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 Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests.

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barry

barry

Posts : 934
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. Empty
PostSubject: Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests.   Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. EmptyMon Dec 03, 2012 3:13 pm

Hi All,
In 1879 the Americans decided to run tests with a number of comparable army rifles, Smiths Borchardt, Martini -Henry, Springfield's etc and conducted specia ballistic firing tests at Sandy Hook. This was a beach in New Jersey where tests could safely be done up to 3200 yards, at sea level. The reports devolving from the tests and their findings were quite lengthy , so I will only list the salient points vis-a-vis the British Martini-Henry here.

The target used was made of pine and was 44 x 22 feet, ie some 14 metres x 7 metresin overall size, side screens were another 16 feet, ie 5 metres and was set up at 3200 yards from the firing line.

1) angle of elevation for the MH barrel required to loft the MH bullet 3200 yards was 13.3 deg from the horizontal.
2) flight time of the fired round was some 10 seconds per mile
3) angle of penetration for the impacting round was 45 deg
4) only one round of 80 fired by the MH hit the target at this extreme range.
5) the other rifles tested did some 5 - 8 x better at the same target.
6) it was found that many of the MH rounds fired fell short of the target
7) it was noted that wind direction ie one following or a head wind had a profound impact on the range of
the lead bullet ( this is of course to be expected over such a great distance)

Now this testing, per se, was not what was particularly interesting. What was, was that if the data was extrapolated backwards to practical maximum ranges at Isandlwana, say 800 yards,
Thus, 1 round hit out of 80 at Sandy Hook, becomes 4 rounds out of 80 ( .25 x distance) on a target of size 11 feet x 5,5 feet ( 3,5m x 2m ) at Isandlwana ( assuming no corrections for azimuth). This roughly equates with 8 men standing side by side at 800 yards. This abysmally poor accuracy corroborates Dr Goldsworthy's finding quoted by Rattray/Greaves and posted earlier in the recent " Ammunition Problem" thread.
So, this is the partial answer to the question as to where all the ammunition which was fired at Isandlwana , went to., ... It missed, probably falling quite short of the enemy lines !. Of course the majority of the ammunition was captured by the Zulus quite soon after the battle started.
The efficacy of the shooting at Isandlwana would have been further negatively affected by the condition of the ammunition used, ie any rounds which were fired from damaged cases, had become deformed or wet through immersion in river crossings or rainfall etc, would have performed even worse than those tested at Sandy Hook..
For those technically minded and interested in the full report go to www; researchpress.co.uk/longrange/sandyhook.htm.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Fri May 24, 2013 6:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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Neil Aspinshaw

Neil Aspinshaw

Posts : 552
Join date : 2009-10-14
Location : Loughborough

Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests.   Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. EmptyTue Dec 04, 2012 9:34 am

Barry
We've discussed Sandy Nook before, and TBH 3,000 yards is completely out of visual and even lethal range. There's no way of sighting a Military rifle at that range, and even in the long range Trials at Shoeburyness in 1882 2,000 was found to be beyond its capabilites and the project was shelved.

Here is the official statistics, if you wanted to find out more, published 1884, data was collected on a Boulange Chronograph and it lists nearly all types of European and American military arms. Not a great deal bettered the .450 MH at the time, the proposed .402 outclassed everything, but that was dropped. look at the flight times at 2000 yards, thats no quicker than a paintball gun.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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barry

barry

Posts : 934
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests.   Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. EmptyTue Dec 04, 2012 10:28 am

Hi Neil,
Thanks for the velocity/trajectory tables.
Yes, the Yanks had done their homework and knew that 3200 yards was beyond the limits of all
the weapons tested. So to do the tests on the MH they added an extra long leaf to the rear sight
to get the 13.3 deg elevation required to loft the lead slug 3200 yards .
I see the tables presented in your post are silent on achievable MOA's, etc.
The truth be known, 800 yds was also beyond the practical limits of the MH too. So, to be reasonable taking an average operational range of 400 yds and translating the Sandy Hook results, only16 rounds out of 80 would have hit a 4 man standing target. Those 16 hits could be in the non vitals too.
Not exactly scintilating results and one of the reasons that the enemy at Isandlwana could not be "taken down" fast enough.

regards

barry
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Neil Aspinshaw

Neil Aspinshaw

Posts : 552
Join date : 2009-10-14
Location : Loughborough

Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. Empty
PostSubject: Re: Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests.   Firing MH 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests. EmptyTue Dec 04, 2012 6:26 pm

Barry
I'm not sure where you get your facts from, 500-800 yards is well within battle ranges or practical limits. At practice 800 yards was part of the standard minimum musketry training in 1879 for all soldiers. Shooting (from any military position) was at a 1st class target from 800 yards. First class targets had a three foot bulls eye, a five foot centre and were six feet high by eight feet wide, the idea was to represent dispersed infantry or mounted.

Another piece of info, the tests did not stipulate what rifle was used, in 1879 it would be a Mk1 or Mk2. If it had been a Mk3, the leaf sight was soldered 1 dergree and six minute left hand bias to take into consideration rifling deflection at 1000 yards +, at 3000 yards it would mean the bullet passed way off to the irght of the target.


FWIW, I suggest studying the effect of Hector Mc Donalds 1st Sudanese battalions, armed with M-H's at Ondurman, this time against massed enemy formations, MC Donald opened up at 800 yards. The Zulu's were in skirmish order, the Mhadist army on the Kerrie Plain were not, the result was very predictable.
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