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Original U.S. Civil War Austrian Percussion Conversion Muster 1849 Kammerbuchse Jäger Short Rifle - dated 1853

Regular price $995.00

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Item Description

Original item: Only One Available. The rifle is a Muster 1849 Austro-Hungarian Army (k.k. Army) Kammerbuchse (chamber rifle), original produced using the somewhat bizarre System Augustin "Tube Lock". This utilized a semi-enclosed flash pan and "tube" for a more reliable ignition system. It was however short lived, and in 1854 the Lorenz rifle was developed using the much less complex percussion lock system. After this large quantities of the Kammerbuchse rifles were converted to caplock in Liège, Belgium, prior to shipment to America (probably for Federal use) during the Civil War.

Prior to the manufacture of the Muster 1854 System Lorenz family of arms beginning in 1855, Kammerbuchsen were used to arm the first two ranks in Jäger battalions, the third rank in Grenz regiments, and some specialist troops such as engineers, pioneers, etc. Although Fredrick Fruwith made numbers of these rifles as a contractor for the k.k. Army, he was not the only contractor who did so. Although widely referred to in America as Garibaldi rifles - beginning in late 1861 - we have been unable to find any reliable written sourcing which documents their issue to Garibaldi's troops during the second Italian War of Independence in 1859 or the March of the Thousand in 1860.

The rifle measures of 48 1/2" in overall length, the .71 caliber rifled barrel measuring 33". The wood stock is quality walnut and the mounts of brass, except for the nose barrel ring, which is steel. The lock of this example still bears the Austrian Imperial Eagle on the lock plate tail, as well as a faint date of 854, for 1854, which puts it perfectly into the pre-U.S. Civil War Time Frame. There are still markings on the lock indicating that it did have a frizzen, which was adapted as part of the "tube lock" system originally used on this rifle. There are also still remnants of the "pan" part of the system, now ground flush to the rest of the lock plate.

Any other markings on the lock were most likely removed to obscure the origin, though the top of the barrel nocks form is still marked by maker BENTZ, a known maker of these weapons. This is exactly the type of rifle that would have been nearing the end of its service life in Austria, perfect for modification and shipment to North America.

The rifle has had the long range flip up sight removed and the dovetail filled. Also, both sling swivels were removed, possibly because they became broken or just got in the way. It still retains a correct original ramrod, with the large head used to ram the bullet on to the top of the "chamber" that these rifles featured. It also looks to possibly have been re-bored larger at some point, as the bore measures about .73, with 10 groove rifling. We checked the bore condition, and it definitely shows some wear from use, and is now fouled and oxidized overall. Definitely some interesting research potential in this example!

The rifle is overall in very good condition, with a wonderful aged and oxidized patina. The stock has a lovely honey color, and looks to have been completely cleaned and refinished at some point after service. It now has a lovely varnished finish, which highlights the grain nicely. The lock is the correct type, though the bolster on the barrel plug is a bit different than usually seen, but definitely well executed, with the hammer adjusted to hit the nipple cone farther to the left. We checked the lock action, and it is fully functional, holding at half cock and firing at full.

A fantastic example of an Austrian percussion converted short rifle, most likely imported during the U.S. Civil War. Ready to display!

Year of Manufacture: 1853
Caliber: about .72 inches
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 33 Inches
Overall Length: 48 1/2 Inches
Action type: Side action Percussion lock
Feed System: Single Shot

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