Author Topic: Longrifles as military arms.  (Read 20946 times)

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2009, 07:21:18 PM »
Seems to me the service charge for the Baker was 60gr. of whatever powder they issued back then, to the military (probably musket powder but you never know).  Recoil would be low, of course, considering it shot a ball of around 300gr weight.

According to Bailey the Baker used 3 1/2 to 4 drams, 96-110 gr, depending on the time frame. In 1803 the powder was "FG" meaning "fine glazed".  The balls were true 20 or 22 to the pound depending on the use the ammo was put to. If a high rate of fire was needed they used the smaller balls and they were generally in paper cartridges. This apparently gave reasonable military accuracy for rapid fire at 100 yards, ie for shooting at masses of troops.
With the power charge listed it would have been a pretty effective weapon.
They used Fustian and Ticking and probably other materials for patching. I just skimmed the book for some info.

Dan

Very interesting.  With that powder charge, its much easier to see how they could get 300 yard shots with greater velocity than a 60 grain charge.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2009, 07:25:05 PM »
I did not mean to imply that 300 yards is not achievable, but with a round ball it is tougher.  Some deer hunters I knew could not hit a human sized target with a scoped modern rifle even when rested. 
<Snip>

DP

The human element is always a factor and only hits count.

A battalion order of June 1808 to British "Infantry Rifle" armed men as the unit is leaving for Portugal it appears in Bailey, pg 153.
"The true "Rifleman" will never fire without being sure of his man; he should if possible make use of forced balls, and only load with cartridges in case of necessity, as when a brisk fire is to be kept up. And he will recollect that a few direct shots that tell will occasion great confusion than thousands fired ar random and without effect..."
The "forced ball" was the tight fitting 20 to the pound ball used for precision shooting.
This pretty well tells the story of the rifle use in conjunction with the tactics of the time.
The rifleman was supposed to engage important point targets or at the very least NOT MISS.
The use of the American rifle in the revolution missed this to some extent when the commanders insisted the rifleman serve as infantry using standard tactics. A role they could not adequately fill.
The use of longrifles was not just a Patriot tactic. The loyalists/British used a lot of rifles as well and I assume that they were used much as the Patriot rifleman if the British would allow them to do as the Patriots did.
But the Patriot forces did not seem to whine about being shot at with rifles to the extent the Bristish did.

The value of the rifle on the battlefield was recognized by the British by the 1740s when they began to acquire, test and issue rifles. Braddock had a few "issue" rifled guns in his force at the time of his defeat.
So the value of the rifle as a special tool when used properly was already acknowledged by the British Army. AS a result there were numerous experimental and issue rifles in the British Army from the 1740s aside from the German mercenaries used in the American Revolution.
If the riflemen were used to attack point targets like command structure and artillerymen they were important parts of the tactics of the time. They reduced the effectiveness of the enemy and caused increased confusion in his ranks. If used as rank and file infantry they were far less effective and I am sure the knew this as well. Knowing this makes them less likely to stand in ranks and wait for the bayonet charge. But some commanders could not seem to think "outside the box" concerning rifles as Morgan apparently did.
So when we look at the riflemen being driven from the field by the British etc etc we need to take this into consideration.
Morgan's unit being attached to Dearborn at Saratoga was brilliant. It gave Morgan's unit a measure of protection from the bayonet and it gave Dearborn the ability to place accurate fire on important targets beyond the ability of the musket.
But it seems that this tactic was not carried on when Morgan returned from Saratoga. This is not the rifleman's error or failing it is a failure of higher command.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2009, 07:28:10 PM »
I don't see how replacing an underrib on the M1803 rifle with a forestock and barrel bands on the M1814 and M1817 was a "cost cutting method."  Forging and brazing an underrib had to be cheaper than forging bands, filing and fitting them, making and installing the band springs, etc. etc.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it would seem the underribs were cheaper to make and put on the barrels. 

The British were just as good at mounting underribs (if not better) and by their more advanced system of "jobbing out" parts of firearms, they more easily could have added underribs and yet they didn't do it on the Baker or Brunswick. 

I think it had to do with soft iron barrels and the bayonet. Perhaps the barrel band/fullstock assembly is stiffer than a barrel with a rib. Or perhaps they thought they were. Or perhaps it was thought to be the case at the time.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2009, 08:10:10 PM »
I believe there is too much made about the British complaints and supposed "whining" about the accuracy of the American Riflemen, by the British.  What the British were actually "whining about' was the fact their Officers got so much "individual attention" by the American forces.   We not only had no qualms about taking their Officers out first, but concentrating fire against them was always a high priority.  When there were NO riflemen present, we still concentrated fire against them with muskets and took out a larger percentage of their officers as a result. 

The British Officer Corps in America during the Rev War, were generally not their best Officers.  Many of their best did not want to come over here as they could make better names for themselves in Europe.  Some of the best didn't believe the War in America was that good of an idea.  A couple even believed the Americans had good cause for at least some of their grievances.

Lord Howe did a superb job of drubbing us time and again all over New York and New Jersey and then inexplicably sat on his duff and allowed Washington to get away.   With just a bit more aggressive campaigning by him, we would have lost the war.  

Cornwallis was also an excellent commander, though he just didn't have enough numbers to do the immense task assigned to him.

Burgoyne was more of a Fop who bought his commission and proved he was not up to being the commander of fairly large forces.  

But if there is anything that tells us of the mindset of the senior British Officer Corps during the Revolution, it is when Ferguson had Washington dead to rights in his sights and CHOSE not to shoot because Washington was a senior commander.   It wasn't that shooting a senior commander wasn't "considered sporting" or something like that, it was the fact the British Officer Corps THEN still believed that "Gentlemen did not deliberately attempt to take out other Gentlemen."  THAT was what they were really complaining about.  

Though the movie "The Patriot" has serious anachronisms in it and the character portrayed by Mel Gibson is a conglomeration of three Americans plus other stuff thrown in, they made a good encapsulated explanation of this fact when Mel Gibson and Cornwallis met.   Cornwallis speaks to the fact that Officers must not receive undue attention of there would be huge "armed mobs acting without discretion" and that "gentlemen would be expected to restrain and when necessary, constrain such activity."  This speaks to the "unwritten code" that European Officers and Gentlemen had held due to the ancient ravaging and pillage by Free Companies roaming through Europe.  British Officers still held to that "Code" and we Americans weren't playing by the rules.

