how long does it take to reload a 17th century musket?
- Mind BenderLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
I was a member of the Virginia Militia in Colonial Williamsburg for many years. And in that role, fired many times each day an 18th Century musket (the loading procedures though were identical to earlier MUSKETS).
"Casual" loading, from a previous firing to being ready to pull the trigger for the next fire takes about 15 seconds.
However, in close quarter rank volley mode (one line fires as the others reload - as quickly as possible) most could load in as fast as 5-8 seconds, easily supporting a three line, 10 second separation volley - including back line moving forward. But in this rank volley mode, probably about 2 out of 10 either wouldn't make it in time or have a misfire due to (usually) bad priming. In casual mode, 15 seconds is more than enough time for a successful firing.
--- Addendum ---
What I gave above are LOADING times. This is different from firing separations. Because muskets are horrendously inaccurate, volley lines were a must. So firing separations (typically 20 seconds) also include firing commands being issued. Also, the times (and those for other answers) are based on troops equipped with load pouches. You had a small cloth bag with a premeasured amount of gun power. You would dump the contents of the bag into the musket then use the bag itself as the wadding. Especially in the 17th century, use of power horns and separate wadding was standard which significantly increased time to load.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
We in Civil War re-enacting found that re-loading a rifled musket can be done rapidly enough to permit three shots a minute. I'd have to question your ten-shot-a-minute assertion..even given that there was no time taken to aim, but the weapon was simply pointed in the general direction of the enemy and fired. Even with rolled paper cartridges, I'd find it hard to believe a faster rate of fire than four rounds a minute, given the extra time it took to prime a flintlock over the cap-and-ball of our period weapons. And don't forget the military's almost demented preoccupation with doing it by the numbers so that every weapon was fired at the same time.
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- 1 decade ago
17th century(1600-1699)? they loaded and fired very very slow, most were match locks and early wheel locks a good man with a bow was worth a several riflemen, a shot a minute would have been fast with a rifle...by the 1700's (18th century) they were using improved flintlocks and could get off maybe 3 shots a minute under perfcet conditions. By the 1860's(19th century) ,US civil war, most armies had cap-locks or cartrige firearms so it went a lot faster)
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The rule of thumb for a muzzle-loading gun was three aimed shots per minute, or 20 seconds per shot for a trained soldier. A militiaman (citizen pressed into combat by circumstance) was much slower.
- BillLv 51 decade ago
Just a few seconds.