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Western Revolvers, Shotguns, & Rifles Malfunction Stats


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I am going to be running a Western/Fantasy 1-shot at GASPCON in Pittsburgh this year (2012) in November. I found a fun adventure called Devil Gut Rock in the latest One Page Dungeon download. Basically it will be some dungeon crawling cowboys.

Campaign Wiki DungeonMaps: One Page Dungeon Contest 2012

I was just curious, the Malfunction stats all say 00 in the BRP book. If I am running a true western setting I'm guessing these guns would malfunction a lot more.

So... what would you guys think these Malfunction rates would be for the following guns?

Revolver Heavy (Colt .45)

Revolver Medium (.38)

Revolver Light (.32)

Pistol Derringer

Rifle Bolt Action

Rifle Lever Action

Shotgun Double-Barreled

Also, has there ever been any official BRP stats for the Lever Action Rifle? Maybe in the errata somewhere? I didn't see it in the big chart O' weapons.

Thanks.

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Honestly, less than 1% for most of them. The malfunction chances on most firearms are much lower than the fumble chances you see in BRP. If weapons were that unreliable, firearm manufacturers would be sued out of business. For most western firearms I'd just take the modern analog and add 1% to the rates.Then I would adjust it another 1% based upon the quality of the particular weapon, design, or ammo. A later model Winchester Repeater is fairly reliable, while a Volcanic pinfire revolver, is not.

If you can find it, the Knuckleduster Firearms Shop supplement is a generic supplement for Wester Firearms that can be very helpful.

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I added a weapon list I have been working on for an updated Aces High thing to the Downloads which increased the malfunction % based on year. But really as a standard thing, used in ideal conditions, they didn't often malfunction. Of course if you take a match lock and try to shoot it outside in a rain storm, the match is likely to go out, just as a percussion caps pistol is more likely to missfire in the rain. Some firearm designs were more likely to be affected by sand in the mechanism and others less so. So you could maybe increase the malfunction % based on the environment, or do a lot of research...

So which lever action rifle are you talking about, winchesters I guess?

Ah, just have a look at the download, you might find some of it useful :)

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It does vary quite a bit by name/model/year. Some companies were notorious for making unreliable weapons, while others were well kinown for making quality firearms.

1-5% probably fits with the other weapons in BRP, but realistically, any firearm that malfunctioned over 1% of the time wouldn't last. Most militaries run tests on weapons, and any firearm that failed even 1% of the time wouldn't make the grade. It was one of the reasons why it took so long for the newer technologies to spread. The old muzzle loaders werew reliable, if maintained properly and not overloaded.

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...Winchester 30-30 for the lever action rifle.

Oooo, that's an 1895 design. You're running a late western if you're using 30-30.

Glad you like the table, the up to date version runs to about 250+ firearms, pistols, rifles, derringers, shotguns and artillery. But, Curses! and Drat! the 30-30 isn't in it! ... yet...

If you're interested, I also have a James Younger download on my site which has a little write up of the Winchester 44-40 (and some other stuff), you might find it useful.

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I just can't resist...

Name-------BS%----Cal.----Damage----Rng---AP---Malf---Amo---Len.---Bar.---S.R.---ENC---$------Year-----lbs

Winchester--5-----.30-30----1d4+1-----85----10---00-----10----37.8----20---1/SR---3.5---15.00---1894----6.80

Winchester--5-----.25-35----1d4--------70----10---00-----10----37.8----20---1/SR---3.5---14.00---1895----6.80

I would go with something like that...

Edited by MrJealousy
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I'm not so sure.

You're looking at a .25 and a .30 those bullets are at the weenie end of ammo sizes. I can't come up with a good reason why a rifle would do more damage than a light pistol if it is using the same type of ammo. The difference is in the range. The amount of lead that hits the target doesn't change so it makes the same size hole.

I'm guessing that the light pistol in the BGB is probably a .32 (1d6) and the heavy pistol is probably a .45 (1d10+2). So I could argue that the values for the .25 and .30 are close to 'realistic'. But, what I have really done is completely rework firearms damages based on caliber. My table was created deliberately ignoring the values in the BGB so that I could get a consistent set of default values for .22 all the way through to .83! At various points on that scale the values were very close e.g. my .45 does 2d6, but that was more by luck than design.

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I'm not so sure.

You're looking at a .25 and a .30 those bullets are at the weenie end of ammo sizes. I can't come up with a good reason why a rifle would do more damage than a light pistol if it is using the same type of ammo. The difference is in the range. The amount of lead that hits the target doesn't change so it makes the same size hole.

Not quite. There is a big difference between a .25 ACP and a .223 rifle cartridge. Ditto with a .32 and a 30-30. The rile slugs are longer, heavier, and strike with more force than pistol rounds, and do more damage. They are not the "weenie end". A .303 round is at least as good a damage doing as a .45.