During the Napoleonic era, I believe the British resorted to Rifle Companies and deliberately shooting Officers because they had the fewer numbers in many campaigns and THEY had to take every advantage they could.  

Snipers and Sniping CONTINUED to be seen as "assassins" right up to the present day.  After WWI, the British did away with their sniper program.  After WWII, we did away with our sniper programs.  After Vite Nam, they tried to do away with the sniper programs.  There are STILL many senior officers who "don't like snipers."  So the British mindset during the Rev War about those who deliberately take out officers has continued far into the present.

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2009, 08:14:06 PM »
I don't see how replacing an underrib on the M1803 rifle with a forestock and barrel bands on the M1814 and M1817 was a "cost cutting method."  Forging and brazing an underrib had to be cheaper than forging bands, filing and fitting them, making and installing the band springs, etc. etc.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it would seem the underribs were cheaper to make and put on the barrels. 

The British were just as good at mounting underribs (if not better) and by their more advanced system of "jobbing out" parts of firearms, they more easily could have added underribs and yet they didn't do it on the Baker or Brunswick. 

I think it had to do with soft iron barrels and the bayonet. Perhaps the barrel band/fullstock assembly is stiffer than a barrel with a rib. Or perhaps they thought they were. Or perhaps it was thought to be the case at the time.

Dan

Good points.  I think the use of the bayonet is one of the most important.  I also would add the M1817 LOOKED more like the issue Musket and thus was seen as more of a "military" arm.

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2009, 08:28:03 PM »

Morgan's unit being attached to Dearborn at Saratoga was brilliant. It gave Morgan's unit a measure of protection from the bayonet and it gave Dearborn the ability to place accurate fire on important targets beyond the ability of the musket.
But it seems that this tactic was not carried on when Morgan returned from Saratoga. This is not the rifleman's error or failing it is a failure of higher command.

Dan

I couldn't agree more.  When American riflemen were used correctly and when supported correctly, they did superb work as a "supporting arm."

I also agree that when they were used like standard infantry in major battles, that was a huge mistake and led to them being badly beaten.

Our use of American Riflemen also "made up" in some measure for us not having as many field pieces of artillery. 


northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2009, 09:51:35 PM »
I saw no mention of any standard military rifle for the British before the Baker in Baileys Book.  However, Burgoyne and the British had Hessian supporting units.  I cannot recall the number but Burgoyne had about 1/3 German makeup.  They had rifles as I understand.  I know next to nothing about the Hessian rifle, except that they tended to be large bore.  As to the charge of about 100 grains or so for the Baker, that would make some sense as they had a twist rate of 1-120 (one in ten feet).  I also had not read of much of any rifle use in the seven years war or F&I as it was called and seem to have seen it more in the Revolution.  Tactics change slowly with technology.  The generals of the Civil War studied Napoleon.  While admittedly it is a movie, There was a scene in Gettysburg where Longstreet, who strongly recommended against Picket's Charge pointed out how many of the men would die from artillery before the rifles wiped them out.  He said it was "all mathematics")  In the movie Gods and Generals, there was a scene from I think Fredricksburg, where two men were loading for one rifleman shooting from behind a rock fence.  A better shot?  I would agree that the American Rifleman was a force where proper deployment was not known.  Also consider that they lacked proper tactical training themselves.  At Saratoga, the riflemen ran into trouble when they started chasing a unit of British and got led into the main army.  One source stated Grenadiers.  Also when Morgan wanted to take out Simon Fraser's rally he called in Tim Murphy, likely his best shot.  The rifles themselves had to be a mixture of calibers and types.  I wonder if the length of barrel may not of been something of a handicap also?  As to why they took of the rib on the later models, mine was a SWAG.  Some do claim the term "military intelligence" is an oxymoron.

DP

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2009, 10:50:49 PM »
Though they weren't the Standard Issue that the Baker rifle would become, Bailey shows both a pattern 1776 Ferguson and 1776 Infantry Rifle on pages 83 and 84 of the soft cover book, "Pattern Dates for British Ordnance Small Arms 1718 - 1783"  I would love to know how many of the latter were sent here and how/where they were used.  

Looking at the 1776 Infantry Rifle Pattern, it is easy to see the Jaeger influence and the fore runner of the Baker.  

They did put the best shots up front "at the wall" during the Battle of Fredericksburg, when they could.  We have documented evidence of it.  (I studied that and the three other major battles around Fredericksburg when I lived there and had access to the National Parks research library at Chatham Manor.)  Not sure how common that might have been in the Revolution as the rifles were not as uniform as rifled muskets and 18th century rifles were made to more closely fit the person who owned it.  Also, as the Rev War rifles were of so many different calibers, it would have caused too much fumbling and confusion that the person who had the right balls and load for each rifle would not always get the correct rifle to load.  That would have also added to fumbling and slower loading times.  However, we also know that on sections of the wall at Fredericksburg, the soldiers stepped up individually with their own rifle musket to fire then went to the back of the line to reload.  While I have no documented evidence of that in the Rev War, I think that is more likely how they did it.  

« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 10:55:55 PM by Artificer »

northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2009, 12:27:48 AM »
You just stated a problem with rifle units in the Revolution, too much variation.  The Fergussen rifle as I understand it was a military flop.  The screw mechanism would foul out and get clogged with black powder.  Also I wonder about shooting a bare ball with BP and whether the thing wouldn't also lead or foul out and lose accuracy.  It never really caught on.  A lot of things that look good in theory failed in field use.  Our current 42 inch barrels are short for a Revolutionary rifle, many were 44-46 or longer.  Whiel the musket was turned into a spear with a bayonet I wonder if the long barrel may have been a handicap?

