Austrian M-1854 Lonrez - Outstanding & Scarce Blued Example
- Product Code: FLA-1989-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is an absolutely outstanding example of an Austrian M-1854 Type I Lorenz Rifle Musket, as imported by both the Confederate and US governments during the course of the American Civil War. The Lorenz was the third most used infantry arm on both sides during the war, with the US importing approximately 250,000 of the guns during the war and the Confederates importing at least 100,000, and quite possibly many more than that. The Confederacy was always thought to have purchased most of their Austrian rifle muskets after Caleb Huse visited Vienna in 1863, as the Confederate Ordnance Department’s purchasing agent. However, more recent scholarship indicates that Huse purchased his first Lorenz rifle muskets through S. Isaac, Campbell & Co of London early in 1862. It appears that the majority of the guns that were purchased by the Confederacy remained in their original 13.9mm caliber (about .547), while many of the US purchased guns were re-bored to more closely approximate the standard US caliber of .58, with Ordnance Department returns showing guns varying from .54 to about .60 caliber. The importance of the .54 caliber Austrian M-1854 Lorenz to the Confederacy might best be illustrated by the huge number of Austrian Rifle Cartridges that were imported by the Confederacy from both Austrian and England. The McRae Papers contain several invoices from the famous English ammunition manufacturer Eley Brothers that include Austrian ammunition. One such invoice is dated July 18, 1863, some two weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg, MS. The invoice is for a total of 700,000 paper cartridges. The order included “600,000 Austrian Rifle Cartridges “ Marked A” and “100,000 Ball & Buck Short Musket Cartridges “ Marked M”. While the caliber of the Austrian cartridges is not specified, it seems clear that the order would be for Austrian pattern ammunition appropriate for the unaltered .547” bore of the Austrian Lorenz rifle musket. This order also implies that the Confederate Ordnance Department laboratories were capable of supplying a sufficient number of .577 / .58 caliber cartridges for the guns in the field, but needed assistance in providing enough ammunition for Lorenz rifles and smoothbore muskets. This invoice also helps to dispel the myth about the issuance of .54 “Mississippi” rifle ammunition for use in the Lorenz. While this ammunition could be used in extreme circumstances, it would in fact be undersized in the Lorenz bore and would not expand sufficiently to correctly take the rifling. I believe that many of the period reports that describe the Lorenz rifle musket as “inaccurate” are the result of using inappropriately sized ammunition. Collectors have long felt that the guns that were most likely to have seen Confederate use were the ones with .54 bores and the block, or fixed rear sight. Federal gun were thought to have been mostly re-bored to .58 and to have had the long range rear sight. While it does appear the Confederacy favored the guns in their original .547 bore, there is no indication that they only bought fixed sight guns. Additionally, Federal Ordnance returns shows that thousands of .54 Lorenz rifle muskets were purchased and used by the US government.
While the majority of the Lorenz rifle muskets imported by both sides arrived with “arsenal bright” finishes, some of the commercial Lorenz rifle muskets (not those sold as surplus by the Austrian military) were blued. This fact lead to the guns developing the period nickname among some troops as “Austrian Enfields”, referring to the deep black-blue finish typical of the English long arms.
This particular gun is a commercial variant of what collectors refer to as a Type I. The “Type I” Lorenz in Austrian military use was 13.9mm (.547”), had a fixed rear sight and had a raised cheekrest on the reverse of the buttstock. This commercial variant has no cheekrest on the stock, but it retains its original 13.9mm (.547) bore, and has a fixed, block style rear sight. The rear sight is the shorter block that is typically encountered on the Austrian M-1854 Extra Corps Carbine. The “Extra Corps’ Lorenz had a shorter barrel that was only 666mm (about 26.22”) versus the standard rifle musket barrel, which was 945mm (about 37.2”). The block sights for both guns were regulated for a point of impact of 300 Schritt (about 225 meters), but those on the carbine were shorter to adjust for the shorter sight radius of the gun. Combining this shorter sight with the standard 945mm barrel would result in this gun shooting to a point of aim/impact that was much shorter than 225m, possibly closer to 100m. The gun is crisply and clearly dated 861 for 1861 on the lock, forward of the hammer and the Austrian Double Headed Eagle is stamped deeply and clearly to the rear of the hammer, at the tail of the lock. The top of the breech is stamped with the name of Vienna arms maker T H SED’RL, in a single line reading from the breech towards the muzzle. SED’RL was listed in the Austrian directories as a “Waffenfabrikant und Büchsenmacher in Wien-Ottakring” (Arms Manufacturer & Gunsmith in Vienna - 16th District). Thomas SED’RL manufactured arms have been noted from as early as 1860 through the late 1870’s, and he probably operated for a longer period than that, but my command of German is non-existent, making research on Viennese arms makers difficult! The breech is not stamped with the Austrian military acceptance marks of an (Austrian Eagle) / W, further indication that this is a commercial gun that was destined for export. The most striking and immediately noticeable feature of the rifle is the fact that the barrel and the barrel bands are deeply blued with a wonderful period rust-blued finish. The finish on these components is a deep blue-black, with the lock and the balance of the furniture being brightly polished iron, in the white. The gun retains about 95%+ of this original blued finish on the barrel and about 90%+ on the barrel bands. The finish loss on the barrel is due to some minor fading and a handful of minor scrapes and scratches, most of which are around the breech, high edges and contact areas. The loss on the bands is due primarily to handling and minor fading. Under strong light the areas that show minor finish fading also show a lightly oxidized plum-brown patina creeping into the finish.
