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British Military 2nd Model Brunswick Rifle - About Excellent

British Military 2nd Model Brunswick Rifle - About Excellent

  • Product Code: FLA-3311-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

In 1836 the British military officially adopted the percussion cap to replace flint as the ignition system for small arms. However, it would be 1839 before a new infantry musket using the percussion system would be officially approved and start to be issued in any quantity. With the theoretical acceptance of the new ignition system, George Lovell, inspector of small arms at Enfield (the British government armory), proceeded to start the process of designing a new percussion musket and rifle. His initial success was in a back-action percussion lock that was utilized on his short-lived Pattern 1838 musket, but saw significant service with the newly designed Pattern 1837 Brunswick Rifle. The Brunswick Rifle was a significant technological improvement over the Baker Rifle that had seen use in the British Rifle brigades and battalions for more than three decades. The Baker was a flintlock rifle with a slow twist seven-groove barrel. The rifling design had been selected not so much for accuracy, but for its ability to see significant use without becoming too fouled to load. In fact, the accuracy (or rather inaccuracy) of the rifle was such that during the last years of production the multi-leaf rear sight was abandoned for a fixed sight, with the Board of Ordnance feeling that the adjustable sight was unnecessary for the rifle or the rifleman! Lovell experimented with a variety of rifling systems for what would become the new Brunswick Rifle, and finally settled upon a 2-groove bore of .704 caliber that used a patched, belted ball to insure a tight mechanical fit between the ball and rifling. The new rifle resembled the older Baker in that it did not employ barrel bands, but rather had a key fastened stock and had a heavy bar on the right side of the barrel for the mounting of a saber bayonet. The First Model of the Brunswick, the Pattern 1837 had Lovell’s back action lock, a fixed sight that was graduated for 200 yards with an additional leaf for longer range shooting, graduated for 300 yards. The rifle also utilized a hook breech and a barrel made from “twist steel”. The gun had a 30 3/8” long, round barrel, and was 46 ½” in overall length. The rifles had color case-hardened locks, browned barrels and walnut stocks with brass furniture. The buttstock included a large brass patchbox, which was designed to store both lubricated patches and gun implements. A pair of brass ramrod pipes were located in the ramrod channel, the upper most one with a flared mouth. The brass triggerguard had a skeletonized, semi-pistol gripped extension to its rear, and a sling swivel mounted on the forward portion of the guard bow. An upper sling swivel was secured through the stock just forward of the upper ramrod pipe. The First Model Brunswick Rifle (Pattern 1837) went into production in 1838, with the first rifles reaching troops in the field around 1840. In 1841, an improved version was adopted with a conventional front action side lock. The Second Model Brunswick Rifle also eliminated the hooked breech from the initial design, replaced the “twist steel” barrel with a plain iron barrel and shortened the barrel’s overall length to 30”, primarily the result of eliminating the hook breech. This brought the overall length of the rifle down by a similar amount, resulting in a nominally 45 ¾” gun. These second pattern rifles, adopted in 1841, went into production around 1844 and were in the field the following year. As such, most collectors refer to the improved Second Model Brunswick Rifle as the Pattern 1844. The final change came in 1847, when Lacy & Reynolds, a London arms contractor, introduced an improvement to the bayonet mounting bar. This changed the location of the notch in the bar that mated with the catch in the bayonet. On all earlier rifles the notch had been near the front of the bar. The Lacy & Reynolds improvement moved the notch more towards the middle of the bar, strengthening this part that was somewhat prone to breakage. Once the new improvement was officially adopted, the final version came into being. While really the Second Model Brunswick Rifle (2nd Variation), these guns are often referred to as Pattern 1847 rifles. The Brunswick Rifle remained a standard issue long arm for all rifle troops (rifle regiments, rifle battalions, Royal Canadian Rifles, etc.) until about 1853, when sufficient quantities of the new Pattern 1851 Minié Rifles had been produced and could be issued, effectively turning all British infantrymen into “riflemen”. Even after the adoption of the small-bore .577 caliber P-1853 “Enfield”, the Brunswick remained in a secondary issue roll, particularly among native and colonial troops, through the mid-1860s. The Brunswick Rifle was being withdrawn from service as the British entered the Crimean War, and it is likely that the rifles saw little service during that conflict. However, the obsolete design did see use during the American Civil War, as approximately 1,400 of the surplus rifles were sold to the Confederacy by the London firm of J.E. Barnett & Son, through S. Isaac, Campbell & Company.

