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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

Salisria
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2022 5:08 am

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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