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Best Civil War Sniper Rifle

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by OldBrainsHalleck, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    It isn't that surprising that in the west older arms saw heavy use, the percussion conversions of the M1817 was put to good use as a Sharpshooting arm in the Indian territory.
    aak-450_1.jpg
     

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  3. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    The Spencer was also used as a Shrpshooters arm by several units, not so much for its accuracy and range but for its rate of fire and ability to quickly follow up shots. This was particularly useful in terrain where long range was measured in less than 200 yards.
    spencerrifle1.JPG
     
  4. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    The most common arm in the hands of the Sharpshooter, particularly the CS Sharpshooter, were the common P53 or M1861 series arms as most sharpshooters were just the professional skirmisher.
    Windsor Enfield_musket_3_band_41141003_std.jpg 575035_10150718109017920_593375832_n.jpg
     
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  5. hawknknife

    hawknknife Private

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    A very nice sharp shooter's rifle by Thomas Turner. The best and most accurate British rifles were the ones by Whitworth, Kerr, Thomas turner, all .451 caliber. This one is marked South Carolina, and the original sling is much rarer than the rifle. The Turner patent rifling could be shot many times without wiping out the bore. This was purchased in a pawn shop in South Carolina.
     

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  6. hawknknife

    hawknknife Private

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    I don't why the posting is like this but look at the next post I did and excuse this one.
     
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  7. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    Make mine a Whitworth...failing that, a Kentucky Rifle....anything else is just a gun.
     
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  8. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    Hawknknife - Thank you for the great photos of a very rare arm!
    J.
     
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  9. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    maybe so but the Sedgwick ledged has grown taller with age
     
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  10. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    The Kerr rifle used a Kerr rifled barrel, not Whitworth - the two are different. They were made by London Armoury Co on machinery and were interchangeable with the P.53 Enfield.

    David
     
  11. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    The "Sedgwick Shot" as probably a sniper aiming at the men in his close proximity. It was obviously not a 1 shot 1 kill situation either. The sniper had been shooting, and coming close, hence the others took cover. I would imagine the Whitworth ws identified by the round recovered from Sedgwicks body
     
  12. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    The sound alone generally id'ed the Whitworth. Also Sedgwick was with his staff and the sniper was just shooting in amongst them.
     
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  13. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    If you can believe the internet, There was a kill shot made by a Confederate sniper, using a Whitworth, from Fort Sumter to the shore of Charleston Harbor. 1400 yards.
     
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  14. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    Again, if you can believe the internet, the Whitworth made an unusual sound as it passed and Union troops were afraid of it because it meant they were facing the best Confederate sharpshooters using the most accurate rifle made. They were smart enough to duck. Sedgwick did not duck but made his elephant remark followed by the sound of a Whitworth projectile. The park service puts the range at about 500 yards. It was the Union troops around Sedgwick that said it was killed by a Whitworth based on the sound. I looked all this up because there was a Whitworth at a local auction here. I didn't buy it and have been kicking myself ever since.
     
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  15. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    I dont believe that...that is about .8 miles....tell me, if u drop off your wife, drive .8 miles and look back at her (if terrain allows), can you really tell it is her??? Now tell me using loose powder, iffy sabot rounds and iron sites, that u can make the shot 1 in 10 tries...

    Dont tell me u read this or that, try the shot and tell me what you think.
     
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  16. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    Yes, I did read that. Billy Dixon made a similar shot at Adobe Walls and that is well documented. Some Civil War sharpshooters had scopes. I also have no idea how many shots it took.
     
  17. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    I went back to the internet. Dec. 5, 1864. 1390yds. 14th longest sniper shot in history. Longer than any shot documented during WWI.
     
  18. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    Zburkett - Can you provide your source, please? Only because I would like to read it first hand.
    As for the reference to Billy Dixon's famous shot, even he is quoted as saying it was "....a lucky shot..." To also be noted at that time is that it was not a "killing" shot, because the Indian rendition is that one of their party, watching from the hill top, was knocked off his horse by a bullet that hit him in the chest, but did not break the skin.
    J.
     
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  19. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    There have been discussions about this here from time to time and yes those shots are makeable but not consistently.
     
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  20. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    Memory, myth, heresay are all factors feeding into sharpsooters tales and their accuracy. What measure do we have that will give us some idea of accuracy at the time? Although not a battlefield scenario, target shooting competition results give some idea of what can be achieved by men (as opposed to rifle trials on mechanical rests) shooting in controlled cicumstances.

    Here in the UK I shoot long range muzzle loading rifle - we have competition for Enfields out to 800 yards and match rifles out to 1200 yards (original Whitworth, Henry, Kerr, Metford, Rigby, etc are all seen on the range from time to time). This is a difficult enough sport shooting at know distances, with no one firing back - so I am always interested in the sharpshooters tales, although it is not a subject I have studied. However I do have access to a lot of information on shooting in the UK and competition results. The diagram below is a contemporary plot of all shots fired by the English eight at 900 yards when they competed against Scotland in the first Elcho Shield match held in 1862.

    [​IMG]

    The target was 12'x6', and each square on the diagram represents 6"x6". The black centre measures 3' square. Each man fired 15 shots. Of the 120 shots fired there were 23 misses (10 of which were richochets). This shooting was with .451 military match rifles, iron sights, and five of the rifles used were by Whitworth and three by Henry. This is target rifle shooting by a selected national team.

    When shooting at long range small changes in elevation can quickly have the shot sailing over the target or dropping short. This is especially so with the Enfield and its high trajectory; hence the importance of instruction in range estimation.

    David
     
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  21. zburkett

    zburkett Corporal

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    My original source was looking for anything I could find on the Whitworth. That was a couple of months ago. In responding to Specster last night I just went to Google and typed in "longest sniper shot of the civil war."
     
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