Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Did Our Forefathers Know High Firepower weapons would be eminent?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by fearless leader, Apr 15, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fearless leader

    fearless leader Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    I had a book once, I believe it was the encyclopedia of firearms. I don't currently know where it is, but I am hoping one of you may be familiar with the weapon I am about to describe.

    During the American Revolution, the USS Constitution, and other ships I can't remember, had, according to this book, a high firepower musket. It was mounted on deck on a yoke, it had multiple barrels, and was about 6 feet long, weighed about 100 pounds, and the Navy had at least 6 of them.

    The barrels were loaded with black powder and arranged as a roman candle. It took all day to load, and would shoot about 300 rounds in 2 minutes. The last of it's kind is in a museum in Belgium.

    If that is true, the Founding Fathers had to have realized that high firepower weapons would, in fact, be eminent, which would blow a large hole in the current thinking in Washington, DC.

    Can anyone help me identify this gun from the desciption?
     
  2. fearless leader

    fearless leader Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Perhaps I'm wrong about which war, as my Brother in law informs me the constitution didn't exist in the revelutionary war.

    I still would like to know about the time period the gun existed, if I can find out what it was called.
     
  3. azimuth

    azimuth Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    The exquisitness of the second amendment is that in the event that lightsabers or any other evolution in weaponry is created, they will all fall under the general definition of 'arms'. In fact, the second amendment is more a description of a principle, a pre-existent right, than a delineation of what is allowed or tolerated; the principle being that a free man has the right to arm himself/herself. It appears that the absense of specific devices is intentional to allow the constitution to evolve with technology.

    The question is if the constitution does not enumerate it, does the freedom exist?
     
  4. mekender

    mekender Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,255
    there were multiple examples of rapid firing weapons dating back to the crew served arrow launchers in the 1600s and earlier... the DC argument against what the founders would have known is 100% blown away when you realize that during the time of the writing of the constitution there was private and corporate ownership of cannon, mortars and even large ships of war...
     
  5. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,616
    um are you incapacitated somehow? no offense intended however it sounds like you were reading a FICTIONAL BOOK intended for table top WARGAMES set in imaginary fantasy lands.

    The weapon you describe does not exist. However the puckle gun sounds extremely close and i beleive existed in the time period. However the puckle gun is an oversized revolver on a tripod.. and was only experimented with for a short time by the british army.

    however in the renaissance, many gentlemen experimented with putting large numbers of canon barrels onto a single gun carraige. For awhile you could find 20-50 small bore cannon barrels, some of which were just musket barresl, on a single carraige. They took a while to load..

    The founding fathers thoughts of "eminent in 120 years from now" on weapons is a useless point to ponder. To them the only things that mattered was that every citizen be garaunteed the right to own a weapon, to carry it, and to be able to use it for private and national defense. YES, we do tend to forget that part of everyone to be expected to pitch in when the lead starts flying.

    Besides as far as capacity was concerned, they were interested in combustible cartridges, new forms of ignition, and in making the gun accurate enough to kill a deer at 0- yards and be powerful enough to kill the deer at that range.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  6. DougDubya

    DougDubya Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    The People's Republic of Cook County.
    Oleg has pictures of revolvers with 20-round cylinders. And pepperbox pistols with similar capacity.
     
  7. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    19,285
    Location:
    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    Lewis and Clark carried a Griandoni 22-shot repeating air rifle powerful enough to bring down big game.

    More info here.

    On top of that, there were any number of primitive, but completely functional, repeating small arms that were manufactured during the era of The Founders.

    But, overall, arguing technological change as a way to invalidate the 2nd Amendment is a tenuous position. Unless, of course, one is also willing to make the argument that the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to radio, internet bulletin boards, and cable television.
     
  8. Oro

    Oro Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    3,496
    Location:
    WA state
    Ok, vagaries of the story aside (the USS Constitution and other heavy frigates came after the Revolution), let's analyze it.

    Let's broaden the time period to cover the last 100 years of the age of fighting sail - from the early Anglo-French wars - let's say the start of the Seven Years' War in 1756, until the advent of steam-powered armored ships in 1860 (HMS Warrior - got to tour her once - what a ship!). I've studied the naval history of this period pretty thoroughly and have never heard of such a device mounted on a US or British warship. But, there are some things in your story that hint at some facts I recall, so let's piece them together.

    1) Ok, you said six weapons. That was the number of heavy frigates ordered in the class and procurement of the USS Constitution. So let's guess that's where you recalled that from.

    2) Roman Candle - ok, this makes me thing you are talking about a Congreve Rocket.

    3) Mounted on a yoke. - Congreve rockets were mounted on an A-frame device, you could call it a yoke.

