Prussian army.  The whole thing is a collection of 'we have this, they have that' with favorable comparisons throughout.  I was considering the one line: 'Und jeder Grenadier kriegt sechzig Patronen.', meaning, 'Every soldier gets  60 cartridges.'

    If considered in the spirit of the song, that should be a generous load.  Since the Brown Bess' service was contemporary to the reign of King Freddy, (and since British military history is heavily studied) I assume the OP is the best question to ask, to find out just how good they (supposedly) had it.

    Grant

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 12:33:10 am »
      I do know that 60 would be a VERY generous loadout.    Almost no loadouts I've ever seen went much over 32-40 and even then that was a lot of rounds.   

       
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 10:00:42 am »
    I figured so, as that is 20 minutes of constant firing, at 3 rounds per minute.

    MTK20

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 10:47:18 am »
    I've never even considered what previous loadouts were. I can't say that I'm aware of what today's current ammunition load out is either  :hmm.

    So, kaso, forgive me for asking the obvious, but do you speak German?
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

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    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 11:07:58 am »
    So, kaso, forgive me for asking the obvious, but do you speak German?
    Not really, aside from the very basic.  Which is why I listen to the song, and others.  If you listen to a person talk in a foreign language, they can move quite fast, and without terribly clear pronunciation.  Music can be much clearer.  Listen to a song over and over, (after familiarizing myself with the content, but Not memorizing it.) and pick out the words you know.  Over time your knowledge will grow to connect the dots, and you will have gained vocabulary and pronunciation.


    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #7 on: October 24, 2016, 11:12:25 am »
    Take this for instance:  Where else are you going to hear a foreign language spoken so (slowly and) clearly?

    Only in music.  Plus it's a pretty song, and I like it. :neener


    MTK20

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 11:20:42 am »
    Take this for instance:  Where else are you going to hear a foreign language spoken so (slowly and) clearly?

    Only in music.  Plus it's a pretty song, and I like it. :neener



    Ah, Google translate, gotcha  :neener.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 11:32:37 am »
    Ah, Google translate, gotcha  :neener.
    What about it?

    sarge712

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 08:34:40 pm »
    Very interesting thread.

    If each lead bullet weighed 1 ounce (just guessing but probable), that's at least 4 lbs of ammo. Add in the weight of the powder and wooden cartridge cases and they were probably carrying 6 or 7 pounds in just ammo load for 60 rounds.
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    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #11 on: October 25, 2016, 08:43:09 am »
    If each lead bullet weighed 1 ounce (just guessing but probable)
    Muket bore was .75, same as the Bess.

    Some information on the musket:
    http://www.militaryheritage.com/musket19.htm

    Add in the weight of the powder and wooden cartridge cases and they were probably carrying 6 or 7 pounds in just ammo load for 60 rounds.
    If they were.  I would not take the 60 round loadout literally, more as a best-case propaganda talking point.

    Grant

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #12 on: October 25, 2016, 02:01:14 pm »
     Dunno Kaso.....black powder's addicting:

    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    MTK20

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #13 on: October 25, 2016, 03:18:30 pm »
    It's definitely a beautiful gun, I'll give you that  :thumbup1.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #14 on: October 25, 2016, 03:35:20 pm »
    Dunno Kaso.....black powder's addicting:
    Exactly.  So is heroin.  I'll be avoiding both, and for similar reasons. 

    I could order from Pedersoli, and easily make my new 'most expensive' firearm a black powder weapon.  :scrutiny

    MTK20

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 03:41:52 pm »
    Exactly.  So is heroin.  I'll be avoiding both, and for similar reasons. 

    I could order from Pedersoli, and easily make my new 'most expensive' firearm a black powder weapon.  :scrutiny

    I don't think that black powder is quite as dangerous as heroin. Unless you just really dislike the idea of measuring powder. Even Jesse has said that it is pretty hard to get to dangerous levels in a handgun.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #16 on: October 25, 2016, 04:45:24 pm »
    I don't think that black powder is quite as dangerous as heroin. Unless you just really dislike the idea of measuring powder. Even Jesse has said that it is pretty hard to get to dangerous levels in a handgun.
    We are both talking English, but I don't think we are speaking the same language. :scrutiny

    Grant

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #17 on: October 25, 2016, 05:41:16 pm »
    Exactly.  So is heroin.  I'll be avoiding both, and for similar reasons. 

    I could order from Pedersoli, and easily make my new 'most expensive' firearm a black powder weapon.  :scrutiny
    Not that expensive.  The used market is flooded with black powder. 

