Original U.S. Civil War Confederate Import 3rd Model P-1853 Enfield Three Band Rifle with Sinclair Hamilton & Co. Markings - Marked 1862 Tower

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a nice patinated example of the 3rd Model Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, as produced in England with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. The three steel barrel bands are held on with screw pressure, as typical of the 3rd model. The lock is marked 1862 / TOWER below the cap bolster, and it is marked with a QUEEN'S CROWN to the rear of the hammer. However, there is no V.R. under the crown. This indicates that this weapon was not intended for a British Military contract but was aimed at the overseas market, most specifically the United States, who were embroiled in its most terrible Civil War.

As a Confederate States of America destined weapon it should have the right hand side of the butt stamped with a roundel stating "BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE", however this marking is now gone due to wear. The barrel bears British Proof Marks, though they are somewhat faded. They are the correct Birmingham proof marks, including the CROWN / CROSSED SCEPTERS / BPC "proof" and CROWN / CROSSED SCEPTERS / V "viewed" marks. There is also the CROWN / BP definitive proof, and two 25 markings, indicating "25 bore" or about .571". There is also a SꞏW marking next to these, probably for the maker of the barrel.

We did pull the lock plate, which is cracked through by the upper lock screw, and it is marked with initials J.B, which we have not been able to identify. There were many lockmakers and other gunsmiths involved in the Birmingham small arms trade, and we have never been able to find a definitive list.

Just in front of the butt plate on the butt stock spine is a clear CROWN / S H / G 3 proof, which is the marking of Sinclair, Hamilton & Company. This particular proof, as described by Tim Prince in his book The English Connection, is the marking the company used to mark guns that came from one of their 5 different "finishers", with the last number being between 1 and 5. There is also an oval J.C cartouche on the left side of the stock by the rear lock screw, often seen on the SH marked guns, which remains unidentified to this day.

The importance of this firm cannot be overstated when it comes to the supply of arms to the Confederacy during the course of the American Civil War. While it is not currently possible to be sure exactly how many arms were contracted for and delivered by that firm during the war, research indicates that a reasonable figure would be at least 150,000 arms, divided between as many as 5 contracts to supply guns to the Confederate central government. This figure does not include those arms sold by Sinclair, Hamilton & Company to individual Confederate States, nor those arms sold to Confederate speculators. What is clear is that the earliest purchases from SH&C were made in early June of 1861, and the first contract to deliver 30,000 “long Enfields’ (P-1853 Rifle Muskets) was entered into on July 4, 1861, with deliveries to be completed over 6 months.

We found no specific State markings on this rifle, however after 1863 conditions were such that little time was available for such niceties upon importation. Given the how faint the markings on the wood are, it's very likely that the markings may also have been worn away. We speculate it probably arrived in 1862 or 1863, having been produced in 1862.

The gun is in very nice condition, with a nice stock and patinated steel metalwork. It does show signs of past pitting and powder burn, especially near the cap bolster, but also on the rest of the barre. The front sight is intact, however the rear sight is completely missing, probably removed long ago. The rifle still has both sling swivels and the original cleaning / ramrod, with intact threads on the end. The bore still shows clear three groove rifling, with the expected fouling and wear from service. The lock is fully functional, holding at half cock and firing at full. 

A very nice example of a P-1853 three band percussion rifle with a strong CSA connection. Ready to display and research!


Year of Manufacture: 1862
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: .577 Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 38 1/2 inches 
Overall Length: 55 inches

Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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