Sunday, February 27, 2011

More on the Girandoni Air Rifle

Richard sent me this by e-mail in reference to our post of last week.

The Girandoni Air Rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815. The advantages of a high rate of fire, no smoke from propellants, and low muzzle report granted it initial acceptance, but it was eventually removed from service for several reasons. While the detachable air reservoir was capable of around 30 shots it took nearly 1500 strokes of a hand pump to fill those reservoirs. Later, a wagon-mounted pump was provided. The internal bellow was made from leather and were prone to tearing. The reservoirs themselves proved very difficult to manufacture using the techniques of the period, made from hammered sheet iron held together with rivets and sealed by brazing, and were always in short supply.

In addition, the weapon was very delicate and a small break could make it inoperable. Finally, it was very different from any other weapon of the time and any soldier using it needed to be highly trained. 

1 comment:

  1. It had one other flaw that made it less effective as a military round. At the time of its use, wars between nations were fought a little different than today. You needed to make a lot of noise and belch some smoke in order to frighten the opposing force. The winners were not the ones that killed the most, though that helped bring on the win in some cases. The winners were the ones that took and kept the field. The losers were those that broke ranks and fled. Scarring the crap out of them was easier than killing them all.