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iron spikes on antique lead bullets? (Read 2146 times)
funditor
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iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Jul 27th, 2004 at 4:33am
 
As far as I know, most antique lead bullets have an elliptical shape. I was wondering whether there were caps on both sides of the bullets serving as spikes, having a similar effect as arrowheds. Lead is a rather dense material, but rather soft, and with iron caps the energy of the bullet at the site of impact would be distributed to a lot smaller area, which would highly increase pressure (pressure=force/area). So 1. a harder material and 2. lower area at impact site would have increased the ability to penetrate armour. And the lack of ability to penetrate is finally what decreased the importance of slinging in the Middle ages, as far as I know. This are my thoughts. But so far I have not seen lead bullets with iron capping. Has anyone seen projectiles made not only of lead? Has perhaps the iron oxidized? Has another material been used as spike?
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David_T
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Re: iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Reply #1 - Jul 27th, 2004 at 6:47pm
 
That is a good thought. If it had an iron point and was heavy, it would have some penitrating force behind it.
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Gaius_Cornelius
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Re: iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Reply #2 - Jul 30th, 2004 at 7:08am
 
I was wondering whether there were caps on both sides of the bullets serving as spikes, having a similar effect as arrowheds.

I think not  Sad.

Firstly the question presupposes that an ancient lead bullet would have a stable point-first flight. The jury is still out on that issue, but I am inclined to thing that this is unlikely.

I have seen a good many ancient sling bullets and there are no traces of iron. Although iron could (an probably would) corrode away to nothing, I would expect traces of iron to leave a stain and there is no sign of this.

An iron jacket would be expensive and time consuming to make. A simple spike (a nail) embedded in the lead would be much cheaper, simpler and possibly more effective. But this would be clear from the archaeological record, but there is no sign of such finds. In any event, by the time one has designed a bullet like this, one might as well be using the dart throwing cestrosfendon. Of course a dart does ensure point first flight.

See here: http://www.slinging.org/forum2/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=1;action=display;num=10747134....

In the ancient world all metals were valuable, but lead was by far the cheapest and easiest to work; it was the plastic of the age. I suppose it is possible that solid iron bullets could have been produced and these being lost from the archaeological record due to corrosion, but even this seems unlikely.
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Re: iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Reply #3 - Jul 30th, 2004 at 12:52pm
 
Gaius_Cornelius, ....I pitch elliptical glandes in stable point-first flight with rifle spin all the time.    They look like tiny NFL football passes.   Quite pretty to watch.

I think it was Matthias who calculated that the same mass in a (say) 3:1 dimension-ratio elliptical shape has just 1/4 the aerodynamic drag of the same mass in spherical shape.

So, makes huge sense to me that many of the ancients pitched glandes point-first, both for range and for hitting power.

mgreenfield
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lobohunter
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Re: iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Reply #4 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 3:20pm
 
As usal Iagree with mgreenfield
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bigkahuna
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Re: iron spikes on antique lead bullets?
Reply #5 - Jul 1st, 2006 at 9:20pm
 
During the American Revolution there were a number of complaints from the British about the Americans using mutilated musket balls to cause more injury than normal. Some of these musket balls had nails driven through them while others were just deformed in one way or another.
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