Civil war guns by William B. Edwards

By William B. Edwards

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This was a reversal of the traditional belief that the deep grooves held the black powder fouling and so permitted loading a greater number of shots before having to stop and clean the gun. In practice, the fouling built up on top of the lands as well as in the grooves. Three or five grooves were suggested, and during the war that followed, rifles having both numbers of grooves were widely issued in certain makes. The form of grooves was discussed; those having rounded corners seemed to offer advantages, and further trials were ordered.

A twist spinning the ball from left to right caused the bullet to go to the right of point of aim; a left twist sent the ball to the left. In the rifles having twists of one turn in 4 or 5 feet, it was found necessary to adjust the sights to compensate for this drift at long distances. Using the regulation 1841 rifle, one in six, the "derivation" as the French called this drift, was not appreciable at 500 yards range. Gain twist, long a favorite of picket-ball riflesmiths for match shooting, and of Sam Colt in his revolvers, did not show up to advantage in these experiments.

Neither Burton nor Allin had quite finished with them in both detail and final specifications. The pistol-carbine barrels as eventually issued were 12 inches long, not 10. S. Rifle M l 8 4 1 , significantly modified, as the M l 8 5 5 Maynard primed rifle, a new carbine was prepared and a few constructed. The new carbine exists in at least two minor sub-types; both are superficially alike, and both resemble in their furniture and stock shape the discontinued Sappers and Artillery Musketoons, Models of 1847.

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