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Snider Enfield Rifle

The Snider Enfield Rifle was the main small arm used by the Canadian Army during the 1885 Resistance. Its origins occurred in 1866 when the Province of Canada, (later Ontario and Québec) due to a fear of Fenian (Irish-American) invasions from the United States, petitioned Great Britain to convert the muzzle-loading Enfield Rifle into a quicker and more accurate breech-loader. The conversions took time: the first shipment of 30,000 rifles arrived in North America in late 1867.

A Dutch-American wine merchant from Philadelphia, named Jacob Snider, designed the Snider Enfield Rifle. Colonel Edward Boxer designed the rifle’s ammunition. It was a revolutionary design because it was a self-contained cartridge, which held the bullet, black powder, and the primer ignition cap all in one case. The nose of this new bullet was hollowed and covered by a thin lead coating, which made the bullet more balanced in flight. This hollow point, however, caused the bullet’s lead casing to expand after hitting soft tissue, which shredded the victim’s flesh. It also crushed all bones upon impact. Exploding bullets such as these have been banned in modern warfare.


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