View single post by Bama46
 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 02:34 pm
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Look at the differences between smoothbore muskets and rifles. the war began with most using smoothbores. A round ball is pushed down a barrel over a powder charge and then is fired using either a flint and steel ignition system ( flintlock) or a percussion cap sitting on a hollow nipple (cap n ball).

In an effort to keep the barrel cleaner (less fouling means more shooting) the idea of rifling came about. Rifling is the cutting of groves in a circular twisting motion down the length of the barrel. A side benefit was to cause the projectile to spin giving it inflight stability and more accuracy. Now instead of a sholder arm with accuracy of about 100yds, you have accuracy out to 200 yds or more.
Now comes Brother Minet, a frenchman who develops the "minnie ball" . A Minnie is conical in shape, but more important, it has a hollow base with thin sides. At the moment of ignition, the base of a minnie expands and seals against the barrel, forcing the bullet out faster and with more energy. This greatly improves accuracy and now we can kill our enemy out to 400 or 500 yards.

In the old days of muskets, tightly formed ranks, firing volleys on command at fairly close ranges was an OK tactic. With the limited accuracy and power of the smoothbore, that was about all you could do. With the advent of the rifled musket shooting a minnie, those tactics had the effect of creating horrific casulty rates and horrible wounds. thus we can say that technology outstripped tactics. The same general improvements were made with artillery pieces.


Last edited on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 02:57 pm by

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