Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by bang, May 25, 2019.
Has it ever been common to find a 577 labeled 58?
Yes, most .58's are .565 to .578, as .54's shoot a .530-.535 ball, as .50 cal. shoots a .490-.495 ball.
You need a slightly smaller bullet or ball to fit down the bore, where as cartridge guns shot a slightly larger projectile.
Some of the British Enfield CW muskets are actually .577s, but were commonly called .58s. There is enough variation in manufacturing tolerances that it doesn't make much difference. You still have to fit the ball and patch or Minie ball to the bore in any barrel.
You don't say what type of firearm you are referring to. The British Pattern 1853 Enfield was .577 caliber while the U.S. Springfield Model 1855 was a nominal .58 caliber. Both of these arms were rifled muskets designed to shoot the Minié ball.
Caliber designations were getting real confused around the middle of the 19th century. Previously, bore size was referred to by ball size as in the number of balls to the pound. A gun that carried a ball 28 to the pound was nominally a .58 caliber in modern terms. The ball diameter is 0.550" for 28 balls-to-the-pound. Adding 0.03" for windage (allowance for patch material and fouling build-up) gives a bore diameter of 0.580". This was the standard NW trade gun bore size for the Hudson Bay Company. Military smoothbore muskets had more windage, on the order of 0.05", while civilian rifles generally had less windage in the range of 0.01".
When guns were developed to shoot bullets without patch material such as the Minié ball and Colt's cap & ball pistols, we start seeing the use of the term "caliber" to represent the ID of the bore--not the ball OD. But this was new territory for gun manufacturers, and there weren't any standards. Minié balls were generally close to the land-to-land bore diameter. Colt's .44 caliber cap & ball pistols shot balls with OD's of 0.451" while his .36 caliber pistols used 0.375" balls. These were the nominal groove-to-groove diameters of the barrels. The land-to-land diameters were closer to the designated calibers.
For muzzleloaders, when guns were designed to shoot balls with patches, either cloth or paper, the ball OD is smaller than the bore ID (land-to-land if a rifled barrel). For muzzleloaders designed to shoot bullets without patching material in rifled barrels, the bullet OD is usually equal to or larger than the bore ID (land-to-land).
Eventually, this gets even more confusing in the cartridge era as the term "caliber" switched from being a measure of the land-to-land ID to being a measure of the groove-to-groove ID.
Was just a curiosity.
Excellent infomative post. Thank you sir.
Just a thought that I’m sure has been noticed by others.( I like to think of it as my own but know it isn’t). We see so many .36,.44/45, .58 and 12 gage. Just a few hundredths of an inch below 3/4 of an inch as to make it functionally the same.
Two .36 balls make one .44, two .44 make one .58 and two .58 make one 12 gage, a .75 is an 11 gage but 12 gage stuff works fine in it.
On most modern repros, the stamping is often completely false. You have to measure to be sure. I've seen guns stamped .575 measure .584. Now I'm not a math whiz, but I'm pretty sure .584 is more than.575.
Does not matter much as long as the Minie' ball fits. Friends all had .58's but could not keep the Minie' on paper at 50 yards. I found it was too loose so I lapped their molds for a good push fit into the barrel. With a good fit they could hit a gong at 200 yards. Boy are they slow. I shot at the gong and waited, turned to load again and heard it ring. But deadly as all get out even at range.
Once I got a perfect fit and the Minie' was stuck in the bore. I pulled the nipple and fed a tad of powder in, pushed the bullet down and held it next to my 2X4 bench leg. I felt the bullet go under my hand on the barrel and it penetrated full depth in the 2X4. Just a few gr of powder and it could still kill.
I'm going to hope I can work up a doable load for a PRB. We'll see.
Based on my own limited play, that's possible if you go with a tight patch/ball combo then hold your charges down in the 60 grain range. I can't claim that's a formula for all shallow groove barrels because of my experience with only a handful of rifles, but so far it's worked with the ones I've played with.
Biggest issue with fit is the ram capabilities of thin metal ramrod. May need to get a range rod.
Actually it worked best for me to have a short starter in my kit. Once even a tight combo is started, it seats pretty easily if your lube is right for the job and keeps the fouling soft.
My perspective is from taking the rifles into the field, and out there in the bush a range rod is about as convenient as a pogo stick for chickens. Certainly I use a range rod while shooting at its namesake. But when I go into the field, my range rod is better left back home as a tomato stake while I carry a short starter instead.
Before I sold my Armi Sport .577 Enfield musket, I tried shooting .577 minie balls out of it. I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Then I tried .58 minie balls and I could at least get it on a cardboard target. When I quit the UnCivil war re-enacting I sold that musket to a friend who wanted it to use in re-enacting. I had removed all the blueing with a Scotch Brite pad off of the barrel and lock and he was tickled to buy it from an old member of our company, the 30th Georgia infantry. I used that $$ to purchase my Pedersoli .50 cal. flintlock Blue Ridge rifle gun. Glad I did that!
That doesn't surprise me one bit. There aren't many repop muskets that are actually the size marked. You have to find the actual bore size and get minies that are .001 under that figure. I've seen Armisports that were stamped .577 that actually measured .582.
I have 2 Armisport muskets- a Richmond carbine and a Richmond 3-Band. The carbine measures .579" and the 3-Band measures .577". My Zoli Zouave measure .581".
Not surprising. If you tried to shoot a .575 minie in them, I'd put money on only the 3 band even beginning to shoot. The Zouave would probably keyhole.
Absolutely- the 3-band likes a .576". The Carbine does pretty good with a .577".
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