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Excellent Springfield Trapdoor 50 Calibre Allin Conversion

This is a very good 50 calibre “Trapdoor” model 1855 rifle. The rifle has a good American walnut stock with no cracks, only light handling marks. Wood to metal finish is excellent and the rifle has not been cleaned or sanded. It has toned down evenly and is mechanically fine.
The Springfield Model 1866 was the second pattern of the Allin-designed trapdoor breech-loading mechanism. Originally developed as a means of converting rifled muskets to breach loaders, the Allin modification ultimately became the basis for the definitive Model 1873, the first breech-loading rifle adopted by the United States War Department for manufacture and widespread issue to U.S. troops.
The Model 1866 corrected problems encountered with the prototypical Model 1865, in particular a simplified and improved extractor and a superior .50 calibre centrefire cartridge (the Model 1865 used a .58 calibre rimfire cartridge with mediocre ballistics), among many other less significant changes. It employed a robust version of the "trapdoor" breechblock design originated by Erskine S. Allin, Master Armorer of the Springfield Armory.
Approximately 25,000 .58 calibre Springfield Model 1863 rifled muskets were converted by Springfield Armory for use by U.S. troops, the barrels being relined and rifled to .50 calibre and the trapdoor breech system affixed. The rifle was chambered for the powerful centrefire .50-70 Government cartridge (.50 calibre 450-grain (29 g) bullet; 70 grains (4.5 g) of black powder). Though a significant improvement over the extractor of the Model 1865 Springfield Rifle, the Model 1866 extractor was still excessively complicated and the extractor spring somewhat prone to breakage. However, it is a misconception that a broken extractor disabled the weapon. In the official 1867 government user booklet “Description and Rules for the Management of the Springfield Breech-Loading Rifle Musket, Model 1866”, the following is stated regarding a broken extractor and/or ejector: “It should be understood that the ejector and friction springs are convenient rather than necessary, and that the piece is not necessarily disabled if one or both of them should break, for the shell can be easily removed by the fingers after being loosened by the extractor hook.” Furthermore, the “ramrod” of the rifle can be used quite effectively to remove a stuck case in an emergency. Thus it is clear that this weapon is not as easily disabled as is sometimes believed.
The Model 1866 was issued to U.S. troops in 1867, and was a major factor in the Wagon Box Fight and the Hayfield Fight, along the Bozeman Trail in 1867. The rapid rate of fire which could be achieved disrupted the tactics of attacking Sioux and Cheyenne forces, who had faced muzzle-loading rifles during the Fetterman massacre only a few months before. The new rifles contributed decisively to the survival and success of severely outnumbered U.S. troops in these engagements.
A fine historical rifle used in the Indian Wars, scarce in the UK and an obsolete calibre.

Code: 50588

Reserved


Good Dutch Beaumont 71/88 Rifle circa 1888

This is a good Dutch Beaumont 71-88 rifle that was used by the Dutch Army at home and in the Dutch East Indies. This rifle is all matching and with the cleaning rod which is often lost and has an amazing number of stamps and cartouches.. Condition is good, mechanically excellent, nice bore , good walnut stock with no chunks missing. This rifle started life in 1878 and then was converted with a Vitali magazine, the bolt is complex and contains the spring for the firing pin a feature copied by the Japanese for their Murata rifle ( Don't they copy everything!). Sadly the Beaumont had a short life as it couldn't compete with small bore smokeless powder propelled ammunition such as the Mauser so was replaced soon after the Vitali modification. This is a big chunk of a rifle for your money. Originally these were supplied in "the white" as is this good example.

Code: 50587

850.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Rare Tranter Developmental revolver

This is an extremely interesting development 5 shot pocket revolver model by William Tranter. It is not featured in Stewart's excellent book on Tranter nor is there an image in Berk's book. Passing mention is made in Stewart's book to 5 shot development revolvers and he describes a revolver without a ejection rod.
This revolver was manufactured in obsolete 320 British Calibre which was discontinued by 1900 in favour of more effective calibres.
It features William Tranter's patent mark and his initials WT stamped on the frame. It has Birmingham proof marks.
Overall in excellent condition both mechanical and cosmetic with much original finish, some finish loss and light storage pitting with nothing significant and a good bore. It is notable from the 1868 models by an absence of an ejector rod either on the body or in the butt. There are no screws for an ejector system and the butt screw is the original screw. Another feature is the slightly different frame to the mass produced models.
Overall a very interesting and rare addition to any British revolver collection.

Code: 50586

1400.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Starr Double Action Revolver Civil War issue.

