British Whitworth rifle:
Similar to the Pattern 1853, this was another British import the Confederates relied upon, mainly their sharpshooters. And it might be one of the most unique long-gun designs of the war, and perhaps overall firearms history. That is, if you consider a gun designed to fire hexagonal bullets a bit odd. Sir Joseph Whitworth was the man behind the machine, inspired by cannon design in conceiving his polygonal rifled long gun. His goal was to build a replacement for the Pattern 1853. He certainly built a gun that outperformed it, at one trial striking targets at 2,000 yards, 600 yards better than the Enfield. Despite the rifle’s impressive capabilities the British military did not adopt the .451-caliber Whitworth.
Serendipitously, Sir Whitworth found another market for his rifle at the outset of the American Civil War — the Confederates. Despite somewhat limited use, the muzzleloader still reached mythological status with Rebel sharpshooters who achieved some truly astounding shots with the rifle, and in the process struck terror into Union troops. Prohibitive cost, however, stymied wider adoption. Where a domestically produced rifle would cost around $25, a cased Whitworth with 1,000 rounds of ammunition would cost a stunning $1,000.
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