Muzzleldrs Firing from Rest with .58 Rifled Musket

Kehas99

Private
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
The Rifled Musket by Claud Fuller presents firing test data against a 10 x 10 target for the .58 musket under four conditions:
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece by volley
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece by line
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece in skirmish
One man firing 50 rounds from a rest position (targets 76-78)

Hits by volley/line/skirmish
100 yards: 48/50/50
300 yards: 23/29/29
500 yards: 12/19/21

Hits by single man at rest
100 yards: 50/50
300 yards: 50/50
500 yards: 43/50

The benefits due to single firing by one man, at rest, over ten standing men is quite remarkable.

While the skirmish shooters from a standing position at 100 yards placed shots over an 8’ by 8’ area, the man at rest placed all hits within a 24” by 24” box just above the target center.
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
The Rifled Musket by Claud Fuller presents firing test data against a 10 x 10 target for the .58 musket under four conditions:
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece by volley
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece by line
Ten men firing 5 rounds apiece in skirmish
One man firing 50 rounds from a rest position (targets 76-78)

Hits by volley/line/skirmish
100 yards: 48/50/50
300 yards: 23/29/29
500 yards: 12/19/21

Hits by single man at rest
100 yards: 50/50
300 yards: 50/50
500 yards: 43/50

The benefits due to single firing by one man, at rest, over ten standing men is quite remarkable.

While the skirmish shooters from a standing position at 100 yards placed shots over an 8’ by 8’ area, the man at rest placed all hits within a 24” by 24” box just above the target center.
While interesting, I'm curious, this is Claud Fuller the author from the 1950's who wrote "The Rifled Musket" correct? I can only guess because you didn't actually cite it as a source.

This still leaves a lot of unanswered questions in my mind, this isn't an actual period test, so exactly what was he using for testing in the 1950's?

What firearm? What sights? What was the load, how was it prepared, how was the load packed before use? How hard was the lead in the minie balls? What was the bore size of each barrel? What was the size of the bullets? What lube was used if any? What cleaning schedule was used between volleys/relays?

These figures are good, but how did he come up with them, that's what I want to know. Are these "modern guestimites" or are these authentic figures as close as he could get them.

If he was using original '61 Springfields with period cast minies, and a proper BP load, and no modifications, then this might be interesting, but this little comment you've provided without sourcing, doesn't say if it is or isn't.

Because let's say we use the N-SSA as an example, the guns used in N-SSA competition are extremely accurate and are handled by mostly competent marksman who are probably much higher skilled than the average Civil War soldier simply due to the sheer amount of practice, and the custom loads tailor made for each gun.

If you put ten experienced N-SSA guys with their own personal competition guns, versus ten of your run of the mill Gettysburg Reenactors, even ones who consider themselves "good shots", I guarantee you'll get completely different results for this test.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
While interesting, I'm curious, this is Claud Fuller the author from the 1950's who wrote "The Rifled Musket" correct? I can only guess because you didn't actually cite it as a source.

This still leaves a lot of unanswered questions in my mind, this isn't an actual period test, so exactly what was he using for testing in the 1950's?

What firearm? What sights? What was the load, how was it prepared, how was the load packed before use? How hard was the lead in the minie balls? What was the bore size of each barrel? What was the size of the bullets? What lube was used if any? What cleaning schedule was used between volleys/relays?

These figures are good, but how did he come up with them, that's what I want to know. Are these "modern guestimites" or are these authentic figures as close as he could get them.

If he was using original '61 Springfields with period cast minies, and a proper BP load, and no modifications, then this might be interesting, but this little comment you've provided without sourcing, doesn't say if it is or isn't.

Because let's say we use the N-SSA as an example, the guns used in N-SSA competition are extremely accurate and are handled by mostly competent marksman who are probably much higher skilled than the average Civil War soldier simply due to the sheer amount of practice, and the custom loads tailor made for each gun.

If you put ten experienced N-SSA guys with their own personal competition guns, versus ten of your run of the mill Gettysburg Reenactors, even ones who consider themselves "good shots", I guarantee you'll get completely different results for this test.
IIRC Claude Fuller was citing the original 1850's ordnance test. It's detailed in the original book which is on my porch... it's -15 right now so I'll wait to check if there is more detail.
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
IIRC Claude Fuller was citing the original 1850's ordnance test. It's detailed in the original book which is on my porch... it's -15 right now so I'll wait to check if there is more detail.
Cool, if that's the case, I'd like to see some details of when the test was done, and with which model arms... if this is the case, it does make these figures more interesting, being a "period test".
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Cool, if that's the case, I'd like to see some details of when the test was done, and with which model arms... if this is the case, it does make these figures more interesting, being a "period test".
The tests took part in 1853-1856 with a variety of different arms from .54 up to .69. The Rifled Musket by Claude Fuller work referenced the M1855 testing with the regulation load. The complete set of tests are detailed in Small Arms 1856 compiled by Dean Thomas

My notes are a bit of a jumble so forgive me.

