The Dreyse bolt action needle gun was a fairly short-lived system that involved a bullet having a percussion cap in its base and a paper wrapped charge of powder behind that. The bolt was provided with a long needle that pierced the paper and struck the cap. Obviously the long needle suffered erosion from being exposed to the burning gases. Note I said 'bolt action' - the Dreyse was a bolt action and tended to leak gases as well as the needle problem. The one shown is a standard percussion cap rifled musket of some sort. They were made all over the place so a bit tricky to identify further. Ian B
Ian's observation reinforces the idea that they have not quite got their facts right, unless there really was a bolt-action breech-loader on display not covered in the photographs above. The assertion below that registration began in Meiji 6 flies against knowledge of the great 'Jinshin' registration of Meiji 5. Wakayama was officially set up as a Prefecture in 1871, Meiji 4. (Or was Wakayama slow to start their registration for some reason?) And is Gewehr a Dutch word or actually German for gun or weapon?
A quick translation of their caption explanation.
Property of Wakayama Castle Maintenance and Planning Department.
"Gewehr means gun in Dutch. An old type of western gun, the barrel has no internal rifling. After the arrival of (Commodore) Perry a revolution in military affairs became necessary, and this (type of) gun was produced in various different places around the country. Along the top of the barrel can be found the inscription 'Meiji 6 No.1 Wakayama Prefecture' indicating that it was the first gun to be surveyed under the new Meiji Government's investigation program."
PS Gewehr seems to have been pronounced two different ways inside Japan, ie 'Gay-beru' and 'Gebay-ru'.
Imperial troops mainly used Minié rifles, which were much more accurate, lethal, and had a much longer range than the smoothbore Gewehr guns, although, being also muzzle-loading, they were similarly limited to two shots per minute. Wikipedia : Boshin War
Piers, Interesting that the gun is described as smooth-bore. The whole point of a Minie bullet, which was a pointed cylindrical shape, was that it had a hollow base that was expanded by the breech pressure to grip the rifling. It is also interesting that this maybe a Japanese made version and probably was if not rifled. Ian B
To clear up a point, Gewehr is German for gun, similar to Geweer in Dutch and Afrikaans. The first percussion long guns appearing in Japan from abroad were simply being called 'modern/foreign 様式管打銃 Yoshiki Kan-uchi Ju guns' as opposed to Matchlocks; to the Japanese ear the strict word origin was probably not so important.
Sawada Taira in his book Old J Guns calls ゲベール 'Dutch'; if they were also introduced by Dutch traders then we should probably be referring to them as Geweer.
PS The word for pill-lock is 雷火 Raika, and percussion cap lock is 管打ちKan-uchi.(The caption at the bottom of the previous page scrambles the two into Raikan 雷管 for some reason.)
After a particularly nice dinner / breakfast / onsen visit at 白浜Sirahama 宿むさしYado Musasi (highly recommended), traveled to 吉野Yosino to see the 3000 sakura trees in bloom. What I found were 3000 Japanese tourists and only 3 trees in bloom. Apparently had a very cold winter and the trees were delayed, but not the bus loads of tourists.
Stayed at 美吉野桜庵Miyosino sakuraan (don’t stay there, a particularly expensive and bad place, no western toilet, no toilet in room, no heat in room, no food, no shower in the morning, no hot water in the morning, etc.).
Next morning traveled to Nara 奈良for sightseeing and this time stayed at a very nice onsen hotel, 万葉若草の宿三笠, Manyou Wakakazunoyado Mikasa (highly recommended) . But enough of my travels.
Following day to Nagoya and a visit to Nagoya Castle, where I found there display of 3 hinawajyuu. They were not in very good condition, missing hibuta and all of them looking rather ‘tired’.
Here are two pictures of two of them:
Far more interesting was the third one. Extremely long, 8’2” long. First time I ever saw a hinawajyuu this long. Would appreciate any comments about increased accuracy, ball velocity, etc.
I also learned a couple of new Japanese words from the following description placard, total length, 全長、zentyou, and long gun, 長大な銃 tyoudainajyuu. Probably don’t have the pronunciation correct as there are sometimes 10 different ways to pronounce a single kanji character. This is a particularly long ‘long gun’.
Finally, 4 pictures of this ‘long gun’. These pictures don’t do justice to the actual length of this thing. It isn’t particularly big, I would guess around 3 monme. It couldn’t be held by anyone, maybe only used for a castle defensive position. Again, would appreciate comments and information on this one.
So, this concludes posts on this thread concerning my 2017 Japan trip, really an onsen trip with a few castle visits between onsen.
Final stop between Nagoya and return to Toukyou was a stop at Gero onsen, stayed at 下呂温泉, 湯の島館, Yunosima kan. I requested Honkan room which is an old room, known as a 有形文化遺産, ゆうけい ぶんかいさん ＝ Tangible cultural property）. It was a really nice large room, but don’t know why it gained the status of a yuukei bunkaisan.
The little card is simply a statement of the obvious, unfortunately, and slightly inaccurate into the bargain. There was a strong belief for hundreds of years that the longer the barrel the more accurate the aim would be. Although recent experiments have proved this assumption to be false, as a round ball always behaves like a knuckleball, there must have been something in it. Longer smallbore guns of this type are still referred to as Hazama-zutsu, indicating the eyelet in a castle wall (Zama/Hazama), and also the oblong area of ground in front of it.
With European guns longer barrels generally indicate an earlier date. I have a full-stocked flintlock with an heroic 5.5 foot barrel (1.67m) that takes a bit of handling. The reason for the length was not accuracy but to ensure all the powder burnt before the projectile left the barrel. With a short barrel and early rather slow burning powder the bullet was away on its travels whilst excess flame and gasses continued to erupt from the muzzle. Ian B