Muzzleldrs Does rifling work with round ball?

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I suppose your substituting your preconceptions for the recorded test results of the 2,400 yard Springfield test is the difference between us. The British head to head tests between the Enfield & the Whitworth showed even more dramatic disparities than did those with the Springfield. The Enfield had serious problems due to relatively poor quality standards. This was recognized by all concerned at that time. As a result, Enfields consistently did poorly in head to head tests with contemporary rifles. I don't just make things up.


Would you be able to provide those recorded test results? I'd be willing to pay attention if they were provided, albeit I'd prefer as primary a source as possible, but on an immediate viewing it sounds like something sensationalized because it only appears in Scientific American and is described as a "private test" - what the reader gets is the interpretation by Scientific American, not the raw results.

My suspicion about what happened is that someone got one fluke hit at 2,400 yards with the Springfield, none with the Enfield, and decided that that reflected real performance; at 2,400 yards the bullet spends more than six seconds in the air, and is going to hit with only about the force that gravity can give it. (The Enfield would be the same, as the bullets of the weapon are nearly identical; the Whitworth is a much longer bullet so retains more velocity at long range owing to higher sectional density.)




As for the performance of the Enfield, I don't have a problem with the idea that the Enfield started to struggle at ranges of half a mile. Certainly the evidence from British qualification tests in 1860 indicates it was hardly useless at 900 yards (just less efficient than at 500) but at 900 yards the British limited its use to 1st Class shots who could get the most out of the weapon.

Certainly I can point to comparative Confederate tests in which they found the Enfield was the better weapon for marksmanship:


Major Dunlop, responsible for much of the intensive training that was given to the Confederate sharpshooters, wrote of a comparative test undertaken between a number of issue rifles including Springfield and Richmond rifle-muskets and the Pattern 1853.

“The superiority of the Enfield at long ranges, from 600 to 900 yards, was clearly demonstrated both as to force and accuracy of fire. The Enfield proved reliable and effective to a distance of 900 yards, while the other rifles could only be relied on at a distance of 500 yards.”




I do however think I'd prefer a machine-made (i.e. more standardized) late-model Enfield (such as the machine made versions of the P1860) to a late-model Springfield for marksmanship work, because the maximum setting on the ladder sights on the Enfield went from 900 yards to 1,000 yards to 1,250 yards over time while Springfields such as the 1861 used less accurate flip-up leaf sights for 300 and 500 yards. That by itself makes any kind of deliberate hit at 2,400 yards extremely difficult - there is simply not the setting on the sights for it.
 

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Further to the issue of penetration power: the Springfield fires a .58 500 grain bullet with 65 grains of powder, the Enfield fires a .577 530 grain bullet with 68 grains of powder. These should have almost exactly identical performance.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
I suppose your substituting your preconceptions for the recorded test results of the 2,400 yard Springfield test is the difference between us. The British head to head tests between the Enfield & the Whitworth showed even more dramatic disparities than did those with the Springfield. The Enfield had serious problems due to relatively poor quality standards. This was recognized by all concerned at that time. As a result, Enfields consistently did poorly in head to head tests with contemporary rifles. I don't just make things up.

The US was purchasing Liege and other knockoffs. Actual HM Government interchangable Enfields were difficult to acquire. The Confederacy got a smaller number of them and after testing adopted them as their service sharpshooter rifle (along with the Whitworth), since they outshot the Springfield easily. The Springfield was found to be effective out to 500 yards, but they found the Enfield was effective out to 900 yards. These were actually simply the range of the sights on the weapon - with a Springfield beyond 500 yards you just "aimed high".

Ballistically, the Enfield with the boxwood plug bullet achieved tighter groupings compared to the Springfield and the Burton ball. However, I believe the rebels were making the old, Crimean era pattern of Prichett balls, which suffered the same problems of the bullet not always engaging the rifling as the Burton ball

The .451 Whitworth was trialed against the .577 Enfield in 1857-8 and the trials were initially very impressive, although the Whitworth bullet tended to strip, which was a serious problem. However, Col Hay then had Enfield build a number of experimental .451 Enfields (with various pitches of the rifling) and it was found that these performed as well or better than the Whitworth.

