civil war shapeshooter

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by remington1990, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. remington1990

    remington1990 New Member

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    What all rifle did the shapeshooter ues in the civil war. I know the confederate liked the whitworth was that the only they use or what. Thanks
  2. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    No there are more the south also used the Leonard target rifle. this was handcrafted by George o. Leonard,jr of New Hampshire. It was a 36 lb Target rifle fitted with a telescopic sight. 1,000 yards of accuracy.

    The north had a double-set trigger sharps New model 1859 this was a 52 caliber breechloader.

    The James target rifle. this was a .45 cal. accurate to 500 yards.

    The Morgan rifle. This was a 35 lb gun made by John c. Wells of Milwaukee. This also had a telescopic sights. hope this helps thats the best i know of.
  3. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    In addition to the Whitworth and Sharps riflese, a wide range of target/bench rifles were used by both sides. They weighed anywhere from 12 to 30lbs. or more. Some had scopes, many did not.
  4. remington1990

    remington1990 New Member

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    Jack hinson carryed a 18 pounds ky long I read that he could shoot soldier at a half a mile with it
  5. jjmitchell60

    jjmitchell60 Active Member

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    There was a whole unit of sharp shooters from either IN or OH that used 38 caliber heavy barrel 1.2 stock KY rifles made by a gun maker in Nicholas County KY by the name or Burden. he lived near what is present day Headquarters community of Nicholas County and whil making this order for that particular unit he employed at least 2 of his brothers as advanced apprentices. All the guns are marked in one way or anotehr with the initials of who the major person who built it, either one of the brothers or the master Burden gunsmoth. Of these rifles, only 3 are known of with all 3 being in Nicholas County. One is still in the Burden family's hands, one in the local museum, and I own the third one. The one in the museum has been restocked to a full stock though. The family also owns a shotgun that Burden made. Now all of Burden rifles are marked EC Burden EXCEPT for the ones his brothers made while aprenticing under him, those have the brothers initials on the lock plate on the inside side.

    Here is a link to some info on the maker and his rifles:
    http://frontierfolk.org/aw-jun01.htm

    Bottom line is any rifle that a person could show that he was proficient enough to be a marksman with was used including full stock flint lock rifles that were converted to percussion. Now from what I have read, 38 caliber was a popular caliber for sharp dshooters during the war.
  6. Millwright

    Millwright Active Member

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    My reply to a similar question on another gun forum caused me to depart.......

    IMNSHO, its well-documented both sides used "sharpshooters" - the Confederacy more than the the Union - simply because of where they drew their recruits. Most of the Confederates had civilian experience with firearms. Many Union troops didn't. But - more importantly IMO, the relative tactical situations favored the Confederate sharpshooters more than the Union's. Post CW testing at Sea Girt, NJ demonstrated a trained marksman could hit a 4/ X 6' target at 1000 yds with Union Springfields of the era. I surmise target arms of the era, (ala the Whitworth ), could outperfrom those.

    IAC, "sharpshooting' of the era wasn't what it is today. Given the vaguries of powder/caps and the realtively poor sighting systems extant, I'm sure they observed and then "targeted" identifyable "command" groups at the rear of the battle line. IOW, if you aim at the general in the center of the group and hit an aide, you've still influenced the battle. A repetitive fall of shot within a 10'-20' circle from 1000 yds would be "sharp" and certainly influence how the targeted group conducted its affairs ! (Remember all CW-era messaging was verbal or written; neccessitating readily identifyable "groupings" of command personnel by messengers coming and going.) [And my observation of this definition of "accuracy" led to my departure.]

    There's also well-documented instances of commanders - mostly Union - being wounded at extreme ranges by "sharpshooters".....At least one almost in the act of denying he was in any danger...... IOW somebody can always get it right; at least once !

    Billy Dixon shot a Commanche war chief off his horse at a later measured 1/2 mile, (as I recall) with a borrowed Sharps. He called it a "scratch shot" - meaning pure luck in the parlance of the era - but I suspect a decade of constant shooting as a buffalo hunter may have played its part ! IOW, no substitue for experience ! >MW
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    There were many sniper rifles used in the Civil War, but undoubtedly the largest was the 20-pdr Parrott used to "snipe" General/Bishop Leonidas K. Polk off Pine Mountain, Georgia, at a range of over a half mile. While not specifically aimed at Polk, the gun was aimed at a group of officers, a common target of snipers.

    Jim
  8. Millwright

    Millwright Active Member

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    The Parrot was -and still is - a remarkably accurate cannon ! Now if it just had a recoil system rather than having to be relayed every shot........>MW
  9. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

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    JJ can u put up a picture
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Millwright, if you ever get to Hanover, PA, look on the square for 20-pdr Parrott No. 1.

    Jim
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