Original Austro-Hungarian Model 1854/67 Wänzl Lorenz Breech-Loading Rifle with Practice Bayonet

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Item Description

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 an estate sale, is faintly stamped 857 on the lock plate indicating original manufacture in 1857. It also has a faint Austrian Eagle on the lock plate tail. It is marked WEITZER / GRAZ in a circle under the breech, indicating it was converted to breech loading by Weitzer in the Austrian city of Graz. It is also stamped EAGLE/ 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:- Y. 48.  / 2. 4.. The butt shows minimal wear, the stock, made of Beech is totally sound, the  metalwork showing only some old rust stains and pits, but now fully polished as issued. The rifle functions correctly, though it is missing the breech locking pin, which would have been actuated by the lock. The 4 groove rifled bore is partly bright, with clear lands and grooves, and some powder fouling.

The included cruciform socket bayonet is in very good condition, with the tip having been removed, and replaced by a partly hollow brass ball for training purposes. The bayonet 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, however this example does not have any issues we can see.

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 training bayonet!


Year of Manufacture: 1858 - converted 1868
Caliber: 14×33mm Wänzl rimfire
Cartridge Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 52.5 Inches

Overall Length: 52.5 Inches
Action type: Hinged Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

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