Whitworth then created hell be stating Hay had exceeded his authority. Any idea of simply producing a .451 Enfield was nixed, and Enfield tooled up to begin producing military Whitworths, with the first run in 1862 (P1862, 1,000 produced). They were issued to rifle corps and sharpshooter companies.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The US was purchasing Liege and other knockoffs. Actual HM Government interchangable Enfields were difficult to acquire. The Confederacy got a smaller number of them and after testing adopted them as their service sharpshooter rifle (along with the Whitworth), since they outshot the Springfield easily. The Springfield was found to be effective out to 500 yards, but they found the Enfield was effective out to 900 yards. These were actually simply the range of the sights on the weapon - with a Springfield beyond 500 yards you just "aimed high".

Ballistically, the Enfield with the boxwood plug bullet achieved tighter groupings compared to the Springfield and the Burton ball. However, I believe the rebels were making the old, Crimean era pattern of Prichett balls, which suffered the same problems of the bullet not always engaging the rifling as the Burton ball

The .451 Whitworth was trialed against the .577 Enfield in 1857-8 and the trials were initially very impressive, although the Whitworth bullet tended to strip, which was a serious problem. However, Col Hay then had Enfield build a number of experimental .451 Enfields (with various pitches of the rifling) and it was found that these performed as well or better than the Whitworth.

Whitworth then created hell be stating Hay had exceeded his authority. Any idea of simply producing a .451 Enfield was nixed, and Enfield tooled up to begin producing military Whitworths, with the first run in 1862 (P1862, 1,000 produced). They were issued to rifle corps and sharpshooter companies.
The folks that I know who have dived deep into this subject tell me that the Enfields sent to America were an inferior colonial model intended for India, etc. I can’t document that, so stuck with the Scientific American references. The Whitworth had twice the range of the Enfield, but would quickly foul & be hard to load. As you would imagine, that twisting bore was not easy to manufacture with the high degree of accuracy it demanded. A lot of people weren’t sold on the idea that soldiers needed a 1,000 yard rifle. The head to head tests are interesting across the board. Of course, all this amounted to arguing over who made the best buggy whip in 1910, the day of the muzzleloader was over.
 

yulzari

Private
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Enfields bought by both sides were hand fitted non interchangeable guns made by the general trade.

Government Enfield interchangeable made ones were not sold.

The London Armoury Company was formed from several of these trade gunmakers to invest jointly in the machinery to make interchangeable Enfields and sold them to the South. Or indeed anyone offering enough money.

The hand fitted ones varied in quality, as one might expect. They were not made as inferior colonial models but just as non interchangeable military weapons to anyone who would buy them. The Indian Army lesser models were proper interchangeable ones made in Enfield but with a 0,656" smooth bore for Sepoys. Possibly the best muskets ever made. European troops there having the standard 0,577" rifle versions.

The British Army had bought non interchangeable Enfields from the trade in England, France and Belgium in the early days of adoption, especially as a consequence of rifle musket shortages with the Crimean War. As interchangeable Enfield production became more available they gradually disposed of the non interchangeable ones to the trade and to Volunteers and it was some of these that were sold on to the ACW users by the trade, but they were not government made even if they had seen government service.

When they were later converted to Snider action breechloaders only interchangeable ones were converted for British Army use. One sees very many others converted by the trade from non interchangeable guns. These latter bear the 'Snider' patent mark upon the breech action. The government had bought their own rights to the action so had no need to add patent marks. So useful that the British government ran out of their own interchangeable muzzle loaders and had to make many more Sniders from scratch.

A non interchangeable Enfield might be worse, similar or better than a US Government made Springfield. An interchangeable one a debatable gnat's better. Especially the sighting. Post ACW the US government standardised on the Springfield for sensible reasons of having a surplus and a factory to support them.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Enfields bought by both sides were hand fitted non interchangeable guns made by the general trade.

Government Enfield interchangeable made ones were not sold.

The London Armoury Company was formed from several of these trade gunmakers to invest jointly in the machinery to make interchangeable Enfields and sold them to the South. Or indeed anyone offering enough money.

The hand fitted ones varied in quality, as one might expect. They were not made as inferior colonial models but just as non interchangeable military weapons to anyone who would buy them. The Indian Army lesser models were proper interchangeable ones made in Enfield but with a 0,656" smooth bore for Sepoys. Possibly the best muskets ever made. European troops there having the standard 0,577" rifle versions.

