On this day

29 November 1864

The Sand Creek massacre, also known as the Chivington massacre, was a massacre in the American Indian Wars that occurred on this day in 1864, when a 675-man force of Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and... Read more ...

29 November 1864

Sand Creek Massacre
The Sand Creek massacre, also known as the Chivington massacre, was a massacre in the American Indian Wars that occurred on this day in 1864, when a 675-man force of Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.

After the brutal slaughter of those who supported peace, many of the Cheyenne, including the great warrior Roman Nose, and many Arapaho joined the Dog Soldiers. They sought revenge on settlers throughout the Platte valley, including an 1865 attack on what became Fort Caspar, Wyoming.



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      Hunting with Black Powder Weapons

    • Hunting with Black Powder Weapons

      In this article you can read about hunting with black powder firearms, from a Norwegian perspective. The Norwegian game law limits the use of black powder for hunting, but a few hunters hunt small game with black powder rifles and shotguns. Read the article to find out more.

    Different Firearms Ignition Systems

    Category: Miscellaneous
    Published: 23 September 2008 by Øyvind Flatnes.
    Views: 20213
    Les artikkel på norsk

    The flint and percussion locks are the most commonly used ignition systems used in today's black powder firearms. Other systems, such as matchlock, snaphaunce and wheellock are also used, but in more limited quantities. In addition, many shooters enjoy shooting black powder cartridges from breech-loading rifles and revolvers.

    The matchlock


    12 bore matchlock musket from the 1600s.
    The musket is located at the
    The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum.

    The matchlock was the first practical ignition system used in black powder firearms. It was in use as early as the late medieval ages, and was in common use until it was replaced by more modern ignition systems in the late 1600s. The shooter first had to light a matchcord which was secured in the jaws of a cock. When the shooter pulled the trigger the cock with the glowing match was released and hit an external priming pan filled with powder. A flash channel in the barrel, placed above the pan made sure that the sparks from the igniting priming powder set off the main charge.

    It is obvious that the matchlock system was rather cumbersome. As the shooter had to light the match in advance the matchlock was unpractical both for hunting and on the battlefield. The match often went out which rendered it unusable as a cavalry weapon.

    Find out more!
    You can learn more about the history and practical use of black powder firearms – from the Middle Ages to the Boer War – in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.

    The wheellock



    The wheellock was probably invented in the beginning of the 1500s. It was in most ways an improvement compared to the matchlock. The mechanism can be compared to a modern lighter. A piece of pyrite was placed between the jaws in the cock. The 'wheel' was a serrated steel wheel that protruded through the priming pan. Before shooting the spring loaded wheel had to be wound up with a key, and powder was placed on the pan. The cock was placed on the wheel and when the shooter pulled the trigger the wheel got a quick spin. When the spinning wheel was in contact with the pyrite sparks were created. This ignited the priming powder and the main charge.

    The wheellock had many parts, and thus it was expensive to manufacture. In addition the various parts had a tendency to break. Still, the wheellock was the first practical cavalry weapon and it was often used on pistols.

    The flintlock


    Replica flintlock rifle.

    The flintlock was in common use from the mid-1600s. Its predecessor, the snaphaunce, which resembled the flintlock, was invented about 1550. During he 1600s the flintlock slowly replaced the matchlock, wheellock and snaphaunce firearms.

    The flintlock had as its name implies a flintlock fastened between the jaws of the cock. Over the priming pan it was mounted a steel, called frizzen. The frizzen also served as a lid for the powder in the priming pan. When the flint hit the steel a shower of sparks were created which ignited the priming powdre and main charge. The flintlock was in common use until about 1840.

    The percussion lock


    Percussion lock from a Model
    1861 Springfield rifle musket.
    Note the cap on the nipple.

    The invention of the percussion lock is often credited Alexander Forsyth, a Scottish clergyman, which patented a percussion lock in 1805. The percussion lock had a hammer rather than a cock. A fulminating copper cap was placed on a hollow nipple, also called the piston. The nipple had a flash channel that lead into the main charge. When the hammer was released it hit the cap which ignited the cap which in turn ignited the powder. The percussion lock was a major improvement compared to the flintlock. Now shooting in bad weather wasn't a problem, flames and sparks in the shooters face was eliminated and the ignition time was considerably shorter. The percussion era did not last long, and already in the 1860s the metallic cartridge started to gain a foothold.

    The self-containing cartridge

    The self-containing cartridge consists of four main components: case, primer, powder and bullet. The earliest self-containing cartridges had paper casings, and such cartridges were used in, for example, Prussian Dreyse needle-guns and French Chassepot rifles. Later it became common with copper and brass cases. This ammunition is relatively similar to the rifle and handgun ammunition which is used today.

    A lot of different weapon systems used the metallic cartridge in the black powder era, for example: Remington rolling block, Sharps, Martini-Henry, Jarmann, Winchester lever action and different handguns and revolvers.