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M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

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  • M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

    I recently found an original m1857 Greene rifle at a local gun shop. It was very fascinating, and i have since been researching its use in the war. Do any of y'all have any information redarging its use, construction, and where they came from? So far all I found is that it was a single shot, bolt action,mettalic cartridge gun, produced from 1857 through the war's conclusion, and that abt. 1200 were issued to soldiers.

    Eric Ball
    Co. A, 62nd Ala. Inf.
    (1st Alabama Reserves)
    Eric Z. Ball

    11B2P
    OEF 10; OEF 11- "College is expensive..." :rolleyes:

    GGG Grandson of William Calloway Barnett
    Co. A/F 1st Alabama Infantry
    KIA Island #10 09APR1862

  • #2
    Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

    Well, I have not seen much, but their is a real Greene rifle at the big Gun museum in Cody WY. Interesting and rare, but is anyone making repros of it while were on the subject?

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    • #3
      Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

      Originally posted by minstrel_boy
      I recently found an original m1857 Greene rifle at a local gun shop. It was very fascinating, and i have since been researching its use in the war. Do any of y'all have any information redarging its use, construction, and where they came from? So far all I found is that it was a single shot, bolt action,mettalic cartridge gun, produced from 1857 through the war's conclusion, and that abt. 1200 were issued to soldiers.

      Eric Ball
      Co. A, 62nd Ala. Inf.
      (1st Alabama Reserves)
      Look for a primer on this arm in McAuley's "Breechloading rifles of the Civil War"

      The rifle was not very successful. In practice, due to the breech design, it leaked gas (much like most CW breechloaders). Also, the gun had very peculiar rifling, called "Lancaster rifling" if I remember correctly after the Englishman he purchased the rifling machinery from, which was based around an ovular bore. The dore shape is slightly an oval, and rather than having "lands and grooves" for rifling as most rifled arms do, the oval shaped bore revolved around an axis as it was cut, making the wide part of the oval act like the grooves in traditional rifling. If you were to examine the rifle you came across closely at the muzzle you will likely notice this.

      Also, the arm was what is called an "underhammer" which means rather than having a hammer that "falls" in the traditional manner as on most long arms of the period, the hammer actually strikes upwards from the bottom of the gun. This means the cone is mounted underneath the breech, causing the cap or primer to be put on in an inverted position. The underhammer design made drill a challenge, particularly "support arms".

      An interesting arm, and the first bolt action purchased, although in limited numbers, by the United States.
      Last edited by Minieball577; 08-04-2004, 12:32 PM.
      ~ Chris Hubbard
      Robert L. Miller Award Winner No. 28 May, 2007
      [url]www.acwsa.org[/url]

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      • #4
        Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

        Thanks Chris, I did notice the peculiar rifling. I'll try to find a copy of the book.
        Eric Z. Ball

        11B2P
        OEF 10; OEF 11- "College is expensive..." :rolleyes:

        GGG Grandson of William Calloway Barnett
        Co. A/F 1st Alabama Infantry
        KIA Island #10 09APR1862

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

          Just out of curiosity, what were they asking for the Greene rifle?
          Michael McComas
          drudge-errant

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

            They said 2500, which didnt seem too bad once I started looking around. They average 3500 on most web auctions.
            Shame I dont have as much money as I'd like.
            Eric Ball
            Co. A, 62nd ALA. Inf.
            (1st Ala. Reserves)
            Eric Z. Ball

            11B2P
            OEF 10; OEF 11- "College is expensive..." :rolleyes:

            GGG Grandson of William Calloway Barnett
            Co. A/F 1st Alabama Infantry
            KIA Island #10 09APR1862

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: M1857 Greene bolt action rifle

              Hallo Kameraden!

              Although Greene's patent was the first bolt-action arm kind of, sort of, "adopted" by the US, the design is basically the same as Nicholas Dryse's 1838 and adopted by the Prussians in 1841.
              Its major difference(s) from Dreyse's was that the Greene was worked/operated by pushing a release button on the tang, which allowed the bolt to be pulled up and to the rear to expose the chamber for the cartridge.
              Two bullets at once were used in an unique arrangement.
              A Minie type bullet was loaded, and the bolt was pushed forward passsed its normal position, where a rod seated the bullet forward in the chamber. The bolt was then drawn rearward again where the unique Greene combustible cartridge (with the bullet in the rear of the charge) was inserted into the receiver. The bolt was then pushed forward again, this time down and to the right to close the breech.
              To fire, a percussion cap was placed on a cone beneath the receiver, a "ring hammer" (forward of the trigger guard bow) cocked with the index finger, and then the regular trigger squeezed.
              That caused the gun powder in the reat to fire the forward seated bullet, with a bullet at the rear acting as a gas check. The powder in the next round, once inserted, then fired that bullet, it leaving its rearward bullet behind. And so on.

              And yes, the Greene used the same oval bore rifling system invented by Charles Lancaster in the 1830's (which looks oval and smooth the muzzle).

              During the CW, a total of 900 Greene rifles were purchased at $37.00 each along with 173,760 special Greene cartridges. Serial numbers are known over the 3500 range, so it is believed some 4,000 were made- made at the A. H. Waters Armory in Millbury, Mass. and believed purchased by individual states rather than the Federal government.
              Appearently, their only recorded use was at Antietam.

              Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
              Curt Schmidt
              In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

              -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
              -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
              -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
              -Vastly Ignorant
              -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

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