Bolt Action or Black Powder?

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    Mark Stanoch

    I am an avid Bolt Action player who also enjoys gaming the “Horse and Musket” period. For that period I have and enjoy Black Powder both first and second editions. But when reading the US-Indian war scenario in BP II, it occurred to me that late 19th century warfare would be better simulated using Bolt Action. This is particularly true in my opinion for the Second Anglo-Boer War with Mausers and smokeless munitions in use. And I do believe that the Martini Henry and later model Winchester rifles probably approach the performance of early WW II Bolt Action rifles. So what is the consensus of the community? Is Bolt Action more appropriate for late 19th century wargaming?

    invisible officer

    The Martini Henry is not even near to WW I and II rifles. Problems with the cases caused many problems. Same with the US army “Wild West” weapons. You often needed a knife to get the spent cartridge out.
    Most Winchesters used weak amo, the same used in Revolver.

    But more important for the rule system is the tactical use in battle. Single or volley fire. Bolt Action is for the group of a few men. But not good for companies doing volley fire.
    For a small scale game based on a few men Bolt Action is perfect. But for large lines of infantry (Like at Omdurman)Black Power is better.

    So for the later Boer war yes for BA, not so much for the early.

    Mark Stanoch

    How about Rorke’s Drift? I realize the British used volley fire but melee was definitely man to man?


    In the Zulu war the British aim was to avoid man to man combat. There the Zulu had the advantage.
    I think the Brits fired around 20,000 rounds of ammo to defeat 4,000 Zulu.

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