Summary

British Service percussion rifle, Pattern 1853 Rifle, second model, cal. .577 in., steel rifled round barrel, 990 mm long. Made by several contractors for the British Government, and with Tower markings, 1856.

One of 26 guns donated in 1871 by the Victorian Ordnance Department from its Melbourne Armoury, for the newly created Industrial and Technological Museum. The display was intended to show mechanics and gunsmiths the principles of gun construction and recent technical developments in weapons.

Physical Description

Steel lock and hammer on R.H. side, brass oval triggerguard with small front spur, two brass 'Lovell's sidenail cups' for lockplate screws on L.H.side, brass butt plate, two sling swivels. Barleycorn foresight, graduated rear sight, barrel fastened to stock via three steel barrel bands retained by springs recessed into stock, steel ramrod.

Significance

The Pattern 1853 Rifle, often called the 1853 Enfield because of its use of Enfield rifling, was a significant step in the development of British military longarms, being a major departure from what had come before it by fastening the barrel to the stock via the use of barrel bands, rather than pins as had been the norm previously, and for the use of a rifled barrel. The Pattern was produced in three distinct models, the third - produced between 1858 and 1863 by a large number of London and Birmingham contractors - being the most common. Large numbers were also produced in Belgium and America. The second model, illustrated by this record, differed from the third model by having its three barrel bands being made solid and fastened to the stock via inlet springs. The third model had hinged bands that were fastened by a bolt underneath the stock.

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