Original Austro-Hungarian Model 1854/67 Wänzl Lorenz Breech-Loading Conversion Rifle with Bayonet
Original Item: Only One Available. The Wänzl rifle was a breechloading conversion of the M1854 & M1862 Lorenz rifle. The Austro-Hungarian Empire used the Wänzl as their service rifle until they had enough M1867 Werndl-Holub rifles to arm the military. The rifle was a lifting-block breechloader chambered for the 14×33mm Wänzl rimfire cartridge. The Austrians converted a total of 70,000 Lorenz muskets to Wänzls.
The Lorenz percussion rifle adopted in 1854 was conceived by Lieutenant JOSEPH LORENZ of the Austrian Army. In 1862 this rifle was revised slightly, with a different "Enfield-Style" lock plate, and more consistent manufacturing. In 1866 after losing the Austro/Prussian War having faced the superior Prussian Dreyse needle fire rifle the search started for new revolutionary infantry weapon.
This turned out to be the 1867 WERNDL rolling block rifle personally selected by the Emperor Franz Joseph. The question remained of what to do with the vast inventory remaining of the M1854 and M1862 Lorenz rifles.
This was solved with the 1867 introduction of the WÄNZL conversion system that turned the Lorenz muzzle loader into a 14MM metallic cartridge breech loader and 70,000 transformations were undertaken.
Our example, purchased from a private collector, is stamped 858 on the lock plate indicating original manufacture in 1858. It is marked with E / LG /* in an oval stamp and that of the "Tower of Liège" on the left side of the barrel, indicating that the conversion was done under contract in the legendary Belgian firearms manufacturing city. There is an additional "Tower of Liège" on the breech block, as well as a faded marking that appears to read KOLLMANN. It is also stamped W / 68 just forward of the trap door, indicating conversion in 1868.
All steel is polished and the rifle complete with Regimental Markings on the iron Butt plate of:- 48. 4D. / 89.. The metalwork does have a lot of peppering from ground out pitting that was present. The rifle functions correctly, and has the breech locking pin intact, which keeps the breech locked until the hammer is pulled back to full cock. The 4 groove rifled bore is mostly bright, with clear lands and grooves.
The included cruciform socket bayonet is in very good condition, with regimental markings and other proof marks. Lock functions correctly, and it has a lovely aged steel patina. The bayonet is somewhat unique, in that sight slot is spiral-shaped, and the sight itself has an angled base. This does make it somewhat difficult to fit on completely.
The Union purchased 226,924 Lorenz rifles for the Civil War and the Confederacy - over 100,000 which were known to be used by the Army of Tennessee in 1863-1864.
A scarce rifle almost forgotten to history, the WÄNZL Trapdoor, complete with an original bayonet!
Year of Manufacture: 1858 - converted
Caliber: 14×33mm Wänzl rimfire
Cartridge Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 52.5 Inches
Action type: Hinged Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot
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