The Civil War may not have been one of the best moments in United States history. In fact, that single war caused the most American casualties of any war that has been fought since, even both World Wars. That’s because the people dying on both sides were Americans. Despite the heavy losses, some great things emerged from the war, including new technologies and advancements such as anesthetic. Civil War Guns are one of the best examples of these technological improvements.
The Beginning of Breech-Loading
Before the war, most guns were muzzle-loaders. That means the ammunition had to be loaded through the muzzle that was more time-consuming and more dangerous to the loader who could easily be accidentally shot in the process. Breech loading or loading from the rear of the weapon was first introduced on many of the firearms used and this method is still used with most of the weapons available today. Clearly, this method is going to be safer for the shooter who remains behind the muzzle at all times but it is also much faster.
Even before the war, some pre-Civil War rifles used this feature but only one bullet could be loaded at a time. During the war that changed and newer guns were introduced that could hold and fire multiple rounds before needing to be reloaded. This was a big step forward for gun technology and is one of the reasons why guns and replica guns from this era are so popular.
Top Civil War Gun Choices
One of the most commonly used guns during this time period by both sides on the battlefields were carbines. These are basically a smaller and less powerful version of rifles. Large numbers of these weapons were being produced in the North and Confederate soldiers would pick them up and use them as their own after eliminating their adversaries on the field. Of course, the southern firearm manufacturers were also hard at work making their own versions, too.
Colt revolvers were one of the most popular choices for pistols. After a battle, the field would be littered with various models of these guns that could be picked up and used by other soldiers as well. On the down side, they don’t have quite the impact as the carbines because they require the target to be a bit closer. Today, replica versions of these Civil War Guns are still some of the bestsellers.
Actually, one of the most famous Civil War Guns is the 1860 Henry Rifle that was developed just before the war started by a man named B. Tyler Henry. The gun itself had many faults, including no wooden stock to protect the shooter’s hands from the hot barrel. However, that would change. When Henry was unable to pay back the loan to start his business, it was taken over by Oliver Winchester who had secured the loan. Winchester made changes to the design and just six years later released the first Winchester Rifle.