The British Army had bought non interchangeable Enfields from the trade in England, France and Belgium in the early days of adoption, especially as a consequence of rifle musket shortages with the Crimean War. As interchangeable Enfield production became more available they gradually disposed of the non interchangeable ones to the trade and to Volunteers and it was some of these that were sold on to the ACW users by the trade, but they were not government made even if they had seen government service.

When they were later converted to Snider action breechloaders only interchangeable ones were converted for British Army use. One sees very many others converted by the trade from non interchangeable guns. These latter bear the 'Snider' patent mark upon the breech action. The government had bought their own rights to the action so had no need to add patent marks. So useful that the British government ran out of their own interchangeable muzzle loaders and had to make many more Sniders from scratch.

A non interchangeable Enfield might be worse, similar or better than a US Government made Springfield. An interchangeable one a debatable gnat's better. Especially the sighting. Post ACW the US government standardised on the Springfield for sensible reasons of having a surplus and a factory to support them.
Thanks for clarifying this.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
At the Museum of Coastal Carolina, 21 East Second Street Ocean Isle Beach, NC there is a unique exhibit.

Enfields Museum of Coastal Carolina.jpeg


This is a case of Enfield Rifles, complete with bayonets & slings recovered from the 1862 wreck of the blockade runner Modern Greece.


blockade runner modern greece.jpeg

Modern Greece forced aground by USN blockading ships.
The Modern Greece was originally built as a Baltic timber hauler. At 4:15 AM on June 27, 1862, the USS Cambridge sighted Modern Greece & opened fire on her. While skirting the coast in an attempt to reach the protection of Fort Fisher's big guns, she ran hard aground about a half mile north of the fort. The Cambridge & USS Stars & Stripes opened fire on the stranded blockade runner. When they pulled back to avoid the fire from Fort Fisher, the guns in the fort were turned onto the Modern Greece to prevent it being hauled off by the U.S. Navy. She was hulled by solid shot to prevent powder in the cargo being used to blow her up.

Four 12 pdr Whitworth rifled cannons, 5,000 small arms, powder, whisky, bales of clothing & a large assortment of household goods were salvaged from the wreck. The ravaged hull sank out of sight for a century until it was uncovered by a storm in 1962. She lay about 300 yards off shore in 25 feet of water. The state of North Carolina & the U.S. Navy salvaged 100,000 artifacts. Artifacts are on display at the visitor center museum at Fort Fisher.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
At the Museum of Coastal Carolina, 21 East Second Street Ocean Isle Beach, NC there is a unique exhibit.

View attachment 357784

This is a case of Enfield Rifles, complete with bayonets & slings recovered from the 1862 wreck of the blockade runner Modern Greece.


View attachment 357785
Modern Greece forced aground by USN blockading ships.
The Modern Greece was originally built as a Baltic timber hauler. At 4:15 AM on June 27, 1862, the USS Cambridge sighted Modern Greece & opened fire on her. While skirting the coast in an attempt to reach the protection of Fort Fisher's big guns, she ran hard aground about a half mile north of the fort. The Cambridge & USS Stars & Stripes opened fire on the stranded blockade runner. When they pulled back to avoid the fire from Fort Fisher, the guns in the fort were turned onto the Modern Greece to prevent it being hauled off by the U.S. Navy. She was hulled by solid shot to prevent powder in the cargo being used to blow her up.

Four 12 pdr Whitworth rifled cannons, 5,000 small arms, powder, whisky, bales of clothing & a large assortment of household goods were salvaged from the wreck. The ravaged hull sank out of sight for a century until it was uncovered by a storm in 1962. She lay about 300 yards off shore in 25 feet of water. The state of North Carolina & the U.S. Navy salvaged 100,000 artifacts. Artifacts are on display at the visitor center museum at Fort Fisher.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
The folks that I know who have dived deep into this subject tell me that the Enfields sent to America were an inferior colonial model intended for India, etc. I can’t document that, so stuck with the Scientific American references.

Part of the problem is that a lot of the "Enfields" purchased by Schuyler were Dresdens and other sorts of weapons.

