20 pdr. Parrott Rifle
- Type: Rifled gun, 5 rifle grooves
- Rarity: Uncommon
- Years of Manufacture: 1861-1865
- Tube Composition: Cast Iron
- Bore Diameter: 3.67 inches
- Standard Powder Charge: 2 lbs.
- Projectiles: 20 lb. bolt
- Tube Length: 89 inches
- Tube Weight: 1750 lbs.
- Effective Range (at 5°): 2,100 yards
- No. in North America: approx. 300
- Cost in 1862 Dollars: $380(US); $550 (CS)
- Cost in 1865 Dollars: $387(US); $4500(CS)
- Invented By: Robert Parker Parrott in 1861
- US Casting Foundry: West Point Foundry, Cold Springs, NY
- CS Casting Foundry: Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, VA
- Special Notes: Highly accurate, excellent for counter-battery fire, challenging to transport, prone to bursting.
More about 20 pdr. Parrott Rifles
The 20 Pounder Parrott Rifle was one of the heaviest field artillery pieces of the American Civil War. It was highly accurate, cheap to make, and easy to operate. In hard-hitting and accurate counter-battery fire - the 20 Pounder Parrott had no match. However, it was soon discovered that Parrott Rifles, particularly the 20 pounders and larger were prone to bursting, killing and injuring many artillerymen. The cast iron design of these large rifles just couldn't contain the stresses of firing.
By 1862 General Henry Hunt attempted to eliminate the 20 Pounder Parrott completely from the Army of the Potomac. He felt that these guns were nearly as dangerous to the gun crews serving them as to the enemy.
Although the 20 Pounder Parrott had a questionable reputation, it served it's purpose on the battlefield. Parrott Rifles may not have been the best field guns, but they could be produced quickly and in quantity at a time when the Army was desperate for rifles, not necessarily the best rifles, but rifles. When the war was over they were not used again.