Arms used in test:
M1822 & M1842 rifled muskets .69 Harpers Ferry Long range rear sight
M1841 Rifle bored to .58 Harpers Ferry Long range rear sight
M1855 Rifle Harpers Ferry Long range rear sight
M1855 Rifle musket Harpers Ferry Long range rear sight
M1855 Pistol carbine standard rear sight

.58 .5775 calibre, 510 grain bullet, 60 grains of FFG testing
.69 .685 calibre, 730 grain bullet, 70 grains FFG
 

Kehas99

Private
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
While interesting, I'm curious, this is Claud Fuller the author from the 1950's who wrote "The Rifled Musket" correct? I can only guess because you didn't actually cite it as a source.

This still leaves a lot of unanswered questions in my mind, this isn't an actual period test, so exactly what was he using for testing in the 1950's?

What firearm? What sights? What was the load, how was it prepared, how was the load packed before use? How hard was the lead in the minie balls? What was the bore size of each barrel? What was the size of the bullets? What lube was used if any? What cleaning schedule was used between volleys/relays?

These figures are good, but how did he come up with them, that's what I want to know. Are these "modern guestimites" or are these authentic figures as close as he could get them.

If he was using original '61 Springfields with period cast minies, and a proper BP load, and no modifications, then this might be interesting, but this little comment you've provided without sourcing, doesn't say if it is or isn't.

Because let's say we use the N-SSA as an example, the guns used in N-SSA competition are extremely accurate and are handled by mostly competent marksman who are probably much higher skilled than the average Civil War soldier simply due to the sheer amount of practice, and the custom loads tailor made for each gun.

If you put ten experienced N-SSA guys with their own personal competition guns, versus ten of your run of the mill Gettysburg Reenactors, even ones who consider themselves "good shots", I guarantee you'll get completely different results for this test.
The firing test report says it is the “new” rifled .58 caliber musket, the report order is dated February 1, 1860. My post stated it was test firing data, and I did not give all of the details in the report cause I was trying to make things concise, and concentrate on the comparative results. But there wasn’t a lot of background info.

A letter in Fuller’s book from early 1861 states that the M1855 .58 rifled musket was the most improved model available at that time, although less than 40,000 were reported to exist. Fuller said it was the standard infantry weapon in 1860.

The 1860 firing tests, conducted from February thru April, make mention of two new .58 rifled muskets, including a new pattern steel barrelled weapon with a long leaf breech sight and a fly trigger. Could be the improved model 1855.
 
Last edited:

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
The firing test report says it is the “new” rifled .58 caliber musket, the report order is dated February 1, 1860. My post stated it was test firing data, and I did not give all of the details in the report cause I was trying to make things concise, and concentrate on the comparative results. But there wasn’t a lot of background info.

A letter in Fuller’s book from early 1861 states that the M1855 .58 rifled musket was the most improved model available at that time, although less than 40,000 were reported to exist. Fuller said it was the standard infantry weapon in 1860.

The 1860 firing tests, conducted from February thru April, make mention of two new .58 rifled muskets, including a new pattern steel barrelled weapon with a long leaf breech sight and a fly trigger. Could be the improved model 1855.
I only asked because it was hard to evaluate what I was looking at... Was it reenactors attempting to recreate the accuracy of period arms? Or was it an authentic account of period arms and equipment? In context, it really makes a difference!

Now we can them evaluate the useful ways the data can be used. Thanks for the great post information!
 

Kehas99

Private
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
I only asked because it was hard to evaluate what I was looking at... Was it reenactors attempting to recreate the accuracy of period arms? Or was it an authentic account of period arms and equipment? In context, it really makes a difference!

Now we can them evaluate the useful ways the data can be used. Thanks for the great post information!
Fuller’s The Rifled Musket on page 11 includes text that the Model 1861 rifled musket was adopted upon the Ordnance Board recommendations of May 18, 1860, which would be right after the firing test results in Fuller’s book (tests from Feb thru April 1860). The tests showed the overwhelming superiority of the “new” .58 rifled musket, which now appears imo to be the Model 1861.
 
Last edited:

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
I'm surprised they thought it "remarkable" that a man at rest with gun supported would shoot much better than a standing man.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
Interesting data. It's hard to evaluate period v.s. modern testing even though an original firearm could be used in the modern test. Current manufacture black powder is different from powder back then. Caps are not the same. etc. And with modern made arms there are quite a few more factors. Modern steel, different rifling, modern procedures used in rifling, cast v.s. forged parts. Et al. I've seen modern shooting tests done with an original Hall rifle that didn't seem to match the test done in 1840's done by Alfred Mordecai.
 
Top