.75 calibre Brown Bess musket
(firing sequence)

    In this series of 12 photos, taken about 1/30 of a second apart, you can see the short duration of the "Flash in the Pan" as the priming powder is burnt, followed by the considerable vibration of the recoil as the main charge fires. The gun is a .75 calibre smoothbore flintlock musket known as a "Brown Bess" and it can generate a considerable 'kick' on firing. The shooter is wearing ear muffs for hearing protection and also eye shields. The entire sequence from start to finish took about a third of a second, quite a long time and one of the reasons why black powder is less accurate than nitro powder. This is due to the movement of the gun in the time between pulling the trigger and the bullet leaving the barrel. The object on the tripod in front of the marksman is a chronograph, used to measure the velocity of the bullet and help us keep within the limits laid down on our Range Safety Certificate. See also the close-up sequence of the lock during firing.

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.00 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.03 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.06 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.09 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.12 sec (recoil movement has just begun)

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.15 sec (recoil well under way)

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.18 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.21 sec (note the apparent bending of the muzzle flash due to recoil movement)

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.24 sec (the muzzle is starting to come down from maximum recoil)

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.27 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.30 sec

.75 calibre smoothbore Brown Bess musket
0.33 sec (contrary to appearances the chronograph survived unscathed)

 

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