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Springfield/Enfield question - Weapons of the Civil War - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Mar 27th, 2007 10:00 pm
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medicboymatt
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This is one for you blackpowder shooters. I'm wondering ---using either a Springfield or an Enfield, are you able to shoot a standard combat issue of 40 rounds without encountering either A) a complete inability to use the weapon due to fouling; or B) a significant reduction in your rate of sustained fire (say from 3 rounds a minute average) due to increased difficulty in reloading?



 Posted: Wed Mar 28th, 2007 02:45 am
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Johan Steele
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I have never sustained a 3 rds a minute rate of fire; never felt the need or inclination while live firing.  I have put around 40 rds through my Euroarms M1841 w/ no real fouling issue.  About thirty through my Armi-Sport Enfield when I had it.  IIRC I sent most of seventy rounds down range w/ my Parker Hale before significant fouling.  By that time my shoulder was getting sore, I was tired of walking back and forth to the target and I was ready to go home.

That said I was using properly lubed bullets and was not rapid firing but shooting 5 round strings.  There is considerably more fouling when firing blanks than live rounds.  And considerably more still w/ a smoothbore firing buck and ball.

Many of the accounts of the Civil War referencing severe fouling was: A. w/ a considerably higher rate of fire and poorer quality lube.  B. referencing smoothbores.  W/ mine I note noticeable fouling buildup beginning at about 20 rds, it never really became serious w/ any of my three shooters.  However, I attained the best accuracy after the first string when enough fouling had accured to create a good tight fit for the Minnie.

I fire a standard 60 grain 2 F charge behind a Lyman minnie of the same patttern as the original.

Others mileage may vary.



 Posted: Wed Oct 22nd, 2008 06:39 am
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Kernow-Ox
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I had the chance to do some live firing the other day. I was surprised at how difficult it was to put the minie ball down the Springfield's muzzle and to ram it in. I've just noticed this thread in which Johan mentions using lubricants. That would have made it easier but was their usage common?



 Posted: Wed Oct 22nd, 2008 11:53 am
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Johan Steele
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Every bullet was lubed. I've seen the original recipe years ago but don't recall any of the particulars off hand. Modern Bore Butter or White Lithiam Grease are excellent lubes that I use. I use both. Bore butter in the grooves and a shot of white lithium in the cavity. Proper sizing is vital for accurate shooting, the modern repops have considerable variance. Not using lube at all... Maybe 5-10 rounds before you have serious problems.



 Posted: Wed Oct 22nd, 2008 05:43 pm
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David White
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Kernow:

Lubricated bullets played a key role in your nation's military history. The Sepoy Mutiny in India was partially a response from Muslim troops disgruntled at having to open paper cartirdges with their teeth that were rumored to be lubricated with pig fat.



 Posted: Wed Oct 22nd, 2008 06:01 pm
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Kernow-Ox
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Thanks. It didn't occur to me at the time but makes perfect sense!



 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 06:16 pm
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Colonel Coffee
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I have had about the same results from live firing my Armisport P53 .577 cal. Enfield. ( I think my defarbed Armisport Enfield has a Parker Hale barrel.)  I use 50 gr. 3F BP and two types of .577 cal. minies. One type is Moyer's pre-cast 575213-OS (Old Style) 460 gr. minies and DGW swaged Pritchett style (no grooves) 580 gr. minies and both are .575" OD. I have found every store bought minie to be  consistant .575" diameter except the 577611 Gardner style (two grooves) 540 gr. minie at .578" diameter. There is no reason to  pour my minies because  I verify the diameter of every minie before shooting by using a little .575" sizer die for a .577"  bore. I purchased the sizer from Dixie Gun Works and it makes it quick and easy to  size every minie using a small vise, a small hammer and Phillips screw driver to punch the minie through the sizer. Resizing the minies made loading considerably faster and easier. I dip-lube both type of minies in Rooster Jacket and let dry overnight before before going to the rifle range. 

 I use a tuna fish can and filled with Rooster Jacket lube to the point of the minies ogive deviation. The nose of the minie will have no lube on it.   I place ten minies in the tuna can for a few seconds, then remove them and  let them drain on a doubled  paper towell overnight. When ready to put cthe minies in the cartridege box, I fill the red  nylon loading tubes with 50 gr. BP and sitck the minie on the tube nose first. There will be enough Rooster Jacket left on the minie after draining, to be just the right amount for bore lubricant. I do not put any lube in the cavity. In my opinion, many shooters use too much lube, probably because the minies are not sized correctly for the bore. If too much lube is used, it can accumulate in the bore, and contaminate the powder as the powder is poured down the bore. I have also used 24 ga. shotgun over-shot wads as over-powder wads between the powder and the minie. That separates the lube from the powder but doing that may be more trouble than it is worth.

I can get a tighter pattern with the Pritchett style minies using 50 gr. BP. The Old Style minies seem to fly off target somewhat due to their lighter weight. I should reduce the load to 45 gr. of 3F BP with the Old Style minies.  I have not mastered the art of making paper wrapped cartriges. Why would you need them anyway?  

Last edited on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 06:39 pm by Colonel Coffee



 Posted: Thu Sep 24th, 2009 02:04 pm
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Tom Wiehle
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I have heard that Civil war soldiers occasionally shot a cleaning round thru the rifle to prevent fouling. 
Do not know if it helped or not.



 Posted: Thu Sep 24th, 2009 09:16 pm
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Colonel Coffee
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Every ten round pack of U.S. issue .58 cal. minies had one Williams Type I, II or III cleaner round in it. There is no evidence that the Confederacy issued any cleaner rounds to the infantry.

The Williams cleaner round had a leather or zinc washer at the base and no cavity. Without a hollow base that would expand, grip the rifling and cause the round to spin when fired, accuracy was not very good and the cleaner round was usually discarded. The cleaner round was supposed to clean the lead and black powder fouling in the rifling but how really effective it was was questionable.



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