Following the great success of our March sale entries are already arriving for our 26th September 2019 Arms, Militaria, Shotguns, Firearms and Airguns auction. This set of rifles consigned recently shows an interesting view of the development of British Military rifles in the second half of the 19th century.
The first is a .577 P53 (Pattern 1853) percussion rifle by James Aston of Hythe (presale estimate £400-600). This rifle was probably made for one of the many volunteer rifle units that sprung up following the Crimea War when it became obvious to the War Office that the regular British Army was spread too thinly around the Empire. We have sold similar rifles by Aston previously and they have always proven popular. James Aston (active 1853-1870) was Armourer to the School of Musketry and designed most of the cleaning implements for the Pattern 1853 Enfield as well as suggesting several improvements to the rifle's design from 1854 – 1862.
Following the development of the self-contained cartridge, the British Army was left with an awful lot of Pattern 1853 percussion rifles on their hands and needed breech-loading weapon quickly. The design of American Jacob Snider (1811—1866) was adopted as a method of converting the massive inventory of P53’s in British stores into breech-loading weapons. The muzzleloading Enfields converted to the Snider breech-loading system were found to be just as accurate and allowed the soldier a greater rate of fire. The example in our 26th September sale is an Enfield Snider Cadet Carbine (presale estimate £200-300) and was originally a P53 rifle originally manufactured in 1861. One of the tell-tale signs of the conversion being the filled ramrod channel to the underside of the stock.
The third rifle of this trio is the famous Martini-Henry .577 /450. The example consigned to our sale (estimate £500-700) is a Mark IV rifle dated 1887. This Martini bears the alterations in the design such as a longer loading lever to aid extraction and altered receiver profile to better accommodate the shooter's thumb and prevent injury to the nose upon recoil!
The three rifles above are just some of the many items consigned already to our 26th September Arms, Militaria, Firearms, Shotguns and Airguns sale. Closing date 28th August. Consignments for this sale are now invited. Please contact Chris Large on 01270 623878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.