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Thread: Baker Rifle

  1. #21
    They were all kept in their place, although they were different sorts of places, and we must beware of falling too much for modern social-engineering critiques.

    The officer class could sometimes get away with a great deal of nonchalance, or apparent nonchalance, about professional training. But much more even than in the present day, they were expected to be what I believe Richard Holmes called "almost incomprehensibly brave". The young officer who portrayed excessive concern for his health in moments of crisis bore the mark of Cain outside the army as well as in.

    The "Sharpe" TV series was in one respect inaccurate. In the Napoleonic Wars it wasn't uncommon for officers to be promoted from the ranks, and for the most part well received in their new ranks. Complex stratagems to help the most popular pay their peacetime mess bills and expenses weren't uncommon, and there were cases of officers marrying sergeants' widows. Transfer to the Indian Army, where an officer could live on his pay, was always available. The officer corps was always far less the preserve of the aristocracy than many people believe, younger sons of minor landed gentry, who also struggled with expenses, being far more common. Anyway, in my very limited acquaintance with the aristocracy, they are far more likely to have personal friends among what used to be called the lower classes, than yuppies are.

    Social exclusivity probably reached its peak in early Victorian times. But by the time of Rorke's Drift in 1879, nobody doubted that Colour-Sergeant Bourne, who is in contrast to the movie was a bright young man of 24, would have made lieutenant-colonel without the battle. In the First World War no wartime-enlisted or territorial officer rose to command a British division. But Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, a peacetime major-general and Commandant of the Staff College, had held every rank in the army from cavalry trooper. He had, however, been a regular trooper, which made all the difference.

    Of course the only other officer I know to have served in every rank in his army was Marshal Bazaine, who did jail time and died in poverty after a commuted death sentence for the Franco-Prussian botch-up.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    a great BAKER gun,CUDDOS. and i rely enjoyed the history lesson!! a rely great narrative on BRITISH history. thanks BALLISTICS in SCOTLAND.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    As to the loading of the Baker, J.N. George in "English Guns and Rifles", after extensively quoting Baker's "Remarks on Rifle Guns", he states "However, upon active service the actual rate of fire attained with the Baker Rifle would seem to have been about two shots per minute deliberate shooting (it being a generally accepted maxim that the rifle could fire one shot for the musket's three, when loaded with a patched bullet). For quick loading in an emergency the rifleman carried a pouch filled with made-up cartridges, with which his piece could be charged as rapidly as the musket, the bullet being loaded naked, after the paper cartridge case had been torn off, and pushed into the muzzle for wadding." (George, p.165)

    That was the accepted procedure. Who knows what actually happened in combat? Sharpe could be right - in the press of immediate need the wadding might have been left out.

    Anyway, the ball did rely on a greased patch for accuracy, and while mallets were initailly supplied they were withdrawn as "a serious incumbrance" to the men and were never used. As per Baker "If the ball fits airtight, as it should do, it will require two or three pushes with the rammer before the air can escape (through the vent) to get it in its proper place.
    I do not recommend the ball, as I have before mentioned, to be bruised with the rammer, but pushed. If the ball has ragged edges, it will be much impeded, as well as thrown from it's true direction by the air, more so than when in its globular shape , in the front part of the ball."
    (Quoted in English Guns and Rifles, George, p.164-165)
    Wayne the Shrink

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  4. #24
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    Have had one for 10 years built by the Rifle Shoppe. Have a custom mold for it that shoots a 1.2 ounce boolit like a Lee Maxi. Kills with great authority.

    Netflix has on DVD the series Sharpes Rifles that shows Bakers in action incuding spiitting unpatcheded balls down the barrel for fast repeat shots. Normally the ball was hammered to start it. Each "chosen man" was issued a wooden mallet to start the ball.

    Then there is the bayonet ! OMG !

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  5. #25
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    What I quoted above was written by Baker himself and was the users manual for the rifle. Mallets were initially issued but withdrawn and the rifle was loaded with a rod only. I don't expect the movies to get it right. When loaded with the paper cartridges it could be loaded as quickly as the musket but was no more accurate either.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  6. #26
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    There is a statue in England of riflemen carrying Bakers and the hammers are hanging from their belts.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check