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Original British P-1866 Snider Mk.II** Saddle Ring Cavalry Carbine by RSAF Enfield - dated 1866

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available.  This carbine is 100% all British manufacture, possibly having started life as a P-1853 Enfield carbine, which was quickly converted to a Snider Mk.II**. More likely is that it was originally manufactured in this configuration, after the P-1866 Snider was originally patterned. It was probably a MkII at first, and then updated to the MkII** configuration.

The carbine's lock is plate stamped "CROWN" over V.R. and 1866 / ENFIELD, indicating manufacture at the Royal Small Arms factory at Enfield. This was a military issue, as indicated by the royal monogram. The barrel has the standard British markings and proof marks under the sight and on the breech ring.

The wood stock is in very good condition, having been refinished at arsenal long ago. It was sanded down, but there are still traces of the ENFIELD marked stock rondel on the right side of the butt stock. The right side of the stock has a lovely saddle bar with one saddle ring, which is attached in place of the standard lock screw escutcheons.

The barrel has standard three groove rifling and the bore shows clear lands and grooves, with a mostly bright finish, showing slight wear and oxidation. Overall the metalwork bears a nice worn patina. There is the correct II * * stamped on top of the breech, indicating it is the MkII** version of the breech loading system. This was the last version before the "latch" was introduced, though it does have a small "button" at the bottom of the breech plug that grips the breech block. There is some wear on the breech block, but it still catches correctly when closed. The ejection system also works, and returns quickly to the closed position.

A very nice example of a hard to find carbine, ready to display!

More on the P-1853 Rifle-Musket: The Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-musket (also known as the Pattern 1853 Enfield, P53 Enfield, and Enfield rifle-musket) was a .577 calibre Minié-type muzzle-loading rifle-musket, used by the British Empire from 1853 to 1867, after which many Enfield 1853 rifle-muskets were converted to (and replaced in service by) the cartridge-loaded Snider-Enfield rifle.

The term "rifle-musket" originally referred to muskets with the smooth-bored barrels replaced with rifled barrels. The length of the barrels were unchanged, allowing the weapons to be fired by rank, since a long rifle was necessary to enable the muzzles of the second rank of soldiers to project beyond the faces of the men in front. The weapon would also be sufficiently long when fitted with a bayonet to be effective against cavalry. Such guns manufactured with rifled barrels, muzzle loading, single shot, and utilizing the same firing mechanism, also came to be called rifle-muskets.

The 39 in (99 cm) barrel had three grooves, with a 1:78 rifling twist, and was fastened to the stock with three metal bands, so that the rifle was often called a "three band" model.

History of the Snider rifle- Jacob Snider, an American from New York, developed this breech loading system for the P-1853 Enfield, the most prolific imported Percussion rifle in use by both the North and South during the U.S. Civil War. When the British Board of Ordnance appointed a Select Committee in 1864 the Snider system was swiftly adopted with the first breech loaders being issued in 1865 to British forces.

Improved in 1867 by the use of Colonel Boxer's center fire brass bodied cartridge, the rifle was used very effectively in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868. The system utilized a hinged breech block with an internal firing pin assembly that permitted the use of a self contained cartridge of lead bullet in cardboard, and, after 1867, brass casing. This highly efficient conversion system prolonged the active life of the P-1853 rifles up until 1871 when the Martini System was adopted. Snider rifles saw continued use throughout the Empire but were officially obsoleted by the late 1880s.


Year of Manufacture: 1866
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 19 1/4 inches 
Overall Length: 38 inches

Action: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Side Hinge Rotating Breech block

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