Apr 29, 2007, 02:56 PM
Please define exactly what a Minie Ball is...Is it a generic term used for all early rifles projectiles such as the "3 ringer" and the 57 Snider? Basically what makes a minie ball a minie ball. Thanks.
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Apr 29, 2007 02:56 PM
Apr 29, 2007, 06:04 PM
Re: Minie Balls
When I found my first 3 ringer this is what someone showed me:
The Miniť ball (or minie ball) is a type of muzzle-loading rifle bullet named after its main co-developer, Claude-…tienne Miniť. It came to prominence in the Crimean War and American Civil War.
Invented in the 1840s by the French Army captains Miniť and Henri-Gustave Delvigne, it was designed to allow rapid muzzle loading of rifles, an innovation that brought about the widespread use of the rifle as a mass battlefield weapon.
It was a conical-cylindrical soft lead bullet, slightly smaller than the barrel bore, with three exterior grease-filled grooves and a conical hollow in its base. As originally designed by Miniť, the bullet had a small iron plug in the base whose purpose was to drive forward under the pressure of powder gases swaging the bullet to fill the hollow space and expand the lead skirting to grip the barrel's rifling. As finally adopted by the United States Government before the Civil War, however, the skirt of the bullet base was made slightly thinner and the plug omitted, as the pressure of the powder gas alone was sufficient to expand the skirt to engage the rifling.
As adopted, the bullet could be quickly removed from the paper cartridge with the gunpowder poured down the barrel and the bullet pressed past the muzzle rifling and any detritus from prior shots. It was then rammed home with the ramrod, which ensured that the charge was packed and the hollow base was filled with powder.
When fired, the expanding gas pushed forcibly on the base of the bullet, deforming it to engage the rifling. This provided spin for accuracy, a better seal for consistent velocity and longer range, and cleaning of barrel detritus. A test in Vincennes in 1849 demonstrated that at 15 yards the bullet was able to penetrate two boards of poplar wood, each two-thirds of an inch thick and separated by 20 inches. Soldiers of the time spread rumors that at 1,200 yards the bullet could penetrate a soldier and his knapsack and still kill anyone standing behind him, also killing any person in a line of 15.
In 1846 all French chasseur and Zouave units in Africa were issued the Miniť rifle. It saw limited distribution in the Crimean War and was the dominant infantry weapon in the American Civil War.