Unknown Projectile- .557 Enfield Minie?


#1

I got this a while ago and am unsure what it is.
I’m guessing at .557 Enfield Minie Ball.
Dimensions are accurate ±1mm and the pic is not 100% to scale
The dark gray is the main projectile, the light gray is the cavity wall and the white is the flat bit of the rear cavity.
If that doesn’t make sense email me and I will try and explain.


Can anyone identify this?
#2

You are right, it looks like a swaged Minie. Can you see a blemish at the point where the “knib” has been cut off? It could also be for a Snider cartridge

As for age, indeterminate, they are still making them like that today. The fact that it has a point tends to indicate a more modern dating if only because fashions change.


#3

The point is flattened slighty, it could have been where something has been cut off.
Here’s an actual pic rather than a CAD drawing.

Nick


#4

It certainly looks like the .577 Enfield bullet that is missing its boxwood base plug.

It is not for a Snider as the Snider bulets had three or four cannelures depending on the pattern.

Regards
TonyE


#5

Hi,
What about a Pritchet bullet?
Not sure about diameter.
Martin


#6

Maybe intended for paper patch use, as there are no cannelure grease grooves?


#7

I would say almost certainly intended for a paper patch. That would make it a Pritchet bullet in all but name.
The question of age is what interests me. There are lots of people still shooting those rifles today and the bullets are still being made.
Its an ideal bullet to swage because they are a pain in the rear end to cast well. Pure lead doesn’t cast properly unless you get the lead really hot and even then there are a lot of rejects because the lead doesn’t fill out well around the base.

Its also quite long and I would be interested to know the weight. A bullet of that length probably wouldn’t shoot that well in a 3 band Enfield but might be OK with a 2 band Enfield which had a faster twist, Modern shooters don’t bother with a base plug because they find the base flares out without it. I believe the US Gov’t abandoned base plugs very early on for their Springfields and captured Confederate Enfields.The British never did. The other trouble with base plugs is if they drop out or otherwise don’t stay in the bullet when fired it alters the weight of the projectile and hence the trajactory.

For Infantry use thats not likely to be a problem but enthusiasts today shoot these rifles at extreme ranges.


#8

So the consensus is that it is a .557/.577 Minie/Pritchet?

Vince-I will try and get the weight of it tomorrow.

Nick


#9

Yes I would say thats pretty much the concensus. Whether or not its for an Enfield is purely conjecture. Most of the muzzle loaders today in Britain shoot Enfields either originals or repro. In the US its Springfields and a few Enfields because the Confederates had them. In the US its centred mainly around Civil War re-enactors.
You can’t elimininate the possiblilty that it was made for some other rifle of similar calibre from some other country. I don’t really know what the Germans, French etc were shooting at that time.

The name Minie however is Generic and used to describe all hollow based muzzle loading bullets of that type. The idea being that its undersized slighly to facilitate loading and then when its rammed home the pressure from ramming against the powder below it (with or without the plug) causes the skirt to flare out enough to grip the sides of the barrel and the bullet stays put. When fired, the pressure of the gases behind it causes bullet skirt to flare much more and grip the rifling tightly,and it seals the bore. Minie was a French Army Officer I believe.
Historically the bullet was called a Minie Ball rather than a Minie Bullet.

I don’t know much about Pritchet except that he presumably designed the British Enfield bullet. Maybe somebody else could fill in some detail on him and Minie.

From a wound point of view a paper patched bullet was less likely to set up an infection than a bullet lubricated with tallow. Depending on your point of view that could be an advantage or a disadvantage. Either way, getting hit by one of those big lumps of lead was not to be recommended. Despite that, after the American C-W there were a remarkable number of war veterans walking around with those things still in them. Sometimes more than one!


#10

The projo weights 523 grains


#11

Thats at the low end of average for a projectile like that but still pretty much what you would expect.