In 1847, Captain Claude Etienne Minié of the Chasseurs d'Orléans had invented the blunt lead bullet; in 1849 he invented the rifle that was named after him. It had a percussion lock and weighed 10 lbs 9 ozs. It fired a hollow based bullet of .702 inch calibre. The rifle fired a conical bullet with a cavity in its base plugged with a piece of iron. By the explosion of the charge the iron plug was driven further in, expanding the sides to fit closely the grooves of the barrel.
Reasonable accuracy could be achieved at distances up to 600 yards and the 500 grain bullet could penetrate 4 inches of soft pine at 1,000 yards. These weapons had sights installed for proper aiming.