National Geographic : 1946 Jun
792 The National Geographic Magazine "Man the Guns!" Unsoldierly but surprisingly efficient were these unkempt gunners, standing nonchalantly with their swabs on the untidy deck of a fighting junk. Heavily armed vessels like this hired out as convoys for merchant men. To guard against treachery, members of the crew were almost always chosen from blood relations. To Fire This Contraption, the Gunner Hits a Percussion Cap by Hand Fixed to a perforated nipple, the cap ignites powder in the hollow breechblock, and half a dozen lead balls are discharged through the eight-foot barrel. An iron wedge holds the breechblock in place. This pirate-killer has an effective range of about 100 yards.