Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 20 of 87 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does'nt seem to be a forum here where this questiuon fits - so hopefully welcome here.

Recently geting interested in the period of firearm development following the US Civil War to the advent of small bore smokeless powder rifles (brought on by the 1886 Lebel).

Amazingly large number of firearms during that period. Beaumonts, Remingtons, Berdens, Martini-Henrys, Sharps, Winchesters, etc.

Fiqure the winner would have to fire a rolled brass case with a centerfire primer.

So what choice would you pick to arm yourself if you were a serving colonial soldier then (1865-1885). You get to choose a single-shot breach loader AND A magazine fed rifle.

To show your knowledge - explain the resoning behind your choice. The fact that .45-70 cases are more avail today is not a valid reason - remember you live back then. Try to keep the political/country bias down. Everything the US adopted is not the greatest. Nor is Russian, German, etc. Dont care that Tom Shellec (?spelling?) used it, or that it was featured in the movie Zulu/Julu Dawn (great flicks though they may be).

Valid reasons - great sights, easy cleaning, strong action, high quality of manufacture, resist fouling, more gentle on the shoulder than others, more accurate, strong extraction, etc...

I am hopeing to learn something here.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,267 Posts
Berdan 2 is my top choice. Strong action, excellent ballistics (for BP cartridge), reliable, served in many wars, including WWI.
 

·
Oak Leaves with Clusters Member
Joined
·
3,488 Posts
I've only shot the Berdan 2 and Egyptian .41 Rolling Block. As far as shooting both are nice but I would rather take the Berdan if I were a soldier. If I understand correctly, the Berdan 2 also served in rear positions in WWII.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've only shot the Berdan 2 and Egyptian .41 Rolling Block. As far as shooting both are nice but I would rather take the Berdan if I were a soldier. If I understand correctly, the Berdan 2 also served in rear positions in WWII.
Love first hand comparisons. Why the Berdan II? How was recoil? Speed of follow up shots? Controls? Stock fit?

Dont forget -

You get to choose a single-shot breach loader AND A magazine fed rifle
 

·
Gold Bullet member
Joined
·
9,497 Posts
Another vote for the Berdan II. It got the Russians to within 25 miles of Constantinople (Istanbul). At the first battle of Plevna the Russians were beaten back by theTurks, who had been supplied with Henry repeaters. The Russian soldiers and junior officers improvised fire and maneuver tactics and overcame the Turkish repeaters.
 

·
Gold Bullet member
Joined
·
2,688 Posts
Tough choices among Martini, 1871 Mauser, Gras, Guedes M1885 8mm bp,or Rolling Block for single shot. All great single shots. Repeater: If we move forward to 1886 the Kropatschek or Steyr M1886 straight pull 11mm: a choice of smaller bore, flatter shooting 8mm with lighter weight ammo or rapid fire clip loading 11mm. If we stop at 1885: Steyr M1885 11mm straight pull with clip loading , Swiss Vetterli with large magazine and Winchester style loading gate for magazine replenishment, Mauser 71/84 or Remington Lee with its box magazine. More tough choices here......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
Springfield 1868 50-70 Trapdoor, hands down! Because if I had to step into a time machine and go back to be a soldier in the 1860's, I would be a US soldier, because I was one in real life (obviously modern era) so why break a trend.

I have one, and I love it....I also have the 1866 50-70, which is a converted 1863 Springfield musket but I find the 1868 more handy for actual (hypothetical) combat and it was also the first rifle built as a Trapdoor, not a conversion, and thus had a more reliable extractor and a stronger breech. The 50-70 may have less velocity than the 45-70 or other BP rifles of the time, but I guarantee an enemy soldier who gets hit with a big, slow lead .50 slug is out of the fight.

They are accurate enough to put a hit on a man sized target at 300, and I have not shot it farther but assume area fire could be as far out as 1,000. In the era of the 50-70 I would have been a soldier during the early Western expansion, so for sure I would have seen plenty of action against formidable Native American warriors.

I love the simplicity and reliability of the single-shot rifles, as reliable as it gets, shove a cartridge into the chamber, close the "trap", cock hammer,pull trigger, a hammer smacks the firing pin, which hits the primer and "BANG"......extract empty and repeat. no magazine tube to get mud in, or to jam. Like was said above, once you are familiar with it you can crank out a fast (for the time)10-12 aimed shots in a minute, which was lightyears ahead of the 3 from a muzzleloading musket. The "standard" in the era of tubular magazine rifles like the Mauser 1871/84 was to load the magazine, engage the mag cutoff and use as a single shot anyway, until ordered to or the enemy was on top of you then you flicked the cutoff to "feed" and it became a repeater. As disciplined as the Imperial German or Prussian army was at that time, I don't think you could just be that one guy who does what he wants and just uses the mag all the time to feed the rifle, I would think you would face consequences. So the tube mag isn't the huge advantage it seems most of the time, when used according to the "manual of arms" for the weapon. Plus that tube is slow to reload so once it's empty it's back to a single shot, or you start stuffing rounds into the tube which would take a while under fire.

