Original U.S. Civil War Era P-1856 Enfield Two Band Percussion Export Rifle Converted to Peabody Patent Breechloader - dated 1862

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Offered here is a very interesting Peabody Patent converted breech loading rifle, which began life as a muzzle-loading 3rd Model Pattern 1856 Enfield Short Rifle Musket. It was originally produced in England with brass butt plate, trigger guard and nose cap. It still has the correct two steel barrel bands held on with screw pressure, typical of the 3rd model. The screws are not recessed, as they would be on the "Baddeley" type bands used on the later 4th 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 an Export Market destined weapon it should have the right hand side of the butt stamped with a roundel stating "BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS TRADE", however this and other markings are now GONE due to wear.

As the war progressed and ended, it was hoped that using the PEABODY PATENT the Federal Government might opt to convert the thousands of British P-1853 .577 Caliber Enfield Percussion Rifles to breech loading. However, this was NOT to be, and eventually the SNIDER Conversion was universally adopted. The result is that is is a very rare example of a system that was never adopted and consequently very hard to find.

It was converted using a Peabody Patent breech system manufactured by Providence Tool Co. It is not clear whether they performed the conversion, or whether it was done using parts they supplied. The left side of the receiver still bears the original markings:


The breech system still functions correctly, with an intact ejector at the bottom. It is a falling block system, similar to several other types of conversions, and the later single shot Peabody Rifles would utilize a similar loading system. We did check, and the end of the firing pin has broken off, though the mechanism is still functional. The lock is fully functional, and holds at half cock, firing at full. The bore still shows clear 3 groove rifling, with some wear to the lands. There is also the expected oxidation and fouling from use, particularly noticeable in the grooves. The metalwork overall show an oxidized steel patina, faded from what looks to have been bright steel at one point.

The stock unfortunately has suffered woodworm damage, particularly on the left side of the butt stock, but also somewhat present on the right. It is now stabilized and had the infestation sterilized long ago. The stock shows the expected wear from use, but no major structural cracks. It still has a cleaning / ramrod under the barrel, which is held in place by friction only, as the conversion process removes the wood from under the breech block. If pushed in too far it can interfere with the breech opening.

A very RARE converted rifle to come by in ANY condition, this is the first of these that we have managed to find. Ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1862 - converted later
Caliber: .58 inches
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 30 inches 
Overall Length: 49 1/2 inches

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

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