Civil War Sharpshooting

Civil War Sharpshooting

At the outset of the American Civil War, the wealthy inventor and expert shot Hiram Berdan initiated the setting-up of sharpshooting units in the Union Army. These units would be tasked primarily with open-order skirmishing as well as long-range, accurate shooting. Initially, it was envisaged that the M1855 Colt revolving rifle would be the weapon employed by these specialists. Instead, the North’s sharpshooters preferred the Sharps rifle, an innovative breech-loading weapon employing a falling-block action. It had double-set triggers, aiding accuracy, and could fire up to ten shots per minute, more than three times the rate of fire offered by the standard-issue Springfield .58 rifled musket.

The Sharps was very expensive, though, and military planners believed it would encourage soldiers to waste ammunition. After a prolonged fight with the Ordnance Department, however, Berdan succeeded in procuring Sharps rifles for his men. Other Union sharpshooters were equipped with the standard-issue Springfield rifled musket, the Spencer Repeating Rifle – a lever-action rifle with a seven-round tube magazine chambered for the rimfire .56-56 Spencer cartridge – as well as competition sporting rifles repurposed for military use.

Conversely, the Confederacy favored the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket for its sharpshooters. The South also imported from Britain quantities of the Whitworth Rifle, a .45-caliber, single-shot, muzzle-loading weapon distinguished by its use of a twisted hexagonal barrel. More prone to fouling and slower-firing than the standard-issue rifled musket, the Whitworth offered impressive long-range accuracy and its hexagonal bullets made a distinctive whistling noise in flight. In May 1864, a Confederate sharpshooter armed with the Whitworth famously killed the highest-ranking Union battle casualty of the conflict, Major General John Sedgwick, at a range of about 1,000 yards.

Sharpshooting Rifles of the American Civil War: Colt, Sharps, Spencer, and Whitworth by Martin Pegler covers that history and more. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this is the engrossing story of the innovative rifles that saw combat in the hands of sharpshooters on both sides during the Civil War.

Available direct from Osprey Publishing (, 718/433-4402) or Amazon and other booksellers.

Read more in the February 2018 issue.

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Stocks And Grips

Read more in the January 2018 issue.

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MTM Case-Gard

The High-Low Shooting Table is a portable, adjustable benchrest-style shooting table for left and right handed shooters capable of standing between 18” to 55” tall. Stabilized with three legs and footings that wedge in to the ground, the High-Low Shooting Table was designed for field use or uneven ground, as well as angled areas such as a hillside. The 17” x 33” table surface is large enough to hold rifle or handgun rests, along with ammo and tools. The comfortable, lightweight, portable stand is produced with a ridged, engineering-grade polypropylene top that is available in a dark earth color. MTM lists this with an MSRP of $139.99.

The Gun Cleaning Rod Case was designed to secure up to four rifle and shotgun cleaning rods up to 47” within its foam padded interior. Each rod is held in an individual slot, preventing rattling and damage to the rods during transportation. The case includes room for storing patches, jags, and brushes. Cleaning equipment is organized into a single, transportable container. Available in red, MTM lists this at $29.99.

Finally, the Tactical Mag Can was redesigned specifically for .308 magazines and can hold 10, 20, and 25 round magazines for the .308 AR platform rifles, along with 10 and 20 round magazines for M1A and M14 rifles. It features a reinforced O-ring seal, making it water-resistant, and a latching system that locks the magazines tightly into the case, protecting them during transportation. The Tactical Mag Can holds up to 14 magazines individually secured in pre-cut, closed, military-grade foam. Measuring 17.2” x 10.7” x 9.2” (H) with a double padlock tab and molded-in stacking ridges make it practical for storage. Suggested retail is $27.99.

Contact MTM Case Gard at or 937/890.7461.

Read more in the December 2017 issue.

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CleanShot is an automatic bore cleaning device for shotguns. Created by Huntego Limited (, 248/897-0688), CleanShot is a first of its kind shoot-through bore cleaning cartridge, being a fast, efficient, and convenient cleaning field cleaning method.
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AR-15s, the progenitor of the longest serving service rifle in United States history as well as the so-called “Modern Sporting Rifle”, all share a common design feature. The barrel extension where the lugs of the bolt lock up, often called the “star chamber”, is a bit of a pain to get into for cleaning. While legions of drill sergeants/instructors have wrongly and ignorantly forced generations of troops to clean small arms to the point of their premature demise, proper maintenance does necessitate keeping areas where moving parts mate (such as locking lugs) free from excess fouling and debris.
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Vedder LightTuck IWB

Self defense is an increasingly popular reason for gun ownership. With some legal provision for concealed carry in every State, having the effective means of carrying is an important part of the process. Vedder’s LightTuck IWB is a kydex holster providing a sound option. Weighing in at 2.8 ounces without the clip for full-size handguns such as the Beretta 92, this adjustable Kydex holster adds minimal weight and bulk to a carry gun.
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Smart Armor Cube

Smart Armor in partnership with Arrow Electronics has developed their Smart Cube, a Bluetooth-enabled smart lock monitored and controlled via iOS or Android app for securing and monitoring access. Easily installable, the 1.25” cube includes an app that tracks and monitors access to any number of locked locations.

The Smart Armor Cube can be accessed from any smartphone, computer or tablet using the included software. The device can be accessed via Bluetooth so long as you have your access code. The Cube’s CR2 battery lasts over a year if accessed ten times daily and the app shows remaining battery life in real time so you’ll know when to replace it.

Once installed on a door, drawer, cabinet, tool box, or other container you want secured, the Smart Armor Cube lock is controlled by an app via Bluetooth connection. The Cube can be set to automatically unlock whenever your smart device is in range or set to require an additional access code determined by you. Other users, such as your shop employees, family members, etc., can also be granted access to any or all of the Cube locks as you dictate. Every time a lock is accessed, the entry is logged and timestamped with that user’s ID.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication protocol, a single app can act as a universal key for any number of locks. Other users using the same app on their iOS or Android device can be granted access to any or all of these locks as you see fit. For simple and less secure applications, the lock can be mounted with double-sided 3M tape resistant to up to 100 pounds of force. For additional rigidity, the Cube lock can be bolted in place. Synced with the app, the Cube opens and closes the lock. Locate your valuables, share customized access with others, and track activation history. If someone tries to tamper with the device, it will send out an alert. In the case of a lost or dead phone, the Smart Cube can be accessed from any device with the free software installed after entering your ID and unique access code.

Pre-orders shipped summer 2017. MSRP is $89 or $225 for three. For more information, visit

Read more in the August 2017 issue.

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