Some say the Trapdoors are a "weak" action, but they are perfectly adequate for the issue ammo loaded to the standards of the era. The "bad rep" of the stregth of Trapdoors came from guys using hotter, modern 45-70 in old Trapdoors and when they showed fatigue or the Trapdoor "let go" after thousands of hot rounds they were suddenly "too weak".

I would say the 1871 Mauser, but obviously as a US Soldier in even the early 1870's I probably wouldn't even know what that was or anything about it, so it would be a non-issue. I'll stick to what I would be using in the context of the question.

As a "grunt" I wouldn't have an "issue" sidearm but I would carry a self-purchased converted Colt Navy in .38 Rimfire under my coat =)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,017 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As a "grunt" I wouldn't have an "issue" sidearm but I would carry a self-purchased converted Colt Navy in .38 Rimfire under my coat =)
Cool choice but if I remember correctly British revolvers of the time were considered more reliable, and had greater stoping power. Custer I believe carried one to his death - so certainly not out of the question for a US officer to carry one. Plenty of British soldier accounts on the subject of comparing the two.

But that is the subject of another thread to be.
 

·
Gold Bullet Member
Joined
·
2,191 Posts
I have no experience as a 19th soldier, but I think that I would pick the Remington Rolling Block as my single shot, and if pressed the Swedish version. Repeater? Well, aside from the experimental Lee's in US Service, I guess I would pick the Mauser 1871/84. Too bad you did not let us pick 1891 versions...

Why not the great Martini Henry? Accuracy. Love it though.

Trap Door? Extraction issues. (I read accounts of sergeants having to remove stuck cases for their troopers, but I am not old enough to experience it first hand)
 

·
Copper Bullet member
Joined
·
2,514 Posts
Springfield 1868 50-70 Trapdoor, hands down! Because if I had to step into a time machine and go back to be a soldier in the 1860's, I would be a US soldier, because I was one in real life (obviously modern era) so why break a trend.

I have one, and I love it....I also have the 1866 50-70, which is a converted 1863 Springfield musket but I find the 1868 more handy for actual (hypothetical) combat and it was also the first rifle built as a Trapdoor, not a conversion, and thus had a more reliable extractor and a stronger breech. The 50-70 may have less velocity than the 45-70 or other BP rifles of the time, but I guarantee an enemy soldier who gets hit with a big, slow lead .50 slug is out of the fight.
I love my 1868! It's just a moose of a rifle, and loads of fun to shoot. And since it's my only 50-70, I don't even bother to resize the cases, so they last basically forever.

I don't know if I still have it around, but I used to have a picture of some old west posse, just back from running down some bad guy or orther. Everyone is there with his 45-70 carbine, Winchester, shotgun, Sharps, or whatever, except there's just one guy with an 1868 50-70. I always thought to myself, "I'll bet he was the biggest SOB of the whole bunch!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
When we go out to the field and shoot the cartridge rifles,I always first grab my Rolling Block in .50/70

The shots are about 500 yards,and that .50/70 usually hits the board every time.

For a repeater,my Beaumont is pretty good.It shoots a .45 bullet that is just as accurate as the .50/70

I have a few other BPC rifles,but those two are my favorites.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
1885 Remington Lee for magazine loader and Martini-Henry MKIII for a single loader. The Remington Lee for its fast action and the M-H for its ruggedness. One of these days I'm going to get my hands on a Remington Lee...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
The Trapdoors always get a lot of "respect" at the range too, everyone is always like "is that a 45-70 Trapdoor" and I'm like "No, it's a 50-70!"

In my recent time in the modern US Army we carried pretty much the direct opposite of my choice in this thread with the M4 Carbine. In the 1860's to 1890's we carried rifles that could drop a Buffalo in one shot, now we carry rifles that would probably take 60 rounds to do the same.

I am looking for a "period" sporter in 50-70, maybe an 1868 that had the stock shortened and was used as a hunting or just a "riding around" gun. I have seen pics like the one mentioned above, also when we adopted the 45-70's a lot of the older 50-70's were given to Indian Scouts that worked for us, and the "story" I got with my 1868 was that it had been an Indian rifle but probably just pure speculation. It's also in too good condition and most of those were just used up. The only one I saw that I would believe this story was a really, really beat up 1868 covered in brass tacks that a guy says he bought in Arizona from a Native American at a roadside sale.
 
1 - 20 of 87 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top