There were 6 major manufacturers of Enfields:

1. Royal Small Arms Factory - manufactured government 1st class Enfields, but not available for private purchase
2. London Armoury Company - a private company in Bermondsey founded in 1856 to produce 1st class Enfields for the government, having identical machinery to Enfield and with parts interchangable with government Enfields. The government had purchased large numbers of Enfields from them
3. Birmingham Small Arms Company and the London Trade, collectively called "Tower"* - BSAC wasfounded in June 1861 to manufacture the Enfield and compete with LAC, but had no standardised machinery and so built 2nd class Enfields. They also subcontracted out to small gunmakers. These weapons are stamped "Tower".
4. Liege - the need for rifles during the Crimean led to the gun trade of Liege making Enfields using patterns supplied by the War Office. These were 2nd class Enfields.
5. Ste Etienne - the French armoury manufactured Enfields (2nd class) on an 1856 British contract, and still had the patterns.
6. Vermont (defunct)- the Vermont Arms Company had a British contract but after the Crimean war the firm went bust in 1858, and their factory was acquired by Sharps. About 16,000 of these were used in the war (bearing the stamp "Windsor").

Government Enfields were not available. LAC produced 1st class Enfields, and the Birmingham "Tower" trade produced good 2nd class Enfields.

As soon as the war broke out, the state of New York sent a purchasing agent to the UK and purchased 19,000 Enfields from various sources stockpiles. The State of Ohio contracted Schuyler, Hartley and Graham to source them 10,000 "Enfields" from Europe, but what was delivered was a mess of various knockoffs, included Suhl rifles.

The Union initially had the upper hand at LAC, as an agent for the State of Massachusetts had contracted for 1,300 Enfields at LAC. At the time LAC was producing 1,400 muskets per week with 1,300 going to HMG, and the remaining 100 to Massachusetts. Other state agents also made similar purchases to total ca. 3,400 Enfields. However, with the US agent not approaching LAC the CS agent was then able to take the entire production in mid-1862 (since the government contract has also ended).

Schuyler, the Union agent got in with Tower first, but the US was not able to pay for the Enfields since the treasury screwed up lodging the money at Barings. The US having reneged on the contract, Tower immediately sold the lot to state agents (Massachusetts, NY etc.) and the CS agent.

Schuyler then went to France and attempted to buy Vincennes rifles, but Napoleon cancelled the deal after ca. 4,500 rifles had shipped. In Dresden he then brought all the surplused rubbish from the armouries which he thought were Enfields (and called "Dresden Enfields") but turned out to be old Tige rifles etc. He then went to Vienna and again purchased all the surpluses from their armouries, 70,000 Lorenz's (which he called "Austrian Enfields"). Returning to England, he found that the credit had been sorted out and Tower sold him 15,000 Enfields.

Hence the problem is that an "Enfield" is often but an Enfield but a completely different rifle. For example, the 118th Pennsylvania is often quoted as having "condemned Enfields" at Shepherdstown, but in fact they were issued Liege manufactured Enfield knock-offs (with the barrels from Birmingham), which were generally very faulty.


*Tower was the government inspectorate. A lot of private Enfields were illegally stamped with the mark.


The Whitworth had twice the range of the Enfield, but would quickly foul & be hard to load. As you would imagine, that twisting bore was not easy to manufacture with the high degree of accuracy it demanded. A lot of people weren’t sold on the idea that soldiers needed a 1,000 yard rifle. The head to head tests are interesting across the board. Of course, all this amounted to arguing over who made the best buggy whip in 1910, the day of the muzzleloader was over.

The tests at Hythe showed that a .45 "normal" rifle had the same performance. It was the smaller calibre, higher velocity and higher sectional density that reduced the dispersion, not the hexagonal rifling. The debate was whether the .45 could effectively stop a horse quickly. Interestingly, LAC sold 20 .451 Enfield pattern to the Confederacy (called the Kerr Rifle), which served as sharpshooter rifles.
 

Greshamian

Private
Joined
May 13, 2020
Location
Scotland
Regarding the sepoy muskets, it was not just a case of giving native troops inferior weapons for reasons of economy. The sepoys were not trusted fully after the mutiny of 1857 so they were issued with inferior weapons compared with those of the European troops in case there were another mutiny.
 

hrobalabama

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Location
Andalusia, AL
I have a friend who is a competition shooter. He attends national matches and shoots a black powder CW rifle using a round ball patched. He told me that is more accurate than a Mine bullet.
 
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