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Significant Scots
Rev Alexander Forsyth


Rev Alexander Forsyth, a Minister from Aberdeenshire, who invented the percussion method of discharging a firearm. The advantage of percussion ignition was immediately recognised by most British gunsmiths and numerous types of percussion-lock were soon developed. The most common type of lock consisted of a hollow nipple screwing into the barrel on which was placed a small copper cap containing fulminate of mercury and as the trigger was pulled, the hammer rotated downwards crushing the cap. The fulminate exploded under the blow, producing a flame which travelled down the hollow nipple and ignited the propellant charge.

Read more about flintlocks here


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