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Best Civil War Sniper Rifle

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

  1. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    That was decades later when the technology changed. That was a scoped rifle as well
     

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  3. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

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    Jobe, The Comanches also said that the real reason they quit the fight was that a shot went over the hill and killed Eeshatai's horse. If that is true Dixon's shot did not break the skin on a human but a longer shot killed a horse.
     
  4. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    Maybe it wasnt scoped There are two Sharps being used, one was and one was not. The bullets were cartridges and used smokeless powder. Adobe walls was 1874.
     
  5. Will Carry

    Will Carry Corporal

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    This is a great post. I love seeing those rifles and hearing the stories. I made a lucky shot once when I was a teenager and instantly got a reputation of being a great shot. It was a lot of luck, and hours of practice.
     
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  6. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    Years after the shot even Billy Dixon said it was a lucky shot. They have events where people try to duplicate the shot with the same rifle. I saw a video of someone making the shot after many tries but I cant find anyone on line now with a video making that shot with that rifle.
     
  7. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    Billy Dixon also said that the rifle he used for his famous shot at Adobe Walls was .45 caliber and scoped, and that it was not his own rifle, but rather one that was at the station. The fact that it was an uphill shot makes it even more incredibly lucky!
    J.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  8. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    Are you sure that smokeless powder was being used? I'd be keen to know more.

    In the series of long range international rifle matches in the period 1874-1880 at Creedmoor, Dollymount and Wimbledon, American riflemen had success using Sharps and Remington breech loaders, but they were firing black powder at the time.

    David
     
  9. jpro

    jpro Corporal

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    Thought you all would like to see a hex Whitworth bullet I recovered here in
    Nashville! I recovered this projectile approximately 500-80o yards from where I know the Confederate sniper was located on 2nd day of the Battle here. The Cast I button I recovered on battles 1st day lines!

    IMG_1492.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  10. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    It was a black powder round at Adobe Wells.
     
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  11. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

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    Great find on that Whitworth bullet. There was also a hexagon shaped cast bullet. I have no idea which was the more accurate. I do think it was the hex that made the sound. If so, it would have been the hex bullet that killed Sedgwick.
     
  12. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    Im snowbound today to I was playing around with long range shots on the internet. Most experts say that even small difference in elevation makes the long shot a lot harder
     
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  13. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    Irrespective of the shape of the bullet loaded, they both came out of the barrel with an hexagonal section to match the rifling. Whitworth's loading instructions noted: "The cylindrical form of projectile is the best for general use. It is 530 grains in weight and is wrapped with paper."

    David
     
  14. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    I just saw a gent give a video on the 1874 Sharps 45-90 round. He said smokeless but Jobe says no. Maybe he was talking about a modern replica.
     
  15. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    Johan Steel said black powder, not jobe
     
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  16. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    From personal experience, changes in head and tail winds can play havoc on accuracy, even on a rifle range with wind flags for guidance. Given the trajectory of the bullet such changes will make it sail over the target or drop short.

    In a battlefield, the rifleman is relying on estimated distances, watching smoke, trees or other features to estimate wind strength, there's no feedback from the butts about where shots missed or splashes in the sand to aid in sight correction. There may be someone firing back.

    Can't say I have noticed any significant difference in sound when Whitworth bullets or other .45 cal lead bullets of similar weight have been coming in overhead when I have been pulling targets. I'll have to listed more attentively next time! :smile:

    David
     
  17. jpro

    jpro Corporal

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    Thxs @zburkett the story I've heard is that a box of hex bullets came with the rifle purchase from Britain and that the round ones were cast here!!
     
  18. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

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    David, The accounts of the men near Sedgwick say that the Whitworth made a different sound than the other rifles being used. The question is, do the hexagon cast bullet and the sabot Whitworth make different sounds? Also, some where I read that at that 1,000 yard range the Whitworth with a good marksman was accurate to about ten feet. Simply coming that close when the enemy knew how far away you were would be effective harassing fire and you would get the occasional lucky shot. I know it would restrict my movement if someone were shooting at me with a Whitworth (or anything else) at 1,000 yards.
     
  19. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

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    Thanks guys, due to this thread I'm kicking myself even harder for not buying that Whitworth when I had the chance.
     
  20. ResearchPress

    ResearchPress Private

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    I'm not sure what you mean by a "sabot Whitworth"? The rifle could be loaded with a mechanically fitting hexagonal section bullet or a cylindrical bullet. Irrespective of their starting shape, they were hexagonal when they left the barrel.

    If you look at page 2 of this thread you will see a target diagram I posted showing the results of 120 shots fired by the English team of 8 (15 shots per man) at 900 yards in 1862. Five of the rifles used were by Whitworth and three by Henry; the target was 12ft wide by 6ft high. There were 23 misses.

    If you consider the target an artillery crew or advancing column of men, then such fire would cetainly have you ducking for cover.

    David
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  21. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

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    And he was right because smokeless powder was not invented for another 10 years
     
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