Armi 1861 Springfield


July 1, 2003, 08:41 PM
I recently purchased an Armi copy of the model 1861 Springfield. No manual or loading information came with this rifle. I'm looking to work up a load for this 58 caliber beauty. Bullet weights , powder charges any information would be helpful. Thanks for your help.


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4v50 Gary
July 2, 2003, 06:53 PM
OK, I don't have a Springfield but I've got 3 Parker Hale Enfields (3 band, 2 band & musketoon) that I shoot. Regarding the minie, it's a Parker Hale minie mould that was made by RCBS for Parker Hale in the '70s. I believe it's .577 and most Springfields like the .578. Never weighed my minies but I used SPG lube and 65 grains of FF, the historical load for the Enfield (and most Civil War guns).

The guys at the are the die hard enthusiasts when it comes to bullets, accuracy in firearms (both appearance & groupings). You may want to drop in and say hello.

Here's some info I got out of the Gun Digest Black Powder Loading Manual by Sam Fadala (1982 ed.):

Zouave Rifle (58 cal) w/1:48" twist. Projectile is .577", 530 gr., Lyman Minie mould 577611, 32 1/2" bbl:

powder mv me vel @ 100 yds energy @ 100 yds

50 FF gr 850 fps 850 ft pds 782 fps 720
60 FF gr 971 fps 1110 ft pds 879 fps 910
70 FF gr 1035 fps 1261 fps 932 fps 1023
80 FF gr 1095 fps 1411 fps 953 fps 1069

Mississippi Rifle (58 cal) w/1:48" twist. Same projectile & mould as above. 33" bbl:

50 FF gr 853 fps 857 ft pds 785 fps 725
60 FF gr 975 fps 1119 ft pds 882 fps 916
70 FF gr 1034 fps 1259 ft pds 931 fps 1021
80 FF gr 1102 fps 1430 ft pds 959 fps 1083

from Gun Digest BlackPowder Loading Manual (3rd ed):

Navy Arms 3 band Enfield (58 cal), 39" bbl, 1:48 twist. Projectile 505 gr. Buffalo Bullet

70 FF gr 1004 fps 1131 fpe 870 fps 849
100 FF gr 1195 fps 1602 fpe 1028 fps 1185

Sorry but the Lyman book has a lot of loads, but it depends on the bullet you're using. Bear in mind that the most powerful load isn't necessarily the most accurate load.

July 3, 2003, 06:07 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the web site, very interesting with tons of great links. I really like the 3 band Enfields, it was a toss up between one of those and the Springfield, but I found the Springfield at a good price.

I was able to obtain a copy of the Guns Digest black powder loading manual at That should bring me up to date on some of the powder charges. BTW where do you get your minie's. I've looked around on the net and haven't found a very good selection. Thanks for your help.


4v50 Gary
July 3, 2003, 09:29 PM
I mould my own. When I purchased my first Enfield, luckily it came with PH moulds. I've used those minies in both the 2 band and the musketoon. Shooting off-hand at about 350 yards distance, it kept hitting about 12-18" low from a paper cup I was shooting at. Now, if I fiddled with the sights, it probably would have been hitting dead on.

BTW, the N-SSA guys tend to shoot lower powder charges than I do. Some like 40 gr FF with a 405 grain Lyman Minie. I think mine are closer to 535 grains but have to pull a scale out to weigh them.

Regarding the guns, i wanted the Enfield b/c that's what was purportedly the most accurate of all rifled muskets (excluding breechloaders). The guns were equal out to about 500 yards, but afterwards, the Enfield pulled ahead. Not that I even have that distance to shoot at, but darn if I won't try someday.

Suggest you try to find some N-SSA group and try to buy some minies from those guys. This way you can try different types of minies and powder charges to determine what is most accurate for your Springfield. Then go out and buy the mould. That's better than collecting bullet moulds.

July 4, 2003, 05:28 PM
I hadn't considered molding my own bullets, but so far with the lack of quality minie bullets I've been able to find it looks like I may have to.I noticed your powder choice was all FFG. Have you ever used Pyrodex or any other FFG equivalent , or do you stay with straight black powder.

Also how do these rifles handle round balls. Sorry to bombard you with all these questions, but Hey that's how you learn.


4v50 Gary
July 4, 2003, 07:06 PM
I've a can of Pyrodex I've yet to use. I prefer black powder because rotten eggs (blackpowder) smells better to me than dirty socks (Pyrodex). Why FF? I use FFF for revolver, 4 F for my pan and FF for the main charge in any gun 50 cal & over.

BTW, the rifled muskets (minie ball guns) don't like round ball. I've tried it and it doesn't do very well. Stick w/minies.

Try to buy some minies off some NSSA guys and then test it out in your gun. Make note of what mould they're from so you can figure out what to buy. I cast because I can't afford (or am just too cheap) to buy those minies. Darn if they're not expensive. In fact, the only time I bought some was from a gun store that was closing and I got them cheap.

July 5, 2003, 10:58 AM
The price of the minies doesn't bother me as much as the lack of availability and overall choice of bullet weights. As for the smell of black powder and
Pyrodex, that's the sweet smell of the range.


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