Item:
ON10643

Original U.S. 1862 Patent Peabody Sharpshooter Rifle in .45-70 with Large "Peep" Sight

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This ignition system was invented in Boston, Mass. by Henry O. Peabody who received a patent in 1862. Production started in 1866 and continued through 1872. Though over 112,000 were manufactured during that period, over 100,000 were shipped to Government Users outside the United States, with balance sold domestically.

The system is similar to the later Martini falling block with the external hammer mounted on the right exterior. This rifle has a military acceptance Cartouche on the left side of the wood stock and the left hand side of the action is marked:-

PEABODY'S PAT.
JULY 22. 1862
MAN'F'D BY
PROVIDENCE TOOL CO.
PROV. R. I.

This example looks to have been reworked at arsenal into a single shot competition or sharpshooting rifle. It was converted to .45-70 government caliber, and has had a very long "peep" sight attached to the top of the butt stock wrist. The front sight has also been replaced with a longer blade, to work with the sight. Condition of the bore is excellent, so whatever the intended purpose was, it did not see much use after conversion.

A most unusual possibly transitional Model. In fine condition, 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. 

Specifications-

Year of Manufacture: c. 1870-71
Caliber: .45-70 Government - 8 Groove Rifling
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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