.45-70 at Two Miles: The Sandy Hook Tests of 1879


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DMK
September 17, 2007, 02:02 PM
THE SHOOTER at the heavy bench rest squinted as he aligned his .45-70 Allin-Springfield Model 1873 Army rifle on the distant target. The rifle fore-stock and barrel was cradled in a rest; the butt was supported by his shoulder. The rear sight was flipped up to its full height, so with no stock support for his head, the rifle tester from Springfield Armory worked carefully to align high rear and low muzzle sight on the speck that was the target - a surveyed 2,500 yards distant.

Holding his breath, he squeezed the 7-pound trigger. The rifle fired, and some 15 seconds later, signals from the target indicated that his shot had struck well inside the 6-foot diameter bullseye on a target well over a mile away!
http://www.researchpress.co.uk/targets/ballistics/sandyhook.htm


Open sights, no cheek weld, and a round that lobs it's projectile in an arc like a rainbow. It's amazing what a good shooter can do. Imagine what he could have done with a modern rifle.

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Jim Watson
September 17, 2007, 02:06 PM
Yeah, but in 1879 that WAS a "modern" rifle.

Within its limits - black powder, lead bullets, and starting out as a conversion from muzzleloader - the Trapdoor was one of the most thoroughly engineered and tested weapons going.

Hauptmann
September 17, 2007, 02:19 PM
The bullet probably had the velocity of a slingshot at that range.

DMK
September 17, 2007, 02:20 PM
Interesting tests too. It seems that they were testing comparable rifles and various loads for extreme range. The angles that these rounds had at impact were up to 45-50 degrees.

The bullet probably had the velocity of a slingshot at that range.
Penetration in pine boards and sand was impressive.

It certainly shows how damaging volley firing could have been.

ocharry
September 17, 2007, 02:41 PM
that 405gr bullet falling back to earth can do some major damage,, and the 500gr bullet even worse

at that distance with the Target standing vertical and the bullet coming down out of trajectory,,,,, the strike window has to be less than 12" front to back

minimum velocity for these heavy bullets,,,, probably in the 4-500 fps range,,maybe more

lots of stuff going on to make that shot

ocharry

lencac
September 17, 2007, 03:15 PM
Luck is always the wild card in the deck too.

rbernie
September 17, 2007, 05:15 PM
Knowing the distance in advance would seem to be key, for any rifle and any chambering and any shooter. ;)

Bartkowski
September 17, 2007, 05:24 PM
I would have a problem see much at that distance, so I would say that even though, they know the distance, had the most modern and thoroughly engineered gun, that it was a hell of a shot.

Mk VII
September 17, 2007, 08:07 PM
Did it really prove anything useful? Nobody is going to start lobbing bullets two miles (and the chances of seeing two miles in a straight line are pretty poor) - that's artillery country.

AndyC
September 17, 2007, 08:25 PM
Perhaps it paved the way for this: Killing shot made at distance of 2,430 metres (http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/KillingShot_2430Metres.asp)

Geronimo45
September 17, 2007, 08:26 PM
Nobody is going to start lobbing bullets two miles
Not nowadays... I think the spitzer-tipped modern rifle bullets don't work so well at the downward slope of the rainbow. Also believe - could be mistaken - that long-range volley fire was employed from time to time. A war between the Russians and Turks in 1870s or so comes to mind - and that was the purpose of the volley sights you see on some SMLEs. You aren't likely to hit a single, solitary target at that range, but a few hundred (or thousand) rounds coming down in that general area have a good chance of doing some damage.

Still a great shot. A guy with a 7-pound trigger, no free-floated barrel, no optics...

HorseSoldier
September 17, 2007, 09:29 PM
Did it really prove anything useful? Nobody is going to start lobbing bullets two miles (and the chances of seeing two miles in a straight line are pretty poor) - that's artillery country.

Back then, it would let you deliver potentially effective fire against enemy artillery if you did not have anything of your own to answer back with more effectively. I suspect that the target involved being a six foot bullseye was intended to be somewhat representative of that kind of target. By 1879 people were somewhat clued into the lunacy of advancing in close order ranks across open terrain (though they weren't quite sure how else to do it), but artillery was still a high value area target that worked best out in the open.

nicholst55
September 17, 2007, 09:33 PM
Did it prove anything useful? Maybe. Remember that in the 'Great War,' machine guns were employed as artillery, in battalion strength, firing indirect fire with notable success.

DMK
September 17, 2007, 09:41 PM
Did it really prove anything useful? Nobody is going to start lobbing bullets two miles (and the chances of seeing two miles in a straight line are pretty poor) - that's artillery country.

