|Research Points Needed||1400|
|Building Needed||Staff College|
The percussion lock replaces the flintlock mechanism on firearms, and reduces the chance of misfiring in wet weather.
A flintlock makes a spark in an open pan; this then igniting the gunpowder to fire a musket. A percussion lock uses tiny amounts of chemicals called fulminates to create the spark needed. Fulminates explode when hit; there is no flint to come loose and no powder to become soaked in the rain. Instead a small copper cap is fitted onto the end of a tube that leads into the gun barrel; when struck by the lock’s hammer, the gun fires, even in damp weather.
The percussion cap was the invention of a Scottish clergyman, Alexander John Forsyth (1769-1843), who was looking for a solution to a hunting problem. The flintlock’s “flash in the pan” before the main charge fired alerted birds that they were about to be shot, causing them to fly away in a deucedly unsporting fashion. His clever idea to use a small ignition charge of fulminate of mercury gave him an invisible spark that didn’t warn his feathered targets!
Percussion Cap greatly decreases the chance of misfiring for musket and rifle-armed troops, increasing volume of fire: troops that spend less time adjusting their rifles and muskets after a misfire spend more time firing and reloading. This is a particularly strong advantage in rainy weather, where misfires are more common.