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Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽

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Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by Salisria   » Fri Aug 12, 2022 10:49 pm

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I was just reading _By Heresies Distressed_ again and I noticed that the mentions the snipers who took out the Corisandian artillery as having Spitzer-pointed rounds which struck me as odd.
That isn't because historically Spitzer rounds were introduced much later in the development cycle, coming after cartridges with smokeless powder were the standard. After all, if improvements happened in the same order as Terran history, percussion caps would have been introduced before the Minié round. Rather it's for two other reasons. Firstly, the historical Minié round was pointed, though not as completely as a Spitzer round. Secondly, the Spitzer round is more than simply a pointed bullet, the back end has a boat stern shape to it because without it, even a pointed bullet will tumble as it goes through the air. But because of how a Minie ball works, the rear has to be a hollow cone that expands to take the rifling. It's impossible to have a Spitzer-Minié round. That isn't to say it's impossible to have a Minié round with a point point like that of a Spitzer bullet rather than a traditional Minié round. But, I don't think that would affect accuracy or range much, if at all.
That isn't to say, the snipers couldn't have rounds with better accuracy and range than a basic Minié ball. Tamisier grooves around the base of the round improve stability and thus accuracy and range. Problem is, other than possibly being a recently updated version that wasn't yet available in quantity by the time of the Corisande campaign, I can't think of a good reason the grooved Minié balls wouldn't have been in universal service in the Charisian army. After all, by the time of the American Civil War, grooved Minié balls were standard and were manufactured by both North and South in quantity. The grooved ammunition wasn't more expensive or difficult to make.
Granted, the intended plot point was that the sniper ammunition was better than normal and most people with some familiarity with firearms would have heard of Spitzer bullets, and the pointed tip is the most obvious difference. So this is something only an enthusiast, even an amateur one such as myself, would pick up on.

(I also find unlikely that the sniper rifles themselves would be of a bullpup configuration as mentioned in _BHD_, but that's simply because historically it took many decades to work out the kinks to get the configuration to be sufficiently rugged and reliable for military service. Hence it would likely have required a considerable amount of input from Merlin, more than he would be likely to provide, not because it wouldn't be workable or wouldn't provide the described benefits.)
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Re: Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by jtg452   » Sat Sep 30, 2023 1:53 pm

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Spitzer bulets are all pointed (the term is a shortened version of the German 'Spitzgeschoss' or 'pointed projectile').

The boat tail on the rear of the bullet is a later innovation that was added to increase aerodynamic stability, particularly at long range.

Not all spitzer bullets were boat tail. The original spitzer rounds for the 8mm Lebel and '03 Springfield were flat based, for example. The boat tail caught on after the spitzer point was developed.

An all lead, hollow based, Minie ball with a spitzer point sounds like a hodgepodge of historical innovations, but the lang range accuracy of a caplock front stuffer should, theoretically, be enhanced by the elongated nose.

On the other hand, extreme long range accuracy also relies a great deal on bullet stability and the chances of deformation of the spitzer point during ramming/seating are high. Knock the tip out of alignment or make the point non concentric (not perfectly round) and the bullet's likely to wander badly at long range. The slightest wobble as the bullet spins will have a tremendous impact on accuracy at extreme ranges.
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Re: Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by jtg452   » Sat Sep 30, 2023 2:18 pm

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Don't even attempt to be slavish following the timeline of firearms development when reading the Safehold series. RFC is actually a shooter- but not a historical firearms guy. On the other hand, he does his research, too.

To tell you the truth, he didn't make some of the mistakes of history. Little things like adopting a common bore diameter for pistols and rifles for the Charisan army. He also went with a common rim thickness and diameter when he introduced straight walled metallic cartridges. (Opposed to the US and what they did in 1873 when they introduced the. 45Colt and .45-70 Government.) Charis troops can, at least theoretically, shoot pistol ammo out of their carbines or rifles if they run out of long gun ammo.

His BP cartridge pistol round is stout (too stout for my tastes as a combat round that will commonly be shot 1 handed, but it's his universe). He even studied up on lead alloys and how they react when you start pushing the velocity AND introduced the gas check so the rifle round has a realistic chance of performing as written.
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Re: Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by Mikasa23   » Tue Feb 06, 2024 4:26 am

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Your analysis is well-researched and insightful. You've accurately noted the anachronisms regarding Spitzer bullets and bullpup rifles, pointing out their historical inconsistencies based on real-world advancements. pokedoku
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Re: Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by phillies   » Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:44 pm

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Mikasa23 wrote:Your analysis is well-researched and insightful. You've accurately noted the anachronisms regarding Spitzer bullets and bullpup rifles, pointing out their historical inconsistencies based on real-world advancements. pokedoku


However, the side doing the shooting has access to as many hints as they might be given by someone who knows all the answers.
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Re: Spitzer-pointed Minié rounds‽
Post by jtg452   » Wed Feb 21, 2024 10:50 am

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phillies wrote:
Mikasa23 wrote:Your analysis is well-researched and insightful. You've accurately noted the anachronisms regarding Spitzer bullets and bullpup rifles, pointing out their historical inconsistencies based on real-world advancements. pokedoku


However, the side doing the shooting has access to as many hints as they might be given by someone who knows all the answers.

Which does wonders for cutting down on development time. You skip all of the clunky, over engineered early attempts anf can go directly to a far more refined latter design.


Little things like hitting on the right brass alloy for metallic cartridges right off the bat does wonders for real world reliability- especially if the opposing forces are foundering around- or stuck with imitating you.

RFC used Merlin's presence to skip a lot of the developmental dead ends and missteps in weapons development when he basically recreated the 19th Century arms race and compressed it into less than 2 decades.

Honestly, he compressed 3 centuries of firearms development into less than 20 years.

In Book 1, arqbuesses and hooped bombards of the early 17th century were the height of warfare.

By the end of the war, centerfire metallic cartridge repeaters and breech loading artillery were.

That's 1630ish to the 1890ish in a generation.

To cover that much ground, you gotta take short cuts somewhere.
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