DP

northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2009, 02:04:24 AM »
Did a little more research.  From what I gather the Fergussen rifle also failed due to politics.  General Howe did not like Fergussen and disbanded his unit of 100 rifles.   The Hessian rifle and a British copy were used but the Hessian were stated to be no match for the American riflemen and were outdistanced.  Some of the specs I have seen on Jaeger rifles have shown a very fast twist such as 1-36 or so for a 62.  Also reading between the lines they must have used lighter charges as rainbow trajectories were claimed.  Tim Murphy, called out by Morgan to shoot Simon Fraser was said to have a swivel breech (a 2 barrel gun) as he not only shot Fraser but also aid at an estimated 330 yards?  Murphy was also supposed to have shot up a boat at a half mile (I think his legend grew in the retelling but no doubt he was an excellent shot and could shoot at a fair distance)  At the end of the war as a sniper he had 42 confirmed kills.  Again the problem was speed of reloading and fouling for the tighter loads.   Mostly they outdistanced the Jaeger rifles. 



DP

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2009, 08:41:24 AM »
While I agree fouling was a problem with the screw breech of the Ferguson, fouling was also a major problem with muskets.   What we don't know is how many rounds were fired and how fast before the Ferguson actually fouled enough to stop working. 

Also, it seems they did not provide adequate cleaning gear to keep the Ferguson operating.  Wire brushes were not unknown in that time period and a good bronze brush would have allowed the Ferguson to stay in the battle or at least fire a whole bunch of rounds before they went down.

An interupted screw thread would have solved much of the fouling problems and kept plenty of strength in the action.  Minie' rifle barrels also easily leaded up and they were more difficult to clean than an open breech Ferguson.  However, that would have required a good bronze bore brush.  Another item I don't think was issued with the Ferguson.

The Ferguson also suffered because it could not be made with interchangeable parts, that was still a few decades in the future.  Being hand made and so expensive, they could only get a little over a hundred in Ferguson's hands in a somewhat short order.

Still the Ferguson went through some good trials before it was accepted for use (and because they didn't pay for it.)  This page and the next points that out:

http://books.google.com/books?id=CWN1Nb9hfUkC&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=british+trials+for+the+ferguson+rifle&source=bl&ots=hL3iDtLtsh&sig=KuOnSES3NgrBQiJ08cFp3OQsnYc&hl=en&ei=as3KSpmVLIGolAf1ppySAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

Yes, the Ferguson also had to deal with the fact that it was such a new fangled piece of gear, conservative military minds didn't WANT to accept it and made excuses to get rid of it rather than keep it and improve it. 

However, had Ferguson chosen to shoot Washington, Ferguson and his rifle's fate would have been far different.




northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2009, 01:54:04 PM »
The minnies had grease grooves which alleviated leading.  Both the rifled musket and the smoothbore addressed fouling with undersized ball at the cost of accuracy.  Howe did not care about Fergussen's rifle, he did not accept Fergussen.  Fergussen impressed a group of folks at the Royal Court with the Rifle.  Howe and the English Generals did not like subordinates that did that sort of thing.  Burgoyne did not get the support he needed for his campaign for that reason.  Fergussen was described as an "upstart that needed to be put in his place"  Gates did the same thing to Benedict Arnold.  Competency and ability have little to do with politics, except that sometimes they cause embarrassment to the powerful that causes retaliation and to h--l with noble causes.  There were only about 100 Fergussens made I believe, which is not enough to have made them a significant force.  As stated the American riflemen were outdistancing the German rifles and the English rifles.  Fouling was a big problem for them also.  As for conservative military thinking, our military chose the 30-40 Norwegian Krag because it had a magazine cut off which permitted more efficient single shot loading.  A feature they felt was important to conserve ammunition.  I do not believe the Garand had that feature.

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2009, 03:55:24 PM »
The grease grooves in Minieí ball rifles did help alleviate leading, but they certainly didnít stop it.  You could get through a dayís hot fighting without the barrel leading up and often a second, but on the third day, the bores really started leading up.  When that happened, they usually dismounted the barrel and warmed it over a fire until the lead melted and ran out.  NSSA shooters have found that even with many of the modern greases that are far superior to anything available in the 1860ís.  I canít remember how many leaded barrels we had to dismount the barrel tang and clean the lead out in 23 plus years of working the NSSA championships.  The Ferguson rifle easily got through a dayís hot fighting, but needed scrubbing out on the second or third day as well.  Since most battles lasted only a day or perhaps at most two days in the Rev War, the Ferguson could get through them and be cleaned for lead afterward.  Also, even as late as the Civil War, battles usually only lasted a day or two and even Gettysburg was only a three day battle.  No battle rifle, even in the 21st century, can be counted on to work properly if you donít do a daily cleaning to ďat least get the chunks out.Ē

Already mentioned in the last post that only a few more than a hundred Fergusonís were made and brought over here.  So in deed they didnít make a huge impact in the Revolution, especially since Ferguson chose not to shoot Washington.  You are absolutely correct that Howe and his generals did not like how Ferguson got the rifles accepted and made and they disliked him personally immensely for it.  Of course had Ferguson taken the shot and killed Washington, things would have turned out very differently.  

The magazine cut off of the Krag and M1903 was actually a good feature, but like many things, it required training to use it properly.  It allowed you to keep a loaded magazine in reserve when fighting was not as hot, but when fighting got hot - with a flip of the cut off, you went through the whole magazine. Marines used this feature to great effect with their Springfield 03ís during WWI.  During the battle of the Marne, Marines opened fire at 800 yards and began killing so many Germans that their officers thought they were going against a unit armed only with machine guns.  (When they opened up at long range, they used the cut off and loaded singly Ė keeping the magazine in reserve for the time the enemy got close.)  During the battle of Belleau Wood, Marines opened up at 700 yards.  Then when the Marines closed with the enemy, they flipped the cut offs to use the whole magazine and fed their rifles with stripper clips and used the bayonet to great effect.  

