percussion rifle

3

Colt Model 1855 Artillery revolving carbine

Made by Colt Manufacturing Co. c.1856-64 in Hartford, Connecticut - serial number 2499.
.56 caliber cap and ball, five-shot cylinder, Root sidehammer singel action, bayonet lug for sword-bayonet.

The carbine version of the equally rare Colt Root military rifle, nice firepower for the time.

swedebeast  asked:

In terms of range and accuracy, just how big of a difference does rifling do to muskets? Was there a revolutionary step above those that did not rifle their muskets? Was there ever a battle when it was decided by rifled barrels versus smooth-bore barrels?

Good question. Traditional history holds that the rifle was considerably more effective range-wise than the musket. Old history books usually tell you that a musket’s maximum range is a hundred yards, whereas a rifle’s is three hundred.

The thing is, modern tests combined with closer studies of a range of sources (rather than a few well-known ones) more or less disprove this. It seems a hundred yards was actually a fairly comfortable range for a musket. Hitting at two hundred yards, while certainly difficult, was not utterly impossible. The reason commanders preferred a range of fifty to a hundred yards with muskets is more to do with the tried and tested methods of massing your firepower rather than the idea that nobody could hit anything from far away (and, as a side-note, yes, 18th century infantrymen were actually taught to aim individually, as opposed to the myth that they all just pointed their weapons in a general direction and “aimed low”).

As for the decisiveness of muskets versus rifles, it’s difficult not to be counterfactual. You could probably claim a lot of American Revolutionary War battles would have turned depending on how the militia were armed (though at least half actually used muskets, not rifles, as many histories make out), or you could perhaps argue that Wellington’s army in the Peninsula may have been destroyed but for their rifle-armed skirmishers. One point I will make however; during the American Civil War, some ill-equipped Confederate regiments were still armed with smoothbore flintlocks, as opposed to percussion-capped rifled muskets. These regiments, while certainly at a disadvantage, weren’t immediately and totally outclassed by the rifle-armed Federals. Rifles were definitely a step up (though due to the use of fine grain powder and ball patches, conversely took longer to load, hence why Napoleon wasn’t a fan of them), but muskets weren’t vastly inferior or technologically backwards.

4

Kammerlader M1864 pistol-carbine

Manufactured in Norway c.1864 by the Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk - no serial number.
11,77mm cap and ball, underhammer breechloading action, removable stock, 430mm barrel and removable stock, hexagonal Witworth rifling.

The Kammerlader was the second breechloading main infantry gun to be adopted by any major power, with its first iteration entering service in 1842. The design was slightly updated in 1860 with a 5mm decrease in caliber, although the action remained largely unchanged.
To load a Kammerlader system firearm, the shooter must cock the hammer -located below the gun’s breech - and pull the crank on the right side of the gun over and towards himself. This exposes the eponymous chamber as pictured below.

The shooter then loads this chamber much like a Colt percussion revolver. Soldiers were issued paper cartridges containing a pre-measured black powder charge, with its spent paper being used as wad. A bullet would then be rammed on top, and a percussion cap placed on the nipple under the chamber, before the shooter could crank the gun back into battery.

Sauce : svartkrutt.net ; kvf.no

Whitney M1861 US Navy rifle

Manufactured in Whitneyville, Connecticut by the Whitney Arms Co c.1861-64 for the US Navy - serial number 3294.
.69 cap and ball, single shot muzzle-loader, yataghan sword-bayonet.

I really like a simple rifled musket with a curvy sword bayonet. Tis an elegant shape.

4

Fusil de Marine Mle1842 rifled musket

Made by the Manufacture d’Armes de Chatellerault c.July Monarchy - serial number 5527MB.
17,8mm/.70 cap and ball, single shot muzzleloader, walnut stock, brass fittings, socket bayonet.

Originally a smoothbore musket, this Mle1842 musket was rifled and cut down to light infantry size in 1860 along with all other smoothbore long arms in French arsenals at the time. It however escaped the Tabatière conversion of 1864 to a breechloading weapon, instead retaining its muzzle-loading Minié rifle configuration.

3

Belgian wall gun

Manufactured in Liège, Belgium c.1866 - serial number 21.
.75/19mm caliber barrel with hexagonal rifling, removable percussion breechblock, skeleton pistol grip.

