Rare Krider Type II Civil War Long Rifle
- Product Code: FLA-3577-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
When it comes to collecting the limited production, non-standard and variant long arms used by the Union forces during the American Civil War, few areas provide a more fertile field than the Pennsylvania made arms produced by makers such as J. Henry & Sons, P.S. Justice, H.E. Leman and J.H. Krider. Of these makers, the arms produced by the Philadelphia maker P.S. Justice are probably the best known, as he seems to have produced the largest number of rifles and muskets for military use and certainly delivered more than any of the other three makers to the Federal Government. The fact that Justice appeared before the Congressional Holt-Owens Commission that was investigating malfeasance within the original “military-industrial complex” has forever tainted his name and insured that students of Civil War arms are well acquainted with his company.
Collectors and students of arms are much less aware of the military pattern arms produced during the war by the firm of John H. Krider, also of Philadelphia. Krider was a successful businessman who had built a large sporting goods business during the 1830s, 40s & 50s in Philadelphia, called the Sportsman’s Depot. The name of the business and the breadth of items offered in his store bring to mind the sprawling 19thcentury equivalent of Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s! Krider served all of the sporting public’s needs by providing everything from fishing tackle and taxidermy supplies to dog muzzles and firearms. According to research by noted author, researcher and collector George Moller (see American Military Shoulder Arms Volume III), Krider’s pre-Civil War firearms business was primarily in the sales of arms from companies like Sharps, Colt and Deringer, while his “gun making” was really the assembly of arms from parts he acquired from other sources, rather than being a real manufacturer of arms. Mr. Moller’s research also indicates that Krider provided accouterments to the Philadelphia Navy Yard and repaired accouterments for the Navy Yard as well.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the Krider operation apparently tried to cash in on the need for arms in the north and started to produce a variety of .58 muzzle loading, percussion ignition rifled long arms for sale to the Union. According to Moller, the company records may be incomplete, because only a limited number of military long arms are noted to have been sold during 1861 and 1862. This suggests either incomplete records or very limited success in selling the guns. The reality is probably a combination of both, as most examples of Krider military pattern arms are very scarce today, and that scarcity suggests very limited production.
Krider produced a military musket with a nominal 40” barrel (39 7/8” in length according to Moller) and three variants of short rifles. One had a 33” barrel with a fixed rear sight, and the other two variants had nominally 36” barrels (36 ¼” according to Moller) with leaf sights. The most consistent feature among all of these Krider military pattern arms is that they had brass patchboxes that were quite similar to those used on Sharps carbines and rifles, and that the breeches have a short, distinctively octagonal section, before tapering to round for the length of the barrel. All of the guns also had flush fit locks, though of different patterns, and all had spring retained barrel bands, but again of a variety of patterns. It would appear that Krider maintained his pre-war gunmaking system of being an “assembler” rather than a “manufacturer” of arms and relied upon a variety of sources for his components. The similarity of some of the brass components to those used by J. Henry and P.S. Justice suggests that these parts may have all come from the same source, while the similarity of some of the components to those used by Robbins & Lawrence and Eli Whitney Jr. on their “Enfield” pattern arms suggest that Krider may have purchased a supply of parts at the Robbins & Lawrence auction when that company failed. All of the arms accept a socket bayonet, and it appears that Krider modified surplus US Model 1816/22/27 socket bayonets to fit the arms he produced.
Records from the Krider business account for less than 150 “rifles” and less than 100 “muskets” being sold between 1861 and 1862, two of the rifles are identified in the records as “Zouave” rifles, the meaning of which is unknown, unless it refers to a specific pattern used by one of the Pennsylvania “Zouave” pre-war militia companies, of which no less than 40 existed. At least three regiments of “Philadelphia Zouaves” were raised, the 72nd, 95th& 114thPA Infantry. Of the muskets, some are identified as “Minié muskets” and some as “cadet muskets”. It is my suspicion that the “cadet muskets” may in fact be the “long” rifles with 36” barrels that Krider produced, as these were slightly smaller than the full-sized musket (much like the US armory pattern “Cadet” muskets), but not the standard 33” “rifle” length. The two variations of 36” barreled rifles are similar, and both have the same basic barrel configuration, convex iron bands (retained by springs), brass patch box and leaf rear sight similar to the ones used on Sharps carbines or rifles. The primary differences are in their lock configurations, with the “Type I” having a flat lock similar to that of the US Model 1841 “Mississippi” Rifle and the “Type II” having a lock more similar to the British Pattern 1853 Enfield. The guns had browned barrels, case hardened locks, and a combination of blued iron and bright brass furniture. At least two different patterns of rifling and ramrods have been noted on the Krider “long” rifles as well. The “Mississippi” style “Type I” rifles sometimes have mating numbers on their components, while the “Type II” or “Enfield” style rifles have a single mating letter stamped on almost every component, down to the necks of the screws. While it remains unclear exactly how many of the various Krider rifles were produced, it appears fairly safe to say that less than 100 of each of the “long” rifle variants were produced, with the shorter rifle production likely to be only slightly higher. These interesting and very scarce Pennsylvania made Civil War era rifles offer a unique collecting opportunity for the advanced Civil War long arms collector, especially one who specializes in secondary arms and Pennsylvania made guns.
