The firearms used by the Texas Civil War Living History Institute are authentic modern reproductions of the actual firearms used during the Civil War. They are real, functioning weapons in every way. It is our intention that all of our participants maintain a healthy respect of firearms, their power, and the responsibility of their wielder for their safe and proper use. Please read more about our Firearms Safety policies.
Below is a description and specifications for all the firearms in use by the Institute. All utilize black powder and a percussion cap ignition system. NO live ammunition is used during our historical demonstrations, only blank charges of black powder. For our rules and safety procedures for live fire exercises, see our Firearms Safety page.
Caliber : 0.577 Powder Charge : 60 grains
Overall Length : 55 inches Range : 500 yards
Barrel Length : 39 inches Ammunition : Conical Minié Ball
Weight : 10 pounds Manufacturer : Chiappa Firearms
enfield rifled musket
Trigger & Trigger Guard
The 1853 Enfield Rifled Musket was the second most common infantry weapon in the Civil War. Used by both sides, especially in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters (or principal areas of operation), these firearms were imported from Britain. Long enough to be fired over the shoulder of the front rank men in a battle line, and rifled for increased accuracy and range, these large caliber rifles had incredible stopping power and were extremely lethal en masse or in the hands of a skilled sharpshooter. The conical Minié ball had a pocket at the rear of the proectile that allowed the hot gasses from the burning powder to expand the grooves on the ball into the rifling. This soft lead projectile would cause devastating wounds and could completely shatter bones.
Caliber : 0.44, six shot Powder Charge : 40 grains
Overall Length : 10 inches Range : 50 yards
Barrel Length : 8 inches Ammunition : Conical Ball
Weight : 3 pounds Manufacturer : Pietta Firearms
remington new model army revolver
Trigger & Trigger Guard
The 1858 Remington New Model Army was made as Remington's answer to Colt's popular .44 caliber army revolver. Although more Colt's were issued by the Union army, the prevailing choice among officers was the Remington due to its sturdy frame and, simple loading mechanism, and the ability to easily remove and replace the cylinder.
Fun fact: in order to hold a blank charge of black powder in the cylinder chamber, the Institute uses Cream of Wheat! This is pressed in on top of the powder with the loading lever, and due to its peculiar properties, compresses tight enough to hold the powder in. Once fired, the cereal safely disperses along with the spent powder.