The Starr revolver was advanced and ahead of its time when introduced at the start of the US Civil War. The first revolvers issued to the US Federal Army were double action and employed a unique "lifting lever" to cock the hammer and revolve the cylinder. Eben T. Starr obtained his initial patent in 1856 and the patent date is stamped on both sides of the revolver. In his patent Starr claimed two unique features to his design: a “lifter lever” which looks exactly like a traditional revolver trigger and a real sear-releasing trigger which is the triangular-looking metal projection at the rear of the trigger guard. In short, pulling the trigger-looking "lifter lever" of a Starr double action revolver only rotates the cylinder and brings the hammer to full cock. In fact, you must use the "lifter lever." You cannot thumb cock the hammer of a double-action Starr. In reality there are many similarities in design to the British Adams "automatic" or self- cocking revolver.
At the point of raising the hammer, you have a choice to make. You can either continue pulling back the lifter lever until it contacts the small, projecting trigger at the rear of the trigger guard and fires the piece, or you can remove your finger from the lifter lever and place your finger behind the lifter lever and directly on the little, projecting trigger and fire the piece. You cannot simply pull back the hammer of a double action Starr revolver like a conventional single action revolver, the lifting lever has to be used in a deliberate manner.
Starr also mortised the top frame of the revolver and this gave the revolver incredible robustness and durability and was the predecessor of modern top break revolvers. The top breaking frame secured by one large knurled cross screw allowed rapid disassembly of the firearm for cleaning and maintenance and also for loading spare cylinders.
The elaborate cocking mechanism however frustrated Federal troops who were used to pulling back the hammers of single action Colt and Remington Army revolvers and the government asked Starr to manufacture his revolver in single action which I am sure he considered being a retrograde step but he did comply. More than 32,000 single action .44 Starr revolvers were then manufactured which together with the 23,000 double action revolvers such as this example, made Starr the third most popular revolver in the Civil war the most popular revolvers being Colt and Remington. Starr also manufactured a popular carbine.
I usually pass Starr revolvers by because they are often seen with badly pitted bores even if the exterior looks good. I could not pass this one by as it has a perfect bore, sharp and mirror bright and functions as it was originally made. Clearly it was cherished as a "shooting iron" and someone took the trouble to clean and maintain it after shooting. The revolver cocks and locks fine and is mechanically sound. If I wanted to shoot a Civil War revolver this would probably be the one. The overall condition of the revolver is excellent as can be seen from the photographs, there are no messed up screws or "later editions". The revolver has several matching serial numbers. There are several military acceptance marks and three crisp cartouches on the walnut grips. There is a considerable level of original finish making this one of the best I've handled.
The Starr was considered the workhorse revolver of the Federal Army and was well made, better I consider than Colt or Remington. This is a quintessential Civil War Sidearm that has much eye appeal and has clearly seen action but was subsequently looked after. A good piece.

Code: 50585

2700.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Copy Webley RIC revolver circa 1875

This is a good copy of a Webley double action RIC pocket or Police revolver circa 1875 in obsolete .320 British calibre.

The revolver was manufactured to operate in double action only and has a loading gate and ejector rod.

The revolver was manufactured in Belgium and has Liege proofs.

The action works perfectly and the finish has faded to a grey plum finish with some light surface scale from storage on the barrel that could be improved. Grips are good as can be seen and the lanyard ring is intact. The revolver features a rebounding hammer safety which was advanced at the time.

The revolver is of good quality and was manufactured to compete with Webley

Code: 50584

SOLD


Scarce model 1870 Comblain falling block rifle

This is a rare find in the UK and is a Comblain falling block rifle as issued to the Brazilian Army in the 1870’s. This rifle was clearly issued as can be seen by the woodwork but the mechanical action is fine and it has not been messed with. The original cartouche is extant on the butt as seen in the photograph. The bore is clean with very heavy rifling.

The M1870 Belgian Comblain was a falling-block rifle invented by Hubert-Joseph Comblain of Liège, Belgium and produced in several variants known as the Brazilian, Chilean or Belgian Comblain. The Brazilian models are easily identified by having a shorter breech than the Belgium models and have a shrouded hammer with screws on the left hand side of the receiver.
W.W Greener wrote in Modern breechloaders: sporting and military in 1871 (page 214):
"This rifle is called No.2, to distinguish it from the first Comblain, which is a modification of the Snider principle. The Comblain no 2 has the vertical sliding block and guard lever of the Sharp rifle; but the arrangement for exploding the cartridge is different.
The mechanism of the lock is fixed in the breech block, which consists of the ordinary main-spring acting upon a tumbler by a swivel. The tumbler and striker are made in one piece; the scear and trigger are also in one piece . By depressing the lever the breech block is brought down, the cartridge-case extracted and the rifle is cocked. A fresh cartridge being inserted, and the lever returned, the rifle is ready for firing.
Comblain Breech block.
The hinge screw can be removed without the aid of a turnscrew, which arrangement allows the breech block and lock to be taken out for the purpose of cleaning.
The breech arrangement is strong and simple. It is used by the Belgian volunteers,and has been severely tested both at Liege and Wimbledon."

