Thursday, March 7, 2013

An experimental weapon with experimental ammunition

This is one of the great scenes in Hollywood history.

Man, that's one fine rifle.  From a time when they made fine movies.


Daddy Hawk said...

Love that movie. "Said I didn't have much use for 'em.
Never said I didn't know how to use 'em."

B said...

I've got one like Quigley's, in 45-70.

With careful loading of the cartridges, it'll shoot like that at 500 yds. The Sharps were hellaciously accurate....even today.


Goober said...

I’m reminded of Billy Dixon at the Second Battle of Adobe Walls. He dropped a Comanche warrior off of his horse at a later-surveyed and army-verified distance of 1,583 yards with his 50-90 Sharps “buffalo rifle,” using only iron sights. You can make movies that are pretty cool, but you can’t possibly match the awesome that is a real-life group of 28 men squaring off against a group of 700 Comanche warriors, and having the bravado and temerity to stand in such defiance of their assailants that they continued killing them even when they had retreated to a point that was far beyond a reasonable range to do so.

4 Texans died that day*, but they took 18 Comanche with them – one killed from such a distance that the other Comanche must have just been stupefied at the sight of it. In fact, after Dixon’s shot, the battle was more or less over. The Comanche lost their will to fight, and a few days later, broke their siege and left. It is believed that the Comanche that he shot was only wounded, but they never verified if he died from his wounds or not. One would think that he likely did not survive – bullet wounds were typically not very survivable in those days, before antibiotics and a full understanding of germs and cleanliness.

Dixon, an honest and respectable man, never once in his life claimed that the shot was anything more than sheer luck. I beg to differ. Luck alone can’t make such a shot. There had to be some serious skill as well. The longest shot I’ve ever made was just under 1,000 yards, with a telescopic-sighted modern magnum rifle. To make such a shot with a blackpowder rifle… it just boggles the mind.

*One of them in a particularly horrifying case of friendly fire – a man’s wife as loading his rifles for him as he fought the Comanche off. As she went to hand the man his rifle, it discharged. The bullet entered under his chin and blew the top of his head off. I can only imagine what that poor woman went through.

RabidAlien said...

DH beat me to it, best quote of the whole movie! Dang fine weapons, I'd love to own one one of these days.

B said...

" The longest shot I’ve ever made was just under 1,000 yards, with a telescopic-sighted modern magnum rifle. To make such a shot with a blackpowder rifle… it just boggles the mind. "

Veriner peep sights give excellent accuracy. You are looking through a pinhole to the front sight (another pinhole) then the target. Long barrels give excellent sight radii.

Careful measuring of bullet and powder for consistency. Paper patched bullets let you fit the bore as well as or better than modern jacketed bullets do in today's firearms.

While the pressures and velocities may be lower, the firearms with tight tolerances (like a Sharps) would deliver consistency, just as much as today's firearms.

THe trajectory might be like a rainbow or thrown softball, but that does not preclude better than minute of angle accuracy.

Not to mention what a double set trigger does for accurate shooting.

As in today's world, fine machinery driven by a decent user will deliver great results.

Goober said...

B - try it. Then get back to me.

TOTWTYTR said...

Quigley and Valdez are both great movies. Valdez is the more complex story, but I enjoy watching them both.

I couldn't make a shot that long with a cruise missile.

Ken said...

Nice rifle; well-done scene.

The other thing I noticed was the fella what hauled the bucket out there could flat-out ride. Not all that common in the movies in these here latter days.