Grooved Rifles?

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by cameronpalte, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Member

    I have often heard that the grooved rifles or rifles that have groves have led to more deaths in the civil war because with their design they could easily kill many more people as they could be fired further and where more accurate. Do you agree? Why?
  2. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    Basic ballistics. A conical shaped bullet fired from a rifled barrel, i.e., a barrel the interior of which has lans and grooves, acquires a stabilizing spin as it moves down the barrel. This spin provides greater accuracy over distance. An additional effect is that the rifled barrel allows a much tighter fit between the bullet projectile and the barrel itself than that of a simple smoothbore musket firing a ball, thus less of the expansion gasses created by the powder burning are lost thru venting, imparting a higher muzzle velocity and, thus, greater range. So, the improvement of the rifled musket or breechloader over the smoothbore musket was greater range and greater accuracy over that same range. The consequence was one, in the case of the late unpleasantness with our northern brethren, of large chunks of lead being thrown farther down range by both sides with a markedly greater accuracy. Where as in previous smoothbore contests an attacking force might have to seriously worry about receiving perhaps 2 volleys (and not particularly well aimed ones as there wasn’t much point), with rifled muskets the number of volleys to be received at least doubles and with the added peril of the incoming rounds being more likely, with very little effort, to go where aimed. Hence, the higher casualties.
  3. novasparker

    novasparker New Member

    Without reiterating everthing that R Leonard said, grooved rifles are just plain more accurate. I've seen demonstration after demonstration of this on modern shows such as Mythbusters and Sons of Guns as well as more documentary style shoes like Modern Marvels. Thanks for the wonderful explanation, though, Mr Leonard. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
  4. CinnamonBear

    CinnamonBear New Member

    I have to agree; this is a marvellous explanation of why, for their time, grooved rifles were a state-of-the-art killing machine.

    I've seen authentic period grooved rifles demonstrated on the show Pawn Stars, and even though these weapons are 150 years old, it's still frightening to see their impact!
  5. catevanne

    catevanne Member

    It seems that since they didn't have all the modern killing technology that we have today, they had to come up with the grooved rifle to make the most of every shot. It was an ingenious idea if you ask me.
  6. novasparker

    novasparker New Member

    If I am not mistaken, the idea of the grooved rifle is still being used today because of this very reason. The bullet that is spiraling cuts down on air drag, which means that it travels straighter and farther than a bullet that is just shot straight.
  7. Adlai

    Adlai New Member

    The large number of deaths was due in part to the improved weapons. However, this was exacerbated by the fact that the tactics used by both sides predated the more accurate weapons, so battles became much deadlier until newer tactics were developed.
  8. nielhyne

    nielhyne New Member

    a shoulder firearm with spiral grooves cut in the inner surface of the gun barrel to give the bullet a rotatory motion and thus a more precise trajectory.

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