If you go by just caliber, you'll get silly results. Just look at Top Secret.

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Ok, that makes more sense. I might have to do some more research and revise my formulae.

Most systems base the damage on the rounds energy, force, or one of those two divded by it's area. Generally speaking larger caliber bullets tend to make bigger holes, but smaller caliber bullets tend to penetrate deeper. But there are a lot of factors that come into play, such as bullet shape and composition.

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Regarding reliability, 1-5% might be appropriate for a flint lock, but anything approaching reality for a percussion cap, rimfire or modern centerfire should probably be more along the lines of roll 00, then roll a d10 and have a reliability 1-10 based on that. Even at that it is probably resulting in far more misfires than reality.

I have owned a Ruger P90 .45 ACP for nearly 20 years and recently for the first time in a minimum of 5000 rounds through the gun had my first "gun not go bang" and that seems to be due to the main spring starting to wear out. The gun fires, but every now and then the slide needs a little nudge to get it back into position for the next shot.

When the percussion cap was new a competition was held against the then standard flint lock weapons in use. I don't remember the exact stats, but the flint lock had something in the realm of 10x as many failures to fire. I'd guess the typical cap and ball of the early Western period would be no more than 2x the failure rate of early cartridge ammo (not having a brass case the older ammo is more prone to moisture and physical damage).

Most games include fairly high misfire rates for dramatic effect which is fine if that is what you want, but then there isn't much point in doing a lot of research to set the rate, beyond notably reliable, cheap throw away etc.

Now outside influences like very old ammo, harsh conditions (mud, sand, cold), lack of care etc could very well raise the odds of a misfire and that is something that does change from gun to gun. A modern military weapon is much more tolerant of rough treatment than a gun of the mid to late 1800s. Certain designs are much more prone to problems caused by dirt and such.

Edited by Toadmaster
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Yup. plus dice mechanics kind of restrict things. Most guns have a less than 1% chance, but you can't roll less than 1% on D100.

For a more realistic mechanism, mAybe a Luck roll would solve the issue. If you roll a possible malfunction you make a luck roll to avoid it. The difficulty of the Luck roll could vary based on the firearm. Good modern ones might be easy (or POWx10, if you want more grades), a cap and ball Normal (POWx5%) and a flintlock difficult (POW x2or x3). A failed Luck roll means some sort of failure (dud round, wet powder, etc.), while the more extreme failures could be reserved for fumbles.

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Yup. plus dice mechanics kind of restrict things. Most guns have a less than 1% chance, but you can't roll less than 1% on D100.

That was the idea behind a second d10 if you roll 00, raising the odds from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 depending on reliability rating. I've toyed with the idea for years but just never felt it was worth the effort and stick with the usual 00 is a misfire of some sort. Reality is misfires are rare in properly maintained modern weapons, almost to the point of being plot points.

I've thought about the idea of a skill roll, but that takes it away from the gun and puts in more into the hands of the shooter. That kind of makes sense, assuming a better shooter is a better maintainer but takes away from making different guns more or less reliable. I kind of like your luck roll idea, and a variation would also work for the gun skill.

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That was the idea behind a second d10 if you roll 00, raising the odds from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 depending on reliability rating. I've toyed with the idea for years but just never felt it was worth the effort and stick with the usual 00 is a misfire of some sort. Reality is misfires are rare in properly maintained modern weapons, almost to the point of being plot points.

Yeah. Considering that most firearms are tested and held to higher reliability standards that 99%, it is more of a case of operator error, or weapon defect. ZThe most common one I can think of would be using modern ammo is an old weapon-like putting a 9x19mm +P+ bullet into a early Luger P-O8. Especially on of the ones made during WWII in an occupied country.

I've thought about the idea of a skill roll, but that takes it away from the gun and puts in more into the hands of the shooter. That kind of makes sense, assuming a better shooter is a better maintainer but takes away from making different guns more or less reliable. I kind of like your luck roll idea, and a variation would also work for the gun skill.

Well, how about:

The Luck roll, with the POW multipliers based on the weapon, but operator care can shift the multiplier up (or, more importantly, lack thereof shift down) Maybe +/-1 per SL in the skill roll?[i.e. CS: +2, SS: +1, S: +0, Fail: -2, Fumb: -4]?

For instance, a M1911A is supposed to be able to fire somethin glike 10,000 rounds without a failure, even under adverse conditions such as rain or mud (It pays for this with accuracy, but that's not a problem for a close range weapon). So it would have a high multiplier (POWx10)

A match grade M1911A (like the accurized 1911s used by Delta Force), might get better range and accuracy (a bonus to hit), but be less tolerant of conditions and a bit more finicky with it's ammo. So it might have a POW multiplier of x8.

Format could be malf 00/x10, and 00/x7

Really unreliable weapons could have malf 99, or lower.

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