Discussion What Made Carbines Less Accurate Than 1861 Rifled Musket Beyond 100 Yards


Feb 3, 2020
Looking over 1860 firing trials, Burnside and Smith carbines are close to an 1861 Musket in terms of 100 yard accuracy (against 10’ by 10’ target), but comparative hit chances are quite a bit less beyond that range,

Is it a lighter, shorter or less stable bullet, inferior sights, or bullet scatter due to the platform? The recoil of a carbine is much less than a rifled musket, so recoil didn’t seem to be a factor.
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Don Dixon

Oct 24, 2008
Fairfax, VA, USA
Because the cartridges used in them are essentially pistol cartridges; lighter powder charges, lighter bullets, and lower velocity. the longer barrel in the carbine extends the accurate range somewhat, but they still can't compare with a full bore military weapon. Similarly, the M-16 family of weapons doesn't have the same down range impact as the M-1 or M-14.

Don Dixon

Jeff in Ohio

Oct 17, 2015
Besides as stated, the longer distance between the sights providing a line of fire path picture to the eye.

One interesting point is that the shorter Enfield rifles with 33 inch barrels had the rear sight set FORWARD of the position of the position rear sight of the standard 39 inch barrel of the Model 1853 Enfield rifle-musket. This means that the distance between rear and front sights of the shorter barrel rifle was less than it could have been if the rear sight had just been left in the placement used in the rifle-musket.

i don't know why, but all the British enfield rifles were made this way.

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