Can anyone give me more information on a bullet?

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Michael314

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This bullet was given to me child and I have no idea where it came from other than probably Virginia. I realize that 58 caliber, 3 ring Minnie balls are one of the most common bullets but can anyone tell me if it was Union or Confederate? What kind of rifle it most likely came from? It is 1.25 inches long and weighs 29.8 g. Thanks!!!
DSC01882 (800x600).jpg
DSC01884 (800x600).jpg
 

hrobalabama

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It sure looks like a mine bullet. Can't really tell from whom it was fired. Could have been from a
Springfield or an Enfield.
 

E_just_E

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US 1961 or 1963 Springfield. Weight should be 500 grains (32.5 grams,) but could be some loss and/or variation here.
 
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Patrick H

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How many rifling grooves?
Please satisfy my curiosity. I'm following along here and I know very little about bullets such as this. Please explain the rifling groove count and which rifled musket would have had which groove count. Many thanks in advance.
 
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Old Hickory

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Most U.S. Confederate, and British riflemuskets would have a shallow three groove pattern, some others such as the Enfield short rifles would be five groove, others may be of a seven groove pattern. Just interested in what arm may have shot the round, sort of narrowing it down.
 

Booner

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Please satisfy my curiosity. I'm following along here and I know very little about bullets such as this. Please explain the rifling groove count and which rifled musket would have had which groove count. Many thanks in advance.
By counting the number of rifling grooves in a bullet, you could possibly determine, or narrow down, what musket it was fired from. I believe Springfields and Enfields had 3 rifle grooves, while, for example, a number of the Whitney contract rifles had 7 rifling grooves. So if the bullet had 7 grooves, there's a higher possibility that it was shot by a Federal troop.
 

Michael314

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Thanks all for the quick responses!!!! I am impressed. When you say rifling grooves, are you talking about the incised rings at the base? If so then there are three and they are equally spaced in the lower half of the bullet. In the right photo you can see that the cone is flatten. Is that a typical deformation of a fired bullet or is this deformation cause by something stepping on it?
Thanks again for all the groovy (pun intended) responses.
Mike
 
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Patrick H

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Michael, we were talking about some shallow grooves that spiral up the sides of the bullet. As Booner was explaining, different rifles left different tell-tale rifling marks. The spiral is quite subtle. I can see at least three rifling marks in the sides of your bullet, which suggests to me that there are three or four more on the other side which we can't see. I've taken the liberty of painting a dark red stripe over the most prominent rifling mark in your photo. Examine your bullet under a strong light and you'll see others. Then tell us how many. I'm guessing seven or at least six. But I don't know how many are supposed to be there.

rifling.jpg
 

Michael314

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Thanks Patrick!!!

I see three rifling marks on the side I photographed. The other side is worn enough that even the rings do not show and, therefor, I have no idea if there were rifling marks on that side.
 

Patrick H

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Michael, I'm guessing (and it's nothing more than a guess) that there would have been seven rifling marks on your bullet. For a starting point, let's assume that and see what the bullet/musket experts tell us. Okay with you?
 
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ole

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Thanks all for the quick responses!!!! I am impressed. When you say rifling grooves, are you talking about the incised rings at the base? If so then there are three and they are equally spaced in the lower half of the bullet. In the right photo you can see that the cone is flatten. Is that a typical deformation of a fired bullet or is this deformation cause by something stepping on it?
Thanks again for all the groovy (pun intended) responses.
Mike
The rings are lubrication grooves.

Rifling grooves are cut into the barrel to add a spin to the bullet (like a football, when it is spinning, it tends to fly straighter and farther). Your bullet appears to be degraded to the point where rifling grooves are hard to identify. However if you can see one or two, on 1/3 of your bullet, the other 2/3s will have twice as many.
 

M.Warren

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Thanks all for the quick responses!!!! I am impressed. When you say rifling grooves, are you talking about the incised rings at the base? If so then there are three and they are equally spaced in the lower half of the bullet. In the right photo you can see that the cone is flatten. Is that a typical deformation of a fired bullet or is this deformation cause by something stepping on it?
Thanks again for all the groovy (pun intended) responses.
Mike
As stated before, I think. The rifling groves are diagonal cuts from top to bottom of the round, and were made by the rifling cut into the inner portion of the barrels of rifled weapons. The purpose was to produce spin or spiral, not unlike that of a football, which in turn produced greater accuracy, and range, as opposed to a round ball which is quite unpredictable and inaccurate, at range, in my experience. Each type of rifled weapon, then, the same as now, had a different twist, or portion of turn, from the base to its muzzle. This makes it possible in theory to tell what type of rifled weapon fired any given round by examining these groves cut by the turn or twist of its rifling.
 

Booner

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Michael,
The base of the bullet was more than likely deformed after it was fired; something rolled over it or stepped on it. The base of a fired mini-ball isn't deformed (like your bullet), by the explosion of the powder.

Think about what happens to the bullet inside the barrel; the bullet has to be a few thousands of an inch smaller in diameter in order to go down the barrel. It sits on top of 60-70 grains of black powder. When the powder is ignited, it produces a huge amount of hot gas, which fills and forces the base of the bullet (the skirt) out to fill and seal off the barrel. the gas also cause the bottom of the bullet to move forward, but due to inertia, the nose of the bullet isn't yet moving. This causes the bullet to swell and also engage the rifling of the barrel. My guess is if you had measured the length and diameter of the bullet before it was fired, and again after it was fired, you would find it had shrunk in length and gained in diameter.

Also, for accuracy, the base of the bullet is the most critical part of the bullet. The base has to leave the muzzle with the base of the bullet parallel to the end, or crown of the muzzle. If not, the the gas pushing against the base will cant the bullet as it leaves the muzzle, resulting in an inaccurate shot.

Lastly, you gave the weight of the bullet in grahms; these bullets are weighed in grains ( 1 grahm = 15.2324 grains) Your 29.8 grahm bullet weighs = approx. 454 grains. The typical weight of a 3 band mini was around 500 grains, so yours isn't far off. BTW, there are 7000 grains to the pound, so about 14 mini balls to the pound.
 
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Michael314

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I am not so sure how many rifling grooves this bullet has. I can see two distinct ones on the photographed side but there may be more on the photographed side but they are pretty worn. The non photographed side is too worn to see rings or rifling grooves.
 
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