Original U.S. 1862 Patent Peabody Rifle in .43 Spanish - French Contract with German Capture Proofs

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a French-Contract Peabody 1862 Patent rifle, one that has a rather interesting history. The Peabody carbines and rifles were made by the Providence Tool Company, Providence, Rhode Island; c. 1866–1871. The total production was, 112,000 for all models. Calibers were: .45 Peabody rimfire; .45-70 Government; .50 rimfire; 50-70; .433 Spanish; 10.4 mm rimfire Swiss. Barrel length carbine 20", rifle 33". Finish: Receiver casehardened, barrel blued, iron mountings, walnut stock.

The action on this example is marked:

JULY 22. 1862

The majority of Peabody's production was for foreign contracts, they were adopted by the militaries of Canada (3,000 pieces), Switzerland (15,000), France (33,000) Romania, Mexico and Spain during the later 1860s. France in particular is of note, because they became involved in the The Franco-Prussian War, which lasted 19 July 1870 – 28 January 1871.

France had been ordering the rifles in .43 Spanish caliber, and the outbreak of the war resulted in further orders being placed with Peabody.  However, the war ended rather quickly, with France on the losing side. As such they cancelled their outstanding orders for the Peabody, leaving Providence tool with a surplus, which they later sold to many State Militias.

This gun however is one that actually did make it to France, and saw use during the Franco-Prussian War. It was captured by the German forces during the war, and then had additional Crown / V proofs added on the barrel and chamber. The right side of the stock wrist also has an inspection cartouche stamped into the wood.

This gun is in very good condition, especially considering that it is close to 150 years in age. The wood stock has the lovely brown red color of aged walnut, with just a few small dents and scratches. It does not appear to have been refurbished at any point in it's life. The metalwork has a lovely patina. with the barrel being blued, and the case-hardened receiver and breech still showing some of the original finish, now faded to yellow.

The action functions well, and is tight and mechanically sound. The bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, though there definitely is some degree of oxidation in places.

Overall, this is a great example of this rare rifle. Ready to display!

History of the Peabody Rifle:

The name Henry O. Peabody ought to be well known by all fans of military firearms- but it isn't. As has been the case with so many inventive geniuses over the ages, Peabody's name and work have been overshadowed by others who took what he designed, changed it, and attached their own monikers to it. As with writers/artists, the lot of the inventor/designer is not always an easy one.

In 1862 Peabody patented a breech-loading rifle but was unable to perfect it in time to play a major role in the American Civil War (1860-1865). His basic design was based upon a pivoting breechblock, the front of which pivoted down on a transverse pin fixed through both the upper rear of the breechblock and the upper rear of the box-like receiver. As the breechblock was lowered, it exposed the barrel chamber and permitted the insertion of a cartridge. The rifle was fired by means of a musket-style outside hammer whose lockwork was inletted into the buttstock behind the receiver.

In operation, the hammer was set on halfcock, and the loading lever/trigger guard was pulled down to expose the chamber so that a cartridge could be slid down the grooved top of the breechblock into the chamber. As the lever was pulled up, an upward extension of the lever pushed the breechblock into battery and acted as a prop to keep it closed. When pulled down, the prop engaged a hooked portion of the block's undersurface and lowered it. As the breechblock was lowered, it activated an extractor that pulled the spent cartridge case from the chamber, throwing it clear of the receiver.

All in all, it was a strong, simple, rugged, and foolproof design eminently suited for military service.

When the American Civil War erupted, the Providence Tool Company obtained a contract to manufacture rifled muskets for the U.S. Army and eventually delivered 60,000 units. During the war, the company purchased Peabody's patents, and while samples of a carbine were submitted to the U.S. Army, no decision was made before the war ended. However, the basic soundness of the design led the company to promote it.

In 1865 the company entered the Peabody rifles and carbines in Army trials, and after extensive tests of durability, accuracy, weather resistance, and serviceability, the board declared the Peabody the winner. Unfortunately, with postwar financial constraints, the Army decided to adopt a rifle and carbine developed at Springfield Arsenal that had the advantage of being produced by modifying the vast number of rifled muskets already on hand.

The company continued to promote the Peabody in the U.S., and while it was unable to interest the U.S. Army, It was able to interest various different foreign governments, which is why they were manufactured in calibers such as .43 Spanish and 10.4mm Swiss Rimfire. However, after France cancelled a large order for these rifles, the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina all purchased these Surplus Peabody rifles in .43 Spanish to equip their militias. In 1877 Connecticut returned its rifles to the factory to be refurbished, re-barreled for the standard .45-70 Government cartridge, and fitted with new rear sights. 


Year of Manufacture: c. 1867-69
Caliber: .433 Spanish
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 33 Inches

Overall Length: 52 Inches
Action type: Falling Breechblock with side action lock.
Feed System: Single Shot

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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