July 14, 2008, 10:07 PM
I just had a random thought. How do people do reenactment with real guns. I mean i know they have non lethal loads and such. But how do you know when your hit? basicly i'm asking what do they load.

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July 14, 2008, 11:19 PM
I haven't done reenactment, but I suspect it's choreographed.

It's called "acting." Ie., there's a script.

July 15, 2008, 10:19 AM
Its choreographed, along with "gosh, I am hot and tired, guess its time to be wounded"

At Olustee (Ocean Pond) Florida, loose powder from "tin foil" "paper cartridges" is poured down the bore, the action patted the nipple capped and ka boom. There is then a one minute safety wait. Of late there has been some concern about the use of ram rods as some have beeen launched etc. Many places no longer allow their use or have only the few folks closest to the crowd use them under close supervision. There is also some concern about a steel ram rod in a steel barrel with no bullet and lube between any sparks it might make and that loose powder. I do not plan to shoot any blanks myself around the house! For safety sake do not experiment with blanks shooting based on what I have written or anything you read on the internet, get personal instruction from some one responsible for safety at a re enactment.

Olustee has also used pyro techneques done by one of the folks that did that for "Glory" I especally liked his tree burst that topped out a pine tree and let the top ten feet of tree come crashing down a few years back.

-Bob Hollingsworth

July 15, 2008, 10:38 AM
I got roped into a reenactment once by a good friend. Apparently the South didn't have enough people <grin>.

They put me in a cobbled together uniform, placed me in the line, handed me a pre-loaded musket and gave me the following instructions...

-When the order to charge is given yell really loud
-walk forward two steps, point the musket towards the sky and fire it (powder and a cotton ball were all that was loaded).
-Point musket in the air and run forward until the cannons go off
-Fall to ground and "die" in whatever fashion you choose.

-If the musket fails to go off keep it pointed at the sky and fall back until you can get off the battlefield and someone will help you.

Cap n Ball
July 15, 2008, 11:43 AM
Usually we are informed before the event. Names are drawn and on the slips are whats to happen. Dead, wounded, captured, etc. The main thing, if possible, is to fall in the shade.

Harve Curry
July 15, 2008, 12:14 PM
Reenactments I've been to there are no ramrods on long guns, if a reenactor forgets it could become a projectile. Loose powder is poured down the barrel from a prepared paper blank cartridge. Again no flasks for this operation.You keep the barrel up and tap the breech with your hand.
On handguns/revolvers powders held in the chamber with cream of wheat compressed down on top of the powder. Prepared paper cartridges is the safest method over a flask.

All guns firing is toward the skyline/treetops well over people.

Before a charge or fight is staged it's decided, "hey we need this many to fall here and there", and that about it.

July 15, 2008, 02:39 PM
Yikes!:eek: Forgotten ramrod in the barrel.

Gives me the chills just thinking about it. Yikes again.

Coyote Hunter
July 15, 2008, 02:56 PM
As safety officers for our group (Wild West, not Civil War) we must use the following to satisfy our insurance company,

Cap and Ball - Black Powder or Pyrodex with cream of wheat compressed over it. No shots closer than 10 yards with handgun.

Cartridge revolver - Black powder or pyrodex with max load of .30 grains and flower foam over charge or in my case I use envelope dots found at walmart.

Shotgun, - shot shell, max load of 50 grains 2 or 3 FF. Filled with cream of wheat. NO WADS..Paper shell , no plastic, crimped with a lee hand loader. No shots closer than 20 yards.

Rifles, 3 in one blamks with flash powder or same loads as handgun.

NO crimped blanks or wax sealed blanks allowed, period. Nothing comes out of the barrel but powder and cereal!


4v50 Gary
July 16, 2008, 01:18 AM
As mentioned, there are cartridge inspections to ensure that no paper cartridge with lead goes on the field. Second, ramrods are not used for reloading as it wouldn't do to have another reenactor impaled by a ramrod. Third, muzzles are pointed above the target.

Cap n Ball
July 16, 2008, 11:57 AM
No matter how much drilling or inspecting for saftey things still happen. Powder burns are fairly common. I got bit by our six pounders muzzel flash on the 4th of July. Even though I was leaning away and behind it. I had forgotten to roll down my sleeves and while I was covering my left ear a spark lit on my forearm. Not bad but enough to make me more thoughtful. Lefties firing muskets are often burned on the cheek by the flash from a flinter. Ramrod spearing still happens once in a great while. Mules have a habit of falling down to sudden loud noises. Some boys from Arkansas were on mules last year at Pea Ridge and when we fired a volley three of them fell down. One fellows leg was hurt. Theres always an element of danger in this stuff.

Harve Curry
July 16, 2008, 02:07 PM
There is no such thing as a blank. Burning powder particals and whatever was holding it in place is exiting the muzzle as fast as 2000fps. Shoot a soda can at 5-10 feet and see how it does.
5in1 blanks could be the worst offenders, there's 1/4, 1/2, and full charge loads, but they all have some hard stuff in front of them.

As a side note about artillery and cavalry reenactments, you'll find out how good your horse is. All the training you do at home doesn't compare to when all that gun firing and the cannons commence. It's exciting to be on a good horse while all that's going on and your mount does what you want.

Jim K
July 16, 2008, 02:16 PM
Last year, at a demo, a re-enactor was nice enough to let me fire his rifle musket with a blank load. He was a bit astonished when I told him that that was the first time I had ever fired a rifle musket with a blank - every other time, a .58 minie ball had gone down range.


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