Watch: A Confederate Sniper Rifle That Shoots Hexagonal Bullets
Russ Chastain 12.12.17
The rifle in the video below was used by the Confederate States of America in the un-civil war–and it used hexagonal bullets! And it was listed for sale by the James D Julia auction house; here’s a link.
Bear in mind that Ian’s opening statement is just plain wrong; see the corrective video below for more on that. Turns out, he didn’t know how to read the accuracy data. To his credit, he owned up and published a video explaining how and why.
Anyhow, this rifle is listed as an “Extremely Rare Confederate Scoped 2nd Quality Whitworth Sharp Shooter’s Rifle.” Here’s some other info from the auction listing:
SN C544. 52 bore, .451 cal, with Whitworth’s distinctive hexagonal bore. There are 19 SNs known on scoped 2nd Quality Whitworth rifles. This example falls within this range that saw Confederate service, B509 and the highest C619. This gun conforms to the other examples known with “WHITWORTH RIFLE CO MANCHESTER” forward of hammer on lock and Crown over “W” rear of hammer and engraved on trigger guard plate “2ND QUALITY.”
The side-mounted scope is quite interesting:
The Japanned brass tube Davidson scope was adjusted for elevation by turning the knurled knob on the right side of the forearm. This loosened the clamp on the left side so the 1-1/2″ bar graduated in 1/16″ increments could be raised and lowered, pivoting on the rear mount secured by the rear lock plate screw… This gun was originally found with the telescopic sight and mounts missing which were later restored. This gun is just 10 numbers removed from the Whitworth which is part of the Chickamauga National Park Museum (SN C554) which is pictured in Firearms of the Confederacy (1944), plate XXIII and discussed on pages 27 and 28.
The .451-caliber bullet weighed a whopping 530 grains, propelled by only 70 grains of black powder.
Aside from the hexagonal bore, another departure from typical muzzleloaders of the time was that Whitworth bullets were typically made of a hard lead alloy, rather than the soft pure lead most often used in front-stuffers.
The following video is a correction to the one above; apparently the Whitworth just isn’t/wasn’t as accurate as Ian thought it was when he made the first video. Turns out, it was about 3.1 MOA (minute of angle). Still pretty dang good, but not quite as stellar as he thought it was.