There is an 82 page article on Comblain rifles in the 2004 Gun Report magazine which ran over 4 issues and a book on the subject published by Jonathan Kirton in 2106.
These are interesting rifles and deserve a place in history alongside many of the better known single shot rifles of the time such as Martini, Snider, Remington and Albini.

Code: 50559

Reserved


Excellent Pair of English Turnoff Pistols.

This is a pair of box lock pocket or muff turnoff pistols of some quality.
The pistols have drop down triggers that fall on cocking and are in 80 bore calibre.
Both have much original finish, mechanics are fine and the barrels turn off. The pistols have Birmingham proofs and are contained in a relined box with correct sized powder flask , percussion cap tin and balls.
The locks are nicely foliate engraved and both butts have a vacant silver escutcheon.

Code: 50583

1300.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Good Soper Rifle

This is a very good Soper rifle and a nice example of a military version as it has a bayonet lug. Bore is good with strong rifling and mechanics are perfect. Chambered for 450 Soper this is an obsolete calibre rifle. Reputed to be one of the fastest shooting rifles of it's time assisted by the rifle firing from a falling block, Sgt Warwick of the Berkshire Volunteers shot 60 shots in 60 seconds with a Soper rifle at the 1870 Olympia Exhibition. Soper was marred by bad luck and timing and there was a possibility at one time that this rifle could have replaced the Martini rifle by the British Army had Soper supplied an example early enough and made different business arrangements. See following an article from "The Engineer". It would appear that the author had partisan interest elsewhere!
The Soper Rifle

The Engineer, 13 December 1867

The rifle invented by Mr. W. Soper, of Reading, and illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2, was one of the number sent for the recent competition at Woolwich, and was rejected on the ground of "complication of breech arrangement." In this rifle the breech-piece is formed of a block of steel R, working freely up and down in a vertical slot at the rear of the barrel, and secured to a lever fixed at the bottom of the lock, which is placed in the center of the stock. The striker J is mounted inside the breech-piece, and works easily without any spring. The cock is also secured to the breech lever in such a manner that the breech-piece and cock are worked simultaneously.

The attachment is effected by the swivel H, furnished with a projection and recess for working the extractor L, so that the one movement of drawing down the lever opens the breech, cocks the piece, and throws out the cartridge case. The trigger A is mounted on the lever, and has no connection with the sear E until the breech is placed home, and thus the rifle cannot be fired until the safety catch B is pressed. For cleaning purposes the lock and breech-piece can be removed by withdrawing a couple of screws. Fig. 3 shows a section of the rifling, the calibre being that of the service rifle.

The trials of this rifle at Woolwich were satisfactory. For rapidity twelve rounds were fired in thirty-nine seconds with three mis-fires; the mean deviation of eight shots fired for accuracy from a shoulder rest at 500 yards, with Boxer cartridges, No. 3 pattern, was 2.30ft. Many excellent results have also since been obtained. Nevertheless we cannot but agree with the committee that the mechanism of the breech and lock is too complicated for a purely military weapon, and, moreover, that they were perfectly correct in doubting the value of the safety catch as a substitute of the ordinary half-cock. Mr. Soper has expended a great deal of ingenuity, and has produced a weapon which gives good results, but we think it cannot be denied that it is unsuitable for the use of the soldier.

Breech-loaders V. Muzzle-loaders

The Engineer, 6 August 1869

On Saturday, July 31st, a very interesting competition took place in the presence of Major Sir C.S.Paul Hunter, Bart., between Corporal Bainbridge and fourteen picked men of the battalion using long Enfield rifles and three men using the Soper direct-action breech-loader. The targets were similar to those for the file firing, but only half the usual size. Distance; 200 yards; time, three minutes. Each party to fire as rapidly as they please. The scores were as follows:- Enfield Rifles: 1st squad of five men, 84 points; 2nd squad of five men, 94 points; 3rd squad of five men, 94 points; total, 272. Soper’s breech-loader: Sergeant Soper, 140; Private Warrick, 138; Sergeant Gostage, 110; total, 388. Majority in favour of breech-loader, 116 points. It will thus be seen that two men with the breech-loader scored six points more than the fifteen men with the Enfield. Private Warrick having fired eighteen shots the first minute, twenty one the second, and seventeen the third, making a total of fifty-six shots in the three minutes; and Sergeant Soper having scored five bull’s-eyes before a single shot was got off by the squad opposed to him.