The Garand did not have that feature and to top off the rifle, you hit the clip release to eject the clip and whatever rounds were left and slapped in a fresh clip.  After the battle was won, you picked up any loose ammo and stuffed them back into clips of 8 and kept spare rounds in their pockets.  If you were down to loose ammo only, you put the clip in the rifle and then loaded the clip with as many rounds as you had left.  It was a whole lot slower than using full clips, but you could still use every last round you had.  Staff Officers and Arm Chair Warriors have often written not being able to ďtop offĒ the clip in the Garand was a weak feature, which the box magazine of the M14 alleviated.  However in actual combat use, even against waves of Communist Chinese in Korea, as long as they had enough ammo Ė the 8 round clips worked just fine.   A damaged magazine can turn a 20 to 30 round gas operated rifle into a very slow loading single shot rifle.   Also, if you lost magazines in a running battle, the same thing happened.  Not so with the Garand as the ammo always came in clips.  But that's a discussion for another forum.  Grin.  

Gus
  
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 04:07:01 PM by Artificer »

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2009, 04:01:12 PM »
P.S.  What Ferguson did was "re-enacted" in a way by Spencer when he got his rifle into Abe Lincoln's hands during the Civil War.  The War Department wanted nothing to do with the Spencer and had turned it down flat.  After the demonstration in front of Lincoln, the rifle was accepted and did extremely good duty in the war even though there were not nearly as many Spencers used as Rifled Muskets.  Of course, the interchangeable manufacturing system was in place by then.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 04:08:26 PM by Artificer »

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2009, 05:23:49 PM »
I saw no mention of any standard military rifle for the British before the Baker in Baileys Book. 
<snip>
DP

I did not say they had a "standard" rifle. But rifles WERE issued, many either bought in Germany or made from German barrels. The 1776 pattern is an example of a early British service rifle.
The "Baker", actually called "The Infantry Rifle", was the first *standard* British military rifle just as the Harpers Ferry "Short Rifle" was the first for the US Army. The Baker does not appear in Bailey's book until chapter 8.
In reading Bailey, and I have not read all of it, one will find that the American Rifleman was no superman in every instance.
But there is also a certain mind set among the British that often misses the point so to speak. At Throgs Neck an officer is pointing out that they were able to defeat the American riflemen but ignoring the fact that the Riflemen denied them passage and saved Washington from what would likely have been total defeat and capture and casualties on either side were not the deciding factor. While the British officer was obviously blowing his own horn the fact remains that he did not advance on the riflemen, or so it would seem, until they retreated. Mission accomplished by the Riflemen, even thought the British considered them to be ineffective during the fight. So this gets down to a matter of perspectives. The British officer had the view that he had, by tactics taking cover behind trees, negated the rifleman's advantage and his riflemen killed a few Americans. The Americans see it as a rear guard action that saves the Army.
If we take this as a guide some of the defeats of riflemen may not have been what the British officer reported or saw from his *perspective*.
Regardless of how the riflemen performed the British jumped through a lot of hoops to get rifles to use in America to counter American rifles. So they had to be accomplishing SOMETHING. If nothing else forcing the British to buy rifles and set up or hire rifle armed units to counter them.
This begs the question:
If the British light infantry was so effective against riflemen why did the British set up rifle units and hire riflemen?

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2009, 07:06:49 PM »
The more I research the issue the more I see perspectives in support of the American rifleman and otherwise.  Fergussens unit was light infantry using rifles.  Howe disbanded the unit because they took too many  casualties, especially officers.  The comment made by the British Officer as to early morning being the best time to hunt riflemen as that is when their rifles are likely to misfire, is a statement of the rifles shortcomings, not that they "hunted" riflemen.  They had a different way of stating things back then and the British could be a bit pompous.  Essentially the sources state that the rifle took up to 2 minutes to reload and aim for accurate fire.  That is of course using adequate ball patch tightness and getting a solid aim on the target.  Muskets were loaded, pointed and fired with no time spent on aiming.  Essentially they would draw fire, take a few casualties and run like h--l at the riflemen before they could reload.  Also within 50 yards the rifle loses its advantage.  A lot of ground can be covered within even 30 seconds.  Also as I mentioned the Jaegers and the Fergussen were stated as being effective up to 200 yards.  The Fergussen was a 65 caliber and the Jaegers large bores.  The Fergussen used about 70 grains of powder which would be a lobbing shot.  The American were stated to be able to outdistance them.  Partly because the Americans may have used rifles more.    An English officer did make a comment that young officers would be wise to "get their affairs in order" before coming to America, referring to the high casualty rate from sniping.  The Baker was said to have been put in service for the Europeon wars and was used extensively against Napoleon.  The rifle use in the Revolution seemed to be a relatively new resource of which neither side at first knew how to use.  Francis Marion used riflemen but never closed with the British.  He is credited with being one of the fathers of guerrilla warfare which he learned in fighting the Cherokee. Morgan had his 190 riflemen fire twice and retreat at Cowpens, however they were stated to have cleaned out a few officers.  Mostly it seems that good riflemen were in too short of supply on both sides to be used as more than support troops.  Who knows?

DP

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2009, 07:29:24 PM »
70 grains of blackpowder a lobbing shot for a Ferguson?  I wonder about that.  I realize the Ferguson leaked some gas pressure from the breech, but how much higher would the pressure have been from forcing the ball into the rifling at the breech?   70 grains may have been an equilavent load to higher powder charges in muzzleloaders.  The problemis we will never know because we don't have an original Ferguson to fire and not 18th century powder.

Tests have been done on screw barrel pistols where the ball was larger than the bore.   They had noticeably higher velocities with smaller amounts of black powder. Those systems probably sealed the breech a bit better than the Ferguson, though there still would have been leakage around the threads. 

