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#61 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

With Ian on my side I ride happily into battle.
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#62 Viper6924

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 01:48 PM

If I'm not mistaken, this is the third matchlock inscribed with the "superior forging" engraved on to the barrel. All of them matchlocks originating from Sendai. The one in my collection displays a superb finish of the steel. It lacks the above mentioned engravings. Instead it comes with three stamped characters which to me reminds me of some sort of quality-control. Funny enough I encountered the same three characters on another matchlock on display at the museum in Sendai. Wonder if this is a Sendai tradition?

Jan

#63 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:07 PM

Jan, that has to be a distinct possibility.
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#64 kalamarz

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 05:14 AM

Thanks Gents!

 

Piers-san, I was able to uncover more characters but the last ones are almost impossibly to bring up.  Please see below:

 

kanji.jpg

 

Thanks,

Paul 


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#65 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:06 AM

That's good, and still on track. You are now down to the Toyo 豊.
There should be one more below that, however faint. The last character will be the key to pinning down which generation, first second or third.
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#66 Malcolm

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:13 AM

Good morrow chaps.,

 

Thank you Ian, you are a constant font of knowledge.

 

Here for everyone else is the book by Mortimer  Menpes that you mentioned, (Japan A Record in Colour)

 

The pertinent quotes about the dealer "Inchie" and "decoration" for the European taste are on pages 153 onwards:

 

https://archive.org/...rdinc01menpgoog


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#67 Dr Fox

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:22 PM

Hi Piers

I also took note of the greater muzzle diameter, and supposed the flare could be deliberate.

It would assist as a 'starter' area, for a patched ball. Or assist speed loading.

What do you think?

 

Adding to this. 

 

Barrel flare in the Japanese gun would not be a hindrance, but a help.

With the use of a hayago, having this 'cartridge' pre loaded was a boon to assure quick loading, and a steady supply of powder and ball.

The flare in the muzzle, will quickly line up the greater size of the hayago, and even if tilted will allow rapid deployment of the ramrod.

In modern times a 'starter' fullfills this need.

 

Ball sizes.

 

Powder as was used in the day, would have contained many unwanted additives dirt, particles of the grinding vessel and so on.

All these would add to the natural fouling, associated with gunpowder. Especially in smooth bores as it has no where to go.

Before many discharges were achieved, the gun would need to be rid of this

This could be overcome to some degree, by using a ball of smaller diameter than that used in the clean barrel.

But there will be a moment, when nothing but attention, will allow these guns to continue to fire.

 

Guns before the Portuguese influence.

 

China had for some time used bronze barrelled firearms, some of which are known to have been used in Japan.

Portugese introduced a much refined firearm, rapidly accepted and copied.

This use of iron in manufacture of guns being new, gained its description and was known as 'Teppo' (iron gun).

 

Superior forging marks.

 

Guns, depending on their quality and use, had a nasty habit of letting go. With unqualified attention to detail this was a certainty.

Screw breeches had to be tight, metal quality controlled.

If guarantees of quality could be given, then fame if nothing else would be your reward.

Swords had smiths who were known for their blade quality, cutting tests were signed attestations to this fact.

So as in swords, its not impossible to imagine that areas or smiths would boast superior forging for their products.


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#68 IanB

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

Denis,  When I worked for a living, some archaeologists who had been digging at Sandal castle near Wakefield brought some odd musket balls into the Museum. The castle had seen fighting in the Civil War and these finds were consistent with bore of the matchlocks and early flintlocks used in that conflict. What was puzzling the archaeologists was that these musket balls all had a flattened belt around them showing knife cuts. We came to the conclusion that the gunners carried a few of these balls they had prepared beforehand for when the fouling made loading a standard ball too difficult - the shaved off belt reducing the diameter sufficient for them to get them down the barrel and give them a few more shots.

Ian Bottomley


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#69 Dr Fox

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:51 PM

Interesting Ian, the users of these fire pieces, would be have been aware of the short comings, and would have plan B ready.

Black powder fouling was a curse, even into what could be considered 'modern' times.

Martini Henry, black powder cartridges and Isandlwana  spring to mind.


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#70 kalamarz

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 05:04 AM

Gents,

 

You all are the wealth of knowledge!

 

Piers-san, there are two characters at the end not one...  I think the one before the last one has some features of 成, but I'll let you be the judge:

 

end kanji.jpg

 

Many thanks for all the help,

Paul


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#71 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 10:24 AM

Ah, yes, thank you Paul.

Sendai smith, 芳賀十太夫豊成 (Haga Judayu Toyonari). Let's go with this one then, second generation, if no-one has any objections.

As to fouling I discovered during one blackpowder matchlock display in my early days that after seven or eight shots the barrel gradually became too hot to hold. Each castle gunner would ideally have had two or three guns at his disposal and a team of loaders and cleaners at his back. On an active battlefield you may not have had time to fire more than two or three shots before fighting became hand-to-hand.
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#72 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 10:34 AM

Denis, your thoughts above trigger off many other associations. Re reputation, the name Kunitomo for example still has a strong ring of reliability to it. Any gunsmith producing a shoddy gun there would have besmirched the good name of the whole community. Some Kunitomo gunsmiths were especially prized above the rest. I guess there was pride and competition among them to produce ever finer, more accurate, reliable and good-looking guns.
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#73 kalamarz

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 01:29 PM

Wonderful Piers-san, so what period are we talking about for Gen 2?


Paul




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