This Austrian M-1854 Lorenz Rifle Musket is in EXCELLENT+ to NEAR MINT condition and is simply outstanding. The gun is exceptionally crisp with sharp edges present on both the metal and the wood. As noted above, the barrel and bands retain nearly all of their original rust-blued finish, with the balance of the gun being finished “in the white”; polished bright metal. The metal is entirely smooth throughout with absolutely no pitting of any sort present. In fact the gun may be unfired as even the breech is free of the typically encountered peppering and pinpricking. The gun is mechanically excellent and the lock functions crisply and correctly on all positions. All of the markings on the metal of the gun remain crisp and clear and are much better than are normally encountered on Lorenz rifle muskets. The major components of the gun, as well as the heads of most of the screws are marked with the assembly number 45. The lock bolts are not marked externally, but are stamped 45 on their shafts. The interior of the lock is assembly marked 50 on all internal small parts, and the interior of the lock is assembly numbered to the gun with a 45 above the mainspring. Most of the major metal components also bear a small mark that resembles an arrow, with a shaft and two slightly bent lines forming the “head” of the arrow. The underside of the barrel is marked with an Austrian Eagle proof mark, and the breech and breech plug are both numbered 651. SED’RL’s maker’s mark appears on the stock flat, opposite the lock, and is a (CROWN) / S. The obverse buttstock is marked with the rack or issue number 0 7. It is not clear if the first character is a zero or the letter “O”. The gun retains its original fixed rear sight, which as previously noted is the shorter block normally found on the Extra-Corps carbines. The gun retains both of its original sling swivels as well. The ramrod in the channel under the barrel is an excellent, full-length original rod, which retains very fine threads on the end. The bore of the gun is in about EXCELLENT to NEAR MINT condition. The original 4-groove Austrian rifling remains crisp and sharp. The bore is brilliantly bright along its length. The condition of the rifle musket stock rates about VERY FINE+ to NEAR EXCELLENT as well. The stock is very crisp and retains extremely sharp edges and shows no signs of ever having been sanded. The beech wood stock is full length and solid and has a wonderful medium brown color with honey-orange hues. There are no breaks, cracks or repairs noted. Typically the beech stock of the Austrian Lorenz will show at least a couple of very minor surface grain drying cracks. This stock is amazingly free of any of these minor grain cracks. The ramrod channel also remains extremely crisp and intact, with no splintering noted. Damage along the edges of the ramrod channel is commonly encountered on Lorenz stocks. The stock does show a handful of minor bumps and dings from handling and storage, but shows absolutely no harsh use or abuse.
Overall this is simply an outstanding condition example of an Austrian M-1854 Lorenz Rifle Musket. The gun is in NEAR MINT condition, and as a commercial production gun, it that was almost certainly imported for use by the Confederate (or possibly the Union) forces. Unlike the P-1853 Enfield which was used throughout the world as a standard issue rifle musket, the Lorenz saw very little use outside the Austrian boarders, except in the US Civil War. The gun is 100% complete, correct, original and outstanding in every way. Blued Lorenz rifle muskets simply do not appear on the market for sale, and this is simply the best example of one of these scarce variants that I have ever seen. For any collector who likes to own the best of the best, this is a gun that will be practically impossible to upgrade and is one that I am positive you will be extremely happy to display with your collection.SOLD