While I have no eperience with shooting either a Ferguson or a screw barrel rifle, I do have some experience shooting original Flintlock Hall rifles from a good friend's collection.  The Hall most likely leaked more gas than a Ferguson and yet it also provided higher velocities at lower powder charges than muzzleloaders. 

northmn

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2009, 07:33:46 PM »
I looked up the specks on the Fergussen from a variety of sources.  I believe I got the specs from the American Rifleman or some such source.  The individual had some experience with originals and stated 72 grains.  Here are some other intersting points on the Fergussen.   It was very weak in the lock area.  The individual that inspected those he could see said that all of them had a horseshoe iron repair around that area.  A picture of an original showed one.  The ball definitely did not force fit into the bore as one of the problems with the Fergussen was that it would leak powder around the ball after being carried and sometimes would get down to half charge.  A real tight fit ball would not load after shots were fired due to fouling but BP will tend to expand the ball to bore on firing. It might be a little faster but I doubt if much.  His specs on the powder charge was 72 grains to be exact.  It makes sense as a heavier charge would probably foul the system too much.  Also I have enough black powder cartridge experience plus to know that you cannot drive a naked lead ball with any real velocity. They grease the end of the cylinders on revolvers.  Lube is extremely critical for accuracy in a BPC firearm.  Also a heavier load might foul the bore to the point that continued shooting would make it inaccurate.  There was some dispute as to fouling the action, some said the originals would go awhile, some said after about 6 rounds.  Fergussen may have made his demo with very good sporting powder and then in the field if used with military powder it may have fouled.  The Fergussen kind of reminds one of the cavalry carbines of the Civil War, like the Maynard.  Sources on the Jaeger said the same basic thing.  That they had a rainbow trajectory and were hard to hit with at any range.  The American riflemen could outshoot in distance.   There were only about 200 Fergussen rifles made and only 100 riflemen under Fergussen.  He was light infantry, but one of the reasons Howe disbanded his unit was due to excessive losses.  They only assume he had his own rifle at Kings Mountain because he was there.  When I got to thinking about shooting a naked lead ball I got very curious about the arm.  Also it could be muzzleloaded at a higher charge but would that hurt the screw mechanism with the steels at the time?  The Baker was chosen as the first official rifle because it could be loaded to a variety of power levels if desired.  Some say Pluckett loaded a little heavier for long shots.  Powder charges have always been a complaint about loose powder breech loaders.  While I think the Fergussen was tight, some loose powder breech loaders would also spit in the shooters face.  Like I mentioned about the Ross rifle, some good ideas flop in the field.

DP

Offline TPH

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2009, 08:30:22 PM »
The grease grooves in Minieí ball rifles did help alleviate leading, but they certainly didnít stop it.  You could get through a dayís hot fighting without the barrel leading up and often a second, but on the third day, the bores really started leading up.  When that happened, they usually dismounted the barrel and warmed it over a fire until the lead melted and ran out.

I'm sorry, but where is your documentation for that? I've never heard of that practice at the time of the ACW nor at any time since then. Sounds like an "old veteran's" tale to amuse the grandchildren to me. There is very little if any lead left in the bore after shooting a large number of Miniť balls.

NSSA shooters have found that even with many of the modern greases that are far superior to anything available in the 1860ís.  I canít remember how many leaded barrels we had to dismount the barrel tang and clean the lead out in 23 plus years of working the NSSA championships.


I just asked a friend about this. He is an N-SSA shooter of over 15 years experience in competition who just returned from the Fall Nationals that took place in Winchester last weekend and he is unaware of the practice of, as you put it, "dismounting the barrel tang" at their events and is not aware of any reason why it would be necessary. As with any championship shooter, he keeps his barrels scrupulously clean and will not have a breachplug removed for any reason - a strong borelight makes it unnecessary. I understand you have 23 years of experience with the N-SSA but I wonder why removing the breachplug would be at all necessary. Personally I started shooting rifle muskets using the Miniť ball well over 30 years ago and have never had to remove lead from the bore in any of them. Nor have I seen any originals that I have unbreached, only about 7 or 8, that needed to have lead removed and some were obviously heavily used. Their biggest problems were usually caused by careless cleaning that left a cake of fouling in the breach. Maybe your experiences "dismounting the barrel tang" was made necessary more by powder fouling improperly removed rather than lead fouling? My apologies, not questioning your word, just curious.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 08:31:33 PM by TPH »
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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2009, 10:03:59 PM »

 "...even with many of the modern greases that are far superior to anything available in the 1860ís".
Very few modern greases work well as a BP bullet lube, some can combine with the fouling to form very hard difficult to remove "stuff" in the bore.
Research will show that the more successful bullet lubes in BP shooting are "old school". Using modern greases often greatly increases problems with fouling of both types, hard BP fouling causing leading.
But they are also generally soft and the mil spec lube was fairly hard. Probably with Japan wax and/or beeswax and ?? I don't have the interest to look it up.

Heating a barrel to melt the lead out?? I would not try it. But who knows what was done as a field expedient?

Dan
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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2009, 12:31:20 AM »
Hi Guys,
Pattie would probably roll over in his grave if he saw his name spelled "Fergussen".   Speculation over the disbanding of his rifle corp and the lack of interest in his rifle by the British after his wounding has been filled with a lot of conspiracy nonsense and claims about Howe's personal feelings.  The rifle corp was an experiment, organized for one campaign, and it did pretty well but not well enough to become much of a priority.  Pattie himself, was not obsessed with his invention and was more interested in military tactics and leading men than his rifle.  The Ferguson rifle had a weak stock, was expensive and time consuming to build, and required well trained soldiers to be effective.  Concerning fouling, rather than speculate, why not search the archives of this bulletin board.  They contain a lot of information about buildling and shooting Ferguson's by those of us who have actually built and shot them.  Look up posts by Bryan Brown in particular.

dave       
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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2009, 05:28:15 AM »
I am having problems finding the discussions.  I used the Search mode.  The one source I looked up stated that some repos fouled at about 6 shots or so, but that the originals may have worked better.  Possibly repos were a little tighter?  Really would like to find the discussions.  The Ferguson rifle sounds like it fits that saying about if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.  I know of no loose powder breech loader that was ever really popular.  It took the cartridge to get them going.  I will gladly bow to direct experience with a specific firearm, but I would not think after a couple of shots, you could hit a barn with an unlubed ball.

