|WikiProject Firearms||(Rated Start-class, Low-importance)|
|WikiProject Military history||(Rated C-Class)|
A minor quibble with the translation of "Les Chassepots ont fait merveille!" I think "The Chassepots have done wonderfully" might be a more elegant and accurate rendition than "The Chassepots did marvelous execution !" --Smilingman 01:38, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
In the last couple of days, I corrected some passages in this Wikipedia article. I am a collector of historic rifles. Among us, some articles on Wikipedia are notorious for being bad. Take this youtube video as an example:
At the 17:40 minute mark, the author tears the old article about the Dreyse apart. I think this should not happen.
The article about the Chassepot is also flawed. I aleady corrected some passages and inserted citations. The article states that the Chassepot's effective range was 1200 meters. This is unrealistic. Not even modern military rifle have an effective range like that. The Chassepot was a black powder rifle, with a muzzle velocity of 410-440 meters per second. In the 1870's W. Milton Farrow, an american competitive shooter, toured europe to take part in shooting contests. He recollected his memories in a book titled "How I became a crack shot", published in 1883. In this book, he writes about the Chassepot:
"This match consisted of six shots at 200 metres, off-hand [...] The rifle was a Chassepot; the ammunition appeared to be loaded w^ith a paper patch bullet, and then lubricated with a thick covering of grease or tallow, which, in my mind, explains the fault of extreme inaccuracy of the rifles."
You can a full transcript of his book here: https://archive.org/stream/howibecameacrac00farrgoog/howibecameacrac00farrgoog_djvu.txt
The myth about the Chassepot's extreme effective range probably stems from the fact that the sights can be elevated up to 1600 meters. The original article also stated that during the franco prussian war, the Chassepot "proved itself to be greatly superior", without any citation. In fact, it didn't. The french still put their faith in bayonette charges through the center. Combat distances of skirmisher usually didn't exeed 400 meters. In my opinion, without a citation, a statement like this should not be in a Wikipedia article.
I hope you don't mind if I continue searching for usable sources to correct some of this article's claims.
- Do not take vague terms like "effective range" to mean something objective. Today the effective range of a rifle is meant as the range at which the mechanical accuracy of the weapon is such that it can reliably hit a man sized target. In the 1800s armies were used to fight in denser formations. Riflemen would aim at companies rather than at individual enemy riflemen and would shoot in volleys. In the Franco-Prussian war the French infantry decimated the Prussian and would keep them pinned down at ranges 800m-1300m.--Xristar (talk) 01:40, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
You are right, there are many differnet definitions of "effective range", depending on the requirements. From what I read thusfar - and I read primary sources only - the prussian soldiers were ordered to advance up to 300 paces (225 meters), before they start shooting. The french shot rainbows at them from 600 meters, sometimes 1200 meters. The prussians evaluated the Chassepot from as early as 1867, and developed specific tactics to compensate the Chassepot's advantages, called "unterlaufen". I own both a Chassepot (belgian made, AF marked for "Auguste Francotte") and a M41 Dreyse ("Saarn"-model). The difference is enormous. Just by looking at the sights you can see the rationale behind the Chassepot. The Chassepot has modern tangent sights, and you can slide the crossbar up to 1200 meters. Basically the same sights you will find on a Mauser K98. The Dreyse (and this is the earliest model) only has crude flip up leafs for two different points of aim, 300 and 600 meters. So old "Jaeger rifle"-sights. Firearms in the 19th century were a lot like mobile phones today. What's the ant's pants today can be obsolete junk in 10 years. The fact that the Chassepot was more than 25 years younger, and designed to outclass the Dreyse, ment a lot. But contemporary evaluations showed that at a distance of 300 paces, both were pretty much equal in accuracy. I only shot both at 100 meters thusfar. At that range there isn't a lot of difference, but 100 meters of not a challenge.
I just spotted another mistake in this article, and I think somebody edited it recently:
"Although it fired a smaller caliber (11 mm vs. 15.4 for the Dreyse)"
The Dreyse's caliber is 13,6mm. The additional 1,8 is the for the paper-mache sabot.