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1861 Springfield questions

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by barakmd, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. barakmd

    barakmd New Member

    Greetings all. Well the BP bug has bitten me pretty bad and I recently purchased a new Armi Sport 1861 Springfield to go along with my Pietta 1860 Army and Uberti 3rd model Dragoon. I am planning on getting the 1861 out to the range tomorrow or the next. After doing a lot of research on firing and loading it I think I have the basics down (hammer to half cock, pour measured powder charge down barrel, lube Minnie and insert into muzzle, tap Minnie down with rod, install musket cap, aim, hammer to full cock and fire). I'll be using .575 dia 566 Gr soft lead Minnes and with a load of 50gr Pyrodex Select RS powder to start with and see how close this gets me on paper. I also understand that you must lube the Minnie prior to inserting it into the barrel. I have some Traditions wonderlube 1000 plus that I am planning on using for this. Without making my own lube, Is this something that will work appropriately for lubing the Minnie or is there something better? I have also read conflicting info that states I should still use some sort of patch or wadding even if using a Minnie. I don't believe this is the case for this type of musket rifle when shooting Minnies, but can anyone confirm this for me? Thanks again for helping out a newbie...
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  2. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    The Traditions lube should work and you should lube the grooves of he Minie. VBTW, I use SPG lube on mine. It is just what I have.

    I don't use any wadding when I shoot minie balls. Wadding was used in smoothbore muskets to help keep everything in place. Minie balls sat atop the powder.
  3. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Well-Known Member

    No patch. No wadding. And it's usual to pre-lube the bullets. I use an empty metal tin for musket caps...put the lube in, melt it, dip the bases of the Minie balls in so it fills the grease rings. Put the bullet on a paper towel to dry.

    A bit of advice - go over to the North-South Skirmish Association BB and ask for advice. The N-SSA has most of the experts on shooting Civil War arms there.
  4. barakmd

    barakmd New Member

    Thanks for the advice so far everyone. Can't wait to gets some shots down range out of this big ol stick!
  5. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    The way these things were originally loaded was with paper cartridges. A paper cartridge started out as a trapezoidal piece of fairly soft paper (old government documents were often used) wrapped around a dowel and glued down the side. The dowel was removed and a lubed Minie ball was placed in the end. The Minie ball was secured by wrapping the paper tightly with thread, both around the nose of the bullet and behind the bullet. Finally, the powder charge was poured in and the open end of the paper folded over.

    In use, the soldier would bite off the folded end of the paper and pour the powder down the barrel. Then he'd take the entire rest of the cartridge (the bullet still wrapped in the remainder of the paper) and ram it down on top of the powder charge. The Minie ball was undersized enough so that, even wrapped in the paper, it would slide easily down the bore -- even a bore already fouled after several shots. Upon firing, the hollow base of the Minie would expand to engage the rifling.

    BTW, one out of ten of the issued cartridges was supposed to contain a bullet with a zinc disk attached to a plug in the base, whose purpose was to scrape the fouling out of the barrel as it was being fired.

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