1863 Springfield Rifled Musket - Sights

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by dcriner, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    There are two flip-up rear sights - On has a 3 and one has a 5. I assume this means ranges of 300 and 500 ft? Surely not yards.

    With Minie balls, I suppose a 500 ft effective range would be reasonable? Unlike newer military rifles, e.g., 1903 Springfield, the windage is not increased for the longer range.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  2. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Yes yards. Those guns were accurate to that range and beyond.
  3. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    OK, wow.
  4. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    i've taken critters here at 400 yards with them and if your talking about firing on a advancing line , you'd be one brave SOB to walk through a volly of these at 600 yards

    or dead
  5. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    typing from a book here

    part of a story about 3 brothers who fought in the union army spotted some CSA troops and one went for help
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The American Civil War was the first war in which rifle fire posed a serious threat to artillerymen. Prior to that, field artillery, which had a range of over 1500 yards, completely dominated infantry armed with smoothbore muskets. The infantry rifle (and the troops called them "rifles") also dominated the cavalry. In previous wars, the cavalry could form up and attack, knowing that if the infantry got a volley off, they could not reload before the horsemen would be on them. But with the rifle, the infantry could get off a volley at longer range and have time to reload and fire again before the cavalry could reach them. (The fear of the cavalry charge lingered in the military mind, though, and was the reason for the magazine cutoffs installed on later rifles, like the M1903 Springfield.)

    Jim
  7. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    I fired my original 1863 Springfield today for the first time. That thing would make a Christian out of anybody within 500 yd! I used a medium load - a .58 cal Minie ball and 50 grains of 2f Swiss powder.

    For my first shot, I didn't hold the rifle butt against my shoulder quite hard enough and I also made the mistake of resting my cheek against the stock. Even with hearing protection (muffs), I had a slight headache after a dozen rounds, probably due the concussion blast as much as the recoil. It ain't no lady's rifle.

    Anybody studying the American Civil War would be well advised to shoot that gun, or any M1861 variant - it will change your perspective. I have a couple of .50 cal. roundball muzzleloading rifles, and there is no comparison. Likewise, a .30-'06 is comparatively tame.

    Here is an excerpt from the U.S. Ordinance Board's test report on the 1861 .58 cal. Springfield:

    "The standard load, a 500 grain .58 caliber Minie' ball backed by 60 grains of FFg, was found to penetrate eleven 1" pine boards at 100 yards and six 1" pine boards at 500 yards." Here's the link: http://morro-bay.com/morsels/manny-silva/springfield-rifle/the-springfield-rifle.pdf
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I once had a customer bring in an 1842 musket, still smoothbore, for a checkup. I determined that it was in excellent (near new) condition and having some .69 minie balls, decide to fire it. There happened to be a piece of 2x4 on the test range, and I decided to use it as a target. The bullet went through the wood and split it.

    When the customer came in to pick up his gun, I assured him it was in good shape and gave him the piece of wood. "Holy s**t", he said. "I didn't think an old gun like that would shoot that hard."

    Jim
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