Napoleonic firearms vs pre-18th century firearms

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,973
Sydney
" When were repeating firearms developed? "
I'll put aside artillery and hand guns

if one take the repeating long gun as one which was issued to soldiers that would probably be the Spencer
it needed metal cartridges , the paper and cloth of other models were not suitable
the Union army still used breach loaders as its standard infantry weapon for logistic , cost and familiarity of use
even though everyone could see the advantage of the new repeaters
some were used by the French during the second part of the 1871 war
but the rifles delivered were of poor manufacture and got a very bad name
keep in mind that there were a fair bit of experimental groping for the best options ,
those even changed as machining became far better
the Royal Navy used the Nordenfelt multi barrel gun , while it now seem to be an abomination
at the time and for service at sea , it proved to be a robust and dependable way of blasting pirates junks in the China sea

the Winchester 1873 was a very good model used with great success by the Turks against the Czarist army
it demonstrated that now , mere numbers were not going to cut it on the battlefield
it got all the headquarters to push for more of the same
within a few years the Mauser 1871/84 ( really 84 ) set the bar , breach loader , black powder and tubular magazine
the French vaulted over from the one shot black powder breach loader and went for the smokeless repeater in one leap
the British stuck stubbornly to the one shot Martin-Henry ,
way past the trend , weary of excessive use of ammunition and loving the robust and simple action

the study of guns and armament generally , is a good indication of a country policies ,financial means , industrial capacity and political outlook
it is quite telling of the governance capability to manage
it give a background for decisions taken and tactical superiority
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,487
the Winchester 1873 was a very good model used with great success by the Turks against the Czarist army
it demonstrated that now , mere numbers were not going to cut it on the battlefield
The Winchester with it's pistol ammunition a relatively short range weapon. The Turks used it with a more convention rifle, with a minorty of troops being equiped with the Winchester. These troops stepped forward and lay down rapid fire when the enemy was closing. There is some debate about the actual effectiveness, but certainly reports circulating with the various Armies thought it was very effective. This is widely regarded being a key event in teh pushing for the adoption magazine rifles though European Armies.

The Winchester was good weapon, and influential, but nobody was considering adopting it was their primary infantry weapon. It's short range and relatively small pistial calibre were why it was dismissed as a primiary infantry wepaon. Though it found a lot of niche markets. Royal Navy got some for Naval boarding parties.
 
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May 2019
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Earth
The Winchester was good weapon, and influential, but nobody was considering adopting it was their primary infantry weapon. It's short range and relatively small pistial calibre were why it was dismissed as a primiary infantry wepaon. Though it found a lot of niche markets. Royal Navy got some for Naval boarding parties.
Winchester repeaters found favour among certain Native-American groups. I know during the Nez Perce War in 1877 several warriors were armed with Winchesters. Chief Joseph himself had a Winchester '66.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,487
Winchester repeaters found favour among certain Native-American groups. I know during the Nez Perce War in 1877 several warriors were armed with Winchesters. Chief Joseph himself had a Winchester '66.
Well if you using it as a cavalry carbine it's quite a reasonable weapon, though it's rather short ranged compared it an actual full on rifle.

The US Amry did not favour it's widespread use in this period as every cartridge had to humped via pretty sketchy logistics, it's rapid fire was viewed as encouraging wasteful ammunition use. Native american groups are not going through a bureaucratic bean counter approach to weapons aquistion.
 
May 2019
165
Earth
Well if you using it as a cavalry carbine it's quite a reasonable weapon, though it's rather short ranged compared it an actual full on rifle.

