Tell me more! Shoot low

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BillH

Private
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Location
SW Idaho
"Pistols are for fighting your way to your rifle" is often said,

"Only fools put their rifle down" is often the answer...

There are a number of folks I know that I am glad do not own a firearm of any kind. And the folks I know who do, train regularly, be it rifle or pistol.

And to get back to the topic, I have a defarbed Enfield coming from Lodgewood that I ordered before Christmas. I can hardly wait to get it out to the range and put some of the info from this thread into practical, hands on knowledge. Thanks to all of you... I'm fairly proficient with modern rifles, but this will be my first shootable Civil War rifle.
 

Tin cup

Captain
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Location
Texas

This groupings were 4-shots, and 3 shots from a friends new Pedersoli 3-band Enfield. The groups were shot at 50 yards from a bench with a .577" diameter, 484 grain Rapine Old Style Minie, with 60 grains of FFg black powder. You can see it's high at 50 yards, we know the rifle is "on" at 100 yards.

Kevin Dally
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Actually the thing you have to look out for is an accidental discharge in the bathroom. I have 80 something accident reports of carry permit holders discharging their weapon in the bathroom. They make excellent cautionary tales. It happens 30-40 times a year in the US. The bullet either does a round & round exiting through a butt cheek or the toilet explodes into a thousand needle sharp fragments. The wounds inflicted from the latter make especially alarming reading. I don’t speculate or have opinions, I just read the accident or police reports & tell people not to repeat the mistake.
 

John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Actually the thing you have to look out for is an accidental discharge in the bathroom. I have 80 something accident reports of carry permit holders discharging their weapon in the bathroom. They make excellent cautionary tales. It happens 30-40 times a year in the US. The bullet either does a round & round exiting through a butt cheek or the toilet explodes into a thousand needle sharp fragments. The wounds inflicted from the latter make especially alarming reading. I don’t speculate or have opinions, I just read the accident or police reports & tell people not to repeat the mistake.
That's disheartening to say the least. For those of us who know firearms, such are called "negligent", not accidental, discharges. Firearms don't fire themselves. For your weapon to fire when you didn't intend to shoot means you had to have it in battery, have the safety off (in the case of semi-autos), and somehow press the trigger. It's just negligent.

That sort of thing is what leads me to feel that the average person shouldn't be carrying a firearm (and maybe not even own one) as they are putting themselves and others at risk. One needs to train properly and at least understand basic firearms safety.

OK, done with that sermon; back to the thread. I just had to say it.
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
That's disheartening to say the least. For those of us who know firearms, such are called "negligent", not accidental, discharges. Firearms don't fire themselves. For your weapon to fire when you didn't intend to shoot means you had to have it in battery, have the safety off (in the case of semi-autos), and somehow press the trigger. It's just negligent.

That sort of thing is what leads me to feel that the average person shouldn't be carrying a firearm (and maybe not even own one) as they are putting themselves and others at risk. One needs to train properly and at least understand basic firearms safety.

OK, done with that sermon; back to the thread. I just had to say it.
Of course, my thing is safe handling. The truth of the matter is that a pistol is far, far more dangerous to the owner than it will ever be to the statistically minuscule criminal attacker. My absolute favorite involves a man who reloaded his own ammo. He was a gunsmith & expert shooter. While running reloads through his .45 he managed to shoot himself through the left hand. The bullet went into the open door of his powder safe & ignited the powder stored in his downstairs work room. The ensuing fire destroyed his home in part because the local volunteer fire department cowered behind their trucks as "several thousand" rounds of various sorts cooked off. Anyways, in my files I have pistol accidents going back 200 years. My all time favorite involves a man who fired a repro flintlock pistol, the ball bounced back off a tree & a second tree trunk & hit him in the right shoulder blade. He literally shot himself in the back... go figure that one... pistol shooters are an endless source wonder. As for me, anything with a bore diameter smaller than 3" is hardly worth the spark it takes to set it off.

blast! copy.jpeg
 
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John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Of course, my thing is safe handling. The truth of the matter is that a pistol is far, far more dangerous to the owner than it will ever be to the statistically minuscule criminal attacker. My absolute favorite involves a man who reloaded his own ammo. He was a gunsmith & expert shooter. While running reloads through his .45 he managed to shoot himself through the left hand. The bullet went into the open door of his powder safe & ignited the powder stored in his downstairs work room. The ensuing fire destroyed his home in part because the local volunteer fire department cowered behind their trucks as "several thousand" rounds of various sorts cooked off. Anyways, in my files I have pistol accidents going back 200 years. My all time favorite involves a man who fired a repro flintlock pistol, the ball bounced back off a tree & a second tree trunk & hit him in the right shoulder blade. He literally shot himself in the back... go figure that one... pistol shooters are an endless source wonder. As for me, anything with a bore diameter smaller than 3" is hardly worth the spark it takes to set it off.