This rifle is in good overall order and has a plated barrel identical to the one sold at auction last year ( £4250 + premium) The bore is good with strong rifling and mechanically it is excellent.
The plating is faded in places as can be seen and would be possibly worthy of restoration although personally I would leave well alone.
A rare rifle.

Code: 50580

3950.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Good Hall's Military Breech loading Rifle

This is a good representative example of a Hall 52 calibre breech loading model 1841 rifle. The rifle functions flawlessly and has a good American Walnut stock and has a decent bore with no external issues of pitting. The rifle has the expected handling wear of a rifle 175 years old but is an attractive looking example of a scarce rifle seldom seen in the UK.
John Harris Hall (1781-1841) proved a potent inventor and forward-thinking gunsmith during his time. Aside from his contributions to mass production, Hall also designed and developed the M1819 Hall Rifle that bears his name (along with inventor Dr. William Thornton). Though a single-shot long gun at heart, the primary quality of this rifle was its patented breech-loading system which now allowed the operator to load/reload his weapon at the action as opposed to the muzzle. The shooter no longer was required to stand his weapon on its butt and engage in a time-consuming reloading process which also presented him as a target for the enemy. The M1819 Hall Rifle became the first breech-loading rifle in the world to be adopted in notable quantities by a national army that had the benefit of interchangeable parts and could truly be regarded as “mass produced”.
The first Hall rifle was a flintlock and Hall began limited production of his rifle until the US Army placed an order for 200 of the type to be delivered sometime in 1815. However, lacking the required manufacturing facilities to meet the government deadline, Hall turned down this commission. To address the issue, Hall began dissecting his rifle manufacturing process which could, at best, output approximately 50 units per year. This rethinking brought about a complete revision of the process which ultimately sped up production through use of interchangeable parts along an assembly line-type arrangement. With the streamlining initiative in place, Hall then approached Army authorities to revitalize the commission. Impressed, the US Army then placed a new order for 1,000 Hall Rifles in 1819 which earned them the designation of "Model of 1819" - otherwise "Model 1819". The guns were produced out of the Harpers Ferry Arsenal utilizing Hall's methodology.
At one point, the US Army sought to test the Hall breech-loading rifles against contemporary smoothbore muzzle loaders (with a target at 100 yards) and found them to be more accurate and with a higher rate-of-fire, giving US infantrymen a considerable tactical advantage for the period.
The Hall rifle features multiple groove shallow scratch rifling which was a considerable improvement on the conventional smooth bore muskets of the time.
The breech of the rifle is opened by the secondary trigger spur in front of the firing trigger and this flips open the chamber block to allow either powder or a paper cartridge and ball to be introduced.
The machining tolerances were very good considering the equipment available at the time but eventually wear would allow gas escape which was a later criticism of the rifle.
By the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), the percussion cap principle was rapidly replacing the centuries-old flintlock action. The actions were somewhat similar in that old flintlock firearms could be converted to newer percussion cap forms through a bit of engineering. Percussion caps were less susceptible to weather and humidity and consequently more efficient and reliable.
The Model 1819 Hall Rifle saw a similar conversion as other guns in the lead-in to the Civil War, becoming the Model 1841 Hall Rifle. Paper cartridges, holding the propellant, and a .69 Ball were now in use. However, the life cycle of the rifle was quickly drawing to a close after several decades of consistent service. Many infantry also still preferred muzzle-loading weapons due to availability and familiarity. Hall Rifles did, however, still see use in the conflict before given up for good - all manner of guns and artillery were pressed into service by both the North and South - either produced in American factories or acquired form Europe. In all, 23,500 Model 1819 Hall Rifles were produced.
This is an interesting rifle and an important design in the development of the modern military rifle.

Code: 50579

2650.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Good Steyr Model 1886 rifle

This is a decent example of Steyrr Model 1886 "Kropatschek" rifle.
The Mauser-Kropatschek is perhaps one of the finest, most well-made rifles of its generation with an incredibly smooth action throughout, and this example is no exception. Manipulating the bolt is as smooth as silk and trigger pull and let off of the trigger is crisp and clean. The rifle is complete, with original cleaning rod. Some of these rifles were later designated for colonial service and fitted with a top hand guard, which is usually missing. This is one of those rifles that almost certainly saw colonial service in Portugal's colonies. The metal is smooth and in very nice condition with and receiver and with bolt parts finished in the white. The stock has a good cartouche but of course there are some minor handling marks throughout. No cracks. No stock repairs. Nice bore. This rifle is as an important variation for the 19th century collector. Originally chambered for a black powder cartridge, it was updated to a smokeless cartridge by the alteration of the rear sight, extending its range. Rifle is complete with all original parts and all markings visible.

Code: 50578

700.00 GBP


Shortlist item
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