The US Amry did not favour it's widespread use in this period as every cartridge had to humped via pretty sketchy logistics, it's rapid fire was viewed as encouraging wasteful ammunition use. Native american groups are not going through a bureaucratic bean counter approach to weapons aquistion.
Imo if you're going for long range, something like a Remington Rolling Block would have been a decent choice. But the US Army was using the "Trapdoor" Springfield even in mid-range combat against indigenous opponents armed with Winchester repeaters. I know which gun I'd want in those circumstances; Winchester by a long shot (no pun intended).
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,487
Imo if you're going for long range, something like a Remington Rolling Block would have been a decent choice. But the US Army was using the "Trapdoor" Springfield even in mid-range combat against indigenous opponents armed with Winchester repeaters. I know which gun I'd want in those circumstances; Winchester by a long shot (no pun intended).
Well it's depends of the range of the encounter gerater than 300 yards the Winchester is going to seriously struggle. And how many rounds are you carrying, and how are you going to be resupplied after you use the ones you are personally carrying?

The Winchester offers rapid fire., but that is not everything and if your total ammunition supply is relatively limited it's a very short lived advantage.
The Springfield is much more accurate, much longer ranged and hits harder.
 
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May 2019
165
Earth
Well it's depends of the range of the encounter gerater than 300 yards the Winchester is going to seriously struggle. And how many rounds are you carrying, and how are you goikg to be resupplied after you use the ones you are personally carrying?

The Winchester offers rapid fire., but that is not everything and if your total ammunotion supply is relatively limited it's a very short lived advnatge.
The Springfield is much more accurate, much longer ranged and hits harder.
I'm only going by what history has shown me. "Trapdoor" Springfields didn't do the 7th Cavalry a lot of good against Sioux warriors carrying repeaters at Little Big Horn...
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
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I'm only going by what history has shown me. "Trapdoor" Springfields didn't do the 7th Cavalry a lot of good against Sioux warriors carrying repeaters at Little Big Horn...
one swallow does not a summer make.

Really depends of the parameters of the encounter. Against similar number of infantry in terrain the allows long shooting the trap door is going to massacre the Winchester. I'm not familiar with the battle eof Little big Horn in detail. The result may have bnot be determined by type of rifle used, they may well; range of other factors that may have been more important. When the British were shot up by the Beors in the first Boer war, winchesters would not have helped, as gnerally the ranges were well beyond the effective range of the Winchesters.

But regardless is that one encounter justifcation for the universal adoption of teh winchester by the US army in that period? Agianst all possible oppoents was the winchester the superoir weapon. Optimising the entire Army for tis one eoucnouter or opponet may not be the best strategic decison, the US army won the war with the Native Americans quite handily.

The Military professionals of all nations evaluated both types of guns and come down universally against the Winchester as the main infantry rifle. They wanted the ability of greater rate of fire (thoughthey always had conerns about ammunition usage by undisciplined troops), but wanted the accuracy , range and hitting power of the more traditional rifle. Leading to the development and adoption of magazine rifle. The Winchester was a very influential gun. But never adopted as the main infantry weapon by any nation for a range of reasons.
 
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one swallow does not a summer make.

Really depends of the parameters of the encounter. Against similar number of infantry in terrain the allows long shooting the trap door is going to massacre the Winchester. I'm not famailr with the battle eof Little big Horn in detail. The result may have bnot be determined by type of rifle used, they may well; range of other factors that may have been more important. When the British were shot up by the Beors in the first Boer war, winchesters would not have helped, as gnerally the ranges were well beyond the effective range of the winchesters.

The Military professionals of all nations evaluated both types of guns and come down universally against the Winchester as the main infantry rifle. They wanted the ability of greater rate of fire (thoughthey always had conerns about ammunition usage by undisciplined troops), but wanted the accuracy , range and hitting power of the more traditional rifle. Leading to the development and adoption of magazine rifle. The Winchester was a very influential gun. But never adopted as the main infantry weapon by any nation for a range of reasons.
This is strictly my opinion, but in a situation like Little Big Horn where you're facing a more numerous opponent, I'd much rather have a weapon with a greater volume of fire, to counterbalance my weakness in numbers, than one that could hit hard at longer range.

As you say, the whole repeater vs. single-shot breech loader debate does depend a lot on the situation in question. From my perspective (the use of firearms by indigenous North Americans), I think the Winchester repeaters were better suited to the types of warfare carried out by groups like the Sioux and Nez Perce than something like the "Trapdoor" Springfield.