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Login Name Post: Armi Sport musket        (Topic#307920)
11th corps 
40 Cal.
Posts: 304
11th corps
07-27-18 07:40 PM - Post#1695106    


Hoping to get my Armi Sport 1861 Springfield musket to the range tomorrow. I was wondering what the field procedure for civil war soldiers was. Did they pop caps on empty bores to clear the rifle of oil and debris before loading? After battles, were all weapons reloaded w/o caps, old charges left in place, or weapons cleared to be ready for the next fight?

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 8049
tenngun
07-27-18 08:22 PM - Post#1695109    

    In response to 11th corps

It seems Ned Roberts spoke about popping caps before loading, but I don’t recall it mentioned before.
Misfire rates were pretty high during the war. I forgot how many loaded confederate muskets were picked up after Gettysburg with multiple shots in them, but it was in the thousands.
Pulling chargers post use is well documented. And gun cleaning was a basic exercise that even in the more laid back American state regiments was heavily stressed.
I had a Zouave that was gurintied to misfire if I didn’t pop a cap or two.

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7924
07-27-18 08:48 PM - Post#1695112    

    In response to 11th corps

  • 11th corps Said:
Hoping to get my Armi Sport 1861 Springfield musket to the range tomorrow. I was wondering what the field procedure for civil war soldiers was. Did they pop caps on empty bores to clear the rifle of oil and debris before loading?



The problem is that the two procedures you ask about are not covered in the Drill Manuals and would have been up to Company through Regimental Commanders.

Cartridges were issued in paper wrapped packages of 10 that also held a small paper wrapped roll of 12 caps. This gave the soldiers an opportunity to fire a second cap in case the main charge did not go off in the barrel for two rounds per package, but could also have been used to fire one or two caps to clear the barrel before battle.

Personally, I believe they WOULD have popped one or two caps before going into action, when possible, but I have no original documentation to support that.

  • 11th corps Said:
After battles, were all weapons reloaded w/o caps, old charges left in place, or weapons cleared to be ready for the next fight?



Again, not covered in the period Drill Manuals as it seems they expected all muskets to go off when fired in volleys or before the order to cease fire was given.

However, muskets were not normally kept loaded in camp unless the soldiers were going on Sentry/Guard Duty. They may have had the Soldiers coming off Sentry/Guard Duty fire the round in their barrel the next morning at a target for extra practice or they may have pulled the cartridge.

Good questions, but we just don't have much/any documentation to support what the common practices were.

Gus

 
Native Arizonan 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1608
07-28-18 10:27 AM - Post#1695160    

    In response to Artificer

Nipple picks can be used to clear the nipple, and the ramrod can be used to see if the barrel is plugged. I see no advantage to "clearing the barrel" with a percussion cap.

I use a percussion cap to foul the barrel, to a standard level before target shooting, sometimes, but I don't see any use for it in a battle situation, other than for a sniper.

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7924
07-28-18 12:22 PM - Post#1695173    

    In response to Native Arizonan

  • Native Arizonan Said:
but I don't see any use for it in a battle situation, other than for a sniper.



When the Rifle Muskets were stored barrel up and yes, were stored that way in camps by "stacking arms" in various ways, preservative oil/s would/will seep down into the percussion vent of the barrel and cause hangfires or even misfires. Popping a cap or two will clear the oil out the vent area of the barrel, that a nipple pick can't do.

Of course when the first round was fired, they no longer had to worry about any preservative oil in the barrel as it got burned up or blown out.

Gus

P.S. Here is a link as to how Muskets were stored in the field/in camp by stacking arms with and without bayonets fixed.

https://acws.co.uk/gilhams/gilharm7.htm

Edited by Artificer on 07-28-18 12:36 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
11th corps 
40 Cal.
Posts: 304
11th corps
07-28-18 07:39 PM - Post#1695219    

    In response to Artificer

Thanks for the info. The range this a.m. was busy, I stopped back a while later and there were even more shooters. I will try again next week.

 
BillinOregon 
Cannon
Posts: 6552
08-09-18 11:09 AM - Post#1696868    

    In response to 11th corps

Speaking of oil, would sperm whale oil likely have been the issue lubricant? I'm sure I have heard the answer, but can't remember ...

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7924
08-10-18 09:00 AM - Post#1697033    

    In response to BillinOregon

  • BillinOregon Said:
Speaking of oil, would sperm whale oil likely have been the issue lubricant? I'm sure I have heard the answer, but can't remember ...



Whale Oil was one along with "Sweet" Oils or vegetable oils. I have read the Federals were beginning to use petroleum oils, but I personally have not seen that documented. However that was not something I ever researched that much.

Gus

 
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