Elongate Bullets and the Brunswick Rifle

Bullets and components used to test a .69-caliber Minie ball with an expanded base in the .75-caliber Brunswick rifle.

Bullets and components used to test a .69-caliber Minie ball with an expanded base in the .75-caliber Brunswick rifle.

   Late in the history of the use of the Brunswick Rifle by the world’s military, hollow-based Minie style bullets were developed and used with a degree of success. Because these bullets are .75-caliber to match the bore, they are, of necessity, heavy projectiles. I do not know what the Confederate States of America’s Ordinance Department designed, but the Russians used a short bullet that was comparatively light-weight for its caliber. It most closely resembled the modern Buffalo Bullets “Ball-Et.”

  The rifle I am using is a Brunswick rifle from the Royal Arsenal of Nepal and presumably made there or elsewhere on the subcontinent. I suspect that these were the first rifled guns that an arsenal was asked to make. The rifling they used had two wide rough grooves with ridges of metal standing above the bore were they were displaced by the rifling broach. The result was that this gun shot miserably with either patched round or belted balls, even though the belted balls were cast from a custom mold designed for this particular gun by Jeff Tanner in England.

  I could order .69-caliber bullets designed for U.S. Rifled Muskets. These had heavy skirts that I believed would expand to fill the bore without destroying the bullets. I made a cavity-expanding die and guides so that I could expand the bullet’s bases to bore size so they would be retained in the bore without using over-bullet wads.

  The powder charge was reduced from 100 grains of FFg used with the patched belted ball to 85 grains of  FFg.  An 11-gauge wad was seated over the powder followed by two bullet-base-cavities full  of Cream of  Wheat and then the libricated .69-caliber Minie ball with the expanded bases was rammed down the barrel.

  Shooting at 35 yards the “group” was about 3-feet high and 10-inches wide – miserable. The hollow-based bullets were stabilized and the skirt bases remained intact, judging from the clean round holes in the target. The base of the bullet was jammed full of the Cream of Wheat filler which showed no indication of scorching by the burning powder charge.

  A video, “Elongate Bullets and the Brunswick Rifle”  is on YouTube and  may be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlKZlLw6yLM&layer_token=ef0128378151b50e . I have also posted it below:

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