Short Takes

Cap and Ball is at it again, this time with a P56 Enfield Short Rifle. This is the shorter version of the more common P53 Rifle Musket used extensively by North and South. The P56 (which also came in the slightly different P58 and P60 models) was a favorite of Confederate sharpshooters, both because of its accuracy and because it was lighter and handier than the full-size version. However, there were never enough to go around.

C&B demonstrates the genuine item, which as you will see can be made to shoot quite accurately. I have a P56 repro with a Whitaker barrel and wish I could get mine to do that well.

He also has a new video about shooting a Wilkinson rifle, one of the many British “small bore” i.e. .45 caliber long-range match rifles. Match shooting was quite popular during the period from about 1850 to the turn of the century, with targets up to a thousand yards. At least some English match rifles were used by Confederate sharpshooters.

In Pittsburg, the local bomb squad is in the process of removing some 300 Civil War era cannon balls, at least some of which are filled with black powder.

“Even though these things are 200-plus years old, we are using safety precautions,” said Nick Leonello, of Franjo Construction.

The cannonballs were found in Lawrenceville last month and they are believed to be pre-Civil War.

Contractors happened upon them while digging up the site, and now they have to safely dispose them.

“There is black powder in these cannonballs, and black powder is a very dangerous substance. Even after it gets wet, when it dries out it can still be dangerous,” said Leonello.

Lest anyone think this danger is exaggerated, I did a post some time ago about a popular Civil War collector and ordnance expert who was killed trying to disarm one.

UPDATE: Cap & Ball’s full video on the Wilkinson rifle is up now and well worth watching (the previous link was for a teaser). The link has been updated to reflect this.



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