View attachment 346776
A gun control discussion isn't allowed here (and I tire of such quickly anyway; I'm opinionated) so will just say I agree at least that most people probably ought not own firearms simply because they aren't willing to put in the time required to lean how to use them(which is not to say ownership should be illegal).

And don't try to take one of those guns of yours into the bathroom.:smile:
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Back to the Civil War, does anyone know of a battle or a unit that used revolvers with the stock attached?
I like this question and note that you've asked it twice with no reply. While I can't answer it directly, I can throw out a "reasoned argument". As much as I'd like to own the shoulder stock for my 1860 Army, I would infer from the military purchasing that the stocks were not seen to be a big advantage or practical for whatever reason. After the initial purchase of stocks, the military did not buy any more. The book Civil War Guns says that the growing supply of carbines caused the decline in popularity of the shoulder stocked revolvers, and that cavalry troops preferred packing as many revolvers as possible...the shoulder stock was simply in the way of that.
 
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Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Sounds reasonable.
Perhaps....sometimes the opinion of the author doesn't necessarily reflect the thinking of the time. But I would still love to hear battlefield stories of the use of the 1860 Army with shoulder stock. I thinks it's the coolest thing, and I'd much prefer to be using that setup (perhaps as an officer, rather than regular infantryman) than trying to aim one-handed. So now we will both wait patiently to see if anyone can dig up such stories.

Its interesting that in later wars, shoulder stocks for pistols continued to re-appear.
 

BillH

Private
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Location
SW Idaho
I've never been convinced that shoulder stocks for revolvers made any sense at all. Maybe on some of the overweight .44's, but really, to handgun users, as both cavalries tended to be, a stocked revolver makes an unwieldy handgun and a poor substitute for a repeating carbine. You can carry a couple or three regular Navys in your belt. But put a stock on one and you're faced with the problem of where to carry it? Nah, give me a belt full of Navys and a Spencer in a saddle rig. Pistol stocks always seemed to me to be "Man From Uncle" type attachments.

And getting back to aiming low, I recently read an article comparing the results of zeroing a rifle's sights at different distances, 50yds, 100yds, 200yds, etc. Great pics of where the different groups fell for different distances. Even with modern flatter trajectory ammunition, the pictures were great evidence of what the "aim low" problem is all about. I won't link to a modern article, but it gave me the idea of trying to make similar comparisons once my Enfield arrives.

I remember taking my wife to the range once and for fun we posted a bunch of red balloons on the targets and put them out at 200yds. If I remember correctly, with the 22 rifle we had to hold over nearly 6 feet to be on target and pop any balloons. She got quite good at it once she understood what was happening with the bullet path's arc 😉
 
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zburkett

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Location
Orange County, Virginia
The reason I am interested is a friend had a stocked reproduction and I was always surprised at how nice it was to shoot with the stock. If I was an infantry NCO it might be a useful option.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
The reason I am interested is a friend had a stocked reproduction and I was always surprised at how nice it was to shoot with the stock. If I was an infantry NCO it might be a useful option.
Infantry NCOs was issued a musket like everyone else was.

In the CSA armies, revolvers owned by men who where not suppose to be armed with one was confiscated and then issued to the cavalry where there was a critical lack.
And in union armies they where least in some cases taken since you want to control what arms the men got and when they got them.
 

zburkett

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Location
Orange County, Virginia
I understand what the "rules" were for arming soldiers. I also know that a marching soldier wants as little weight as practical. I also understand that bureaucrats want to lighten their work load. But, I think there were cases where a stocked revolver would have been useful just as the M1 Carbine was useful in WW II. Examples being line NCOs or artillery gun crews.
 
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Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
This thread does a great job highlighting the need for massed fire and thus linear formations in the ACW, despite the introduction of mass-produced rifles.