From the last page: While these tests may be considered mere oddities today, they proved extremely useful at the time. The fact that the 500-grain bullet penetrated through the three-plank target and eight inches into sand meant that it could kill or wound enemy troops at extreme distances, even if they were partially protected and that was significant military information in a period when it was quite usual for large masses of troops to form up within view of defenders. Although no average infantryman could be expected to equal Mr. Hare's accuracy, a large number of defenders shooting from barricade rests and given the proper sight adjustments for the range could severely harass companies and larger bodies of enemy troops at previously unheard-of ranges. It may have been these tests, and this line of thinking, that caused military theoreticians to employ machine guns for indirect, high trajectory fire in the same manner as artillery during the earlier stages of World War I.

daniel (australia)
September 18, 2007, 03:52 AM
A war between the Russians and Turks in 1870s or so comes to mind - and that was the purpose of the volley sights you see on some SMLEs. You aren't likely to hit a single, solitary target at that range, but a few hundred (or thousand) rounds coming down in that general area have a good chance of doing some damage.


You'd be thinking of the Russian attack on the Turks at Plevna, in 1877:

On the morning of July 30th, an artillery duel commenced and did not end until 3:00 p.m., when the Russians started their main troop advances. On the extreme left flank, Gen. Skobeleff got to within 600 yards of the Plevna outskirts and started to fire his artillery when heavy long-range rifle fire caused so many casualties that he withdrew beyond their range and view.

Prince Schachowskoi advanced to the village of Radisovo and killed the handful of Turks found there. Although his orders were to take the village and await new orders, he and his men were excited at their easy success. At 2:00p.m., the Prince sent a message to Skobeleff saying that he was taking the offensive with his two brigades. This was the moment for which Osman Pasha's riflemen had been trained. The Prince lined up his two brigades and ordered them forward towards the Turkish trench line.

Russian reporters and military analysts later said that these troops began taking hits from the Peabody-Martinis at 3,000 yards, but this must be considered an exaggeration. What was really happening was a plunging high trajectory fire that was being accurately adjusted to keep pace with the oncoming infantry ... Men were falling in fair numbers at 2,000 yards, and the losses increased as they marched ever closer to their goal atop the hills of Plevna.

The Russian infantry accepted these losses in their usual stoic manner, but by the time they were 600-700 yards from the Turks, they began to unravel and break up into clusters. Some groups lay down to avoid the hail of lead and were goaded to their feet by their officers who valiantly urged them onwards. The concussion of Turkish rifle fire was constant and was augmented by Turkish artillery firing shrapnel shells into the Russian line. As the Turk officers called out each new range change, the riflemen adjusted their sights and poured forth more bullets in the general direction of the Russian line...

PercyShelley
September 18, 2007, 07:58 AM
Thank you all for the good information in this thread. Some of the reading material is truly surreal.

I seem to recall that a company was prototyping an electronic volley fire sight for heavy machineguns recently. Things have come full circle, it seems.

Cameronafter8
August 5, 2008, 09:15 AM
If I have luck, a picture will show up showing 15 shots in a row in a three foot bull, at 1000 yards shot laying down back wards, from the Creedmoor style. Slightly cross legged, resting the barrel off your left foot, aiming from a high precision even for now sight one inch off the end of the butt.
The great Irish shooter Milllner developed this style.
Well, no luck. with the picture, sorry about that, but you can look it up, under Millner and Creedmoor.

Even knowing the rifle, range of close to 2 miles, dead still day and a 6x6 foot target that was very good shooting.

220_Swift
August 5, 2008, 09:37 AM
Definitely an impresive shot. But it is not 2 miles.

speck that was the target - a surveyed 2,500 yards distant

2,500 yards is 7,500 feet. There is 5,280 feet in a mile. So, that works out to 1.420 miles. Still a long way, but over half a mile short for two miles.

Harve Curry
August 5, 2008, 09:38 AM
I've shot that Creedmore position at 3 Points Range Arizona during the Metalic Silouettes with a 22 pistol. It's very steady.

What difference does it make if the 2,500 yard shot is useful. The point is the guy did it.
I recall reading that Mike Venturino had some 45-70's tested at Yuma Proving Grounds several years ago.
They tracked the flight path of the bullets and the modern tech's were impressed.

Cameronafter8
August 6, 2008, 03:29 AM
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Notice the comma, the men who wrote it, were well versed in English, therefor knew why they put the comma in there.

TAB
August 6, 2008, 03:42 AM
Penetration in pine boards and sand was impressive.
ever seen what a 3/4" steel ball barring can do to ply wood out of a sling shot? lets just say its deadly.

sarduy
August 6, 2008, 04:01 AM
it's not 2 miles away but is way far for irons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4FCVEjPLdk

jmorris
August 6, 2008, 11:26 AM
With a BC of .198 and a starting velocity of 1900fps a projectile will have -24807.8” (2067.3 FEET) of drop at 2500 yds and moving at 218.3fps. I assume a case of BSL or the older I get the better I was.

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