Fallout: Crescent City
Antique Civil War Sniper Rifle
Aspect: Killing Yanks since 1864.
Ammo: .45 Hexagonal Bullet, Muzzle Loaded
Gear Pool Rating: 0
The Whitworth rifle was designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth, a prominent British engineer and entrepreneur. Whitworth had experimented with cannons using twisted hexagonal barrels instead of traditional round rifled barrels, which was patented in 1854. The hexagonal shape of the barrel and bullet meant that the projectile did not have to bite into grooves as was done with conventional rifling. In 1856, this concept was demonstrated in a series of experiments using brass howitzers.
Whitworth believed that the same type of system could be used to create a more accurate rifle to replace the Pattern 1853 Enfield, which had shown some weaknesses during the recent Crimean War.
Trials were held in 1857 to compare Whitworth’s design against the Enfield. The Whitworth rifle outperformed the Enfield at a rate of about three to one in the trials, which tested the accuracy and range of both weapons. Notably, the Whitworth rifle was able to hit the target at a range of 2,000 yards, where the Enfield was only able to hit the same target at a range of 1,400 yards.1
While the trials were generally a success for the Whitworth rifle, the British government ultimately rejected the design because the Whitworth’s barrel was much more prone to fouling than the Enfield, and the Whitworth rifle also cost approximately four times as much to manufacture. The Whitworth Rifle Company was able to sell the weapon to the French army, and also to the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.