Offered here is a FINE condition example of a J.H. Krider Type II Long Rifle complete with its correct and original socket bayonet. This is the variant that is similar in overall appearance to the Pattern 1853 Enfield. The barrel measures exactly 36” and shows no signs of having cut or altered in any way, and the accompanying bayonet fits flush with the muzzle as it should. This suggests the barrel is its full, original length and the measurements provided by Mr. Moller are nominal measurements from the couple of examples he had access to for examination. The gun has almost no external markings, with the most prominent being just the name KRIDER, stamped forward of the hammer on the lock plate. The only other markings that are external are the mating marks L, which are found on top of the barrel behind the front sight, and on the front of the brass forend cap. The interior of the patchbox cover is also stamped KRIDER, along with the mating mark L, and the number 144, which is probably a batch or serial number. The L mark is also found inside the lock, inside the barrel bands, and on the necks of the lock and breech screws. The socket bayonet that accompanies the gun is also marked with an Lforward of the mortise cut, but the font appears slightly different from the other mating “L” marks and it may be a more recent addition to “force match” the bayonet match the gun.
The rifle retains about 50%+ of its original browned finish on the barrel, which has thinned and worn and mixed with an oxidized plum-brown patina. There is some moderate pinpricking and light pitting at the breech area of the rifle, and some scattered pinpricking along the length of the barrel. The barrel is mostly smooth forward of the rear sight, but there is a thumb sized patch of oxidized surface roughness in front of the rear sight, and there are some scattered dings and impact marks along the length of the barrel that suggest less than careful handling at some point during the service life of the rifle. The bore of the rifle is in NEAR EXCELLENT condition and is bright and shiny with very crisp rifling. The bore shows only some light pinpricking scattered along its length, mostly in the grooves. The bore is rifled with 3-grooves, which according to Moller is standard for the “Type I” rifles, while the “Type II” rifles usually have 6-groove rifling. Interestingly, the “Type II” rifles usually have iron nose caps, and “Type I” rifles usually have brass, but in this case this “Type II” rifle has a brass nose cap that is appropriately assembly marked to the rifle. This just further underscores the way in which Krider used available parts from multiple sources to assemble his rifles and clearly used up the parts as the guns were made, not worrying about keeping the small details of “Type I” and “Type II” configurations exactly perfect for future collectors! Similar discrepancies are noted on the “good and serviceable” rifles produced by Eli Whitney as well. Neither of these makers discarded usable parts just to keep small production features 100% consistent. The flush-fit lock is generally of the Enfield style, and has a mostly smooth, mottled plum brown over gray patina, with some light surface oxidation present. The lock functions perfectly on all positions and is mechanically excellent. The barrel bands have the same plum-brown oxidized patina as the lock and much of the barrel and match the rifle perfectly. They shows some light to moderate pinpricking as well as some scattered light pitting on their surfaces. The bands appear to be surplus Robbins & Lawrence bands and were probably the lower and middle bands from that company’s production run of Type II Pattern 1853 Enfields. The brass side nail caps with rounded wings are also Pattern 1853 style and likely Robbins & Lawrence surplus as well. The rifle retains both the upper and lower sling swivels and they appear to be original to the gun. The original rear sight is in place, complete with adjustment leaf. What appears to be the original ramrod is in place in the channel under the stock. It is an iron rod with a distinctively flared, cupped brass tip, and is the type usually associated with Krider’s 33” rifles. This rod is the correct, full-length for the rifle, being 35 ½” long, with a ¼” section of threads at the end. The brass furniture has all been cleaned at some point in time and has a lovely golden color to it, which is starring to tone down. The stock of the rifle is in FINE overall condition. It is full length, solid and free of any breaks or repairs. The stock shows no signs of sanding and retains very crisp and sharp edges and lines throughout. There is a single hairline crack, about 1” long, running from the rear of the breech plug tang toward the wrist, but this appears to be a surface grain drying crack that is tight and stable and does not appear to be structural. The stock does show the usual assorted bumps, dings and mars from 150 years of handling, use and storage, but nothing excessive or abusive. The ramrod channel does show some very old, minor splintering that has now worn smooth, and the usual wear expected to be found on a muzzle loading rifle stock in that area. Overall the wood to metal fit is quite good and the stock remains in very crisp condition. The rifle is accompanied by what appears to be the correct and original socket bayonet for the gun. It is a modified US M1816/22/27 pattern socket bayonet with a 16” blade and a 3” socket. The blade has a 9 ½” fuller and the ricasso is unmarked. The original .69 socket has been modified or replaced, as it now has a socket diameter of .782, slightly smaller than the regulation diameter for a US Model 1855 .58 socket bayonet. The only mark on the bayonet is the previously mentioned L forward of the mortise cut, which I believe was added at some point to match the bayonet to the gun. The bayonet retains about 90%+ of an old brown finish that may be period from the time of Krider’s manufacture of the rifle. The finish is not an arsenal brown, which it should not be, so it is difficult to judge whether it is the original Krider applied brown or an old re-brown. In either case, the finish is quite old, quite good and the bayonet fits and matches the rifle perfectly. The bayonet shows the most finish loss and wear along the high edges and on the socket where it was handled the most.
Overall this is a really attractive, complete, original and scarce example of a J.H. Krider Type II Long Rifle, complete with socket bayonet. These Pennsylvania “militia rifles” are very scarce and this pattern in particular rarely appears for sale. I honestly think that these 36” barreled rifles are what Krider called “Cadet muskets” in his company daybooks. No matter what Krider called these guns, it is quite safe to assume that less than 100 were manufactured, and complete examples are extremely scarce. In fact, the guns are scarce in any condition. This is a really attractive example that you will truly enjoy displaying along with your other Pennsylvania variant military rifles and secondary Union long arms of the American Civil War.