Revolutionary/Civil war question


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wacki
July 18, 2007, 11:49 AM
The main rifle of the Rev. War was the Kentucky rifle. Correct? Also, what was more common back then percussion or flint lock?

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SaMx
July 18, 2007, 11:49 AM
flint

there was no percussion I think

wacki
July 18, 2007, 11:52 AM
Cool and I assume Springfield percussion was the main weapon of the civil war? For the north at least. What was the most common rifle for the south?

Sistema1927
July 18, 2007, 11:53 AM
Muskets were more common than rifles. Even among the Colonials.

Dave Markowitz
July 18, 2007, 12:15 PM
The main shoulder arms during the Revolution were smoothbore flintlock muskets. The British used the .75 caliber Long Land Pattern, AKA "Brown Bess." During the early years of the war, the Colonials used either Brown Besses or locally manufactured muskets based on the British pattern.

After the French started supplying the Americans with arms, the French pattern .69 caliber muskets came to supplant the British pattern arms.

Rifles saw widespread use but the main weapons of the Revolution were smoothbore muskets.

The percussion ignition system was not invented until the 1830s, but it took awhile for it to replace the flintlock. Many flintlocks saw service during the Civil War, especially during the first couple of years.

The primary longarm for both sides during the Civil War was the .58 rifle musket (which is different from a rifled musket). This was mostly the M1861 Springfield and derivatives. Second most common was the British P1853 and P1858 Enfield in .577 caliber. Enfields were imported in very large numbers by both sides.

By 1865, most Union cavalrymen were armed with breechloading carbines, either Sharps, shooting linen cartridges ignited by a separate cap, or Spencers shooting rimfire rounds.

mustanger98
July 18, 2007, 09:04 PM
I'm agreeing with Dave Markowitz that the most common arm of the Revolution was either a British or French pattern flintlock musket. However, It's also true that the most common rifle of that war was in fact the flintlock Kentucky/Pennsylvania rifle. Both weapons had strengths and weaknesses... the rifles didn't lend themselves to volley fire. However, the Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina was a Colonial victory won by accurate aimed rifle fire that wiped out the British officer corps and caused the ensuing chaos. Those rifles were wielded by men who made their living's by hunting with the rifles they carried to the fight.

DutchmanDick
April 8, 2008, 05:26 PM
Ironically, Major Patrick Ferguson, a British officer who was killed at the battle of King's Mountain, had invented a decent breechloading rifle that, had it been adopted in quantity by the Redcoats, might have turned the tides of war against us. However, after his death the few Ferguson rifles that had been issued were withdrawn from service, and the Brits were stuck with their old Long Land Pattern muskets again.

SlamFire1
April 8, 2008, 07:23 PM
The main rifle of the Rev. War was the Kentucky rifle. Correct?

Only in movies. Or WWII propaganda films. Saw one that had the clever Americans hiding behind trees and picking the red coats off. May have happened once in Boston, but you can't hold ground hiding behind trees.

True Infantry Battles of the Revolutionary war were nasty slug fests at close distance. Shot and shell, buck and ball all humming around. Brains, teeth, buttons, arms, detacted from owners, flying around. Every General wanted to decimate the ranks of the enemy and then launch a bayonet charge.

The patched ball rifle was at a distinct disadvantage. True, it was more accurate, but people think increased rifle accuracy automatically means increased hit probability. Tain't so. You have nervous people in the loop.

Kentucky rifles were slow to reload. And it would not take a bayonet. Lots of people were bayoneted, and if you did not have one, at some point, you were going to get one. In the guts.

Rugerlvr
April 8, 2008, 08:09 PM
Brown Bess Musket. Rifles were uncommon. Standard infantry square tactics for the most part. ROF was the most important part of the battle, and the infantry square, with ranks loading and volleying was the order of the day.

Curator
April 8, 2008, 09:05 PM
British Brown Bess .75 caliber flintlock. French Charleville M1768, .69 caliber. American "Committee of Safety" Musket (from various contractors) .69 caliber flint lock. All three were used by Colonial forces. Rifles were used by militia, but only when they could be backed up by bayonet wielding muskets that could deliver volley fire and the point of steel.

