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Civil War Rifle Fifteen Shot (Henry) Rifle
Civil War Rifle (Henry) Fifteen Shot
- WEAPON- CWR15
- ROF- 1
- RELOAD- 1
- SHORT- 0-15
- MEDIUM- 15-25
- LONG- 25-50
- EXTREME- 50-100
Weapon Speed- Slow
The Henry rifle was created in 1860 the year before the American Civil War. B. Tyler Henry invented both the cartridge and the rifle that are known by his name. The 44 Henry rimfire cartridge was the first practical fully complete self-contained metallic cartridge. The Henry Rifle was a further development of prior attempts to make a repeating firearm.
The metallic (copper or brass) case of the cartridge effectively sealed the breech of the gun to contain the hot propellent gases. The priming element was inside a folded rim. The firing pin struck the rim without piercing it. Henry was able to make a mass produced cartridge with a significant powder charge.
The 44 Henry cartridge was comparable in power and competitive with military pistols, but was still under strength for military shoulder arms and buffalo hunting. The majority of Civil War military shoulder arms fired a bullet between 350 and 500 grains propelled by 40 to 60 grains of powder. The 44 Henry had a load of a 200 grain bullet and 26 to 28 grains of black powder.
The 44 Henry rifle was carried in the Civil War but was not widely accepted nor popular with the Army, and the Army could not readily transport the extra weight of all the ammunition the soldiers would shoot from a repeating firearm.
The Henry was a little tedious to load. The magazine was a tube under the barrel and loaded from the front end. The magazine tube was rendered delicate for military service by a lengthwise slot on the lower side. The slot is necessary for retracting the follower and spring into the front end section for reloading. The slot and follower precluded a wooden forestock.
A few shots rapid fire on a sunny summer day would make the barrel too hot to hold. The average man could shoot all 15 shots of the Henry rifle in about a dozen seconds. The Henry did not have a wooden stock at the front end to protect the shooter’s hand from a hot barrel.
Approximately 14,000 Henry rifles were made and most were made during the Civil War. Total quantity purchased by the U.S. Government is 1,731, many of which are in a narrow serial number range of 3,000 to 4,200. The narrow serial number range strongly suggests purchases earlier in the War were not repeated. The Spencer was more powerful and reliable for rugged field use.