Firing the 1861 Springfield

This Hungarian fellow who styles himself capandball on the Internet has a really thick accent but if you listen closely you can get the gist of his description of the 1861 Springfield rifle-musket he’s firing here.

I would only note that most Confederates, if not most Yankees, preferred the British Enfield Pattern 1853 to the Springfield any time they could scarf an orphaned Enfield up off the battlefield.

Pity he’s not shooting at night so you could watch the impressive 3-feet of flame the black powder produces out the Springfield’s business end. Something that ended when cordite, or so-called smokeless powder, was introduced in 1889. Cordite also made the “fog of war” metaphorical, whereas it had long been literal with the copious amounts of smoke produced by black powder.


6 responses to “Firing the 1861 Springfield

  1. Sennacherib

    I’ve shot black powder (cap and flintlock), the flintlock was especially disconcerting. First in the corner of my eye I see the hammer move, then the smoke from the pan, then the wait for recoil. How these guys ever hit anything is beyond me. Of course if you’ve grown up with it and are used to it, that’s a different matter, also if you get a lot of guys standing up close to each other shooting at once at a similar group not too far away I could see that. I’ve soldiered, but how these guys could stand up and exchange the punishment at close range that they did just amazes me.

  2. Most Civil War soldiers fired high, above their human targets.Their officers were constantly telling them to aim low. I expect the greatest danger was from cannon firing straight into massed troops who probably clumped together for a feeling of protection. Then, as now, officers were constantly urging troops to spread out, even when they were in formation..

    I looked but didn’t find any info on how easy it was to have your eyes damaged by black powder guns, especially rifles which are held up to your face. Common sense suggests it must have been risky. Notice the guy in the video has an eye protector over his left eye and some sort of optical sight over his right eye.

  3. Sennacherib

    “Notice the guy in the video has an eye protector over his left eye and some sort of optical sight over his right eye.”
    Yeah, I noticed that right away, but thought it might just be for sighting only.

  4. Sennacherib

    A friend I knew from Tennessee told me that when they hunted with flintlocks all they did was pull the trigger when they walked out the front door, then pointed the gun later as necessary.

  5. No thanks, I will prefer an RPG (really shot it once) to that one.