When you visit Copp’s Hill Burial Ground in Boston, you will see gravestones with pockmarks from musket balls, made when Redcoats used the graveyard as a target range. Yes, soldiers didn’t just point their muskets, they took aim and most of the King’s soldiers were surprisingly accurate shots given the limitations of smoothbore muskets.
A Brown Bess Musket is essentially a 10-gauge shotgun. It shoots a 75 caliber round lead ball which weighs about one ounce and is loaded from paper cartridge which acts as wadding to help contain the charge developed when 80-120 grains of black powder explode in the barrel propelling the shot out at roughly 1100 feet per second (approximately the speed of sound). This, coupled with the fact that there are no real gunsights, only a bayonet lug on the end and maybe some cut grooves at the breech, is not the formula for an accurate firearm. Nonetheless, soldiers were expected to hit what they shot at so they practiced, and with practice, you can hit targets that are not too small or too far away.
At Fort Mifflin, we will practice musketry. Not with live shot, that’s too dangerous so close to the airport. Instead, we have wooden muskets outfitted to shoot rubber bands and authentic targets. Do you have what it takes to be Revolutionary Soldier? Come find out.