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Original Belgian Prototype Pinfire Tube Magazine Repeating Rifle by Tanner and Co. for British Snider Trials

Item Description

Original item: One of a Kind. If you were looking for a rifle that really turns heads, this is it! Possibly UNIQUE, this is a most remarkable weapon unlike anything we have ever seen before. It is a beautiful work of manufacturing and ingenuity, a pinfire design that also has a tubular magazine.

In short the rifle is loaded from the rear of the butt ,with the top half of the iron butt plate hinged down by way of what appears to be a band spring on the left side of the stock being manually depressed, which releases the upper half of the butt plate. This reveals the rear of the open cartridge magazine tube running along the upper edge of the stock. There is a slot cut into the tube at the on the upper surface allowing the Cartridge "pins" to protrude. Above this is a sliding wooden panel about an inch in width that runs from the butt plate all the way to the receiver that slides out backwards giving access to the protruding pins.

On the right side just below the rear end of the cartridge tube is a cutout for a wire apparatus, which is intended to shorten after every cartridge is loaded pushing the column of ammunition forward entering into a loading area behind the chamber. Directly to the right of this loading area there is a pulley system that the interfaces with loading wire, described above. Part of this apparatus is definitely missing, but the amount of thought put into the concept is astounding.

There is a back action lock mounted on the right side of the action which is marked: - TANNER & CO, the ONLY marking anywhere on the weapon. The barrel measures 37", rifled in approximately 15 mm of about .58 caliber, the rifle measures 57" in overall length, with all mounts of polished iron. There is a hinged iron cover directly behind the chamber over the loading area that swings to the left exposing the rear of the breach activated by a small vertical lever situated on the cover's right hand side.

On the left side is a winding screw that when tightened extends a bar to stop the advance of the cartridges in the magazine and therefore could operate as a safety. To operate the action one "COCKS" the hammer way back past FULL COCK, which then automatically raises a steel barrier behind the chamber, allowing for the next cartridge to enter the chamber. Then pulling the cock just a tad further back then closes the steel gate downwards, which becomes the breach block behind the cartridge. The hammer, having closed the steel gate, will advance to be held at the full cock position and the rifle is ready to fire.

The unanswered question we have is what happens to the expended cartridge case IF THERE IS ONE. Perhaps the ammunition could be largely made of paper and consume itself upon ignition (?). The fact remains that this is a very complicated and expensive system of a multi-shot rifle using the PIN FIRE system. The obvious possible operational pitfalls and just the large expense rather eliminated this PROTOTYPE from consideration in the MILITARY TRIALS for a breech Loading system after which the SNIDER was adopted.

The TANNER FAMILY OF GUNSMITHS trace back to PETER TANNER 1666 - 1750 followed by GOTTFRIED SIGUMUND TANNER 1729 - 1790 then JOHANN SIGISMUND TANNER 1761 - 1807 and to ERNS HEINRICH DANIEL CARL TANNER 1791 - 1866. Over the years the family worked in Germany, Switzerland, and then in the 19th Century in Flanders, later BELGIUM, in the City of LIÉGE. Here, this final generation became the official Armurier du Roi de Hanovre et de Du de Brunswick (Armorer of the King of Hanover and the Duke of Brunswick). Multiple other family members ran similar businesses all over Western Europe.

THE BRITISH SNIDER TRIALS attracted multiple inventors and manufacturers to submit masses of example examples of the simplest to the most "OFF THE WALL" ideas of the day. This is a good example of over reach that ended up as an also ran and is quite possibly totally UNIQUE that was consigned to the scrap heap of Rifle history.




Year of Manufacture: circa 1865
Caliber: .577 inches
Ammunition Type: Pinfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 37 inches 
Overall Length: 57 inches

Action: Back Action Lock
Feed System: Experimental Tubular Magazine

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