1636 The Kremlin Games – Snippet 26

1636 The Kremlin Games – Snippet 26

Chapter 22

Freshly ensconced in his new kingdom, Andrei Korisov didn’t hear about the new understanding of gravity in the Dacha. He wouldn’t have cared that much anyway, because it didn’t change ballistics, just the reason they worked. If he had cared at all, it would have been to be concerned about the allocation of resources away from his guns to flight. That, however, was no longer a problem. He had his own resources now. Well, he was in charge of them. Which was the same thing. He went back to working on the Andrei Korisov rifle.

The mechanics of holding the chamber in place while allowing it to rotate up and out for reloading weren’t very complex, but they were an added complexity. The gimbal was constantly breaking under the stress of firing, then having to be redesigned and strengthened again. Andrei was sure he was missing something. He went out to the range, where one of the apprentice gunsmiths was testing the latest version. Andrei had decided to go with a smaller bore and a shorter barrel, mostly for ease of construction. He would use much tighter rifling and count on the greater spin to keep the smaller bullet accurate. But that wasn’t what these test were about.

These tests were to determine how much wear was caused by the out-gassing. They would fire one hundred shots, then measure the wear on the protective plate Andrei had installed. It was still basically a Russian muzzle-loader with the back five inches of the barrel sawed off, but some things had been added. A heavy iron gimbal had been added to let the firing chamber be rotated up for loading and back down into alignment, and Andrei’s protective plate, a relatively thin piece of curved iron, had been inserted into the stock where the firing chamber muzzle almost touched the open back of the barrel.

Oleg had the new rifle clamped to the bench and was using the string and pulley system to test fire the rifle. Andrei watched as the boy pulled the string and the rifle fired. Then Oleg made a mark in a slate. Fourteen shots since the start of the test. It was going a little faster than Andrei had thought it would.

Oleg went over to the rifle and pulled out the spent chamber and put in another one. He poured a little powder into the pan, cocked the lock, and went back behind the bench and pulled the string. The rifle fired again. The chamber slammed against the back plate and the stock cracked. The stocks weren’t handling the strain.

“Where did you get that chamber?” Andrei shouted.

“Which one?” Oleg asked, then continued quickly, “One is from this rifle, sir, and the other one is from the last one. It’s quicker to load the two chambers together, then just switch them out. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to.”

“How do you get one chamber out to put in the next?” Andrei asked.

“After the gimbal broke. Ah . . . they do that a lot,” Oleg said, clearly anxious not to be blamed for breaking the gimbal. “It was just easier to put the chamber in by hand than fix the gimbal every time.”

But Andrei wasn’t concerned with that. He had just found the key to making the rate of fire for the Andrei Korisov rifle much higher, at least for a short while. A chamber was a lot shorter than a barrel and a lot easier to make. He could make several chambers for each rifled musket. The soldier could carry them loaded and have several fairly quick shots before having to reload the chambers.

****

It was weeks later that he realized that the chamber didn’t have to be the same shape as the barrel. At least in its outer dimensions. And he still hadn’t realized how necessary it was to have the chamber holder attached to something.

 

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Comments

7 Responses to 1636 The Kremlin Games – Snippet 26

  1. ET1swaw says:

    Baby steps to a new concept breechloader rifle.

    Andrei Korisov (vice Mikhail Kalishnikov (whom I’ve actually met (not name dropping at all )) as the father of the Russian AK; I like it !!!

  2. Stan Leghorn says:

    A gun whose seperate parts are held together with external bracing. When is he going to try to put all this together as something one soldier could carry, aim, and fire?

  3. Blackmoore says:

    He’ll get there. we already saw the weapon in the hands of the Poles in 1636.

  4. js says:

    Hmm… replaceable chambers… is be going to be making a revolver-rifle, if this continues?

  5. Willem Meijer says:

    When each soldier has to carry a heavvy musket, and a bunch of replacement chambers, will he still be able to walk? It seems a very cumbersome way to avoid making cartridges.

    I remember a story (probably from a 20th century writer, probably Rssian as well) about a life size mechanical flea that coulld even jump, which was put before a Russian ruler (?) by a foreigner. When he ordered his craftsmen to do something better than this mechanical marvel they came up with miniature slippers or boots for the flea. When put upon the flea’s feet they fit, and made the flea so heavy it could no longer jump.

  6. dave O says:

    Korisov seeks to be working toward a rifle which is so complex that it will be of no military use. And so complicated that it can’t be produced in useful numbers with available technology. Earlier he said that he can’t produce a bolt-operated breechloader in useful numbers. So why is this monstrosity practical? Because the authors want it to be?

  7. ET1swaw says:

    @5 Willem Meijer and @6 dave O: Think of it like a rolling block or trapdoor rifle where user-reloadable replaceable chambers substitute for cartridge rounds. One of the drawbacks Korisov foresaw dealing with a bolt-action breechloader had as much to do with supplying ammunition as in tooling/machining of the actual weapon. With replaceable chambers he maintains reloadability at the user level without the neccessity of major ammunition infrastructure. I peronally would have gone more toward the Ferguson rifle concept when the viability of infrastructure support precluded sharps-clones or semimodern-knockoffs if I was looking for a breechloader. Then again Korisov is working from basic concept (restricted uptime data access) vice USE/French/Essen designers who have both greater infrastructure support and more detailed data access.

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