Original British Experimental Green Brother's Patent .577 Breech Loading Carbine by E.M. Reilly c. 1864

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. The British Government trials to convert the famous P-1853 Percussion Rifle Musket to breech loading was a very crowded affair. It resulted with the British adopting the system designed by Jacob Snider (An American) in 1866. This resulted in the Snider–Enfield Breech Loading rifle, which became the main British service rifle until the Martini-Henry supplanted it in 1874.

Here we offer one of its competitors: The Green Brother's Patent system. This system removed the breech of the barrel, and loaded the chamber using a plunger. A chamber was fitted at rear of the barrel with access closed after loading in the cartridge. These were waterproof paper cartridges, similar to those used by the Sharps and Terry's patent designs, and were fired using a percussion cap.

Unfortunately, the Snider system had the advantage of using complete cartridges with built in primers, and was chosen over this design. However there were multiple experimental trials rifles converted using this system, and that is what we offer here. This began life as a P-1853 Enfield artillery carbine, and then had the stock shortened to carbine length to be converted into breech loading. The ramrod channel is still visible by the one remaining barrel band. The lock plate is marked by the maker:


The Barrel also still bears British London Proof Marks, including CROWN / V for "Viewed" and CROWN / CP, the definitive London proof for black powder barrels since 1637. There are additional markings on the top of the breech loading system:

NO 159

There is also the number 13.844 marked into the trigger guard, but we do not know the significance of this. Most likely it is an inventory or stock number for the maker or the trials.

The wood is complete and in great shape, with no structural issues and a lovely aged patina. There are some dents and small chips, as well as some drilled holes, probably part of the modification and testing procedures. The rear carbine leaf sight is still intact, and moves. The the bore still shows clear three-groove rifling, though it has some oxidation. Lock is functional, holding at half cock and firing at full. There is a little powder burn, so this is a gun that did see some use. the cap nipple looks to be a replacement, but we can not tell when it was added.

A very attractive and rare trials carbine, ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1858 - converted circa 1864
Caliber: .577 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Cartridge with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 24 inches 
Overall Length: 40 inches

Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Breech Loading

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