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Thread: .69 Sniper Rifles?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    .69 Sniper Rifles?

    Years ago read the Reports of Experiments with Small Arms printed in Washington DC in 1856 and noted that the .69 caliber minie rifles were found to have better accuracy than the .58's. But looking back over other things read, there doesn't seem to have been any use made of the better potential accuracy. That has me a bit curious. Any you fellas recommember reading anything about any .69 caliber sniping?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    [QUOTE=Good Cheer;4823346]Years ago read the Reports of Experiments with Small Arms printed in Washington DC in 1856 and noted that the .69 caliber minie rifles were found to have better accuracy than the .58's. But looking back over other things read, there doesn't seem to have been any use made of the better potential accuracy. That has me a bit curious. Any you fellas recommember reading anything about any .69 caliber sniping?[/QUOTE

    The minie weighed over 700 grains. Recoil was very heavy. The trajectory of the round didn’t lend itself to long range precision shooting. I will say that my original rifled 1842 is very accurate with the 500 grain semi wadcutter. It’s one handicap is the front sight mounted on the front barrel band.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    While the .69 might have displayed better accuracy than the .58 in testing, in reality the rifled muskets (Model 1842 Springfields) were conversions that didn't work well under battlefield conditions.

    These conversions were neither reliable or well-performing, and were far less common than the standard Model 1842 smoothbore musket.

    Regarding the use of the apparently better accuracy, most American army officers in the Civil War had been schooled in obsolete Napoleonic tactics, especially since many of them had served in the Mexican War, which was still fought in the old way with smoothbore muskets and linear formations.

    As such, officers typically failed to realize the power of rifles and continued to launch massed attacks against fortified enemies, which invariably resulted in heavy losses.

    Most American volunteer soldiers received inadequate firearms training compared to the smaller professional European armies, and live-fire drills were seldom performed due to the cost of powder and bullets - so, many soldiers never properly learned how to use their sights for aiming.

    For another thing, there was a contradiction between technology and tactical reality.

    Even when laboratory tests indicated accuracy with a rifled musket from 600 yards, in an actual battlefield situation the lack of a smokeless powder would quickly obscure visibility, since the gunpowder of the time produced a great deal of smoke when fired.

    IIRC, one American Officer that did use rifles for sniping was Hiram Berdan - a long-time match target shooter - whose sharpshooters engaged at the beginning of battles, before targets were obscured.

    Here's an article on Berdan's Sharpshooters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Un..._Sharpshooters
    .
    Last edited by pietro; 02-07-2020 at 08:42 PM.
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I read a report where the old generals though the .58 made their troops under gunned not enough power.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    My 1847 would look cute with a Malcolm on it...
    But how would you mount it with quick disconnects for cleaning!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=varsity07840;4823392]
    Quote Originally Posted by Good Cheer View Post
    Years ago read the Reports of Experiments with Small Arms printed in Washington DC in 1856 and noted that the .69 caliber minie rifles were found to have better accuracy than the .58's. But looking back over other things read, there doesn't seem to have been any use made of the better potential accuracy. That has me a bit curious. Any you fellas recommember reading anything about any .69 caliber sniping?[/QUOTE

    The minie weighed over 700 grains. Recoil was very heavy. The trajectory of the round didn’t lend itself to long range precision shooting. I will say that my original rifled 1842 is very accurate with the 500 grain semi wadcutter. It’s one handicap is the front sight mounted on the front barrel band.
    My Lyman #68596 has been modified to provide longer bearing length, larger diameter bands, alternative plugs and thicker skirt to provide better accuracy. But my reloading scale just doesn't go that high in weight.

    Also use a #57730 modified to make .695" diameter paper patched.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have a 69 CAL. rifle but I do have a 58 CAL. SHARPS, set triggers, patch box and a beautiful, 3 foot brass $400.00 MALCOLM SCOPE riding on top. it is a beauty that makes clover leaves at 100+ yds. all day long. I bought the scope 20+ years ago.at first it was odd getting used to the out side external adjustments, but got it zeroed in.

  8. #8
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    The British used the P1851 Miníe rifle in Crimea, as both an infantry weapon and also as a sniper rifle. In fact British "snipers" occasionally operated as two-man teams to take out Russian artillery and officers at what was very long ranges for the time, 400-900 yards, using the large bore (.702") rifle and it's 670 grain .685" caliber smooth sided Miníe bullets with iron base cups, until it was gradually replaced by the P1853 .577 Enfield rifle musket later in the campaign.
    On 28 June (10 July) 1855, Russian Admiral Nakhimov died from a head wound inflicted by an Allied sniper.
    The P51 rifle had too much recoil and was very heavy--the 1853 3-band weighed two pounds less than the P51.

    A link with a contemporary account of sniping in Crimea, albeit with the P53 .577 rifle:
    http://www.researchpress.co.uk/index...JjcmltZWEiXQ==
    Last edited by fgd135; 02-11-2020 at 04:19 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check