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79 Problems and break

14th march 1574

After wasting all the bullets that we painstakingly made the day before, while we had a lot of fun seeing how up to five of them could be shot in the quick succession, with the possibility of even more being shot in one series as long as we could get our hands on more tubes for the magazine, we also realised quite a lot of problems coupled with the design.

First thing first, something that I unconsciously took care off, was the problem of the barrel quickly heating up after just a few shots. In normal musket, the delay between each shoot was enough to keep it from bothering anyone, even in the most heated fight, yet in our case, after repeatedly shooting three magazines, by emptying one, filling it up right away and repeating the process, the end of the barrel was already turning red. Take the unnecessary delay away, and after just a single series, the barrel would need quite a while to cool down.

Thankfully, I never intended this gun to use only a single barrel. I already predicted that there could be some small details that could lead to the whole gun failing and requiring cleaning up in order to continue shooting. With how ridiculous it would be to ask soldiers to clean the gun when the enemy would be charging at them, this problem could be solved by simply… adding another one, two, three or even nine barrels right beside!

With a sufficiently big supply of the magazines, one could even load all the barrels at once, setting the number of people required to operate the gun to barely three individuals, with one shooting the gun, one passing the magazines down whenever necessary and the last one picking up the empty tubes of the used magazines. But then, the next problem surfaced.

While the one and half shoot per second didn't seem like much, compared to up to three shots per minute when one counted on the absolute elites, and more likely, two shots per minute for your average soldier with a musket, the consumption of the ammunition was simply insane.

Take an instance when three guns would be deployed, with only a minute required to empty out around three hundred bullets… Not even the royal armoury could support such usage for a long period of time in terms of resources alone, not to speak about the manpower required to actually craft all those bullets by hand!

Shooting up all the two hundreds of ammunition that we painstakingly amassed through a few hours of hard work the day before, took us less than half an hour, despite nothing more than a single, half-finished gun in our hands!

But that wasn't all!

The pinning mechanism that I implemented in order to prevent the gun shooting before the barrel, firing tube and the bullet housing would line up perfectly, also had its problems. While the shooting was continuous, it was going on smoothly, but as soon as one hesitated and was unlucky enough, the pin could fall back inside the hole, blocking the loader from pushing the magazine down the chamber and with no bullet in the chamber, one could only rely on his own fingers to lift the pin!

Something like that was unacceptable in the heat of the battle, and even while we were testing it out, I learned in the most painful way possible what it means to touch the part of the gun where hot gasses moved around!

"Why the sour face? Wasn't the tests successful?"

As we were returning back from our makeshift testing site, I couldn't help but notice curious glances thrown by the guards sitting on top of the gatehouse and observing the strange set of barrels I was carrying on me.

"I just realised a few limiting factors about this idea. While using it against Peter won't be a problem, in the long term, it's not really possible to use them as something else than a support weapon in rare chances. Additionally, as soon as we use it once on a country scale, every potential enemy and neighbour of ours will learn about it, and either attempt to make one for themselves or simply create proper countermeasures for it."

With how many various challenges were stacking up in front of me, I couldn't even be bothered to look at Elia's face, as we returned to the higher castle, instantly ditching the iron products to the side of my chamber, before rushing towards the table.

Grabbing a piece of charred wood that I used previously to draw right on top of the wooden, I started adding improvements and new details to the picture, only to be stopped by Elia hugging me from behind, grabbing my hands and bringing them to my own chest, not caring for the charcoal piece dirtying my robes.

"Dear, you can't focus on this project alone. I know you are doing this for me, but I won't let you ignore all the other matters only because you want to please me!"

While her words might sound a bit mischievous, her voice was devoid of any seductive tone, betraying her pure worry about me instead. Considering how the only thing that I bothered my mind with for the last two days was this project, it was understandable that she could be irked by this a bit, especially with her previous complaint about not spending any quality time with her.

"Well, there is some truth in what you said."

Pulling myself out of what was turning into my sketching table, I put the piece of charcoal back into the small chimney in the room, before grabbing her hand, and pulling her out of the room. Considering how I left the servants to assemble everything in the brewery I recently set up, after two damned days of being busy with other matters, not only they should finish assembling everything, but the first attempts at making a proper brew should already be made!

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