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August 08, 2006

Okay - enough teasing on the Whatzis from Sunday.

I just left you guys hanging yesterday, in order to give the "I only read Argghhh! from work" guys a chance at the Whatzis.

You really did pretty well. Owen got it quickly, and Captain H went a step further and emailed a link (chicken - won't post openly...) to a write up. They were the first to get it. And, speaking of that, CAPT H - upon further review, I withdraw my statement about this shell being Brit (as I was informed by the guy I bought it from) it *is* the French version of Armstrong's studded projectile.

Oh - and that *was* a shadow guys, not a notch, in the pic. That was just an artifact of taking the picture, not a deliberate attempt to mislead. This time. Owen - your size referent is... 3 inches. That's the nominal caliber. Some sources say 3.3, but that would include the studs, at least in my example.

Studded artillery projectile

Zinc, not a lead or copper stud - which strongly argues for it being french and not Brit.

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This was an early method of rifling artillery - if you notice, the studs are slightly offset, and the studs themselves actually have a direction - the shell was fitted into deep grooves and rammed home. It worked well enough when the guns were new, and not badly fouled from firing... but it also only worked well with black powder. When more powerful propellants were used, the friction inherent in this process was too great and the studs just sheared off, and the flight of the projectile was unpredictable.

But with the acquisition of this piece, the artillery collection has representative examples of most major varieties of imparting a spin to the projectile. Now if I could only find an affordable shell with an *intact* papier maché sabot...