Flintlock Muskets

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

A musket is a smoothbore long gun that is designed to be fired from the shoulder. While standard issue for armies, the musket was not as effective as other weapons in boarding actions. It was however, popular for taking longer range shots during a naval battle.

Pirate Weapons - 18th Century Flintlock Muskets

18th Century Flintlock Muskets - Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910)

The original date of origin for muskets is unknown however, they are believed to have been mentioned from as early as the 13th century. In fact muskets remained standard issue weapons in most armies until the late 1870's when percussion cap weapons were introduced.

A typical musket caliber ranged from .50 to .80 inches (12.7 to 20.3mm). Depending on the model and the calibre of the shot, an effective shooter could hit a target at up to 200 yards. Most shooters could accurately shoot about 70 yards. However, muskets were known to be incredibly unreliable much like flintlock pistols and could hit an ally as well as an enemy in close quarters.

Muskets were horribly ineffective to load and often required nearly 30 seconds to be ready to fire again. This left the musketeer greatly open to counteracts while he was reloading. This did not make them popular weapons for boarding parties and were most likely used to take longer range shots.

What was dangerous about muskets was an affixed bayonet. A bayonet was a no-joke weapon that was seriously effective in close quarters combat, hence a ship battle.

Musketoon

Pirate Weapons

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources