Original U.S. Civil War Era 3rd Model P-1853 Enfield Three Band Export Rifle marked Tower 1863

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a great example of the 3rd Model Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, as produced in England with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. It has only had a quick wipe down to remove surface dust and dirt, and has been otherwise left as found. The three steel barrel bands are held on with screw pressure, as typical of the 3rd model. The lock is marked TOWER / 1863 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 export weapon it should have the right hand side of the butt stamped with a roundel stating BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE, which is still faintly visible, around the CROWN / BSAT proof. There is the same proof to the rear of the trigger guard tang, with some other faded proofs. The barrel bears British Proof Marks, which are still fully visible. They are the correct Birmingham proof marks, with the Crown over Crossed Scepters "Viewed" and "Proved" markings, and the often seen 25 marking. There is also the CROWN / BP marking, usually seen during this time.

An identical Short Rifle edition of this same weapon, dated 1862, 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. There is also definitely wear from cleaning on the stock, so import markings may have been removed. If it did reach America, we speculate it probably arrived in 1863-4, having been produced in 1863.

The gun is in very good condition, with a great looking stock and bright steel metalwork, which now has some light patination, which we have left intact to preserve the patina. There does not appear to have been much rust or powder burn on this example. 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 in very good condition, with clear 3 groove rifling, and just a bit of fouling in the grooves. The lock is fully functional, holding at half cock and firing at full.

A great example of a P-1853 three band percussion export rifle with a possible CSA connection. Ready to display and research!


Year of Manufacture: 1861
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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