Cooper & Goodman P-1853 Enfield - Very Fine
- Product Code: FLA-3336-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
The Pattern 1853 “Enfield” Rifle Musket was the second most used infantry long arm of the American Civil War. The Pattern 1853 Enfield was an important weapon in military long arm history as it was the first “small bore” rifled long arm to see general issue to all British military personnel, effectively making every soldier a “rifleman” and eliminating both the smoothbore musket and the large caliber “Mini” Rifle” as legitimate battlefield weapons. The reduced caliber .577” bore was a significant ballistic improvement over the .702” bore of the P-1851 Mini” Rifle and the overall design of the gun was the epitome of muzzle loading military firearms technology of the time. The P-1853 would significantly influence the design of the new American M-1855 Rifle Musket (and its replacements the M-1861, Special Model M-1861 and M-1863/64) and would be the last of the percussion ignition, muzzleloading arms to see general service with the British military, being replaced by breechloading rifles about the time the Civil War came to an end. The P-1853 was so revolutionary and so well designed that it was effectively the “AK-47” of the era, becoming either the standard battle rifle for nearly every country in the world, or an equivalent “substitute standard” issue rifle. Several million “Enfields’ saw use across the globe during mid-19th century, so it is often difficult to determine if a specific Enfield rifle or rifle musket was here for the American Civil War, especially in the absence of specific US or CS markings on the gun. However, with somewhere in the neighborhood of one million Enfields being purchased and used by both side combined during the course of the war, the very fact that the gun is here suggests that it may well be a veteran of that conflict.
This Pattern 1853 Type III Enfield Rifle Musket is in VERY FINE condition, and is a classic example of the typical Civil War imported Enfield rifle musket. The gun is devoid of any British military markings and is a typical Birmingham made contract gun for commercial sale that was almost certainly destined for export. As a Birmingham produced gun it is also a wonderful example of the way the Birmingham Small Arms Trade worked during the mid-19th century with a master contractor assembling the gun from a variety of components made not only by himself but by other B.S.A.T. members. In this case, the master contractor was the firm of Cooper & Goodman, and is clearly stamped COOPER & GOODMAN in the toe of the stock, between the buttplate and triggerguard. The firm’s C&G trademark stamp is also found stamped in the stock directly behind the triggerguard, with one stamp turned 90-degrees from the other. A small (CROWN) / B / SA / T stamp is found behind the trademark stamps in the wood behind the triggerguard as well, and a large Birmingham Small Arms Trade cartouche is stamped into the obverse buttstock. The firm of Cooper & Goodman was a joint effort between Birmingham gunmaking mogul Joseph Rock Cooper and John D. Goodman. The firm operated from 1857 to 1886 at two locations, 77 Bagot Street & 32 Woodcock Street, and specialized in the manufacture of guns, pistols and gun barrels. A number of Cooper & Goodman contract guns exist with Confederate inspection marks and/or engraved inventory numbers on their buttplates. The lock of the gun is clearly marked with the typical British “Crown” to the rear of the hammer, but without the accompanying “VR” underneath that normally denotes British government ownership. The lock is marked 1863 / TOWER forward of the hammer. The interior of the lock is marked CDG over the mainspring as well as in several places on the interior of the lock, which is an additional indication that Cooper & Goodman actually contracted to assemble and deliver the gun. The lock maker’s mark is typically found around the mainspring boss, and in this case it reads J. STEATHAM in an arc around the stud. This is the mark of Joseph Steatham, who was listed in the period directories as a “gun lock maker”, working on King’s Hill in Wednesbury, Staffordshire. Steatham worked from 1854-1880 and was listed as a “Maker to H.M. Board Of Ordnance” from 1854-1868. The assembly mating mark \ | | is found on the top edge of the lock and is also found on all the major components, including under the barrel and in the barrel channel of the stock. The barrel is marked at the breech with the three usual Birmingham commercial proofs: the Provisional Proof, the Definitive Proof and the Definitive View mark. These marks are separated by a pair of 25 gauge marks, indicating that the gun is “25 bore” or .577 caliber. The underside of the barrel is marked with the usual assortment of initials, names and numbers. The numerical marks include a 3 / 789 found on both the barrel and breech plug mating them. A matching 789 is also present in the barrel channel of the stock. The bottom of the barrel is additionally marked with the CDG mark found inside the lock, the initials EP and the name JOHN CLIVE. John Clive was the son of a Birmingham barrel maker who had worked from 1814-1832. John joined his father’s firm, becoming Clive & Son in 1832 and remained in business through 1869. During most of the firm’s life it was located on Newtown Row (later Newtown Road) in the gunmaking district of Birmingham. The matching mating mark \ | | is found under the barrel as well. Alpha numeric marks are also present on the breech, tang and in the wood of the rifle musket. The interior of the barrel channel of the stock is stamped several times with the script letters JRC, certainly a reference to John Rock Cooper, as well as with a stock makers name that is partially illegible.
