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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.
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.
This scarce carbine is a poignant if not slightly disturbing military collectible from pre-war Italy. This is a blank firing rifle and could never be fired with live ammunition so it does not require a license.
I have photographed it with a Styeyr M1886 for scale.
Mussolini and the fascists did little to conceal their dreams of expansion and empire for Italy and in order to realise these nationalistic aims, militarisation of Italian society was necessary, and particular emphasis was placed on indoctrination of the country’s youth.
To this end, in 1926, after barely four years in power and following Mussolini’s expressed desire to provide pre-military training and to arm Italian youths beginning at a very young age, the fascists established the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) youth organization. The term “Balilla” evoked the memory of a young boy, Giovan Battista Perasso, whose nickname was Balilla, who on December 5, 1746, touched off a popular revolt against the Hapsburg occupiers in Genoa. By December 10, the revolt had managed to free the city from
the Austrian troops.
The ONB program encompassed boys from six to 18 years of age, organized along military lines, who, depending on their age group, were issued uniforms and weapons of various types ranging from strictly toy weapons to light machine guns. In October 1937, the ONB was replaced by the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL), which was disbanded in July 1943.
In 1931, in response to a request by the ONB, production began of a very faithful blank-firing copy approximately four-fifths the size of the corresponding full-size Carcano moschetto modello 1891, commonly (although actually improperly) referred to as the cavalry carbine both in Italian as well as in English. This carbine was designated the moschetto regolamentare Balilla modello 1891 ridotto (reduced size Model 1891 Balilla regulation carbine) and was also referred to as the moschetto per ONB, or more commonly as the moschetto Balilla. It was ultimately designed to familiarize young boys with the regulation Carcano battle rifle and its proper handling.
This is an excellent example and seldom seen in the UK. This is an interesting artefact that would grace any military carbine collection as an item to stimulate conversation!
This rifle is not what it initially appears to be when you look closely!
This is not a Mark 1 Martini Henry manufactured in Britain but a scarce Peabody Martini manufactured in the USA for the Turkish Army.
The Turks wanted an exact copy of the British Martini, hence the similarity but there are some differences that stand out. The rifle is missing the Mk1 and Crowned VR stamps and has a safety catch forward of the trigger. The most significant difference is that the Turkish rifle is chambered for it’s own unique cartridge, the 11.3 x 59R which is often referred to as the .45 Turkish.
This is an early rifle and is an 1874 Type A model with a serial number of F32. It was manufactured by the Providence Tool Company.
The Ottoman Empire was a significant military force in the 19th Century and these Martini derivatives were replaced by Mauser Bolt Action Rifles and most were scrapped. They were still in use during WW1 but Turkey being on the wrong side of the Armistice having allied to Axis forces ensured that remaining stockpiles were destroyed.
There is significant research information available about these interesting rifles and this one would make a good addition to a Martini collection. As can be seem the wood is decent, and the bore has good rifling. The rifle is mechanically sound and works flawlessly.
A scarce and interesting rifle.
This is a rather decent Werndl Model 1867/77 Carbine in obsolete 11mm calibre. This rifle is in original condition and has not been cut down or tampered with. There rifles had a rotary breech block with an external hammer and were virtually indestructible although extraction issues were reported as a result of the rotary breech. Good bore and no issues with the woodwork as can be seen other than superficial scuffs and scratches. Mechanically perfect and a real “sleeper”. These were made by Osterreichische Waffenfabriks- Gesellschaft , Steyr between 1867-74. The trigger guard indicates this was issued to Jager troops.
These are quite difficult to find in reasonable condition and saw service in the Franco Prussian War. I will be listing a number of early rifles over the coming weeks.
This is a beautiful and rare rifle and possibly only one of 10 extant.
This is a Whitworth Hexagonal Bore “Baby” rook rifle with a hexagonal 1/15 twist bore.
Its correct designation is a 300 calibre miniature rifle or rook rifle.
The rifle exudes quality and the lock plate is engraved with Whitworth’s wheat sheath and coronet coat of arms together with Manchester Ordnance & Rifle Co. The serial number is engraved on the trigger guard tang. The overall length of the rifle is 39” with a 24” barrel which is round and engraved with the Whitworth patent.
The rear sight consists of a fixed 50 yard sight with three folding leaves marked 100, 150 and 200. The front sight is a fine barleycorn.
The stock is finely figured Walnut and has a pistol grip with fine chequering on the grip and a horn cap with a steel buttplate and vacant silver escutcheon. The forend is also chequered and there is no provision for a ramrod. Lock is marked as described with a bolted safety to half cock. The construction is like a swiss watch with a pull off at about 8 ounces and there is a platinum vent plug.
Overall the condition is excellent, and the bore is mint throughout and the overall condition, particularly the chequering indicates very little use. The finish has faded to an even grey patina.
Manchester Ordnance and Rifle Company were operating only between 1862 and 1864 which dates the rifle. In total of all calibres and sizes including military only 5500 Whitworth rifles were manufactured, and it is estimated that the survival rate is less than 15%.
