Original British Victorian P-1869 Snider MkIII Cavalry Carbine by RSAF Enfield - dated 1870

Item Description

Original item: Only one Available. This came to us from a recent gun show, and did not come out of Nepal. This late Snider is marked 1870 / ENFIELD on the Lock Plate under the CROWN / Broad Arrow "Lock Viewer's mark" and also carries the stamping of the CROWN / V.R. across its tail. This indicates manufacture at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, which would later go on to manufacture many famous British Long arms. The V.R. proof indicates this Snider cavalry carbine was made for the British Military, and was not intended for export or colonial service.

In fine shape, it is fitted with a Mark III action, as marked on the chamber ring. The breech block is the final locking version bearing a War Department proof, and still locks very well. It is marked 1599 on the bottom, which should match the marking on the bottom of the receiver. The barrel still has the original proof marks on the left side under the sight next to a STEEL marking, and there are proof marks on many other parts of the rifle as well. There look to be regimental markings stamped onto the tang of the butt plate: R 8 / E / 1. It is also stamped 8 / IRISH on the rear of the butt plate, most likely for the 8th (The King's Royal Irish) Hussars.

The lock still functions correctly, holding and half cock, and firing full, allowing the breech to open at half cock. The breech unlocks correctly, with an intact firing pin, and can be pulled back to eject spent cartridge casings. The barrel features five groove rifling, and is in excellent condition, showing a bright finish with crisp lands and grooves. There is just a bit of fouling in the grooves, but we can also still make out the original machining marks, so this carbine was fired very little.

This particular carbine does not have the saddle ring bar on the left side, and has the correct "teardrop" shaped brass escutcheons for carbines without the bar. There is however a steel saddle ring attached to an iron swivel extension of the trigger guard on the butt stock, as often seen. This allowed a body sling to be used for one-handed firing. There are also two opposing screws under the rear sight, which possibly look to be for some type of mounting device.

A very nice example, showing wear from service to the stock, particularly on the left side. It looks to have taken a blow of some sort right next to one of the screws under the sight, and around this area is a transverse crack running under the stock all the way to the lock plate. This may be from recoil when it was mounted using the two opposing screws. Definitely some interesting research potential!

Ready to add to your collection and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1870
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 19 inches
Overall Length: 37 inches
Action: Side Action Lock
Feed System: Side Hinge Rotating Breech block

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.

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