Plate iq the rifling had been tried between 1 turn in 10 feet and 1 in 6 feet. The first alteration to cap lock was made by screwing the cone into the barrel; the second by screwing a plug into the touch hole and seating the cone in the plug; the third consisted of brazing a lug on the barrel to take the cone; and a fourth consisted in cutting off the breech of the barrel and screwing on a newr breech which had a chamber of less diameter than the bore of the barrel and a ledge around the outer edge of this chamber for the ball to rest on. This last was the Delvigne breech invented in France in 1826; its purpose was to allow the use of a ball of smaller diameter than the bore, dropped down the barrel until arrested by the ledge, then expanded to fill the barrel by blows given with the iron ramrod. The pillar breech, invented by Thouvcnin in 1846 as a better means of accomplishing the same purpose, is not on record as having been used by our government, although it was known at our armories.
No picture. 1854 Conversion of Model 1822 and Model 1842 to Rifle Musket. Regulation.
In externals similar to No. 1, Plate 19. From 1854 to the end of the Civil War when time permitted a better method of converting flint lock muskets was followed. This consisted in reducing the calibre to the prevailing one of .58 by brazing a lining tube in the barrel. The converted arm then used the same powder charge and kind of bullet as the newest arms. In external appearance No. 1, Plate 19, is correct for this conversion, all but the ramrod, which should be like that of the Model 1855 arm.
No picture. Harpers Ferry Sharpshooter Rifle Model 1847. Regulation.
No specimen available for illustration and no other data than — calibre .75; peep sight on hammer; globe front sight; heavy rifle to be used on a tripod which was made for and furnished with it. Few-made.
No picture. Sharps Rifle, 1846 or 1847. Militia.
Although the patent for Sharps rifles wras not issued until 1848 records indicate the use of them in the Mexican War of 1846-47. Data lacking.
No. 2, Model 1855 Rifle. Regulation.
In 1854 the United States began preparations for superseding in 1856 the smooth bore with the rifle for all branches of the service. Also the principle of the hollow base conical bullet expanded within the barrel by the action of the powder gasses upon an iron wTedge within the bullet, developed by Captain Minié in 1847, was, after experiments in the United States since 1849, improved upon at the Harpers Ferry Armory by the discovery of the Assistant Master Armorer (Mr. Burton) that an expander-plug was unnecessary, because the gasses from the explosion sufficiently expanded the hollow base without it. This type of bullet was adopted and used thereafter in all newly made muzzle loading rifles.
The rifle illustrated is marked " Harpers Ferry I860." Its length is about 4 feet 1J inches; its weight without bayonet is about 10 pounds. The calibre is .58, using a hollow bullet of 500 grains and 60 grains of powder. The muzzle velocity was about 950 f.s. The pitch of the rifling is one turn in 6 feet, uniform twist. There are 3 grooves each .3 of an ^ inch wide, .005 of an inch deep at the muzzle, increasing regularly in depth to .015 at the breech. The stock was coated with linseed oil but not polished; the metal parts, all of steel, were polished bright, except that a fewr of these rifles wrcre issued for trial with barrels coated with a brown varnish made in the proportions of \ ounce of dragon's blood, 1 ounce shellac, dissolved in 1 quart of alcohol..
The Model 1855 rifle was fitted with a sabre bayonet engaging with the lug to be seen on the right side of the muzzle; and from 1855 to the end of the Civil War, preceding models of U. S. rifles, when found stored in considerable numbers, were also fitted with bayonets of either the sabre or the socket rapier type.
The characteristic of the Model 1855 rifle which
most strikes the attention is the Maynard Priming Magazine, this being the first' military rifle to be fitted with it. When all conditions were at their best this automatic magazine primer worked excellently and when first applied it was considered a wide step forward in celerity of fire. The cover showing on the lock plate could be opened by swinging it forward upon a hinge, to expose a cavity into which to place a coil of narrow, water-proof paper having many pellets of fulminating powder spaced at regular intervals. A simple mechanism within the cavity was operated by the movement of the hammer to uncoil the paper (called " tape n) and feed one pellet at a time exactly upon the top of the cone. Refer to Plate 4, No. 7.
Refer to Plate 18, Nos. 9, 10. 1855 Alteration of Model 1841. Regulation.
July 5, 1855, the following changes in the Model 1841 rifle were ordered: '4 Percussion Model 1841; the bore of this arm to be reamed up to calibre .58 and re-rifled, and a stud and guide attached for sword bayonet."
The object of the change to the bore and grooving was to use in these rifles the .58 calibre Minié bullet, such as the other service arms were to use. Arid as this bullet had different ballistical properties from the old spherical one, new sights, not mentioned in the order, >also were supplied. And, after 1859, triangular bayonets with sockets instead of sword bayonets were fitted to the bulk of the altered arms.
No. J, Model 1855 Rifle Musket. Regulation.
The specimen shown is marked " Springfield 1855." This was the first, issue of an all new rifle of musket size and with a long, thin barrel. It began the total superseding in the United States of the musket with
the rifle for all branches of the service, no smooth bores being made after 1856.
The calibre of .58, experimentally tried in converted muskets, was determined upon for all newly made rifle muskets, and became official in 1855, and was continued until the era of U. S. government-made breechloaders.
The charge for this rifle was 60 grains of powder and 500 grains of lead. There were 3 grooves. Ammunition, boring and grooving were the same as for the Model 1855 rifle already described.
The accuracy was sufficient to hit the size of a man on horseback at 600 yards, and the power sufficient to penetrate 4 inches of soft pine at 1,000 yards. At lesser ranges the rifle musket was expected to put 10 consecutive shots in a
4 inch bullseye at 100 yards
9 11 " " 200 " 11 " " " 333 " 18J " " " 400 14 27 " " " 500 11
In 1859 a patch box was added to this arm.
No. 4, Model 1855 Cadet Size Rifle Musket. Regulation.
The barrel is 2 inches shorter than that of the service arm; the stock is about 1 inch shorter, measuring from the center of the butt plate to the center of the trigger. Bore, grooving and ammunition were the same as for the service rifle musket. All cadet arms were made for issue to the cadets at the Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
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