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Old March 13, 2013, 10:44 AM   #1
Gary L. Griffiths
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Maximum Range of Henry, Spencer rifles

I'm working on a project involving the Wickenburg Massacre of 1871, in which the attackers fired on a stagecoach with Henry and Spencer rifles, some from as little as 6' away. I figure some firing angles could be as high as 45 degrees. I will be looking for expended bullets from this incident to verify the site and for display at Arizona museums. I would greatly appreciate it if some of the ballistic gurus here could tell me the absolute maximum range of the Henry rifle firing the .44 Henry Flat rimfire cartridge, and that of the Spencer rifle firing the .56-56 Spencer rimfire. I would hate to comb any more of the desert inch by inch with a metal detector than I have to!

Moderators, feel free to move this to C&R or Firearms Research as appropriate. I chose this forum for maximum exposure to those knowledgeable of rifle ballistics.

Additional information on the archaeological exploration of the massacre site is at https://sites.google.com/site/thewickenburgproject/

Thanks for the help!
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:01 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Well, a bit of Google-phoo tells me that the .44RF fired a 200gr Flatnose with a BC of about .153 at about 1125fps...

JBM Ballistic's maximum range calculator tells me that, at 80F, 25% Humidity and 0ft altitude, the maximum range would be 1963 yards, fired at a 35% angle.

I'll figure the other in minute or three...
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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Having some trouble locating the BC of the typical .56-56 bullet, but using a LRN with a .215BC at 1,200fps, same conditions as above, max range would be 2,533 yards, 32.5% angle.
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Old March 13, 2013, 01:45 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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were the robbers on horseback?

how many shots were fired?
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:57 PM   #5
Gary L. Griffiths
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Thanks, Brian! That's exactly what I was looking for. Looks like I'll have to grid 1.5 miles X 3 miles. Probably take more than an afternoon!

Knew I could count on TFL!

Mike, it was an Indian massacre, not a robbery. The Indians were on foot, and cut mesquite bushes to stick in the ground for concealment. There were 15 of them, armed with Henry & Spencer repeaters, but they only had two rounds per weapon. That's probably why there were two survivors.
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Old March 14, 2013, 09:21 AM   #6
PetahW
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.

Even the Injuns were under an austerity program..............



.
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Old March 14, 2013, 06:52 PM   #7
Hawg
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Quote:
Well, a bit of Google-phoo tells me that the .44RF fired a 200gr Flatnose with a BC of about .153 at about 1125fps...
Methinks it would be a lot less velocity than that. A 44-40 with a 200 grain bullet and 40 grains of black powder only reaches around 1310 FPS. I see no way a 200 grain bullet with 28 grains of powder could possibly come close.
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Old March 15, 2013, 01:51 AM   #8
bamaranger
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cutbacks

Tribal sequestration. Who knew?
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:17 AM   #9
Mobuck
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At 2 rounds per gun, if anyone was hit, you need to be looking pretty close to the impact site. Less than 100 yards would be my estimate. More than 200 yards would require more calculations and sight adjustments than most Indians would use. Beyond 300 yards would be a "walk it in" proposition which would require numerous rounds of ammo and would be negated by any change in wind direction/force.
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:55 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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Maximum Range of Henry, Spencer rifles

They weren't shooting at long range, they were shooting at extremely close range and UP at a stagecoach. Hence, a miss would go a long, looong way.
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:13 PM   #11
James K
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"Looks like I'll have to grid 1.5 miles X 3 miles. Probably take more than an afternoon!"

And even if your metal detector finds something, you will have to dig and sift, since a high trajectory bullet dropping down will bury itself in the ground. You have your work cut out for you.

Jim
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