In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your GunBroker.com account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

58 Enfield versus 61 Springfield

BergtrefferBergtreffer Member Posts: 629 ✭✭✭✭
Some time ago I read something, somewhere that the Confederate 1858 Enfield (.58 caliber) used a slightly different diameter buller than the Union 1861 Springfield (.58 caliber). Does anyone know the real skinny on this subject? Were the Confderate and Union .58s actually different diameters?

Comments

  • steve45steve45 Member Posts: 2,920 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think the Enfield shoots a .577 caliber. I seem to remember reading that you can roll a pure lead .58 mini ball under a hard surface and make a .577 It seems to me this might cause an accuracy problem though.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,338 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I thought they were the same.
  • BergtrefferBergtreffer Member Posts: 629 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hmmm. Does anyone have the tech specs on the Civil War bullets used in the 1861 Springfield and the 1853 Enfield? Even my old 1940s and 1950s loading manuals have nothing on those bullets.
  • JohnnyBGoodJohnnyBGood Member Posts: 1,443 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Enfield bore, and thus the bullets, were very slightly smaller in diameter than the Springfield. When the bore became dirty on an Enfield this caused some problems with the larger Springfield bullet becoming difficult to load in the smaller Enfield bore.

    From the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Volume 30, Part 2, page 276.

    "Major - I would state that this brigade is mostly armed with Enfield rifles, using ammunition calibers .57 and .58; that the caliber .57 was loose and never choked the guns, while No. .58, after the first few rounds, was found too large, and frequently choking the guns to the extent that they could not be forced down, thereby creating some uneasiness among the men using that number of ammunition."

    Also see Round Ball to Rimfire (Volume I) by Dean Thomas. He address this issue and as best as I remember the specific bullet diameter(s).

    I have also "heard", but never read about it in an official or period source, that some soldiers who were issued both .57 and .58 caliber ammunition with their Enfield would first fire the .58 caliber cartridges, and then as the gun became dirty they switched to the .57 caliber.

    Johnny
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by JohnnyBGood
    From the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Volume 30, Part 2, page 276.

    That should read "War of Northern Aggression" :D
  • BergtrefferBergtreffer Member Posts: 629 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    OK, thanks a lot. I'll keep this in mind. I am thinking about picking up a Enfield f/u/w my Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp (Camp 2316, Prescott, Arizona).
  • odenthevikingodentheviking Member Posts: 523 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Bergtreffer
    OK, thanks a lot. I'll keep this in mind. I am thinking about picking up a Enfield f/u/w my Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp (Camp 2316, Prescott, Arizona).


    Hey Berg, Please try to remember that all the information given so far is for Original Mdl 1853 3-band Enfields. Most of the modern reproductions are bored to the same size as the reproduction Mdl 1855, 1861, and 1863 US Arms. The only repro- Enfields that I know of that were bored to the same specs as the originals were the Parker Hales made back in the 1970's.

    "I have also "heard", but never read about it in an official or period source, that some soldiers who were issued both .57 and .58 caliber ammunition with their Enfield would first fire the .58 caliber cartridges, and then as the gun became dirty they switched to the .57 caliber.
    Johnny" I call Bulls&%$ on this one! I have been studying the WNA for many years and I have NEVER heard of troops being issued two differant types of ammo! Not even 69 round ball and 69 Buck and Ball, not in the same cartridge box......never!

    I "heard" that ALL Yankies have blue bellies and long tails!
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Been looking for answers to the question you ask, but not found them. Did find these interesting notes, though. They may help.

    Confederate specifications for bullet sizes: .54, .577, .58 and .69 caliber rifles
    Thomas Publications of Gettysburg published in 2002 (ISBN 1-57747-095-8 )
    "Rules To Be observed in the Laboratories of C.S. Arsenals and Ordnance Depots. ... with instruction to Ordnance Officers in the Field."
    One document dated at Richmond, 27 Aug 1862 notes:
    "The following are the proper diameters for the balls (whether round or conical) to be used with the principla arms in service, viz:
    Mississippi rifle (cal. 54) - - - - - .525
    Enfield rifle (cal .577) - - - - - .562
    Minie musket (cal .58 ) - - - - - .562
    Belgian rifle (cal .69) - - - - - .675
    Smooth-bore musket, round ball (cal .69) - - - - -.650"

    Note that both the .577 and .58 are listed as using a .562 dia bullet.
    It also notes that all cartridges "will be made of one uniform pattern, namely, that of the English Enfield rifle cartridges (with three wrappers)."
    See also http://www.researchpress.co.uk/firearms/britain/enfield/enfieldcartridge09.htm

    The original Enfield load, as made by the British, was a 530 grain, smooth-sided, paper patched Pritchett bullet over 2 and1/2 drams (68 grains) of powder or a Burton Minie of about the same weight with four grease grooves over the same charge.
    They both were hollow based, but the Burton had an iron plug that was driven forward to expand the base upon discharge of the rifle. They were effective and accurate weapons that gave every soldier a long range weapon for the first time.
    During the Civil War it was found that the slightly larger--.575" diameter Minie in the Enfield's .577" bore was capable of great accuracy.
    - filmokentucky in another message board.

    British Ordnance originally manufactured and issued .568 diameter, smooth sided Minie Balls (that used paper patching).
    Due to complaints of the soldiers about the ammunition being hard to load after a few rounds, British Ordnance reduced the size of the issue rounds to .550!
    What they found was the .550 diameter bullets actually shot more accurately than the larger diameter .568 bullets!!! The ONLY REASON the new bullets worked so good was because of the Progressive Depth Rifling employed in the originals. Of course, like the original .568 bullets the .550 diameter bullets were paper patched and used a clay plug in the base to aid expansion.
    The "BEST" replica Enfield out there? The P-58 Parker-Hale Naval Rifle with the 1 in 48 Twist, 5 Groove Progressive Depth Rifling. Unfortunately they have been out of production for many, many years. (About 1990: Gatofeo)
    -- Southron on another message board.

    And for those of you with Parker Hale replicas of the Enfield, here are two breakdowns of serial numbers that are at odds but may be useful:

    Parker Hale serial numbers, manufacturing runs:
    0000 to about 9000 -- made in Birmingham
    About 9000 to 14000 -- Birmingham barrels, rest of rifle made in Italy
    Over about 14000 -- Italian made, entirely.
    -- liontame5 in another message board.

    The Parker Hales up to about serial # 15000 were made in Birmingham pre-1990.
    Afterwards in Italy by Euroarms,
    So, 15000 in fifteen years is around 1000 per year. Start with the early 70s, so say you were looking at #3000. That would be in the ballpark of mid-70s or so.
    - Craig L. Barry in another message board.
Sign In or Register to comment.