DP
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 05:33:15 AM by northmn »

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2009, 07:31:16 AM »
northmn,
Below is a copy of an old thread on this bulletin board that may help you.

dave

Here are some tib-bits from Ricky's posts over on the Traditional Muzzleloading Forum  It is rather long, my apologies if I am breaking any rules  reposting

 

02-16-09 23:24 PM - Post#681669     
    In response to grzrob

OK Thanks Jethro!!!!! Now the story of the picture.
This was early in my research about 3 years ago.
The backwards hat is not a fashion statement! You will notice the hat has a solid back no open space for the snap. This is to keep the heat off my fore head! I later found out that the only usefull purpose for a tri corn hat it to deflect the heat off your head! You do not want a wide brim hat to reflect the heat pouring out of the breach in a clockwise motion! I have since learned that a wide brim can be used if it is pulled down close to your eyebrows! The heat will not burn you but it is HOT!
You will also notice the orange cone of fire pouring out of the muzzle. The Ferguson shoots an undersized ball so the gas will pour out around the ball before it exits the barrel. The Ferguson had very deep groves. The ball just barely rides
in the deep groves. This gives a place for the fouling to gather. As a result I have shot my Ferguson up to 48 rounds without fouling up the bore. Round 48 is just as accurate as round 1.
Three times I have gone to the range with just 48 balls! One of these days I will try over 50 rounds! This fine picture was taken by my Friend
and Ferguson Rifle research cohort Bryan Brown.
You can also see most of the powder flask I made
for the rifle. Most of the time I am demonstrating the Ferguson Rifle I am in proper 18th century garb. None of the pictures I have in proper costume are near this good! This is me in my native costume. If I was not shooting the Ferguson my hat would not be on backwards!!!

You folks are in for it now, Jethro done showed this cave man how to post pictures!

02-17-09 10:07 AM - Post#681783     
    In response to MSW

If you can adjust to the hold under sight picture
of a rifle with the fixed sight at 200 yards, it is very accurate. To hit a small gong at 40 yards
I have to hold about 10 inches under the target.Of course this weapon was designed to hit man sized targets, not small gongs. Due to the short chamber of my rifle the fixed sight impacts at 160 yards. The leaf sight is pretty much dead on at 300 yards. It is perfect for 18th century open field warfare. Taking out soldiers at 200 yards sharpshooters taking out cannon crews at 300 yards. Ferguson placed his rifles in the British Light Infantry who did not fight in the open field.
On the 48 rounds the rifle was still cooking when I ran out of ball ( at 48 rounds )
Twice I have been to events where I did a 10 round live fire demonstration. I then loaded and
let 20 folks fire the rifle. After this I would take the rifle on an 18 round woods walk! No matter how I shuffle these numbers I always come up with 48! I hope to get my act together and break the 48 barrier this year. I can't load any of my muzzle loaders 48 times without cleaning
a couple of times during the span. 48 accurate shots without cleaning ain't bad for the 18th century! I will drag out my camera and Ferguson and take some close ups of the screw breach.


02-17-09 22:38 PM - Post#682128     
    In response to Hawken12

It has a real dark oil stain like the originals. That was me at the Spring Shoot last year. The two fellows below me kind of aiming up hill were shooting at a pig silly-wet at 300 yards! I had hoped to be able to move a couple of the 4 foot bears out to 300 but this did not come to pass.
The pigs were about a foot tall and 2:1/2 feet long. We did not actually hit the pig but most of the shots would have hit the bigger bear target.
The fellow with the blue shirt missed the pig by an inch or two low! We are talking about shooting
a round ball, from a flintlock with a military trigger pull, offhand at 300 yards! In the 45 minutes of time I had to work with we shot about 38 rounds before the clock ran down. One of the modern shooters watching the demo noticed that during the string of shots we had fired over the 45 minutes, we did not clean the rifle even once!
I doubt I will be doing this at Friendship again
There is just no good place to set up my demonstration at Friendship. If I take the Ferguson to Friendship I will just shoot it behind the blockhouse one afternoon. Just for grins.

02-18-09 11:45 AM - Post#682292     
    In response to grzrob

I forgot the important part, melt the substance in a small cup and dip your cleaned breach threads
in the wax. I ususually prop up the breach, top
side down on a paper plate or slab of clean wood
if at an out door event.

02-18-09 18:51 PM - Post#682450     
    In response to grzrob

The story is not over yet! After I went to the range with the tallow and proper .615 ball, after a few shots the bore would foul up and the accuracy would go down the tubes. Mind you that in 1776 Patrick Ferguson shot close to 50 rounds
in his famous demonstration in front of the King.
So my work was not over. I got to thinking.....back in the day when I loaded lead bullets in my handgun cartridges, the lead bullets always had a grease ring or two to keep the bore slick and avoid rapid lead fouling.
You can't run naked lead balls down a rifled barrel with out grease of some kind.
So the next time I melted the tallow for the breach, I took a pair of tweezers and dipped the .615 balls in the tallow also. When I went back to the range the next time, with this tallowed breach and ball, my Ferguson Rifle
became the 1776 assault rifle just like Ferguson's rifle back then. That is when the fun started. I have dipped the balls in pure bees wax
and this works pretty good.
When I post tomorrow I will discuss the most pain in the arse aspect of the Ferguson rifle!!!

02-19-09 17:00 PM - Post#682875     
    In response to Hawken12

Well folks I have mentioned the high points ( rate of fire, accuracy and the non fouling ) so just to be fair I will now show you the warts!!!!
After I had the shooting part figured out, then I Had to figure out how to clean the dang thing! Dang near all of the shine goes off the penny when you get to this stage! Black powder, lead and tallow combine for the nastiest fouling you will see in a gun!
When I got the Ferguson home I went to the internet and typed in Ferguson Rifle. This one fellow said to clean it using solvent soaked patches ( about a 100 ) and 45 minutes of elbow grease. He was dead right about the patches and grease. So for the next two months I tested different cleaning methods. All kinds of vile chemical concoctions ( I wished this site had spell check! ) I got the time down to 20 minutes and 50 patches. I could not imagine a whole company of riflemen having to clean in this way.
There had to be a better way. I was at King's Mountain national Park with Bryan and he suggested using boiling hot water. I had used water before but not boiling hot. The Ferguson Rifle's barrel is held in by captive barrel wedges. It is easy to remove the barrel take out the single lock screw, the tang screw and the forward sling mount screw. Then you run into another problem. When you take the barrel out of a muzzle loader you just grab the muzzle and lift it out of the stock. If you do this with a Ferguson you will split the stock in two due to the breach that runs all the way through the rifle. The best way I have found is to turn the rifle up side down with the barrel resting on your knee. Gently tap the breach with a wooden mallet and the barrel will fall out of the stock.
On you lap ( you should be setting down for this! )
So I took out the barrel and rested the muzzle on a flat board and the tang screw in a notch on a tree. Bryan boiled up a half gallon of water So I poured the very hot water down the barrel from the breach end. The first lesson I learned is how fast a cold barrel will heat up when you are pouring boiling water through it!

