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Naval Rifles circa 1800

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Devonai, Apr 26, 2004.

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  1. Devonai

    Devonai Member

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    What sort of rifles were used for ship defense in 1800? I'm interested in United States Navy, British Navy, and merchants/privateers. I know the Marines were the ones primarily using them in the first two cases.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Rifles?
    Navy?
    1800?

    Few if any.

    The smoothbore flintlock musket was the standard military weapon of the day.

    The British had a specific sea service musket:
    http://www.militaryheritage.com/musket12.htm

    There was a US ship's musket and navy musketoon but they are rare even as early 19th century guns go and I think it likely that US Marines carried pretty much the same muskets as the Army.

    There might have been a few shipboard US Common Rifles or Halls and British Bakers, but I doubt there were many. Naval engagements were usually at close range and nobody would have wanted to take the extra time and effort to load a rifle.
     
  3. Devonai

    Devonai Member

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    One of the jobs of the Marines was to go aloft to the working top (the first platform on a mast) and fire on the enemy as they prepared to board.
     
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...was to go aloft to the working top..." Yep, but their major job was to keep the OR's in line. The Real Marines used muskets just like the Army. No rifles. Too slow to reload and rifles cost too much. The Baker was first ordered in 1800 so there wouldn't have been any on RN ships in 1800.
    "...merchants/privateers..." Likely used muskets for the same reason. Money and speed of reloading. Mind you, there's no reason to think that a commercial ship wouldn't have a rifle or two.
     
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