Joseph Whitworth: Guns and Steel (4)

Introduction | Comparative Trials | Hythe Trials | Whitworth & Enfield Trials |
Rifle Fired by the Queen | Ordnance Select Committee | Henry & Metford Rifles | Hexagonal Rifling

Trials Of The Whitworth And Enfield Rifles, Made At Woolwich In The Year 1857

After the contest at Hythe, a series of experiments were conducted by a Committee appointed by the Minister of War, and the enquiries were especially directed to these points:-
(1) Precision, (2) penetration, (3) range.
The trials were made in July and August, 1857, and the best results obtained from the Whitworth and Enfield rifles were officially reported to be the following:-

Rifle Range
Yard
Figure of Merit
Feet
Whitworth
Enfield
500
500
10.194
18.240
Whitworth
Enfield
800
800
18.264
45.750
Whitworth
Enfield
1400
1400
74.844
110.451
Whitworth
Enfield
1700
1700
129.762
Beyond range
Whitworth
Enfield
2000
2000
129.565
Beyond range

In the experiment on penetration, a Whitworth bullet made of a hard alloy passed through 34 half-inch elm boards, while a tubular bullet passed through 34 of the same boards, cutting out clean cores in its passage. The range was 307 yards.

I have not any record of the penetration of the Enfield bullet, except that given in the Hythe trials, where it passed through 12 half-inch elm planks, and was stopped by the 13th plank.