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Shooting an Actual Civil War Rifle: The 1863 Springfield

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How would you like to shoot an actual 1863 Springfield rifle, one that was probably carried in the Civil War? Affix your bayonet and stab that watermelon!

Hickock45 gets out his genuine 1863 Springfield muzzleloading rifle, dusts it off (as if there’d be any real dust on one of his firearms!) and takes it to the range. This is a gun that was probably carried by a soldier in the Civil War over 150 years ago.

He loads and fires the weapon several times, and it still works beautifully. He even affixes the bayonet and takes a turn at a watermelon.

Hickock45 uses paper cartridges that he made himself and carries in a replica leather cartridge box or pouch. He claims that he’s not a reenactor, although he’s been shooting muzzleloaders for many years.

He goes through the loading process, which, despite being a nine-step process, could be performed up to three times per minute by expert soldiers (and still can be by reenactors).

That is really some remarkably fast shooting for a muzzleloader. I’m a long way from being an expert muzzleloading enthusiast, but when I loaded and shot my muzzleloader, it took me considerably longer.

The rifle shoots a .58 caliber miniball and produces a cool cloud of smoke. I should say that it’s cool by our standard today. Back then, during the Civil War, it was surely a hindrance.

The 1863 Springfield rifle was in its time a wicked weapon of war, and it inflicted horrible injuries and death upon soldiers from both sides. Today, however, time and chronological distance from the war have turned it into an attractive and fun to shoot relic from a bygone era.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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Shooting an Actual Civil War Rifle: The 1863 Springfield