Alright, by “discovered” I mean a coworker sent me a YouTube link. But it IS wonderful.
The video opens as two chaps drive a truck into a field and begin to offload a plethora of historic firearms. The narrator begins to offer an overview of muzzle loaders vs breech loaders, then dives into the history of late 18th century breech loading flintlocks.
And then, before long, my favorite part. I’ve watched it 30 times and I laugh every time. It occurs at 2:40, and it really needs to be a gif.
Throughout the video, the two narrators clearly state how the British government missed out on adopting advanced arms. Sometimes there was (and is) good reason to avoid a design of “good idea, bad execution”, other times we’re left scratching our heads as to what ‘the government’ was thinking. This, along with an excellent view of evolutionary firearms being fired on the range, one after another in sequence, is really the core strength of the video.
I did learn something new, in fact. I had known for a long while that firearms like the Sharps used paper cartridges, and others of the era used linen cartridges. I did not know that animal intestines were used to make cartridges. This is mentioned during both the Sharps portion of the video as well as the Mont Storm (aka Montgomery Storm) rifle portion. Snider rifles are also discussed, including the Mark III, which we have discussed previously.
The part of the video I simply could not take seriously is at 5:51. The scene is so quintessentially British, I couldn’t help but think the camera would pan out to show John Cleese and Michael Palin fighting over a documentary of their own. They didn’t, so we’ll just have to settle for this scene again.