Whitworth Rifle

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Whitworth Rifle (modern Parker Hale reproduction) - .451 caliber
Whitworth Rifle (modern Dixie Gun Works reproduction) - .451 caliber

The Whitworth Rifle is a muzzle loading rifle produced from 1857 to 1865 based on the Enfield Pattern 1853. Externally it is very similar to the P1853 with the main difference being it's large hooded front sight. The unique feature about this rifle is it's barrel which was internally a twisted hexagon in place of conventional grooved rifling.

Two types of ammunition could be used in the Whitworth, the first being a hexagonal slug which mated closely to the profile of the barrel, the second being a plain cylinder with a hollow base which expanded on firing to fill the barrel. Due to the latter needing to deform significantly, it could only be made from pure lead rather than the harder alloys that the hexagonal bullet could be formed from. This, coupled with the hollowed out base, meant that the simpler cylindrical bullet weighed less and was significantly softer meaning it was less accurate and had less penetration. Conversely though, the cylindrical bullets were a much looser fit in the barrel on loading meaning that they were less susceptible to fouling. In fact, it was this fine tolerance for fouling (along with its cost of nearly four times that of a P1853 along with higher ammunition costs) that led to the Whitworth being rejected by the British Army.

Despite these flaws the Whitworth was far more accurate than its contemporaries, and found great popularity with target shooter and was also used in significant numbers by Confederate sharpshooters during the American Civil War.

The Whitworth Rifle and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
Gettysburg Confederate sniper Scoped 1993
Gods and Generals Confederate sniper Scoped 2003


Television

Title Actor Character Note / Episode Date
Ripper Street Sam Hazeldine George Doggett Scoped / "The Weight of One Man's Heart" (S01E05) 2013
Adam Rothenberg Captain Homer Jackson


Video Games

Title Appears As Mods Note Date
History Channel Civil War: Secret Missions "Whitworth sniper rifle" Telescopic sight Reloaded without fitting percussion cap 2008
Saints Row IV "Flintlock" Scope DLC 2013





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