Original British P-1853 Experimental Trapdoor System Trials Rifle by Barnett of London

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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: a trap door style system, actually later adopted in some form by the U.S. Government in 1873. This example was made by BARNETT of LONDON, a very substantial British Government Contractor. This rifle started life as a muzzle loading P-1853 Rifle Musket as used in the Crimean War,The Sepoy Rebellion (Indian Mutiny) and the U.S. Civil war, as well as all over the British Empire. The conversion was pretty much what the U.S. ended up with in 1873, using a lifting trap door style breach block fitted to the rear of the .577 caliber barrel. Why it lost to the Snider and why the Snider was not adopted by the U.S. is totally a mystery to me but that's history for you.

The firing pin in this weapon was removed, probably as a safety measure at some time but any gunsmith can easily make a replacement it desired. The extractor / ejector also seems to be missing, however it may have never had one. Coming from an old very high end Collection in Kansas City, this Trial's Rifle comes with a good pedigree. It is marked on the left side of the stock with W. WALLIS as well as PATENTED / FEB. 27. 1866. This may indicate that W. Wallis was in fact the one who submitted this design for the trials. We also have seen a similar rifle in the NRA firearms museum, but we are unsure of the link to this example. Definitely worthy of further research!

Showing old powder burns and pits around the breech block and lock plate those areas were cleaned off and recolored at some time in the way past. The stock has been well cared for, and has a good deal of curl to the bottom side. The bore shows the original three groove rifling with a mostly bright finish, though there are areas of oxidation and wear.

A very attractive and  rare Rifle, ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: c. 1860 - converted later.
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .58 Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 35 1/2 inches 
Overall Length: 55 inches

Action: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Trapdoor Breech Loader Single Shot

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