British Military P-1853 Type II Rifle Musket - Near Excellent
- Product Code: FLA-1621-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a very fine example of a British Military used Pattern 1853 Type II Rifle Musket. The “Type II” guns are instantly recognizable because they were the only series of Enfield rifle muskets to use solid barrel bands, retained by band springs, instead of the more often encountered screw-clamping barrel bands. The upper barrel band is particularly noticeable because it is so much wider than on any other series of Enfield muskets. The “Type II” Enfield rifle muskets were produced from 1855-1858, and incorporated a number of improvements that were suggested after the Type I Enfields saw significant service during the early days of the Crimean War (1853-1856). Some of these improvements included a new, sturdier hammer (without the curl on the spur that typified the hammer’s of early P-1853’s and the earlier P-1839, 1842 & 1851 muskets), and the solid barrel bands that have already been discussed. The “Type II” also dispensed with the convex sides to the rear site, replacing them with flat sides. The other change that took place with later “Type II’s” was the change from a button-head rammer to a slotted, jag-head rammer and a change in the location of the swell that retained the rammer in the rammer channel. These guns were produced by the normal assortment of London and Birmingham contractors, as well as at the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) at Enfield Lock. A number of the earliest production Pattern 1853 Type II Enfield Rifle Muskets (typically 1855 dated guns) ended up seeing service in the Crimea, and these guns tend to be found in rather rough condition. The balance saw front line service with the British Army until they were superseded by the Type III Enfield Rifle Musket (the standard “Civil War” pattern Enfield) in 1858, as which time the majority of the guns were put into secondary service with British militia companies (aka “Rifle Volunteers”, or held in storage for emergency use. While the “Type II” Enfield has long been considered a pattern that was not imported during the Civil War, a handful of British Military marked, pre-Civil War dated Enfields are known with Confederate import marks, indicating that at least some of these 2nd class British military guns were imported during the Civil War “ likely in the opening days when the British gunmakers could not begin to handle the influx of orders from both combatants.
The British military Type II Pattern 1853 Rifle Musket offered here is in VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT condition. The lock is clearly marked with a Crown / VR behind the hammer and 1856 / TOWER forward of the hammer. The lock is also marked with a small Broad Arrow and an inspectors mark of a small Crown / 17. The toe of the stock is marked with the name the SWINBURN, the contractor who delivered the gun. Charles Phillips Swinburn was a major gunmaker in the Birmingham area and operated from 1834-1883 (from 1851 on as “Swinburn & Son”). Swinburn’s son, John Field Swinburn, was granted a number of British patents, including #1881 in 1853 for a rifle rear site “ a patent that he shared with fellow Birmingham gunmaker Thomas Turner. The Swinburns operated at a number of Birmingham addresses while they were in business, but spent the majority of their time at 16 & 17 Russell Street, a location that they occupied from 1851 through 1883. The Swinburn name also appears on the bottom of the barrel, near the breech. The bottom of the barrel is additionally marked with an illegible makers name, as well as a number of assembly and inspection marks. The breech of the barrel is marked with the usual British military inspection and proof marks, as well as with an opposed set of Broad Arrows, indicating the gun was condemned at the end of its service life. The inspectors marks are also over-stamped with an S, indicating the gun was sold out of service. The buttstock is also clearly marked with both original British military ownership marks, as well as condemnation marks. The WD / (BROAD ARROW) War Department ownership mark has been over-stamped with an opposed set of Broad Arrows. The stock has also been marked with a retailer cartouche reading: F. HILL & SON / ARMY CONTRACTORS / SHEFFIELD. This is the mark of the retailer who re-sold the gun after it was sold out of British military service; an “army surplus’ dealer, for lack of a better description. The butt is also marked R / 286, likely a rack number applied while the gun was in the service of the “Rifle Volunteers”. The flat opposite the lock is marked F BAILEY, the mark of the “setter up” who did the final assembly and fitting of the guns components. Frederick Bailey operated at 3 Canal Street in Birmingham from 1857-1862. The toe of the stock, behind the triggerguard, also shows the typical assortment of Birmingham Ordnance Department inspectors marks, with three (CROWN) / B / # marks present “ showing the gun was inspected by Birmingham viewers prior to acceptance into government service.
The gun is very attractive and retains about 80%+ of its original deep blue on the barrel, with some thinning and fading, mostly from the front of the rear site through the muzzle area. The lock retains about 30%+ mottled case coloring, which has faded and mellowed, mixing with a smoky gray patina. The hammer retains less of the case coloring and has a similar smoky gray patina. The bore rates VERY FINE+ to NEAR EXCELLENT, with deep, crisp rifling. It is mostly bright with only a handful of scattered patches of dirt & darkness. The rear site is complete and in excellent condition and the front site/bayonet lug is present as well. The gun retains both of its sling swivels as well as the original cone (nipple) protector. The original rammer is also located in the rammer channel under the barrel. This gun has the typical Type II swelled-shank, jag-head rammer, which is full length and complete with threads on the end. The rammer is also marked with an inspection mark and the number 5. The brass furniture has a lovely, medium mustard patina that is truly attractive. The gun also retains an original snap cap (nipple protector), complete with chain and full leather pad on iron protector. The stock is in about FINE condition, with very sharp edges. The stock has a lovely, light “honey colored” tone to it. Even the rammer channel is sharp and shows little wear, which is not typical of Type II Enfields with the swelled rammer. The stock shows the usual assortment of scattered bumps, mars and dings that are typical of a military service rifle. The stock shows no cracks, breaks or repairs and is completely solid throughout.
This is one of the prettiest and nicest condition Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle muskets that I have seen in a long time. These guns are difficult to find in high condition and this one appears to have been a British gun its entire life, without seeing Canadian or Indian service. The gun is 100% complete and original and is absolutely right in every way. A nicer displaying Type II Enfield would be difficult to locate in the market today, and it will make a great addition to your collection of 19th Century British arms.SOLD