Original U.S. Civil War Era 3rd Model P-1853 Enfield Three Band Percussion Export Rifle marked Tower 1862

Item Description

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 / 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. It has also been personalized with 8a Williams scratched into the right butt stock, possibly a unit marking of some type. The barrel bears British Proof Marks, though they are somewhat faded. 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.

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 1862.

The gun is in very good condition, with a nice stock and polished bright steel metalwork. It does show signs of past pitting and powder burn, especially near the cap bolster. 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 still shows clear three groove rifling, with some wear and light oxidation. 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 possible 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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