Whitworth Hexagonal Bullet Mould


At long last I have new stock of the fantastic 2-Piece Whitworth Hexagonal Bullet Mould.

This very clever mould casts a .442″ hexagonal bullet ready for paper patching. It requires RCBS, Lyman or Lee mould handles. It casts a bullet of approximately 540 grains.

The finest Whitworth Bullet mould available.


The Whitworth rifle was designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth, a prominent British engineer and entrepreneur. Whitworth had experimented with cannons using polygonal rifling instead of traditional rifled barrels, which was patented in 1854. The hexagonal polygonal rifling meant that the projectile did not have to bite into grooves as was done with conventional rifling. In 1856, that concept was demonstrated in a series of experiments using brass howitzers.

Whitworth believed that the same type of system could be used to create a more accurate rifle to replace the Pattern 1853 Enfield which had shown some weaknesses during the recent Crimean War.Trials were held in 1857 to compare Whitworth’s design against the Enfield. The Whitworth rifle outperformed the Enfield at a rate of about three to one in the trials, which tested the accuracy and range of both weapons. Notably, the Whitworth rifle was able to hit the target at a range of 2,000 yards (1,800 m), whereas the Enfield was only able to hit the same target at a range of 1,400 yards (1,300 m).

While the trials were generally a success for the Whitworth rifle, the British government ultimately rejected the design because the Whitworth’s barrel was much more prone to fouling than the Enfield, and the Whitworth rifle also cost approximately four times as much to manufacture. The Whitworth Rifle Company was able to sell the weapon to the French army, and also to the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

While the barrel design of the Whitworth rifle was innovative, the rest of the rifle was similar to other rifles and rifle-muskets used at the time. The rifle was muzzle loaded, and used a percussion lock firing mechanism. The lock mechanism was very similar to that used on the Enfield rifle-musket.

Whitworth chose to use a longer and more slender bullet than was common at the time, which resulted in a bore diameter of .451 inches (11.5 mm) calibre, significantly smaller than the Enfield’s .577-inch (14.7 mm) calibre bore. Whitworth’s bullets were more stable at longer ranges than the shorter and larger diameter bullets found in other rifles of the time. Whitworth also engineered the barrel with a 1-in-20-inch (510 mm) twist, quite a bit tighter than the 1-in-78-inch (2,000 mm) of the 1853 Enfield, or the later 1856/1858 variants with five-groove barrels and a 1-in-48-inch (1,200 mm) twist. The extra spin the tighter twist imparted to the projectile further stabilized the bullet in flight.

The Whitworth rifle weighed 9 lb (4.1 kg). Other long-range rifles of the period tended to have much larger and heavier barrels, which made them too heavy for standard infantry use.

19 in stock


Whitworth Hexagonal Bullet Mould. Two types of bullets were used in the Whitworth rifle: hexagonal and cylindrical. The cylindrical bullets had to be made out of soft pure lead, with a small hollow in the base. Under the influence of the explosion of 80 to 90 grains(5.2–5.8 g) of fine rifle powder, the bullet would upset into the hexagonal bore. Recovered bullets were found to be as hexagonal as those which had been factory-made to a hexagonal shape. The hexagonal-form bullet did not need to expand to properly grip the barrel, and therefore could be made out of a harder lead alloy.



The charge is 2½ drachms, or 70 grains, of No. 6 size powder of the best quality. It should be accurately weighed.


The lubricating wad should always be used for continuous firing. It is put between the powder and the projectile.


The cylindrical form of projectile is the best for general use. It is 530 grains in weight and is wrapped with paper. In loading, the projectile should be pressed gently home, and should not be so forced down as to crush the lubricating wad or the grains of powder. Projectiles cast from the mould are not to be relied upon for accurate shooting, unless they are passed through a die-press.


To save the trouble of weighing the charges, and pressing the projectiles, it is recommended to use the Whitworth Patent Cartridge, in which the powder is carefully weighed, and the projectiles are uniform in weight, size, and figure. This Cartridge consists of a tube, containing the projectile, patent lubricating wad, and powder, placed in their proper order, ready for use. The powder is kept in the tube by a valve, or trap. When the cartridge is used, the end containing the powder is inserted in the muzzle of the rifle (which is chamfered to receive it,) and is held there with the left hand. The ramrod, which should be previously withdrawn from the stock, is held in the right hand. The trap is withdrawn by the finger and thumb of the right hand, and the powder falls into the barrel. The ramrod is then pushed through the tube, taking down with it the projectile and lubricating wad, which should be gradually and gently pressed. The emptied tube is thrown away, and the loading is complete.

The cartridges should be kept dry, but should not be subjected to a heat higher than 90° Fahrenheit.


The rifle is cleaned in the usual way with sponge, woollen cleaner, or a little tow wrapped round the brass jag, which fits on the end of the ramrod. When the loose dirt is washed out, the wire brush will readily remove any hard dirt that may remain. It is advisable to use hot water in cleaning the rifle to ensure the perfect dryness of the barrel afterwards, as any damp remaining in the barrel, after cleaning, would be very injurious.

Courtesy of Research Press. For more information on the Whitworth Project visit Research Press