10 pdr. Parrott Rifle
- Type: Rifled gun
- Rarity: Common
- Years of Manufacture: Between 1861 and 1865
- Tube Composition: Cast Iron, Wrought Iron Breech Band
- Bore Diameter: 2.9 inches (Model 1861); 3.0 inches (Model 1863)
- Rifling Type (US): 3 grooves, right hand gain twist
- Rifling Type (CS): 3 groves right hand twist, or 12 grooves left hand twist
- Standard Powder Charge: 1 lb. Black Powder
- Projectiles: 10 lb. solid bolt, case, common shell, cannister
- Effective Range (at 5°): up to 1,900 yards (1.1 miles)
- Projectile Flight Time (at 5°): about 8 seconds
- Max Range (at 35°): 5,000 yards (2.8 miles)
- Projectile Flight Time (at 35°): about 21 seconds
- Tube Length: 78 inches (US); 81 inches (CS)
- Tube Weight: 890 lbs. (US); 1,150 lbs. (CS)
- Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): 1,800 lbs. (US); 2,060 lbs. (CS)
- Carriage Type: No. 1 Field Carriage (900 lbs.), 57" wheels
- Horses Required to Pull: 6
- No. in North America: approx. 630
- Cost in 1862 Dollars: $180 (US); $ 300 (CS)
- Cost in 1865 Dollars: $187 (US); $3,000 (CS)
- Invented By: Robert Parker Parrott in 1860
- US Casting Foundry: West Point Foundry, Cold Springs, NY
- CS Casting Foundry: Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, VA
- Special Notes: Easy to Manufacture, Inexpensive, Reliable, and Accurate to Shoot.
About 10 pdr. Parrott Rifles
Parrotts, invented by Robert Parker Parrott, were manufactured in different sizes, from 10-pounders up to the rare 300-pounder. The 10 and 20 pdr. versions were used by both armies in the field.
The family of Parrott rifles is easily recognizable by the reinforcing band of wrought iron, in the case of the 10 pdr. about 13 inches wide, covering the breech and reinforce. The M1861 10 pdr. Parrott weighed about 890 pounds or so, and was one of the most economical artillery pieces the U.S. Army would purchase during the war.
The U.S. M1863 10 pdr. Parrott was slightly modified from the M1861 pattern; the bore was increased to 3.0 inches, to make its ammunition consistent with that of the new 3-inch ordnance rifle, and the muzzle swell was eliminated.
Parrotts were manufactured with a combination of cast iron and wrought iron. The cast iron barrel made for an accurate gun, but was brittle enough to suffer fractures. To correct for this weakness, the West Point Foundry's Parrott included a large wrought iron reinforcing band that was formed around a mandrel. While the band was still hot, it was slipped onto a turning gun tube, which was cooled by water injected to the bore. This caused the band to shrink onto the barrel casting, and greatly improved the guns strength and busting resistance.
The Parrott family of cannons had a poor reputation for safety and they were shunned by many artillerists. At the end of 1862, after a number of bursting accidents, Henry J. Hunt attempted to get the 20 pdr. Parrott eliminated from the Army of the Potomac's inventory. However, there is little to no evidence of West Point Foundry 10 pdr. Parrott tubes bursting or otherwise failing in their normal military service lifetime.
More than fifty Confederate copies of the West Point Foundry 10 lbs. Parrott were made at Tredegar Iron Works, in Richmond, Virginia. These guns were slightly longer, larger, and used different variations of rifle grooves than their Federal counterparts. In addition, the reinforcing band on Tredegar Parrotts is thicker and wider than Federal examples, and was applied by a simpler manufacturing method, known as the Brooke-banding method. Many of the Tredegar Parrotts can be identified by a taper or bevel on the trunnion side of the reinforcing band.
In addition, there is also evidence of Confederate Parrott copies being manufactured by Macon Arsenal, Noble Brothers, and the firm of Bujac and Bennett.
Several hundred Parrott gun tubes remain today, many adorning battlefield parks, county courthouses, museums, etc. The ones made by Parrott's foundry are identifiable by the letters WPF (West Point Foundry) found on the trunnions, along with the initials RPP for Robert Parker Parrott.
- To the Sound of the Guns: http://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/10pdr-parrott-models/
- Antietam on the Web: http://antietam.aotw.org/weapons.php?weapon_id=8