Z3330 Rare Mefford’s Patented Projectile, Patent No. 34,285 January 28, 1862
Description: Here is an extremely rare Civil War projectile patented by David M. Mefford of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1862. I have been able to track down five of these in private hands over the years. These projectiles were to be used in .69-.71 smoothbore muskets. Theoretically, these patented projectiles were to make smoothbore muskets just as effective as rifled muskets of the period. The wooden sabot had two angular grooves which would provide spin of the projectile, therefore making it accurate at longer distances. These projectiles went to trial numerous times between 1862 and 1863. Eventually, an order of 1,000,000 cartridges was placed by the Ordnance Department. A quantity of 20,000 were issued to Col. Alexander Piper who was commanding the 10th New York Heavy Artillery at Fort Baker in Washington, D.C.. Unfortunately, they were never issued again and the remaining 900,000 cartridges in stock were ordered to be destroyed in 1865.
This projectile did have a number of favorable traits even though it’s considered odd by today’s standards. When fired, this round was surprisingly accurate when compared to a typical .69 round ball at long distances. They were also easily adaptable to any smoothbore musket of varying size and caliber. This would have been extremely important when you factor in the number of smoothbore arms imported early in the war. One of the major issues with muskets was leading and fouling of the barrel. This patented projectile slowed the process of fouling after multiple shots and prevented leading of the barrel due to the projectile never touching the iron sides of the barrel.
Measures: Ball D .500” L .90” Sabot D .639” L 1.89”
Reference: Round Ball To Rimfire Vol. 1 Pg. 263 No. 353
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American Civil War Relics & Military Antiques