Re: [civilwarwest] Re: .69 caliber Minie Ball Mystery
- Mason and Mckee probably have the bestCivil War projectile book out there that I am aware of.
Sent from Tims Iphone
On Jul 10, 2010, at 4:02 PM, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@...> wrote:
I am sure all who have responded so far know this, but for some I'm sure there is a little confusion, so,
*the term "ball" in those days did not necessarily mean "round ball" but just "bullet"
*a smoothbore musket would fire round balls and high caliber above .58 was common, such as .69
* btw .69 means 69 hundredths of an inch in diameter, huge! .72 is even a bigger wow
*to be sure, a Minie "Ball" was CONICAL not round, and revolutionary
- It would appear from these sites Rob cited that the .69 Minie was indeed a fact, some Minie balls being even bigger; I likely saw one at the museum alright.
Continuing to re-check Hogg, I still do not find any mention of a .69 or larger *rifle musket* manufactured as such. HOWEVER I finally found this from Hogg: "early in the war... many smoothbore muskets were brought out of store and converted to rifled percussion pattern..." [pg 34]. He also confirms that "over 100,000" of smoothbore muskets were brought over from Europe, "principally from Prussia and the various states of the German Confederation" [pg 42], presumably many then rifled by armorers. Thinking about it now, I had heard that Gunsmiths could put rifling into muskets that had been made as smoothbores. I suspect strongly now that all of these larger Minie Balls were made for these converted guns.
I would even bet that some of these large Minie balls were fired from smoothbores that had never been converted, for one thing often not realized about the Minie Ball is that it made for much faster reloading, the necessity of patching the round ball being by-passed. The Minie was not designed for smoothbores, but the ballistics produced may have been thought to be little different from round ball anyway.
Regarding Shotgun's findings, it makes sense that to put rifling into muskets manufactured as smoothbore produced something less than 100% desirable, and probably some were rifled better than others. From what I know about it, the number of turns you want to do in rifling a barrel is to be 'just so', tailored to the round, so did these armorers even know how to do it correctly? It's easy to believe the soldiers wanted the Enfields and Springfields known to be superior.
Thanks for the help, folks, and don't hesitate to continue to weigh in now as well.
reference: "Weapons of the Civil War" by Ian Hogg. 1995
> Following along with Dick's comments you might check these two websites for some additional information regarding .69 caliber minies:
> Of course you could consult the books published by the Thomas Publishing Company fo Gettysburg wherein .69 caliber minie balls area lso discussed.
> Each reference I have seen related this ammunition to Belgian, or German firearms used by both sides (predominantly Northern) in the war.
- of course all of this from Shotgun confirms it, I should have mentioned. I think so much of the Hogg book that I wanted to find something there too.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Dick Weeks" <shotgun@...> wrote:
> Tim, maybe I can shed a little light on this subject. The write-up on my website referring to a .69 caliber minie ball came from The Civil War Society's "Encyclopedia of the Civil War" page 338. The original Model 1842 was indeed a smooth bore. However, the following write-up is in "An Introduction to Civil War Small Arms" by Earl J. Coates and Dean S. Thomas, page 11:
> "The adoption of the rifle musket by the U.S. Army in 1855 made the smooth-bore model 1842 obsolete. At that time, those in the hands of the federal government were returned to the arsenals and the barrels were rifled. As with most smoothbore arms, the original model 1842 had no rear sight. The additional range and accuracy gained by rifling made a rear sight desirable; many were added to government arms at this time."
> Along with the write-up there is a photo of an ammo box that has the stencil "RIFLE MUSKET 69IN CARTRIDGES" on it.
> In this same document there is a write-up on Belgian and French rifled muskets that were .69 Caliber. I found this interesting in the article, ". . . .most of the Belgian or French rifled musket with calibers ranging from .69 to .71 caliber were considered worthless by those who were forced to use them. The 102nd Pennsylvania was issued such an arm in 1861. The regiment was engaged in action during the Peninsula Campaign in May 1862 and after the battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks, the Belgian muskets had disappeared. . . ."
> Now, I make no claim as to the validity of this information, I can only tell you where it is located.
> I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
> Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)