    These were basic "bottle rocket" kinda devices. The british encountered them when fighting Tipu Sultan in Mysore (again, a great place to tour!). They tried to copy the technology and came up with deployable devices around 1800 or so. They mostly used them on shore, but did experiment a number of times on ship-mounted designs. After a while, they generally gave up I recall as the fire risk and hazard to the ship outweighed the benefits. But they were employed in ground artillery. As a footnote, I think that the line "The rockets red glare" in the Star Spangled Banner was a direct reference to British congreve rockets being fired.

    So, that's my best educated guess about what your recollections are about and, to get to one of your points, I don't think the founding fathers anticipated rocket artillery or specifically planned on making it part of the Second Amendment.
     
  9. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,601
    Location:
    Northern California
    fearless wrote,
    There is no viable anti-gun argument on this issue. The firepower of any private citizen today is relatively paltry. It's pathetic if you really think about it. We have to scratch and claw to protect our rights to own relatively modest arms. Over the centuries, mass media has molded public perception of firearms into a weak baby-like mindset. If the founding fathers could fast forward to today, they’d wonder where the real arms for the citizens are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  10. doc2rn

    doc2rn Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Messages:
    3,495
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Volley guns where bought from France for naval vessels, didn't catch on as grape shot was just as effective and gave the cannon a dual role. Volley guns where usually on longer vessels with big decks. The barrels did not take all day to load, in fact they where fired usually in layers. Most where only 3-5 layers with about 25 barrels per layer. They did look like stacked Roman candles and where a varient of a popular pirate boarding weapon that was a pistol with 5-7 barrels fanned out.
     
  11. mekender

    mekender Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,255
    see to me a roman candle is a small cardboard tube that you hold in your hand and whne you light off the fuse it spits out 6 flaming balls about 50-75 feet and about 2 seconds apart... to me hes talking about some primitive form of the metal storm
     
  12. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    3,074
    Location:
    A long way from heaven and too close to Chicago
    If I recall correctly in the war of 1812 private citizens had ships of war and were used to capture British ships under something called a letter of marque. Private citizen were allowed the possesion and use of cannon as well. IIRC the first shots of the Texas revolution were over a cannon that Santa Anna demanded the American settlers give up.

    In the 1700's the bayonet was the 'super weapon.' Both the miltia and the Continental Army were in short supply. I seem to recall reading that in the war of 1812 bayonets were in common use among American forces. Even at the Battle of New Orleans where Jackson literally had men picked up off the street to man the barricades.

    War is horrible, it matters not if the weapons are a volley of Brown Bess Muskets and 40 pound cannon with grape shot or the crew served machine guns of today. The Founders had seen the horrors of war, in many cases first hand. To say they couldn't imagine the modern weaponry is either stupidity or arrogance. Which I'll leave to those wiser than I.

    Selena
     
  13. bogie

    bogie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    9,569
    Location:
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    Arrrr!
     
  14. saspic

    saspic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    San Antonio
    I'm not a weapons history expert, but I've always thought that when the constitution was written, civilians mostly had single shot firearms while the government had single shots, cannons, and sail propelled warships.
    Now, civilians might at most have a machine gun (or even a cannon, I think) while the government has machine guns, grenades, laser guided missles, tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, bombers, nuclear missles, aircraft carriers, intercontinental ballistic missles, and enough nuclear bombs to destroy civilization.
    I think the founding fathers would be upset at the disparity between the government's armory and the people's. I'm not saying we should all have a bazooka, as great as they are for groundhogs, but people shouldn't have to contend with so many regulations when exercising their second amendment-protected rights.
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    Don't be so quick to judge, boyo. My brain tells me there was a multi-barrel, multi-round "CHAMBERS SWIVEL GUN" mounted on USS Constitution during the 1812 business but I can't always rely on my brain. IIRC, the beastie had many balls and charges layered one on top of the other in each barrel. There was a special fuse running down the rounds that would set each off in turn, from the outermost to the innermost. In a way it was like the modern ultra high speed gun that also "stacks" bullets on top of each other.

    Here's some more info pulled off Google. Looks like my brain wasn't far off.

    http://www.1812marines.org/uniforms.htm

    Beyond this, the answer to the question is YES there were extremely powerful weapons during the time of the Founders. Military technology had been advancing steadily in the prior 500 years and was on the cusp of the industrial age. The ships of war could engage at several miles distance. They had huge mortars, cannon, excellent artillery and even military rockets during the early years of the Republic. Small arms, too, had seen rapid advancement. Long rifles could kill at many hundreds of yards. Hand held grenadoes could be tossed into enemy ranks, sending shrapnel flying out in all directions. The only thing they didn't have, when you boil it down, were primer caps and smokeless powder.
     
  16. PercyShelley

    PercyShelley Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,075
    Given Jefferson's and Franklin's scientific/technical savvy, and general propensity for staying on the cutting edge of everything, I suspect that they knew all about the latest developments in weaponry.

