Original U.S. Civil War Era 1861 P-1853 Enfield Three Band Percussion Export Rifle dated 1862
Original Item: Only One Available. This is another rifle from the old U.S. Collection that has been in very long term storage and recently discovered, now fully cleaned and restored. Offered here is a very nice example of the 3rd Model Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket as produced in Birmingham, 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 TOWER / 1862 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 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, including the usual 25 and CROWN / BP of the Birmingham Proof house, proving the Birmingham origin.
A similar Short Rifle edition of this same weapon, dated 1861, appears on the Cover of THE CONFEDERATE ENFIELD by Captain Steven W. Knott, U.S.N. (Ret). with a write up on pages 44 and 45. In addition there is a photograph of the proof marks of this known Confederate Soldier's Rifle on the Title page of the book which are completely identical to those on this weapon. This excellent book states that the Confederate Buying Agents, Josiah Gorgas and Caleb Huse purchased over 350,000 European Rifles between 1861 and 1865, over 250,000 of these were the Percussion Enfield Rifled Muskets and 100,000 were Austrian Percussion arms.
The Union also imported Enfields which were highly prized by Federal soldiers more so than the Union made arms apparently. The Confederacy however contracted for the greater number which in most cases were transported by "BLOCKADE RUNNERS" based in Bermuda. Well documented in the THE CONFEDERATE ENFIELD book.
We found no specific STATE Markings on our rifle, however after 1863 conditions were such that little time was available for such niceties upon importation. Also with the amount of service this rifle has seen, all markings on the wood stock have long since been worn away. We speculate it probably arrived in 1863, having been produced in 1862.
The wood is complete showing only a couple of age cracks, and has been fully restored and has a lovely color. The metalwork showing old light rust pitting overall. The sight slider is intact, as is the front sight, and the rifle still has both sling swivels and the original cleaning / ramrod. The bore is quite dark, showing little evidence of rifling, and a lot of fouling and corrosion. Lock holds correctly at half cock, firing at full cock, though the spring is a bit weak.
A good well used P-1853 three band percussion rifle with a good 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: 39 inches
Overall Length: 55 inches
Action: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded
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