Original U.S. Civil War Era 3rd Model P-1853 Enfield Three Band Percussion Export Rifle dated 1861
Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a nice 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 TOWER / 1861 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, though they are somewhat faded. It looks like they are LONDON proofs, but many Birmingham companies also operated in London, so this is not out of the ordinary.
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 1862-63, having been produced in 1861.
The gun is in good condition, though it definitely shows significant use and wear. The stock is in good used shape, though there is wood missing on both sides of the cap bolster. 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. The lock functions, though it does not hold at full cock, and the end of the hammer is somewhat damaged.
A good well used P-1853 three band percussion rifle with a good 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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