I have a lot of admiration for Whitworth who was a prolific inventor and true philanthropist. Whitworth allowed free access to his factories and unlike some of his contemporaries like Colt who patented and litigated voraciously if his patents were breeched, Whitworth believed that engineering would liberate humanity and chose to be transparent with his developments.
This rifle “ticks” so many boxes, superb quality, novel design and made by a British genius.
This is a Colt London pocket pistol in 31 calibre in its original case with all accessories.
This is a complete "sleeper" and completely untouched. From Rosa's excellent book "Colonel Colt of London" we know this is a very early model and it has all matching numbers, excellent grips and cylinder scene with a tight mechanical action. There is little or no wear on the accessories which is commensurate to the condition of the revolver. This set has not been apart for more than 150 years.
Colt was determined to sell to the British Government and the work put into the London models was superior to that of his Hartford factory. Improved details included dome head screws and better hatching on the hammer spur.
Very difficult to better and if the finish hadn't faded it would be double the price.
An excellent example.
This is a Dreyse Reichsrevolver Model 1883 often referred to as an Officers Model as it has a shorter barrel than the model 1879 and was made with a better finish.
This is a solid frame non-ejecting six shot revolver in 10.6 x 25R calibre which was contemporary to the 44 Russian round in size and power. Loading is via a gate on the left hand side and the casings were removed by removing the cylinder and withdrawing the axis pin and using this to remove the casings by hand. In practise a separate small rod was supplied and stored in the ammunition pouch worn on the uniform.
These revolvers were unique insofar as they had a side lever safety which was applied when the revolver was in half cock position.
This particular example has a serial number of 340 so of early manufacture and the serial number is stamped on the frame, axis pin and chamber. Each chamber is marked 1 to 6 and the makers name and address are stamped on the left-hand side of the frame.
The revolver is a single action and mechanically it is tight , there is strong rifling in the bore but some light pitting. It cocks and locks as it should do.
The original finish has worn away and there is light overall pitting which looks far worse on a photograph than it is. Although a very dated black powder design these revolvers were in use from 1879 until the end of World War One and later in colonial units.
This revolver was issued and there are unit markings on the back strap.
An interesting revolver.
This is a very good example of a very early square back trigger guard Colt Navy revolver manufactured in 36 calibre.
In Patrick Swayze's excellent Tome titled "51 Colt Navies published in 1967 he states
The design of the square back trigger guard was probably made with the question of appearance alone in mind, for it certainly does not does not seem to have any useful or practical value. In fact, it would seem that such a design would be highly impractical because of the chances of the pointed rear of the trigger guard proper becoming fouled in the holster, or pocket, from which it was being drawn. The square back design is attributed to Colonel Talcot of the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army, who seemed to have a fondness of the symmetry and beauty of the design. Since Colonel Talcot had much to do with the purchase of handguns for U. S. Army - a potential purchase of some size - Sam Colt was certainly one to cater to the whims of those who could help him sell his handguns; so the square back trigger guard it was! The story is that when Colonel Talcot was convicted by a court(s) martial, Colt immediately discontinued his production of the square back design and changed to the small rounded trigger guard.
This particular revolver has an excellent bore, and is mechanically sound with all matching serial numbers on the arbour, rammer, butt, frame and cylinder. The wedge has a different number but is contemporary and with a number close to the revolver.
The action is tight and although the finish is faded away there is some silver plating extant in protected areas. The revolver has a strong mainspring and cocks and locks perfectly, the latch spring on the rammer is particularly tight. There is evidence of the cylinder safety stops and they have not been totally worn away as is often seen. My view is this was a working gun that was well looked after by the state of the bore and I would say that it could have been issued to some official body.
There is an inspectors stamp "G" below the frame serial number stamp.
The 7.5" barrel is roll stamped with the early address
"-Address Saml Colt -New-York City-"
The I of the city is extant and this indicates an early revolver as this eventually wore out and examples stamped C TY are not unusual.
The brass square back trigger guard indicates it is one of less than 1000 manufactured and given survival rates is a difficult Colt to find for any collection.
Expect to pay at least 50% more for an example with any original finish left.
A desirable revolver.
This is a Third Pattern Brown Bess musket better known as the India Pattern. It was adopted by the British Army in 1797 replacing the previous Long Land and Short Land Patterns.
During the 1790s the Honourable East India Company had an urgent requirement for a musket based on the Long and Short Land Patterns but with the aim of producing one easier and cheaper as well as more quickly than the patterns in use by the British Army at the time. The result was the Third or India Pattern Brown Bess in 1795. With the French Revolutionary Wars raging in Europe and elsewhere the British Army adopted this design in 1797 as a replacement for the more expensive previous pattern muskets which took longer to produce at a time when the army was expanding. As a result the Third or India Pattern became the standard British musket in use throughout the remainder of French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and was used in almost every theatre in which the British were present. It was the musket that the British soldier carried during the Peninsular War and the Hundred Days campaign including both the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. It was also used in the War of 1812 in North America.
This particular musket was made by a well known military maker – Parsons and the lock is engraved as such. The stock is in good condition with no cracks and the lock mechanism works perfectly with a very strong action. The gunmakers stamp has also been applied under the barrel.
This is a reasonable example of an iconic firearm that clearly was issued and used.
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