Colt46
April 8, 2008, 09:29 PM
Other than King's Mountain most major battles had relatively few rifles. Daniel Morgan had some kind of special riflemans corps. It was quite influential in a few engagements. Riflemen were are rare breed that were often present, but in small numbers.

The civil war featured all sorts of arms as the industrial revolution was just taking off and influencing design.
Union regiments at Gettysburg were still armed with .69 caliber smoothbores in some cases.
Both sides relied on flintlocks in the early stages of the war and the south tended to hang on to theirs a bit longer.
For most of the war, the ideal weapon for the respective ordnace boards would have been the .58 Springfield of 1861 for the union and the 1853 Enfield for the South. The two weapons were remarkably similar.

redneck2
April 8, 2008, 09:37 PM
From a non-historian perspective, the time around 1850 saw rapid changes in firearm technology. In about 20 years it went from single shot flintlock to percussion cap single shot to multiple shot percussion to rimfire to centerfire. Firearms were changing about as fast then as computers and technology are changing today.

Hard to imagine being in battle then. You've got 10,000 men, and they've got 10,000 men. If you kill 8,000 of theirs and they only kill 5,000 of yours, you won. The thought of standing upright 50 yards in front of a grapeshot filled cannon that someone's ready to light off seems less than appealing.

IIRC, one of the reasons the British made treaties with Indians was to counter the Colonial's tactic of hiding behind trees and picking off the officers. They considered it quite uncivilized to target the officers.

dispatch55126
April 8, 2008, 10:10 PM
American Rifleman did a good write up about revolutionary rifle, many of which were Dutch. Remember, the colonials were essentially guerrillas that were formed into organized units.

As such, they would use anything they could find or get. Dutch, French and British military arms were the mainstay. The Kentucky was more the sniper and militia rifle. Being rifles, its accuracy was greatly improved over the musket and the citizen soldiers were more likely to have this than a "military" musket.

Bear in mind too that for Western cultures, the thought of a sniper was uncivilized and publicly scorned, yet privately deployed. It wasn't gentlemanly to secretly "murder" your enemy, yet by doing so, a single shot could effect the outcome. In fact, the US never sustained postwar a sniper program until Vietnam.

paintballdude902
April 8, 2008, 10:25 PM
the south used a type of enfield in the civil war

Hypnogator
April 8, 2008, 11:08 PM
Ironically, Major Patrick Ferguson, a British officer who was killed at the battle of King's Mountain, had invented a decent breechloading rifle that, had it been adopted in quantity by the Redcoats, might have turned the tides of war against us. However, after his death the few Ferguson rifles that had been issued were withdrawn from service, and the Brits were stuck with their old Long Land Pattern muskets again.

At the risk of thread drift, it's also interesting that Maj. Ferguson once had George Washington in his sights while Washington was riding, but didn't shoot because he considered it "ungentlemanly" to assassinate him. He might well have changed the outcome of the war, had he fired.

jrfoxx
April 9, 2008, 08:13 AM
AFAIK, from reading relaible (seemingly at least) sources, what others have already stated was the case. Muskets mostly, smattering of rifles, some being Kentucky flinters.

That aside, I have a Traditions Kentucky rifle flintlock I built from a kit and they are just a HOOT to load and fire (when no ones shooting back that is ;)). I HIGHLY recommend getting a flintlock rifle to anyone who digs history and guns, and wants to have a lot of fun shooting on the cheap. The low BOOM and giant cloud of great smelling white smoke just cant be beat! (again, when no ones shooting at you).Even the reloading process is kinda fun, and powder, patches, balls, and the kit guns are REALLY cheap compared to ANYTHING else. You can shoot all day for very little. Kinda nice with the cost of ammo what it is nowadays. Mine at least is surprisingly accurate. Capable of WAY more than I can squeeze out of it for now.

DutchmanDick
April 9, 2008, 05:38 PM
the south used a type of enfield in the civil war


So did the North. The P1853 Enfield .577 rifled musket was the second most widely used long gun of the American Civil War, second only to the Springfield 1861.

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