Why Round Shots are ... Round

Jul 2018
300
London
#21
Very interesting toppic!Well made video,you have my sub!
Btw,where did you found that black and white footage used in video?
It is available on YouTube as Creative Commons, but in reality, like all the US government material, it is public domain.

Thank you for the compliments. Stay tuned, there will be a follow up!
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#25
Hello everyone again.

I made a short follow up, being inspired by this discussion. With some humor...

Enjoy!


I think shots were round because:

1. It was easier, simpler to make round shots, you needed a less complicated mold.

2. You didn't have to worry about the orientation the ball when loadinthe shors.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#26
The Koreans often used giant arrows, even when they had round shot and grapeshot.



Typically in naval battles, but also sometimes in sieges and even on the field.



The recorded ranges for these vary between around 1000 to over 2000 yards. Some versions had leather fletching that was inside the barrel of the gun instead of the iron just outside the muzzle.

Breechloaders also became popular in Korea as light anti-personnel artillery.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#27
The Koreans often used giant arrows, even when they had round shot and grapeshot.



Typically in naval battles, but also sometimes in sieges and even on the field.



The recorded ranges for these vary between around 1000 to over 2000 yards. Some versions had leather fletching that was inside the barrel of the gun instead of the iron just outside the muzzle.
Arrow shape ammunition is more bulky and more work to.makd. Instead of just casting a round ball, you actually have to shape the the projectiles.. Plus, I suspect you could get the cannonball to fit tighter, it would be easier to force the cannon ball down the barrel if it fit tighter than an arrow. Tighter fit mess less loss when you fired the cannons.

With a round ball, you can send it skipping off the ground, ball could hit the ground and Nd bounce, knocking soldiers down like bowling pins. I read somewhere that at Waterloo, the ground was damp, and so the cannon balls did not skip as usual, making the artillery fire against the British troops less effective. ( Not sure why you would want to skip the cannon balls off the ground, perhaps it gave you longer range, allowing you to fire the cannons elevated for a longer range, have the shot hit the trips after it bounced off the ground)

Breechloaders also became popular in Korea as light anti-personnel artillery.
Breech loaders lose power, since some of the gunpowder exhaust leak pass the breech. So breech loading was used for less powerful guns, but muzzle lading for more powerful guns. Plus breeched made the gun construction more complicated.

It wasn't until the 19th century that problem was eliminated. Tighter tolerances became available, screw breeches provided right seals.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#28
Arrow shape ammunition is more bulky and more work to.makd. Instead of just casting a round ball, you actually have to shape the the projectiles.. Plus, I suspect you could get the cannonball to fit tighter, it would be easier to force the cannon ball down the barrel if it fit tighter than an arrow. Tighter fit mess less loss when you fired the cannons.
Yes it was, but this is only a testament to their effectiveness. They took far more energy and resources to make, yet they still were preferred for some situations. Also there was a paper wad and a wooden block that helped seal the barrel behind the arrow.


With a round ball, you can send it skipping off the ground, ball could hit the ground and Nd bounce, knocking soldiers down like bowling pins. I read somewhere that at Waterloo, the ground was damp, and so the cannon balls did not skip as usual, making the artillery fire against the British troops less effective. ( Not sure why you would want to skip the cannon balls off the ground, perhaps it gave you longer range, allowing you to fire the cannons elevated for a longer range, have the shot hit the trips after it bounced off the ground)
Which is probably why the Koreans generally preferred grapeshot and roundshot against troops.

Breech loaders lose power, since some of the gunpowder exhaust leak pass the breech. So breech loading was used for less powerful guns, but muzzle lading for more powerful guns. Plus breeched made the gun construction more complicated.

It wasn't until the 19th century that problem was eliminated. Tighter tolerances became available, screw breeches provided right seals.
I'm aware of the drawbacks of the early breechloaders.
 
Last edited:

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#29
Yes it was, but this is only a testament to their effectiveness. They took far more energy and resources to make, yet they still were preferred for some situations. Also there was a paper wad and a wooden block that helped seal the barrel behind the arrow.
The arrow shot was likely to offset for the lack of raw power of the Korea cannons. The were smaller in caliber, it would seem, and when breech loading, would have been even less powerful. Fire arrows were used in the West in the early days of hand cannons when they were less powerful.

The arrow shape would go father for the same gunpowder charge, true. But I wonder if they would do as much damage when they hit. Many sailors we're injured by the flying wooden splinters when a cannon ball hit, and I suspect that the arrow shape would not. be as effective in creating such splinters, but that is just suspicion.

Which is probably why the Koreans generally preferred grapeshot and roundshot against troops.
Grape shot wouldn't skip the way a cannon ball would, mass too light, and it was used at close range , like a giant shot gun. But it might explain why round shot was used instead of arrows against ground troops if that is the case.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#30
The arrow shot was likely to offset for the lack of raw power of the Korea cannons. The were smaller in caliber, it would seem, and when breech loading, would have been even less powerful. Fire arrows were used in the West in the early days of hand cannons when they were less powerful.
The arrows were exclusively fired out of muzzleloaders (I said the breechloaders were light antipersonnel artillery, very different from these heavier guns). The main muzzleloaders were equivalent in bore to European 14-pdr culverin, 9-pdr demiculverin, and 5-pdr saker. Also although these arrows did sometimes have incendiary materials attached, it was not their main purpose.

The arrow shape would go father for the same gunpowder charge, true. But I wonder if they would do as much damage when they hit. Many sailors we're injured by the flying wooden splinters when a cannon ball hit, and I suspect that the arrow shape would not. be as effective in creating such splinters, but that is just suspicion.
Sharp-pointed projectiles have greater piercing capacity, which apparently made them more effective than the roundshot the Koreans already had since they were used a lot, at least in naval contexts where these were mostly used, despite the greater amount of energy and resources put into manufacturing them.

Grape shot wouldn't skip the way a cannon ball would, mass too light, and it was used at close range , like a giant shot gun. But it might explain why round shot was used instead of arrows against ground troops if that is the case.
Yeah that's true.