One thing you have to remember is that most yankees (hope I don't get a time out for that) had never fired a weapon before. If you aimed low you would not fire over their heads. A bullet hitting the dirt in from of an enemy had way more effect then going over their head. When the musket went off it had a kick as you know, so officer would always tell the raw troops aim low.
This problem was by no means exclusive to Union troops. A higher percentage of Confederates, by necessity, had prewar firearms experience but probably the majority with shotguns and old hunting rifles. Unfamiliar firearms, battlefield conditions, and lack of military experience were leveling factors.

Another reason for misses, folks are generally horrible at estimating distances, especially if the terrain is relatively flat.
I have worse than average depth perception which I attribute to my extreme nearsightedness. 150 years ago there was probably even more uncorrected and insufficiently corrected nearsightedness and astigmatisms that would have contributed to poor distance vision and poor depth perception.
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
A really good source for how adept people were with firearms comes from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was a major stopping off point on the way west. All manner of civil & legal information was registered at the fort. Deaths from gunshots are very revealing. Death or injury from Indian attacks were almost zero. However, the incidence of accidental wounding & death from the guns the pioneers carried to protect themselves from the nonexistent Indian threat are very common. I collect firearms accident reports for use in safe handling presentations. The Leavenworth reports I have predate the internet, so won't post the references. Maybe someone who is interested in Indian War & Western expansion has a link. The self inflicted firearms & the number of minor children who were abandoned at the post is a window what that storied time was really like.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Location
Midwest
A really good source for how adept people were with firearms comes from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas...Deaths from gunshots are very revealing...The self inflicted firearms & the number of minor children who were abandoned at the post is a window what that storied time was really like...
Rather, not what it was really like unless the figures were put in context of how many settlers were quite competent with firearms for which no incident reports were made. To point out that there were, say, 300 firearm accidents reported over five years sounds like a lot, yet what is that compared to, say, the 12,000 other residents of the area who had no accidents at all in that same time period, and perhaps 300 stories where competent use of a firearm saved someone, avoided widowhood and abandoned children.

Singling out only the history that we want to believe, and only the specs that support our opinion is not helpful.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Rather, not what it was really like unless the figures were put in context of how many settlers were quite competent with firearms for which no incident reports were made. To point out that there were, say, 300 firearm accidents reported over five years sounds like a lot, yet what is that compared to, say, the 12,000 other residents of the area who had no accidents at all in that same time period, and perhaps 300 stories where competent use of a firearm saved someone, avoided widowhood and abandoned children.

Singling out only the history that we want to believe, and only the specs that support our opinion is not helpful.
00161497.jpg

Custer in his buckskins & hunting rifle. Kansas Historical Society

Competent or not, it was common practice for emigrants to arm themselves under the false threat of Indian attacks. The point is that in the name of defending themselves from a nonexistent threat, they suffered significant loss of life. If you take the time to actually investigate the evidence, you will look at this differently. One of the incidents I use involves George Custer. Riding out on his own looking for game, while in the saddle, he shot & killed his horse. So, there he was all alone on a trackless prairie with no idea of how to get back to the column. His account of the incident is very amusing. I am not sure where Custer fits into your scale of firearms expert to doofus, but shooting your own mount was a surprisingly common occurrence among people handling firearms from the saddle. I know a man whose late father was shot through the fleshy part of both thighs by a bullet that passed through the horse he was riding. A fellow elk hunter discharged his hunting rifle from about 10 feet away as he dismounted. Horses & loaded guns are a very tricky combination.
 
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Don Dixon

Corporal
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
I have worse than average depth perception which I attribute to my extreme nearsightedness. 150 years ago there was probably even more uncorrected and insufficiently corrected nearsightedness and astigmatisms that would have contributed to poor distance vision and poor depth perception.
Competent armies and trainers recognised the vision problem. In training for range estimation, they sent groups of demonstrator troops out to stand at measured distances. The troops being trained would then be trained to recognise that different things could be seen at different distances: equipment at certain distances, faces at a certain distance, eyes at a certain distance, etc, and that these distances varied from observer to observer based upon the acuity of their eyesight. While you might be able to clearly see your target's face clearly at 150 yards, I might not be able to see it clearly until he was 100 yards away.

Competent armies still conduct this type of training today. Most armies are not competent.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 
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