    And given their political views, I imagine he would have enthusiastically welcomed widespread private ownership of the same.

    Jefferson wrote on astronomy, paleontology, and plenty of other natural sciences. Franklin went out of his way to watch the first manned balloon flight, and was likewise a polymath. I'm sure some of the other founders had similar awareness of the world, and given that I would be downright surprised if at least those two didn't know about and take an interest in things like the Puckle Gun, volley guns, compressed-air multi shot guns, and those tandem-charge affairs that look like steampunk metalstorm designs.
     
  17. 209

    209 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    265
    Location:
    Northeastern US
    It is true there was a multi-barrel Chambers gun.

    Nothing official to back it up, but there are allegedly "documents that exist which seem to indicate that such multibarrel weapons were on several ships in addition to the USS "Constitution" and probably at Oswego, the Battle of Lake Champlain, and possibly at the Battle of New Orleans." Posted on Sailing Navies Forum 1650-1850. There are pretty serious history buffs on that forum. I tend to believe them.


    The Marines got to use it. :D
     
  18. Oro

    Oro Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    3,496
    Location:
    WA state
    Oh god, that's so funny. It's self-destructing within the first full sentence. If it's "true", then let's see something that actually backs it up. Oh god, this thread is so funny. Can you actually point to something REAL? It's not like history is a new thing, or that "new" weapons were something hidden - they are usually triumphed as a progress, not hidden away and suppressed.

    Look, let's be sane here. Any weapon deployed on a ship of state would have been procured, tested, reported upon, and appear in ship's records and it's performance documented. In fact, we can't find any of these "mystery" weapons in voluminous records we have of munitions on our public warships. Didn't exist, and wacky theories don't make it real against the tested record.
     
  19. RLsnow

    RLsnow Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    606
    Location:
    Norway
    you seem tense kamerer, something amiss?
     
  20. 209

    209 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    265
    Location:
    Northeastern US
    Easy there big fella. ;)

    First paragraph- indeed a short one consisting of one sentence, but a paragraph none the less.

    "It is true there was a multi-barrel Chambers gun." True statement. There was a multi-barrel Chambers gun.

    Second paragraph- on to a new statement which is why it's in a separate paragraph.

    I can't validate the information, but several serious history buffs indicate that there was a Chambers gun on various ships during various battles as cited in said paragraph. I did enough research by checking the mentioned forum to find that information. I tend to lend a bit of credibility to posters there. If that's insufficient data for you, prove it wrong by finding some refutable information.
     
  21. TAB

    TAB Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,475
    I don't think anyone could have forsaw us progressing as far as we did so fast.

    Think about just the last 100 years or so. We went from horse draw carages to jumbo jets.

    When it comes to firearms, once again it is only the last 100 years or so that things have changed drasticly. before that smooth bore mussle loading wepons were around for centurys, only real change was in how they were "touched off"
     
  22. Oro

    Oro Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    3,496
    Location:
    WA state
    Nope, not tense. Just thoughtful and intellectually honest. I've spent years as a historian and laugh about what passes as fact here without scrutiny. I just try to keep the discussion honest to reality so folks don't read the nonsense and think it's real. I've noticed many people think that things they read on the internet are real, but don't bother checking. It's a real problem, you know?

    Seriously, read the immediate responses above. The general theme is "someone said, it so you disprove it, I can't be bothered." I can only laugh at what member 209said, it's the antithesis of honest discourse and critical thinking. Anyway, I have obligations for tomorrow and sign off only because of that, but let's call out and not tolerate illogical and annoying statements like that. Let's aspire to have a discussion of the level worthy of the "High Road" that challenges our intellect and reasoning, not just our knee-jerk responses.
     
  23. SDC

    SDC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Messages:
    3,116
    Location:
    People's Republic of Canada
    "Stacked loads" were one of the first attempts to make a true rapid-fire gun, but I don't recall seeing anything about them being used in the Revolution. More to the point of the matter, the military of that time used and had access to EXACTLY THE SAME weapons that civilians did, muskets and cannon (yes, there were a number of privately-owned cannon used during the Revolution).
     
  24. ExSoldier

    ExSoldier Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    246
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    I'm a teacher of American history and American Government. I've been at it for over 18 years. You guys are coming at this from a direction that is easily marginalized. I'm late for work so I'll get back to you when I get home. The filters at school block this site.
     
  25. ExSoldier

    ExSoldier Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    246
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Quick note on the way out the door: The first firearms began appearing around 1280 AD. So they'd been an evolving technology for almost 500 years at the time of the American Revolution. Of course the Founding Fathers anticipated newer and better arms. That's WHY they specifically used the term ARMS instead of muzzle loading flintlock rifles. That's why my H&K pistol, my AR15 rifle and my HAND PHASER are and will be covered when technology reaches that point!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page