14 pdr. James Rifle

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14 pdr. James Rifle at Gettysburg (Sept 2006, Michael Kendra).
  • Type: Rifle with 7, 10, or 15 rifle grooves
  • Rarity: Uncommon to Rare
  • Years of Manufacture: 1861 - 1862
  • Tube Composition: Bronze or sometimes steel
  • Bore Diameter: 3.8 inches
  • Standard Powder Charge: 1.25 lbs.
  • Projectiles: 14 lb. bolt
  • Tube Length: 73 inches
  • Tube Weight: 915 lbs.
  • Effective Range (at 5°): 1,530 yards
  • No. in North America: about 400
  • US Casting Foundries: Ames Manufacturing Co., MA or Miles Greenwood & Co., Cincinnati OH
  • Invented By: Charles Tillinghast James
  • Special Notes: Above Stats refer to a James Rifle, Type II.

More about 14 pdr. James Rifles

Charles Tillinghast James was a self-educated mechanic and carpenter who turned to public life, serving first as a senator from Rhode Island and later as Major General of the militia. He devoted considerable time and talent to the promotion of rifled cannons and to the projectiles they fired. His close friendship with J. Tyler Ames of Ames Foundry led to the development of these artillery pieces. Ironically, James died of wounds that he received from the explosion of a cannon shell of his own manufacture, with which he was experimenting, on October 17, 1862.

The James Rifle was not a widely used cannon in either army, though the 2nd Connecticut Battery was armed them at Gettysburg. All James Rifles fired 14-pound elongated shells and were accurate up to 1,500 yards.

The James Rifle, Type I. is actually a remanufactured M1841 6 Pounder that has been rifled using the James Rifling System, typically using 15 rifle grooves. These guns are not pure James Rifles, and are externally the same as the typical M1841 6 Pounder.

The James Rifle, Type II. is a bronze rifle similar in shape to the 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, and was produced by the Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts. It usually has 7 or 10 rifle grooves and a distinctive front sight blade.