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British Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle Saber Bayonet

British Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle Saber Bayonet

  • Product Code: EWB-2489-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $495.00

On December 18, 1863 the British Board of Ordnance approved the manufacture of a “trials quantity” of Whitworth pattern short rifles for limited issue to troops in the field. The Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle was for all practical purposes a typical “Bar on Band” type Enfield Short Rifle, with the exception of the use of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s patented mechanical rifling system that utilized a .451 caliber hexagonal bore that twisted along the length of the barrel and was intended for use with a special hexagonal bullet, although a traditional cylindroconical shaped bullet could be used as well. Some 8,000 of the rifles were set up at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock (RSAF) between 1863 and 1866 and these rifles were issued for field trials at the rate of 68 rifles per regiment from the time of manufacture through 1867, when the they were withdrawn from service in favor of the newer breechloading rifles. Among the British seventeen regiments to receive the new rifles were the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, the 1st Battalion Scottish Fusilier Guards and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 60th Rifle Regiment. In Indian service the 34th, 42nd and 77th Foot Regiments received the rifles, to name just a few. 


To accompany the rifles a new pattern of saber bayonet was adopted, the Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle Sword Bayonet. The bayonet retained the typical semi-Yataghan blade of earlier Enfield short rifle bayonets with and iron mountings and pressed leather grips with roll embossed checkering. The primary physical difference between the various Pattern 1856 saber bayonet variation and the Pattern 1863 was the use of a circular mortise slot on the hilt of the bayonet, to accommodate the round bayonet bar used on the upper band of the rifle. Also, like other “Bar on Band” saber bayonet variants, the muzzle ring of the bayonet was raised slightly above the top edge of the hilt, to align it properly with the band mounted bar on the rifle. The bayonet had a nominal overall length of 28” with a nominally 22.75” blade and a muzzle ring diameter of about .795”. Between 1863 and 1866 some 9,000 of the bayonets were produced at Enfield for use on the trials Whitworth Rifles. The bayonets were accompanied by the traditional black leather scabbard with iron mountings. Due to the rather limited production of these bayonets, they are relatively scarce today on the collector’s market, particularly when compared to the more plentiful Pattern 1856 saber bayonets and its variants.


The British Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle Saber Bayonet offered here is in VERY GOOD condition and retains an original period iron-mounted leather scabbard. The bayonet measures 28.125” in overall length with a 22.75” blade. The obverse ricasso is stamped with an Enfield inspection mark of an E / {CROWN} / 41. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the {Victorian Crown} over the letters VR. The spine of the bayonet has a single K inspection mark. The rear of the pommel cap is stamped 6 as a rack or inventory number and the same E / {CROWN} / 41 inspection is found on the top of the pommel cap. The muzzle ring measures a nominal .80” and is raised .30” above the hilt to accommodate the band mounted bayonet bar’s placement. 


The bayonet is in VERY GOOD condition. The blade has a mottled medium pewter and darker oxidized gray patina, with some scattered light surface oxidation and minor roughness. There are a few minor nicks along the edge of the blade, the two most noticeable located between 6.5” and 7” from the tip. The very point if the tip is blunted, typical of a saber bayonet was ever dropped on its tip. The markings in the metal remain clear and crisp. The cross guard shows some light pitting and scattered discoloration from oxidation. The top of the hilt shows some light pitting as well. The original locking mechanism is in place and remains fully functional. The checkered leather grips are in VERY GOOD condition as well and retain most of their crisp checkering. The leather does show some scattered wear and few minor areas of checkering loss. The grips remain solid and complete and match the condition of the bayonet well. 


The bayonet retains an original scabbard that fits it very well. The iron mounts have a dull pewter patina with scattered surface oxidation and discoloration. The upper mount is loose and is missing the staple on the rear that secured it to the leather, but the original frog stud is in place on the front. The drag is in place and solidly attached. The leather shows some surface scuffing and minor finish loss but remains solid with tight stitching along the seam on the rear.


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Tags: British, Pattern, 1863, Whitworth, Rifle, Saber, Bayonet