"Who invented the rifle?"?
Civil War Time Period
In the early 19th cent. firearms were revolutionized by the invention of the percussion-cap method of igniting gunpowder. The percussion cap was a small metal capsule, filled with fulminate of mercury, that exploded when struck and fired the gun instantly; it soon replaced the flintlock. Another important advance was the development of gas-expanding bullets, such as the minié and Burton bullets, in the 1840s. In 1855 the United States adopted a new form of firearm called the rifled musket—a gun that looked like a musket, used the minié bullet, had a rifled barrel, was muzzle-loaded, and was fired by percussion caps. It was used by both sides in the U.S. Civil War. Thereafter all small arms became rifled with the exception of the shotgun, a smoothbore firearm designed for short-range firing of either a single slug or a number of small shot. Shotguns are either double-barreled or single-barreled and can be single-shot or repeaters; they are used mainly for hunting.
The rifle used in the civil war was invented long before the war itself. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, neither the North nor the South was prepared to engage in a major war. Decades of relative peace had left limited stockpiles of small arms--the rifles and handguns carried by individual soldiers. As tens of thousands of men volunteered to fight alongside their friends and neighbors, those arms stockpiles were quickly exhausted.
Purchasing agents for the Union and Confederacy began buying up every European rifle they could find and shipping them back to American ports. As a result, many volunteers during the first two years of the Civil War found themselves using a wide variety of rifles, including antiquated weapons dating back to the War of 1812. Meanwhile, American rifle and gun manufacturers--Sharps, Colt, Remington, and the United States armory at Springfield--quickly expanded rifle production. The 1855 invention of the rifled barrel--which had grooves running down the barrel that caused the bullet to spin as it fired out of the end--quickly made all smoothbore rifles obsolete.
The is no for sure documentation of who invented the rifle itself. Sadly some believe that criminals themselves did the work and also invented the flintlock design.
Hope this helps.
America had extremely good rifles and this was due to a shortage of lead and poor powder. The German rifles, where they were probably first invented, were large caliber short barreled things. In America the lack of lead made rifle makers go to smaller calibers (less lead per shot) and the poor burning powder made them use longer barrels so it all burned out.
The result was the so called Kentucky Long Rifle, which was deadly accurate.
Before the rifle, the musket was an inaccurate but fast loading weapon. The rifle was slow loading and therefor was slow to be adopted by the military
the difference between a musket and a rifle is simply the lands and groves cut into the inside of the barrel, this imparts a spin on the ball and stabilizes it in flight, hence the far greater accuracy and range.
Breech-Loading Rifle: Captin Patrick Fergusion
Winchester Rifle: John Moses Browning
M1 Semi-Automatic: John Garand
High Explosive Rifle Bullet: Samuel Gardiner
Rifle Scopes: August Feilder
Johnson Rifle: Melvin M. Johnson Jr.
On Modern Marvels they did firearms, and one of the major inventions they mentioned was the rifled barrel. Basically, everything that has been said so far I'll concur with, but I wanted to add something.
According to the program (and take it as you will), one of the possible reasons for adding rifling was actually to prevent fouling in the barrel. The rifling was possibly intended to take up some of the residue left over from each shot, so that more shots could be fired without the barrel fouling up too much to be fired. The accidental discovery was that the rifling allowed for more accurate shooting and shooting at greater ranges.
Most people think rifles were invented during the Civil War, because the of the mass chaos associated with Napoleonic tactics used in concurrence with rifled barrels was so pronounced during the conflict. Many people forget that one of the things that made American fighting tactics so effective against larger British troops 100 years earlier was the use of rifled firearms by small bands of guerilla fighters, who would pick off targets in the woods then slip out of sight.
A rifled barrel was more difficult to produce, and therefore more expensive, especially in mass quantity. Therefore, a large standing army prior to the American Civil War would have found it more cost effective to still use mostly smooth-bore firearms. With the advent of the industrial revolution in America, rifles became easier and cheaper to manufacture, making their desirable advantages outweigh any prohibitive costs, thus allowing it to become the rifle of choice for infantry.
Unfortunately, like most wars, the Civil War was being fought by generals and commanders who had been schooled in the tactics of the old wars, men who were not readily willing to change to meet the new tactics required by new technology. This happened again in World War I as armies retained fortified, "dug-in" positions despite technolgy having advanced beyond that tactic. And again in World War II in the Pacific as McArthur was met with staunch opposition for his campaign to skip over certain fortified islands if he felt they were not necessary for the objective at hand. I can go on, but I think I've at least tried to show the point.
I thought it was an interesting theory one way or the other.
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