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28 November 1520

Ferdinand Magellan sailed through the Strait of Magellan off South America, and thus became the first European to see the Pacific. He found the entrance on October 21, but the passage was a maze of bays, inlets and fjords. At night, when the ships... Read more ...

28 November 1520

Ferdinand Magellan found the Pacific
Ferdinand Magellan sailed through the Strait of Magellan off South America, and thus became the first European to see the Pacific. He found the entrance on October 21, but the passage was a maze of bays, inlets and fjords. At night, when the ships lay at anchor, they could see flickering lights from the land, and the land was called Tierra del Fuego. The lights came from the fires of the natives. It took 38 days to get through the strait. Today this dangerous strait is called Strait of Magellan.

When they had gone through the exhausting labyrinth, a sea opened before them. It was good weather, the sea lay still and shiny, and they called it therefore the Pacific. But only three of the expedition's four remaining ships continued the journey. The best ship in the fleet, that had been sent to investigate a fjord, never came back. The ship had turned and set sail towards Spain. Ferdinand Magellan sailed through the Strait of Magellan off South America, and thus became the first European to see the Pacific. He found the entrance on October 21, but the passage was a maze of bays, inlets and fjords. At night, when the ships lay at anchor, they could see flickering lights from the land, and the land was called Tierra del Fuego. The lights came from the fires of the natives. It took 38 days to get through the strait. Today this dangerous strait is called Strait of Magellan.

When they had gone through the exhausting labyrinth, a sea opened before them. It was good weather, the sea lay still and shiny, and they called it therefore the Pacific. But only three of the expedition's four remaining ships continued the journey. The best ship in the fleet, that had been sent to investigate a fjord, never came back. The ship had turned and set sail towards Spain.


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      .577/.450 Martini-Henry Rifles - Part 2

    • .577/.450 Martini-Henry Rifles - Part 2

      This is part two of the .577/.450 Martini-Henry article series. While the first part dealt with the background history, this part deals with the practical use. You will learn more about bullets, cases and what you must to make you Martini-Henry rifle work at the shooting range.

    Muzzleloader and Patched Roundball

    Category: Muzzle-loading
    Published: 24 November 2007 by Øyvind Flatnes.
    Edited: 24 November 2007.
    Views: 21738
    Les artikkel på norsk
    Kentucky-rifle

    The patched roundball is said to be an early American invention, if it's right I don't know. It was used in the American woods from around 1740, probably a little earlier. The principle behind the patched roundball is simple: By wrapping the undersized roundball in a piece of greased cloth and then forcing it down the barrel the problem of loading a rifle without hammering the bullet down the bore was solved. The patch was as mentioned greased, often with bear fat. The fat helped keeping the fouling soft, which also made the loading easier. The most common patching material was linen or cotton which had to be tightly woven to survive the travel up and down the bore. Some will claim that leather (buckskin) was used as patching, but I doubt that was very common. Leather was too costly for a hunter or farmer to be shot out of a rifle.

    Find out more!
    You can learn more about the history and practical use of muzzle-loading rifles and patched roundballs in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.

    Krutthorn

    Loading equipment.

    The patched roundball can also be used with success in smoothbore guns. The patch eliminates the slack between the barrel and the undersized ball. The gases from the ignition of the main charge don't escape the tight fitting patch/ball combination, and is helping the ball to leave the barrel the same way every time. The loading of a rifle is more complicated than loading a musket with paper cartridges. It will take 20 to 30 seconds for an experienced shooter to load a rifle, while a musket can be loaded 2 or 3 times during the time it takes to load a rifle. But, the accuracy of a rifle compared to a musket is, or should be, much better. The rifling stabilizes the ball in flight, and with a rifle you can hit a target several hundred yards away. A smoothbore musket should hit a man sized target at 50 yds., but will have difficulties beyond that range. Rates of rifling twist is a factor to consider when picking out a roundball gun. For a .50 calibre barrel a 1:48" twist is the fastest twist that will handle a roundball accurately. The slower twists like 1:66" to 1:72" are optimal in my opinion.

    Loading a Rifled Muzzleloader with Roundball

    The things you need are:

    • A muzzleloading rifle with flint or percussion ignition.
    • Black powder and caps (or flints if it's a flintlock.)
    • Some roundballs.
    • Linen or cotton patches. Denim is good too.
    • Bullet lube. Some people use saliva.
    • A bullet starter.

    The Patch

    Rifling

    Bullet starter.

    Keep in mind that it has to be durable enough to resist the strain it is to be shot out of a bore. When you examine a patch you have found after a shot it should not be burned or torn. If they are burned or torn and you experience lousy accuracy, well, then the problem is most likely found.

    The thickness of the patch is determined by the relationship between the groove diameter of the rifle and the roundball you are using. Let's say you are using a .50 cal. rifle who's groove diameter is .509". The bullet you are using has a diameter of .495". By calculating it as follows you can get an idea of how thick the patching should be: Groove diameter: .531" minus ball diameter : .495" = .036" i difference. Now we can divide .036" in two and minimum thickness will be .018". (There will be cloth on both sides of the bullet, that's why we divide it by two). The thickness of the patches and the bullet diameter can be measured with a micrometer.

    The process of loading

    1. Make sure that the barrel is dry, run a few dry patches up and down the bore. (Never run a dry patch down a bore with fouling in it or it will get badly stuck down there.) Snap off a few caps if it is a percussion gun. This dries/burns up any remaining oil in the nipple.

    2. Measure or weigh up a suitable charge and pour it down the barrel. A rule of thumb is 50 grains for .50 cal. rifle, 45 grains for a .45 cal. and so on. Keep your face away from the muzzle in case the charge ignites.

    3. Place a greased patch over the muzzle.

    4. Place a roundball on the patch and center it. Push it down with the thumb until it is flush with the muzzle, or as far as you get it. Tight fitting combinations can be hard to push with the thumb.

    5. Take your starter and place it on the ball as shown below. Give it a quick thump.

    6. Do the same thing with the long rod on the starter. See illustration below.

    7. Take your ramrod and gently push the ball down the bore until it is seated against the powder. There should be no air gap between the ball and powder. That could make the barrel blow up. See below. Again, remember to keep your face away from the muzzle, the gun is now loaded. Also remember to keep the muzzle in a safe direction at all times!

    8. Remove the ramrod from the barrel.

    9. Cap the rifle if it is a percussion or prime it with priming powder if it is a flintlock.

    10. Cock the hammer and fire!