Original British Napoleonic Ezekiel Baker Breech Loading Rifle
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. As seen on History Channel's Pawn Stars, this is an exceptionally rare. We believe that this is a prototype as there are no other known examples in existence.
The rifle is beautifully constructed with a Damascus twist barrel, gilt inlaid script that reads Ezekiel Baker London and Gunmaker to His Majesty across the top of the barrel. Lock is is marked E. Baker. The caliber is .65 and it has a heavily rifled bore.
The unique aspect is that the breech has a rotating lever which allows the shooter to load it from the breech. This lever has two distinct benefits over a muzzle loading rifle; it allows a larger caliber ball to be inserted which greatly improves accuracy of the rifle and it speeds the loading process significantly.
The gun measures 41.5 inches in overall length with a 31.5 inch barrel. It features iron mounts which all bear decorative engraving. Classic half stock with finely checkered wrist. Overall condition is excellent with a small area of pitting about half way down the barrel. Perfectly functional as seen on the Pawn Stars episode which can be seen below..
Watch IMA's own antique gun expert Alex evaluate and shoot this rifle on History Channel's Pawn Stars:Ezekiel Baker (1758–1836) was a master gunsmith from Whitechapel, London, who became known for his design of the Baker rifle in 1800. Baker was apprenticed to gunsmith Henry Nock and opened a gunshop of his own at 24 Whitechapel Road, London in 1775. He later wrote a book on his experiences when making and using rifles.
The Baker Rifle
The British Army had been experimenting with rifles since the American Revolutionary War, but had found all available rifle designs either too fragile, cumbersome or slow firing to be able to use in a generalised war. On 4 February 1800, a number of leading gun makers were invited to Woolwich to trial their rifle designs by the Board of Ordnance, who were responsible for the procurement of weaponry for the army. Baker's design was chosen, and he was given an initial order for 800 rifles. In the same year, an "Experimental Corps of Riflemen" was raised by Colonel Coote Manningham and Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. William Stewart. The corps was manned by volunteer officers and soldiers from a variety of British regiments and militias, and would soon be renamed and normalised into the army under the name the 95th Rifles Regiment of Foot.
By 1810, five British battalions, three of the 95th and two of the 60th Regiments, as well as several light companies of the King's German Legion were equipped with the Baker rifle. The rifle was renowned for its accuracy and range. It was used throughout the Napoleonic Wars and continued in service until the 1830s.
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