Offered here is a NEAR EXCELLENT condition example of a Second Model (Pattern 1844) Brunswick Rifle. The gun is a first variation, British military marked Pattern 1844 Brunswick rifle, with the original 1837 style bayonet bar, forward action lock of the Pattern 1841/44 rifle, a 30 1/8” 2-groove .704 caliber barrel (with .760 grooves), the standard two-leaf rear sight and the usual large brass patchbox. The gun remains in complete and original condition throughout retains so much finish that it is very impressive visually. The rifle retains an original white buff Board of Ordnance marked sling, as well as an original breech scraper and four belted lead balls which measure about .692” (.751” at the belt); intended for use with a lubricated patch. The lock retains about 85%+ of its original vivid case hardened finish and is crisply engraved (CROWN) / VR in front of the hammer over the marking TOWER 1848. The small British military (CROWN) –> inspection and government ownership mark on the lock is crisply struck as well. The breech retains very crisp and clear British military proof marks, including a TP -> and (CROWN) / 17 inspection on the top and a (CROWN) / TP / –> over a (CROWN) / B / 7 and (CROWN) –> along the left edge of the breech. A very crisp and clear B O / (BROAD ARROW), Board of Ordnance Storekeeper’s mark is present in the obverse stock, forward of the patchbox. The interior of the lock is marked W SCOTT over the mainspring, and J DAVIS near the mainspring stud. Davis was the lock maker, and Scott was the master contractor who made the rifle. The interior of the lock is inspected with a (CROWN) / 12, and the hammer neck is inspected (CROWN) / 5. The top edge of the lock plate bears the assembly mating mark \ | | |, which is found throughout the balance of the gun and is the master assembly mating mark. The underside of the barrel is also marked with the same \ | | | assembly mark, and also bears the name MILLWARD and with the initials CG. The Millward mark is that of Birmingham barrel maker Ezra Millward who worked from 1827-1856, becoming Millward & Son in 1857 and remaining in business through 1869. During most of the firm’s life it was on Aston Junction Mills in the gunmaking district of Birmingham. The “CG” mark is like that mark of the “Setter Up”, the worker who actually assembled the rifle. The toe of the stock of the rifle is marked with a pair of (CROWN) / 15 inspection marks behind the triggerguard and with the name W SCOTT, the master contractor who delivered the gun to the Board of Ordnance. The firm of William and Charles Scott (often marked W & C Scott) was established in Birmingham in 1842 and became Scott & Son in 162, remaining in business through 1895. The firm was a major producer of military long arms during the first two decades of their existence, and during the 1860s and 1870s transitioned to become one of the finest and best known producers of fine sporting shotguns, and were finally acquired by Webley, forming the company Webley & Scott. During the time that this gun was made, the company was located at 21 Loveday Street, where they were in residence from 1842 to 1848. The ramrod channel is also marked W SCOTT, as well as S SWAIN, who was almost certainly the stock maker, but who is not listed in any of my references. The ramrod channel also shows the same mating mark found on the barrel and the lock, as well as several inspector marks, including a Crown-5, Crown-9 and Crown-12. The stock flat is marked J SCOTT, the mark of Birmingham gunmaker John Scott, who may have been doing contract work for W & C Scott at the time. The buttplate tang of the rifle has the issue or rack number 2.

As previously note, the rifle is in about NEAR EXCELLENT condition. It retains at least 85% of the original case coloring on the lock and a similar amount of original browning on the barrel. Both the lock and the barrels show some minor fading and dulling of their finish. Additionally, the barrel shows some minor finish loss from handling and minor high edge wear. All the markings are extremely crisp and sharp and the gun shows no indications of every having been refinished or refurbished. The barrel remains mostly smooth, showing only some very lightly scattered, tiny areas of minor pinpricking here and there, as well as a few minor flecks of scattered oxidation shot through the finish. The bore is in about NEAR EXCELLENT condition as well and remains bright and crisp with very strong and deep 2-groove rifling. The bore shows no pitting and only some lightly scattered pinpricking and some minor frosting in the grooves. The lock is mechanically excellent and functions perfectly on all positions. The rifle retains both sling swivels, which appear to be original, as well as its original two-leaf rear sight. The original bayonet mounting bar is present on the right side of the barrel as well. It has the mating number 10 stamped on its underside, near the rear lug, which would be used to mate the rifle to the brass handled saber bayonet that had been fit to it. The original Brunswick pattern rammer is in the channel under the barrel, and it is full length with good female threads on the end, like those found on the P-1856 cavalry carbine rammer. The rod is inspected with a (CROWN) / B / 8 and shows a poorly struck R & W A makers mark for R & W Aston of Birmingham. The brass furniture is in very nice condition with a golden patina that is very attractive, but that suggests it may have been cleaned some time ago. The stock is NEAR EXCELLENT condition as well. The stock is full length, solid and free of any breaks, but does show one minor repair near the nose cap on the reverse. Here, a small piece of wood (2 ¾” long by about 7/8” wide) has been repaired, with the damage running from the rear of the nose cap to the upper sling swivel. More than likely this area was damaged while removing the barrel wedge that is located in the middle of this small repair, and may well be a period repair to the rifle. Otherwise the stock remains extremely crisp and sharp throughout, retaining fine edges and marks showing no indication of sanding. The stock does show a scattered array of minor bumps, dings and slight surface mars from handling, storage and use that are certainly expected from a rifle that is nearly 170 years old. The rifle is accompanied by several wonderful accessories, including a period brass chamber scraper that attaches to the female threads of the ramrod, and four belted balls; all of which are stored in the patchbox. An original Board of Ordnance marked white buff sling is also included, and is clearly ink stamped with the BO -> mark, as well as a large G and with R.G. / 12A. All of the accessories are in fine or better condition and certainly add to the value and displayability of this extremely fine rifle.

Overall this is a really wonderful example of a very high condition British military Second Model (Pattern 1844) Brunswick Rifle. The gun is in really wonderful condition and the photos do not do the condition and quality of the gun justice. The only detriment at all is the minor repair near the nose cap on the reverse, but this is not particularly noticeable and is on the non-display side. The inclusion of the scarce white buff Ordnance Department sling and other accessories more than off-set this minor condition issue. This would be a wonderful addition to any advanced collection of 19th century British military arms and would a very difficult rifle to upgrade from.

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Tags: British, Military, 2nd, Model, Brunswick, Rifle, About, Excellent