1853 Enfield sling…was it just for carrying?

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Hello, I hope everyone is doing well.
I have a question about the use of the sling for the P53 rifled musket.

Considering the advanced state at the time of British musketry and their emphasis on training, was the sling used with that weapon merely for carrying the musket, or was it also used to assist in firing? If it was used as an accuracy-aid, does anyone know how it was adjusted to do so?

I’m referring to actual military doctrine/training (UK/US/CS) rather than how an individual soldier may have improvised.

Regards
 
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Brett A. Gibbons' book, "Handbook for the School of Musketry," presents the training program from the School of Musketry at Hythe around 1859.

From what I recall, the School (1852) had the specific goal of training riflemen in the use of the Enfield pattern 1853 rifled musket. I think the training regimen Gibbons presents was from slightly later, 1859 or so, after the Crimean War.

The training consisted of a number of very specific steps in several exercises/drills. I don't remember, and a quick scan of the book just now did not turn up any reference to the use of the sling as an aiming or steadying aid. Given how regimented the rest of the traiing seems to have been, that leads me to believe that it was not formally used in the act of loading, aiming or firing.

But then, I wasn't there, so... :)
 

new2bp

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Almost 60 years later but the 1907 sling for hte '03 series rifles (30-06 bolt guns) was specced to be used as an accuracy aid, so prior to the turn of the century by a good bit I'm sure.

Oh, and that old 1907 sling is STILL the recommended one if you do something like an Appleseed course.....

(uh oh... just started giggling at the thought of shooting a 'seed wiht a muzzleloader....)
 

ResearchPress

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The earliest British Musketry Instruction Regulations that I have to hand that specifically mentions the use of the sling is 1887.
143. Rests. - The sling is always to be on the rifle at target practice, and being a part of its furniture, may be loosened and used as a "rest," but no rests of any other kind are allowed, except at skirmishing and field firing."

In the 1879 Regulations it says:
187. In individual firing no rests of any kind are allowed.

I haven't seen any reference to slings in the British Regulations of the 'Enfield period'. That of 1864 for example simply says, "Firing at all distances to 300 yards is to be performed standing; beyond this distance, kneeling." Nor have I found reference to the sling in firing practice in contemporary 'Infantry Manuals'.

David
 
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Thanks David,

it seems a little odd that it wasn’t used in some fashion or another to help steady the musket. However, considering that quick reloading to engage the enemy within 100-150 yards was a priority, I can see how there was no need for steadying with a sling.
 

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