Bayonet temper ?
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Author:  Calum [ Mon May 27, 2013 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Bayonet temper ?


I have an odd question regarding bayonets, both period and repro.

Given that the original cast used them for many purposes other than the intended weapons use, how did they hold up? I'm thinking specifically of useage as cooking implements. How would use as a cooking spit affect the temper?

I have original socket bayonets on my Berdan's Sharps, and Enfield, and an original saber bayonet on my Infantry Sharps. If period style useage would damage them, I'd prefer to use repros. But the original versions offer so many advantages over repros...lighter weight and better steel being the most obvious.

This question was also posted on the Szabo forum, since it's not "Berdan specific". But given the knowledge of folks here, I thought that I'd cross post...


Author:  MRiddell [ Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bayonet temper ?

I don't think your camp fire will get hot enough to damage the steel. However for cooking I would use the repos why take a chance with originals. Steel starts to melt and deform at 2600ºF

Author:  Calum [ Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bayonet temper ?


Thanks for the input.

The general opinion expressed (including one by a blacksmith) over on the Szabo forum is that the repeated heating/cooling would eventually destroy the temper. That was also my thought, but since I wasn't sure...

The originals will not see any cooking duty.


Author:  Bill Skillman [ Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bayonet temper ?

Cal and Fellow Sharpshooters,

It is important to keep in perspective what WE do and what the original Sharpshooters did. While modern day reenactors may think nothing of using a bayonet or ramrod to cook their ration--during the CW these implements were U.S. Army Ordnance/Gov't property. Company officers (and higher) were likely to have a s--- fit if they saw men using them for purposes other than intended. Misuse of gov't equipment could result in a court martial with punishments ranging from docked wages (to replace 'damaged' equipment) to digging latrines or more serious consequences (carrying a log, sitting on a fence rail, carrying a knapsack loaded with rocks), etc.

A bent ramrod renders a rifle-musket inoperable; likewise a bayonet with no temper would bend when needed to be straight and true. It is one thing to shoot blanks at other guys shooting blanks for reenacting--it is another to have a useless weapon in your hands as a horde of Rebs comes a-charging and mean to kill you.

A bayonet is good for REMOVING a canteen half (slide blade thru both wires, hold the shank and lift) or boiler from the fire (hold the blade, hook the shank under the wire and lift). All good Sharpshooters should carry a caseknife (jackknife) to whittle a green stick to broil your ration of beef or pork over the open coals. This is what the original boys did and so should we.

Hope this helps,

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess-USSS

Author:  MRiddell [ Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bayonet temper ?

Very well put Bill. I always look forward to your input. And can not wait to meet you.

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