Carbines and blunderbusses

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The carbine was shorter than a musket and was usually carried by cavalry. They were worn hanging on their right side, from a belt over their left shoulder. It was clipped on to the belt by a spring catch, a bit like a dog lead.

Carbines had either flintlocks or wheellocks and a barrel usually about thirty inches long, with a diameter that was either 18 bore or 24 bore.

The bore size refers to the number of lead balls in a pound of lead. In the case of a carbine there were either 18 or 24 balls to the pound of lead.

Flintlock carbines made in London cost about 12s 9d (2 shillings and 9 pence), but carbines imported from Europe by the Royalists cost £1 11s 0d (1 pound, 11 shillings and 0 pence).

Similar to carbines were blunderbusses. The only difference was the size of the bore, which was bigger than that of a musket. These guns were loaded with a number of small balls rather than one big ball.

Did you know?

Going off half-cocked

Many older guns have a form of safety that prevents the gun from being fired when the hammer is pulled halfway back. Sometimes a fault develops which allows the gun to fire when the hammer is in the half-cocked position, before a proper aim can be taken.