The gun is in VERY FINE condition overall. The gun appears to be 100% original, complete and correct, with most parts having the same file slash mating assembly marks on them, and with other parts simply unmarked. The gun retains about 20%+ of its original rust blued finish on the exterior of the barrel, which is thinning and fading and has mixed with a smooth plum brown patina, and retains about 80%+ underneath where it has been protected by the stock. The exterior finish is freckled with minor flakes of brownish oxidation that has blended with the remaining finish that has faded and thinned, mixing to create a gorgeous plum brown patina, with the overall appearance of the barrel being a strong plum color. There are a couple of minor areas on the barrel where the finish has worn through to bear metal and these areas have a pleasing pewter gray appearance. The barrel bands have a slightly thinner amount of original blue and more thinning, with weaker hints of the plum coloration found on the barrel of the gun. The metal is mostly smooth, with only the most lightly scattered flecks of minor surface oxidation and a couple of tiny areas of very minor pinpricking. The bore of the gun is in about FINE condition as well with crisp rifling along its entire length. The bore is mostly bright with some lightly scattered pitting and dirt accumulation. A light cleaning would probably improve the bore to at least "very fine". The lock of the gun retains some light traces of mottled case coloring on the exterior, and has developed a really attractive tobacco brown patina. The interior of the lock retains about 30%+ original vivid case coloring that has faded and dulled. The lock is excellent mechanically and functions crisply and perfectly on all positions. The gun retains its complete original rear sight, as well as the original front sight/bayonet lug. The gun retains both sling swivels, one on the front of the brass triggerguard and the other on the tension screw for the upper barrel band. The original screw retention “doughnuts’ are present on all three of the barrel band tension screws, a tiny part that is often missing from an Enfield when it is found today. An original cone protecting “snap cap” (nipple protector) is suspended from the rear sling swivel. The original full-length ramrod is in the channel under the barrel and retains good threads at the end. The rod is maker marked T&CG, for Thomas & Charles Gilbert, a major small work contractor in Birmingham that produced everything from ramrods and gun tools to barrel bands and other small gun parts. The brass furniture has a medium golden patina that matches the condition of the balance of the gun perfectly and is very attractive. The stock is in VERY FINE condition as well. The wood to metal fit of the gun is wonderfully executed throughout, with no slop or gapping present. The stock is full-length, solid and free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. The stock has a really attractive medium brown color with reddish tones and a very attractive grain. The stock retains extremely sharp lines throughout and equally crisp edges, and has absolutely never been sanded. The grain of the wood retains some raised “feathering” indicating that the stock has never been messed with in any way. The rifle does show a number of scattered bumps, dings and minor dents in the wood, as would be expected from a 150-year-old military musket, but remains extremely crisp and sharp overall.
Overall, this is really fantastic example of a Civil War era, Cooper & Goodman produced P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket that would be fairly hard to upgrade from. A decade ago I could find one or two Enfields in this condition for sale every year. Now I practically never see a gun this good on the market and I don’t know when I’ll see another this nice again. The gun has tons of eye appeal, and is so much crisper and sharper than most Enfields offered for sale these days that the difference is very obvious. If you have been waiting to add a really fantastic example of a Civil War era Enfield to your collection, now is your chance to get a real gem of a gun that you will be very pleased to own and display.SOLD