Hexagonal rifling uses a similarly hexagonal bullet to impart spin, instead of taking a round bullet and squishing it against regular rifling by shooting it. This weapon would have had a considerable accuracy and power which we can only assume Belgian soldiers used to hunt dinosaurs.

8

Fusil de Rempart Charlesville Mle 1831 wall gun

Designed c.~1828, made by the Manufacture Royale de Charlesville c.1831 - no serial number, dated 1833.
21,8mm/.90 caliber 120cm long rifled barrel, cap and ball,  hinged chamber secured by a wedge with a fodling handle, folding metal stake/foot.

A percussion upgrade of the flintlock Mle1828 wall gun, although not a direct conversion. These very large caliber weapons would be useful to pick off enemies at long range during a siege.

3

Lemat pinfire carbine

Manufactured in Liège, Belgium c.1860′s, serial number 7.
11mm pinfire 9-shots cylinder revolving around a .54 percussion ‘grapeshot’ barrel. The selector switch on the hammer flips down to strike the shotgun part’s percussion cap.

This is probably one of the rarest variant of the 1856 LeMat revolver, save for perhaps the centerfire carbine.

Sauce : James D. Julia Inc

3

Colt ‘Root’ 1855 military revolving rifle

Designed by Elisha K. Root and made by the Colt Manufacturing Company for its 1856 military contract - serial number 322 from an order of 101 guns.
.44 cap and ball six-round cylinder, Root sidehammer single action, creeping loading lever, military style full length foregrip.

I can’t help but love these things even though they weren’t the most practical.
Samuel Colt managed to get in a few military contracts for his new product thanks to his prior sales of Paterson ring lever rifles to various US Army regiments - a total of 1100 military style Root revolving rifle were thus produced, which in turn boosted the sales on the civilian market.

4

Hall-North Model 1843 carbine

Manufactured by Simeon North in Middletown, Connecticut c.1844-55 - no serial number.
.525 cap and ball, Hall breechloading action with North side-lever conversion, saddle ring.

The last of the Hall series rifles, the first breechloading military firearms. These carbines were used by hussar regiments during the Mexican and later the American Civil wars.

4

Colt 2nd Model Ring Lever rifle

Manufactured in Paterson, NJ by Colt c.1838-41 at about 500 units
.40-42 eight-round cylinder, cap and ball with side-mounted ramrod, internal hammer with cocking ring lever.

Note that before the Dragoon revolvers, Colt’s gun where not named after the scene engraved on their cylinder. Probably because naming guns “a centaur sexually harassing a deer” or “kindergarten drawing of a stagecoach robbery” would be fucking stupid.
The second model of this rifle, also made by Colt and numerous gunsmiths with loose tolerances, saw the addition of the loading lever which greatly facilitated the reloading process.

3

Sharps New Model 1859 carbine

Designed by Christian Sharps c.1848 and made by Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Co. c.1859~74.
.52 caliber cap and ball, falling block single shot rifle with knife-edge breechblock, native American tack decoration.

The Sharps’s carbine is an instrument of uncanny power and precision.

4

Mle 1822 T bis musket

Produced at the Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne - or Manufacture Royale at the time - c.1822-41 and later modified twice.
18mm/.71 paper cartridge and cap, single shot percussion lock, rifled barrel.

The Mle 1822 started its life as a Restoration flintlock smoothbore, but was quickly modified to caplock as the technology became available at which point it became the Mle 1822 Transformé. Later in the 1860′s it was rifled and cut down to light infantry length as with every old long guns in the French arsenal, hence the name Transformé bis - twice.
These old-timers would often see one last modification prior to the Franco-Prussian war in the form of the Tabatière breech-loading system.

French guns be durable.

6

Pattern 1841 Sapper and Miner percussion musket

Designed by George Lovell, barrel by Millward, lock by William Partridge, assembled by J. Cook, stocked by S. Butler, Main Contractor Potts & Hunt, c.1848 - marked with a profusion of broad arrows.
.733 caliber smoothbore barrel, caplock, .685 paper cartridge and percussion cap.

One of the last muskets used before rifled barrels became the norm for most arms, this example was used by British sappers and miners during the Crimean War.