Cased Whitworth Rifle (B101)

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The cased Whitworth military target rifle B101 recently re-surfaced. This rifle was recorded by the Whitworth Research Project in 1978, but not fully documented, so great now to add some detail to the records. It is described in the following video, however see also the notes below.

Some observations based on the commentary, which hopefully assist in clarifying some of the detail:

  • Soft lead was used with cylindrical bullets as they had to expand to fit the hexagonal bore. However, with a mechanical fit hard bullets could also be used.
  • The rifle is only similar to the Civil War used rifles in that it is a hexagonally bored Whitworth rifle with a full stock. The Civil War rifles had two barrel bands, and lacked some features such as the safety. The commentator suggests the rifle was made “just a whisker after the Civil War.” Based on the serial number however it was likely made late in 1860, and no later than 1861.
  • Serial number is B101. It is not the 101st barrel as stated. The initial production of around 1,000 rifles had no letter prefix. In mid 1860 numbering restarted but with a letter ‘B’ prefix. So, near to barrel number 1,100. Late 1861 numbering started again with a letter ‘C’ prefix, and so on through to ‘F’.