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Wednesday, 21 August 2019


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My brother used black powder rifles for target shooting for a few years. He didn't use flintlocks though, but caps instead. I shot with one of his rifles once. I very nearly hit the bullseye at 100 yards with a 50 cal Minié ball. Mostly what I remember though is the soot on my face and clothes.

Keep your powder dry!

I always thought a "Flash in the Pan" was a cooking term.
some kind of flambe' thing.
But I degress....
When our forefounders wrote the 2nd Amendment they were talking about these "Arms".
Now AK-47's and others have different "Arms"
Try how to shoot 15 people in a store with those re-loading times?

The flintlock must have been interesting to fire after dark 8-0 Do-it-yourself flash blindness.

Impressive shot, the flash occurs before the bang—talk about a decisive moment!

Firearms, like cameras are just tools. In the US Army I fired carbines, rifles and a machine gun. I was responsible for the daily cleaning of these weapons—no geekery involved, it was part of my job description.

Hunters are like soldiers, it's just a job. If you live on a farm, there are varmints (an animal considered a pest; specifically : one classed as vermin and unprotected by game law) that need to be eliminated. Game hunters, hunt game for food or trophy—not because they are gun-geeks.

This is a very 'USA' post, GUNS ..., and the terminology has been continued in your use of words in photography. Getting the shot, this is a good shot, shooting some photos, firing a burst of shots ...

[Oh, pshaw. Many words have multiple meanings in English.

(Tennis match) That backhand was a spectaular shot!
(Argument) think you can convince me? Go ahead, take your best shot.
(Long day at the office) I think I'll just stay in tonight instead of going out to dinner. I'm shot.
(Movie) The opening shot lasts 7 minutes 47 seconds without an edit.
(Drinking) I'll have a shot of scotch.
(Track and Field) Now for the shot-put.
(The doctor's office) Time for your shot! Close your eyes and look the other way.

You can be just out of earshot, your efforts can be scattershot, if you found the problem you've troubleshot, if you drank too many of those shots of whiskey your eyes are bloodshot, if you summarize something you can give the upshot, if you're playing a snare drum you can hit a rimshot, if you think you're cool you're a hotshot.

Etc., etc. Referring to taking photographs as shooting and exposures as shots does not make it into a reference to guns. --Mike]

The cloud of smoke and the flash of power gave away the shooters location with each shot. The time to reload... time for attackers to get close.
Lewis & Clark were remarkably trouble free with Indian tribes during their trip. This link may contain an explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pqFyKh-rUI as it details the 20 shot Air Rifle they had with them. 20 shots within 30 seconds - no smoke and no powder flash.
They did a shooting demonstration at each new tribal introduction. Not revealing they only had one of these Austrian Sniper rifles on the trip.
Technology that was worth the effort while today we have air rifles for everything from pest birds to Bison. Precision instruments with accuracy.

Is this considered flash photography?

Mike, so glad to see you didn’t let Frank get away with that cheap shot.

Mike, in your long reply to Frank’s comment you left out that shot and shoot refers strictly to archery rather than firearms ;-)

Brandon in Suffolk, England was a world centre because of the quality of the flints. So much so that both sides in the Napoleonic Wars used flints knapped at Brandon.

Sometimes you miss it...

...and sometimes get lucky

Both pics from Fort Henry, Ontario (not sure of the exact specs of the cannon but taken some years ago on slide film with a Nikon!)

I have long believed that “ flash in the pan” was a photographic reference, to the long ago practice of igniting magnesium powder in a metal pan, in the first form of flash photography.


[Most sources say it dates from the late 16th century, well before photography. But I've only looked online, so I don't know how authoritative the sources are. --Mike]

Heh, Left Coast U.S. bias perhaps showing but I had thought flash in the pan referred to a gold flake being spotted in their pan by a hopeful placer mining prospector.

We have enough theories to start a flash mob.

"Shot-put" competition in track and field does I believe derive from firearms terminology -- the metal spheres they throw look very much like the iron cannon balls used for a long time (in various sizes), up through some of the 19th century.

Some of the very best sources are online—like the Oxford English Dictionary, widely accepted as the ultimate authority on English etymology. (Luckily for me, I have access to their online service through my public libraries website.)

And they seem to first cite "flash in the pan" to the early 18th century (so still safely before photography), and it does appear to be the specific firearms usage we're discussing:

1705 tr. W. Bosman New Descr. Coast of Guinea xvii. 318 Missing his shot by a flash in the Pan.

From the Oxford English Dictionary (a reasonably authoritative source):

c. to flash in the pan: literal said of a gun, when the priming powder is kindled without igniting the charge; figurative to fail after a showy effort, to fail to ‘go off’.

1687 E. Settle Refl. Dryden's Plays 20 If Cannons were so well bred in his Metaphor as only to flash in the Pan, I dare lay an even wager that Mr. Dryden durst venture to Sea.
1736 Compl. Family-piece ii. i. 243 It will occasion it oft-times to flash in the Pan a great while before it goeth off.
1792 G. Morris in J. Sparks Life G. Morris (1832) I. 377 Their majesties flashed in the pan yesterday.
1830 J. Galt Lawrie Todd I. iii. ix. 244 Flashing in the pan scares ducks.
1852 W. Jerdan Autobiogr. IV. xiii. 237 Cannon attempted a joke which flashed in the pan.

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