When the water first exits the muzzle it is the nastiest looking black mess you have ever seen!
You keep pouring and the water will come out clean! I have the breach and lock on another flat board and I pour the super hot water on them. I also have to level the barrel and pour down the breach. The lock cleans right up, the barrel will be good but you still have to wire brush the screw breach itself and run tight patches through the breach itself to get the gunk out of there.
A few solvent soaked patches will clean the barrel now. Mopst everything is ready for the Balistol now except....The actual breach plug of the rifle ends at the back of the screw breach.
I do not understand why they did not have the actual breach tapped at the same time they tapped the screw breach threads. They did not so the actual breach is flat kind of in a shallow hole.
You will need to have a small 45 degree tool and clean this area because it is subject to draw rust! So now Thanks to Bryan, I can clean the Ferguson in 15 minutes and about 15 patches.
You guys still want one??

So I have showed the positive and negitive, why did the British not support Patrick Ferguson
rifle program? You can't use the excuse "because the British did not use rifles in there battle plan".

The British had around 1200 model 1776 Tower rifles over here. 800 of them were delivered before the first Ferguson was produced.

The Jaeger riflemen had over a thousand of there own rifles and some issue rifles.

When the British won a battle or skirmish, The captured American rifles were given to Loyalist
Rifle companies.

So the British did use rifles.

My thoughts on why the Ferguson was not adopted for the British.

1. Cost. The Ferguson rifle cost 4 pounds to make. A Brown Bess cost 1 pound. They had bean counters in 1776 also.

2. The Ferguson rifle has a weak stock where the massive breach passes through the wood. All of the original Ferguson rifles in US museums have repairs in this area. Ferguson Ordinance rifle # 2
the one he demonstrated in front of the king, the one now in the tower of London, had a repair in this area. 18th century soldiers were very rough with their firelocks. When in formation the British liked to slam the butts of their muskets on the ground to make the ground shake! They were
trained to used their muskets as a club, battering ram and bayonet paltform. The Ferguson Rifle was too delicate for the Army! I have been shooting mine for several years now. I treat it like I treat my squirrel gun!

3. Tallow. Each rifle had to have tallow on the threads and ball to operate. The vision of Ferguson running through the British camp the night before Brandywine scrounging all of the tallow he could find, still troubles me. Something is wrong with this picture!

4. Cleaning. 1/2 gallon of boiling water per rifle. When Patrick Ferguson started this project
he wanted 200 rifles for his unit. When Lord Townsend seen the prototype rifle he suggest they buy hundreds of them. Let say Lord Townsend's plan was adopted. Lets say they produced 500 Ferguson Breach loading rifles. That adds uo to 250 gallons of boiling water to clean these rifles.
250 gallons of boiling water in the 18th century?

5. The breach opens up after one full turn. If you slip up and make two turns the breach falls out on the ground. You now have a pike. The breaches were hand fitted to the rifle, they were not interchangable.

This pretty much concludes the information in my article, and is by far my longest post! I have to go rest my two index fingers now!!
 
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Dave_Person
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     Re: Ferguson rifle
ę Reply #25 on: February 22, 2009, 06:45:43 PM Ľ     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Bryan,
I have a J. Tanner 0.615 mold, and a beeswax and tallow mix.  The mix may be 50:50 I don't remember.  I will try your ratio.  I melt the wax and dip the breech into it and also use it on the ball.  With that setup I could shoot the rifle at least 10 times without cleaning but the accuracy was not acceptable.  I also could barely get 60 grains of 3f swiss powder into the chamber.  If I recall Ernie Cowan recommends that you don't fill the chamber with powder.  Anyway, the best accuracy that I have achieved with my Ferguson has been with the 0.648 ball.  I completely agree with you that the smaller ball makes sense because Ferguson would have designed a rifle around existing military ammunition to ease the logistics and supply.  I will have to try your tallow and beeswax mixture to see if that does the trick.  Thanks Bryan.

dave

 
 
 
 
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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2009, 12:28:45 PM »
The grease grooves in Minieí ball rifles did help alleviate leading, but they certainly didnít stop it.  You could get through a dayís hot fighting without the barrel leading up and often a second, but on the third day, the bores really started leading up.  When that happened, they usually dismounted the barrel and warmed it over a fire until the lead melted and ran out.

I'm sorry, but where is your documentation for that? I've never heard of that practice at the time of the ACW nor at any time since then. Sounds like an "old veteran's" tale to amuse the grandchildren to me. There is very little if any lead left in the bore after shooting a large number of Miniť balls.

NSSA shooters have found that even with many of the modern greases that are far superior to anything available in the 1860ís.  I canít remember how many leaded barrels we had to dismount the barrel tang and clean the lead out in 23 plus years of working the NSSA championships.


I just asked a friend about this. He is an N-SSA shooter of over 15 years experience in competition who just returned from the Fall Nationals that took place in Winchester last weekend and he is unaware of the practice of, as you put it, "dismounting the barrel tang" at their events and is not aware of any reason why it would be necessary. As with any championship shooter, he keeps his barrels scrupulously clean and will not have a breachplug removed for any reason - a strong borelight makes it unnecessary. I understand you have 23 years of experience with the N-SSA but I wonder why removing the breachplug would be at all necessary. Personally I started shooting rifle muskets using the Miniť ball well over 30 years ago and have never had to remove lead from the bore in any of them. Nor have I seen any originals that I have unbreached, only about 7 or 8, that needed to have lead removed and some were obviously heavily used. Their biggest problems were usually caused by careless cleaning that left a cake of fouling in the breach. Maybe your experiences "dismounting the barrel tang" was made necessary more by powder fouling improperly removed rather than lead fouling? My apologies, not questioning your word, just curious.

