This Civil War buff shoots an original 1853 Enfield musket and shows that it is still deadly and accurate.
This modern day Johnny Reb shoots an original 1853 Enfield musket wearing historically accurate gear and the results may surprise you.
Impressive that a gun that is 100s of years old can still achieve great groupings at various ranges. The Enfield and others of this era matched with minie ball ammunition were very effective at short and long ranges. Their accuracy actually outpaced many Civil War soldiers’ skills at shooting, especially northern Federal troops from the urban cities, who had little firearms experience. With massive armies there was also little time to get proper range training in for the average soldier. Add this limited shooting experience with the dense smoke of the musket powder burn and it literally took 1000s of rounds and massed volleys to inflict serious casualties. For the Confederates their average soldier were better marksmen, coming from a more rural lifestyle and farming backgrounds with a tradition of hunting, but even their skills were often sabotaged by the confusion and smoke obscuration of the battlefield.
Even with these shooting challenges the casualty tolls were horrendous as Rebel and Federal armies often closed to within short distance of each other and fired volley after volley until one side broke. With the huge calibres typical of the minie bullet, wounds were often well beyond the battlefield medical skills of the age, and death from a gut or chest wound was almost certain.
This demonstration clearly shows that the Civil war era musket was a fearsome and accurate weapon that heralded a new age of total warfare with casualty lists that were incredibly high in a war that defined America.