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1853 Enfield Vs. 1861 Springfield

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by confed sailor, Nov 18, 2003.

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  1. confed sailor

    confed sailor Member

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    I have an Armi Sport 1853 Enfield that I use for both Reenacting and hunting. As far as I'm concerned its the greatest BPML Military Rifle ever made.

    But I have some who swear by the 61 Springfield.

    So what this comes down to is how do y'all feel about the two.
     
  2. Ed

    Ed Member

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    Enfield, Thats why the northern soldiers would trade a springfield for it on the field when they could.
     
  3. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of the "Enfields" were foreign knock offs that suffered from poor metallurgy. If it was a knock-off (or any other gun) that wasn't good, the troops were quick to dispose of them and replace them with battle-field requisitions.

    The Springfield were really good guns and virtually all rifled muskets were accurate out to 500 yrds. Tests conducted by the Confederates in both the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee led them to (independently conclude) that the Enfield was more accurate at longer ranges (500 to 1000) yards. Hence the Enfield (particularly the shorter 2 band 33" model) was saved for the sharpshooter battalions.

    BTW, make mine Enfield too.
     
  4. Colt46

    Colt46 Member

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    Accuracy a result of heavier bullet

    The springfield used a 500 grain Minie as standard. The Enfield called for a 530 Minie. That may explain the difference in long range accuracy. Real long range accuracy seemed to favor the Whitworth with a .45 cal 480 grain bullet.
     
  5. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    They both pale in comparison to the Whitworth...
     
  6. confed sailor

    confed sailor Member

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    rifles of the line

    yes yes a whitworth shoots straight, but honestly do you want to carry something that bloody heavy in a line company? :D
     
  7. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    On the part about Enfields being preferred over Springfields, not necessarily so. Some Enfields (non British Spec) had back locks and were troublesome. Ignition wasn't guarenteed. I've read plenty of accounts of Union soldiers discarding their Enfields for Springfields. Not that a good Enfield was just as good if not better, but a lot of "Enfield" like guns were made on the Continent and would have been accepted by Her Majesty. These were produced to meet the American market and were eagerly sought after by purchasers on both sides.

    On the Whitworth, they looked like an Enfield and weighed about the same - unless it had the 14" Davidson side mounted scope.
     
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I thought the Whitworth weighed around 9 pounds, and the Enfield weighed around 5.5...

    Still, 9 pounds? Lighter than a Garand by a few ounces.
     
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike, you may be thinking of the musketoon with the 24" barrel. Standard Enfield rifle has a 39" bbl and the short rifle (used by sharpshooters) had a 33" bbl. The Whitworth has a striking resemblence to the 39" Enfield but is visually distinguished (sometimes by the safety on the lock) by the checkering (and sometimes the Davidson scope). I think the Whitworth sold to the Confederacy had only a 36" bbl and with its nosecap, looked like a snub-nose.
     
  10. Ed

    Ed Member

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    When I said it was perfered I meant the original, not a copy. I didn't know there were that many coppies around.
     
  11. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Can both pieces fire the same diameter Minie ball? I note one is called .58 while the other is .577 IIRC.
     
  12. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure you can swap bullets. It won't be optimal for accuracy but considering most battles were fought within 130 yards, it probably wouldn't matter.
     
  13. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    Do any of you know a good place to get shootable reproductions of either of these rifles?

    Thanks!
     
  14. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Cabelas sells reproductions of a whole bunch of muzzle loaders including both the 1861 Springfield and the Enfield. The Zouave also looks nice. I checked it out when I went to the Davison, Mich outlet. Can be gotten thru the mail, also. www.cabelas.com
     
  15. confed sailor

    confed sailor Member

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    Where to buy

    :eek: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    dont pay the gross mark-ups of Cabelas.

    Goto www.regtqm.com

    buy a musket from there, much better price.

    and the owner is a honest man also

    and for gods sake dont get a springfield.



    furthermore a whitworth rifle is heavier, i know this to be true, having toted both on the field. :p
     
  16. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Why buy a repro when you can buy an original. Check out Tommy Gunn's thread here at the blackpowder forum. If the barrel isn't good, Bobby Hoyt relines them.
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    In spite of the official designation of .58 for the Springfield, ammo was issued to Union troops in cases marked "Cal. .577" (some were marked "Cal. .57"), and was usable in both the Springfield and Enfield. Actual diameter ranged from .565" to .585", with most running .575".

    Thousands of rifles were bought by the Union from all over Europe, simply to keep the C.S. from getting them. When possible, Austrian, French, Prussian and Bavarian muskets were used to arm reserves, prison guards and the like, while the top quality Springfields and Enfields went to the front line troops.

    Enfields were good guns, but were made with a lot of hand fitting while Springfield rifle-muskets were machine made and with interchangeable parts. For every story about troops with one swapping for the other, there is another story of the reverse. AFAIK, those stories were true only when Union troops armed with the old .69 caliber or decidedly inferior European muskets swapped them for captured C.S. Enfields.

    Ammunition was produced in large quantities. For example, In the year from 30 June 1861 to 30 June 1862, Watervliet Arsenal alone produced some 2,900,000 ".574" (.58) musket cartridges, in addition to huge quantites of other small arms ammunition. While Frankford Arsenal would produce 1.8 million rounds of .30 ammo per day in WWII, that 1861-1862 production figure is quite good for the hand-made cartridges of the Civil War period.

    Jim
     
  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, on Dec. 7 I went to the Civil War Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, TN and you could buy (starting at $1.2k avg) an authentic Civil War era rifled musket that looked brand spanking new. That show literally has the largest # of collectors and enthusiasts and it's a must see show. Period Sharps infantry model rifles were going for about $3k up (with a double trigger one for about 6.5k). Also available were the Colt Revolver rifles for about $2.5k-3k.

    Good displays include one fellow from Missouri who has a real nice civilian model Whitworth. It came in a case with many of the accoutrements. He went to England to buy it (so it doesn't have Confederate provenance). Another had an entire line of Sharps calvary carbines. You'd think he was equipping a troop.

    Me? I bought some books.
     
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