I don't remember if I got that information from the folks on the NSSA Ordnance Committee or in my research at Chatham Manor.  Yes, I was also quite astounded that heating the barrel was done for that.  And I have never done it and wouldn't do it myself.   The practice of removing the tang was only done by "experienced armorers" as stipulated in both the Union and Confederate Ordnance Manuals.   (The Confederate Manual is primarily a copy of the Union Manual, though there are some differences that were placed in it when it was printed in 1863.)  I haven't reread the entire sections of my copy of the Confederate Ordnance Manual, but I don't think it is listed in there.  I recall it came from other original papers.  Ordnance Manuals of the day through Technical Manuals printed as late as during and shortly after WWII do not cover all the techniques that Armorers or Depots did when working on military arms.  

For example, have you ever read how to get a minie' ball skirt out of a barrel when it gets separated from the forward section of the minie' ball?   They would try to get it out by grabbing onto it with a worm, of course.  What happened if that didn't work?  They pulled the tang and normally drove it out forward.   Matter of fact, have you ever read of a Minie' ball skirt separating and getting stuck in a rifle musket barrel in original paperwork, Ordnance Manual, etc?  It may be listed somewhere that I missed, but I don't recall ever reading it in the Ordnance Manuals.  Yet, this happens often enough for NSSA shooters that even if one didn't have it happen in one own's rifle musket in 10 or 15 years, chances are pretty sure the person has at least seen or heard of it happening to someone else's gun.   It has been suggested this didn't happen as much for Federal Soldiers as many of their issue Minie' balls were actually swaged in large machines at the arsenals rather than being cast.   I don't know if that is true or not, as from the early 70's to when I stopped going to the NSSA nationals a few years back, I didn't know of anyone who made or used swaged "Original Style" Minie' balls.  I do know that many of the Minnie' Balls used by Southrons were cast as they didn't have as many (if any) of those swaging machines at their arsenals.

I also know that in extraordinary circumstances, many things are done to get rifles back into the hands of troops that are not the normal maintenance procedures and some can be downright dangerous.  The coiled copper cases in Trapdoor Springfields would easily separate and get stuck in the chambers.  They issued special case extractors for that.  What we don't know is how many times the cases separated and that gas blew open the trap door and harmed the shooter.  Such information is very hard to impossible to find today.  Prior to and during WWII, M1903 rifles with "low serial numbers" (denoting they were made before they got the receiver heat treat down) continued to be issued and rebarreled right up to the last couple of years in the war.   The actual numbers of receivers that blew up were small, so they "took the chance" of continuing to shoot those receivers.    Of course, if you were the unfortunate fellow to have the receiver blown up in your face, it didn't matter how low was the percentage of risk.  Also, if you have ever seen the picture of Armorers sitting on a pile of M1 Garands shortly after the D Day landing and read many of the accounts of how they cannibalized Garands to get them back in the hands of troops who desperately needed them, it never mentions whether or not those Armorers used headspace gages.  I'm assuming they did, but we have no proof one way or another.   As a military armorer in WWII, I WOULD have put Garands back together from cannibalizing rifles during or right after D Day without using headspace gages, but there is no way I would ever do such a thing in even normal combat support operations.

NSSA shooters also don't shoot full power service loads in competition.  Most of them shoot a charge somewhere between 28 and 32 grains while the service load was 60 grains, or almost double what NSSA shooters commonly shoot.   You are absolutely correct that the best NSSA shooters do keep their barrels scrupulously clean, but there are a WHOLE bunch of NSSA shooters who don't.  I'm sure your buddy can verify that.  Grin.   During the years I was around the NSSA, I can't begin to tell you all the "special" or "secret" formulae for cleaning solvents, bullet lubes, etc. I heard people talk about using in their guns.   However, NSSA shooters have access to modern bronze bore brushes that were never issued to troops in the "Un-Civil War."   The hot water the original soldiers used to clean their barrels did nothing to get rid of leading.  They also did not have access to bronze breech plug scrapers that were not around during the war, either.   Even with those available, I've pulled breech plugs that had such a huge mound of hardened powder residue on them that the rifle muskets either would not fire correctly or uniformly.   I can not prove it, but I'll bet that happened on original rifle muskets as well and they also would have had to pull the plugs to clean them off when it did.  

The closest thing that NSSA shooters do to what happened during an intense real Civil War battle (that I know of) is to shoot the "Clay Pigeon Board" Team Match where you have an 8 man team firing at 32 clay pigeons.   That's four clay pigeons for each shooter fired as fast as they can safely load and shoot. Anyone who has witnessed that competition at the Nationals knows they shoot pretty darn fast.   Some shooters MAY actually get off 6 rounds fired rapidly, but that's about it for rifle muskets and of course they are using reduced charges.   IOW, you just don't see what the rifle muskets actually went through and what shape they were in after firing a full 40 rounds of 60 grain charges pretty fast and fairly consistently and THEN having even more ammo brought up to them to shoot.   Now, it's true that wasn't done at every battle and actually going through a full issue of 40 rounds was normally not common except for troops heavily engaged during a major battle.   General Jackson had a standing order that any of his men that fired more than 28 rounds in a days battle would be court martialed for wasting ammunition.  However, we know his troops fired more than that in many battles and I've never actually heard of any of his troops actually having been court martialed for shooting more rounds.  

Many, if not most of the original rifle muskets used by NSSA shooters were never issued during the war.  They were in just too good of shape when the guys started using them in the 1960's.   The NSSA used rifles mostly came from storage or state arsenals prior to them being sold as surplus.    The rifle muskets that had been heavily used and abused in combat would have been sold as surplus or scrap after the war.    Bannerman and I think it was White's surplus outfits in New York had PLENTY of unused muskets in the 1880's until they went out of business in the early 20th century.  That's where most of the original guns used in NSSA competition originally came from.  So, it is unlikely they would have had the breech plugs pulled.  It was almost never necessary to pull the breech plugs just to clean them in storage.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 12:38:56 PM by Artificer »

Offline Artificer

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Re: Longrifles as military arms.
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2009, 12:29:51 PM »
Dave,

Thank you for pulling the posts on the Ferguson rifle.  Really enjoyed reading them.