    Expensive purchased new+hard to sell=cheap prices.

      That's a nice Charleville .69 clone and I only paid $400 for it unfired with a bunch of spare flints.

    I also have a pedersoli "Kodiak" .72 double rifle that I only paid $400 for, also unfired, also with 2 bags of balls. 

     
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #18 on: October 25, 2016, 05:53:28 pm »
    Not that expensive.  The used market is flooded with black powder. 

    Expensive purchased new+hard to sell=cheap prices.

      That's a nice Charleville .69 clone and I only paid $400 for it unfired with a bunch of spare flints.

    I also have a pedersoli "Kodiak" .72 double rifle that I only paid $400 for, also unfired, also with 2 bags of balls.   
    Oh wow.  Somebody took a serious bath on those.

    Grant

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #19 on: October 25, 2016, 06:01:00 pm »
    Oh wow.  Somebody took a serious bath on those.

    Very common at gunshows.  I've passed on other good deals due to cash restraints and the like: Pedersoli .58, 1863 rifle $400,etc.etc.  Seems $400 is the magic number for a LOT of good, high quality black powder guns.

    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    MTK20

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #20 on: October 25, 2016, 06:11:13 pm »
    We are both talking English, but I don't think we are speaking the same language. :scrutiny

    Oh, you meant expense  :facepalm. Well dude, I don't know how expensive heroin is up there. You have to remember that local prices differ  :P.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #21 on: October 25, 2016, 06:27:31 pm »
    Very common at gunshows.  I've passed on other good deals due to cash restraints and the like: Pedersoli .58, 1863 rifle $400,etc.etc.  Seems $400 is the magic number for a LOT of good, high quality black powder guns.
    If I were to get one, it would not likely be one that would be found at a gun show for cheap.
    http://www.davide-pedersoli.com/tipologia-prodotti.asp/l_en/idt_3/rifles-1857-wurttembergischen.html

    coelacanth

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #22 on: October 26, 2016, 02:05:13 am »
    I would have a hard time resisting a well made .36 caliber percussion squirrel rifle.   A friend had one years ago and that thing was ridiculously accurate when you did your part.  No recoil to speak of and when we'd take off for a shooting session out in the desert his daughters would shoot the thing as often as you could load it for them.  Lots of fun.   :cool
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    Kaso

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #23 on: November 11, 2016, 04:46:44 pm »
    I think I may have found the answer I sought, from the description of another item for sale on that site.

    http://www.militaryheritage.com/cartridgepouch.htm

    Quote
    This style of pouch was used during the American Revolution along with a couple of other styles of cartridge boxes. It is commonly referred to the 1777 Pattern "Rawle Pouch" because of a patent on its design by that supplier to the British Army (the Patent itself encompasses a number of other pouch designs as well) . In 1784 a new pattern was introduced into the British Army. However this pattern slowly fell out of favour, and the 36 round pouch made a come back in the late 1790s. Why a resurgence is not quite known. It is possible the Rawle's patent expired allowing the Army to have them made more inexpensively. Regimental inspection returns show some regiments still carrying them in 1812. This is surprising because a new 60 round pouch was approved for the army in 1804. Obviously the army tradition of wearing items until they feel apart continued and it wasn't until 1813 that all the regiments got the new pouch and this pouch finally disappeared.

    It would appear that 36 rounds was the standard loadout, but 60 rounds was indeed an option in some circumstances.

    coyotesfan97

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    Re: Brown Bess standard loadout?
    « Reply #24 on: November 11, 2016, 05:33:39 pm »
    From Sharpe's Eagle...

    Quote
    Sir Arthur Wellesley did not mind; he only cared that a soldier had sixty rounds of ammunition and a clear head, and if his trousers were brown instead of white then it made no difference to the outcome of a fight.

    Quote
    ‘No, we’ll get on.’ He knew the men could be trusted not to sell more than a handful of cartridges. He looked at the huge Irishman. ‘How many cartridges would you have, Sergeant.’ Harper’s face was sublimely honest. ‘Eighty, sir.’ ‘Show me your powder horn.’ Harper smiled. ‘I thought you might like a drop of something tonight, sir?’ ‘Let’s get on, then.’ Sharpe grinned at Harper’s discomfiture. In addition to the eighty rounds, twenty more than the rest of the army carried, Riflemen also carried a horn of fine powder that made for better shooting when there was time to use it. ‘All right, Sergeant. Ten minutes fast, then we’ll march easy.’

    Obviiously it's a work of fiction but Cornwell researches things extensively.
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