Whether you had ancestors that fought for the North or the South, almost every American is somehow tied to the history of the Civil War. All the weapons used in the Civil War has its own history also. And owning an original relic is extremely expensive and not for every collector. But there are several companies creating quality replica Civil War rifles and handguns that anyone can own for a fair price. There is not much better conversation piece than a Griswold and Gunnison hanging in your workplace or in your dwelling.
The British Enfield was similar to the Springfield and was utilized by both the Union and Confederate troops. Soldiers could use the same caliber ammunition in the British Enfield as with the Springfield. But the Enfields weren’t machine made like the Springfields, and lots of units did what they could to exchange Enfields for Springfields.
The Austrian Lorenz was another widely used European gun, used by both Union and Confederate troops. Some smooth-bore muskets like the 1842 Springfield were used regularly also, but against enemies armed with rifles, they weren’t very effective.
Some 20 distinct types were used by Union forces. Cavalry on both sides used Sharps, which were 0.52 quality arms.
The Confederates made their own Sharps copies, but they weren’t so useful because only 5,000 were made and many were defective, based on accounts by Gen. Robert E. Lee. Instead, many Confederates on horseback used captured Yankee breach-loaded weapons or short-barreled muzzle loaders.
This frequency of fire overwhelmed Confederates using their slower muzzle-loading muskets. The.44 caliber Henry Rifle was another well-liked repeater that place the Confederates in a clear disadvantage. Even if the Confederates had got their hands on these weapons, they would have needed to generate special cartridges, which they might not have done.
The Yankees and Confederates were more equally matched when it came to handguns, especially those created by Samuel Colt. While most Samuel Colt revolvers went to Union troops, the Confederates had stocked them up before the firing on Fort Sumter. Colt’s Navy.36 caliber revolver was also broadly available to the Confederates, and has been a favorite weapon of horsemen. Remington and Sons provided Union troops with revolvers that had simplified designs and a good framework, which makes them both stronger and cheaper to construct than the Colt. After the war, Union troops were given the choice of buying their sidearms, and more of them picked Remingtons than Colts.
Smith and Wesson made.22 and.32 caliber revolvers during the war, but in little quantities. Most were bought privately. Lefaucheux revolvers made in France were used by Union troops in Western conflicts, while the Confederates purchased tens of thousands of five injection Kerr revolvers.
When it came to manufacturing Civil War weapons, Southerners were at a terrific disadvantage because of lack of raw materials necessary for constructing the weapons. Occasionally church bells were melted down to supply the materials for making arms. Griswold and Gunnison was the most productive maker of Confederate revolvers, making.36 caliber brass framed Navy copies. A weapons maker named Spiller and Burr made.36 caliber revolvers in Atlanta and then Macon, but the pace of production has been too slow to keep up with demand.
The single shot musket was that the infantry soldier’s basic weapon during the Civil War. The one made by Springfield in Massachusetts was the most frequent. This musket had a 39-inch long barrel and might hit targets 500 yards away efficiently. The Confederates started making their own copies of Springfields after the raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.