This 1st Pattern Brunswick rifle is a real piece of history and innovation. Not too many of these have survived, especially the earlier more fragile 1st pattern with the back-action lock. Best of all, it is marked "1st 60th" on the top tang of the buttplate which is a story in itself. Please read on, it will be well worth your time!
The Brunswick was the first Percussion was the first Percussion Rifle to be adopted by the British Military in 1837. In an age of smoothbore flintlocks, it had a .70 caliber bore with deep two groove rifling allowing it to be relatively accurate up to 300-400 yards. By 1830's and 40's standards, this was quite an advancement in its day, something that is often over-shadowed by the development of the Minie Ball. Brunswicks were built by Enfield and several private firms in London which are marked "Tower". The rifle was developed for fire more support for the infantry and issued to the elite 60th and 95th Rifle Corps and replaced the old rifled Flintlock Baker rifles. Some of these units were the first to wear the more concealing Green Uniforms as they were known as "Green Jackets". This was a wide departure from the traditional redcoat uniforms and the rifle brigade certainly stood apart from the traditional British soldier both in equipment, dress, and tactics. I wonder if this wasn't due to the hard lessons the British military learned from the French-Indian Wars and American Revolution in which colonists used the long range potential of the rifled Pennsylvania rifle to their advantage.
This rare and historic 1st pattern Brunswick was once carried in the hands of the elite riflemen belonging to the 1st Battalion of the legendary 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps or(KRRC). The original component of what would become the 60th Rifles was formed in America during the French-Indian Wars by American Colonists & Foreigners. Since then, the 60th has participated in countless campaigns during the 19th and 20th centuries including the Boer Wars, WWI, WW2, and most recently, Bosnia in 1996. The 60th still exists today and are known as "The Royal Green Jackets". This particular example was built by Enfield in 1843 and survived thousands of miles of travel across land, sea, and plenty of combat. It was probably first issued in Ireland, where the 1st 60th was based in 1843. By 1845 it was in India, and by 1848-49, it was in combat during the Sikh War. It probably also survived a brutal mutiny in India in 1857 in which the 1st 60th valiantly fought with the Ghurkas and EIC to defeat the mutineers at Meerut. By 1860, the 1st 60th was back in England and the Brunswicks were by then in mothballs.
Confederate Brunswicks: There is documented proof that the Confederacy used the Brunswick rifle during the Civil War. Around Dec. 1 1862, Confederate purchasing agent, Caleb Huse purchased 2,020 Brunswicks which is later confirmed in a letter by Confederate Ordnance Chief Colonel Josiah Gorgas on Febuary 3, 1863. (Firepower From Abroad, Wiley Sword, Appendix II, Page 67) The Confederates adapted a .70 Caliber Minie Ball round which was found to be more accurate than the original "belted ball" ammunition. It is believed that most of these Brunswicks were of the older first pattern with the back action lock and issued to the Trans-Mississippi Command (Firearms of Europe, 2nd Ed., Whisker, Hartzler, Yantz. P. 22-23). Confederate Brunswicks are also photographed in the latest edition of Flayderman's and in "The Fighting Men of the Civil War" by William Davis on Pgs 52-53.
This Rifle: To the 60th, this rifle would have been known as No. "909". Overall, its still in NRA Antique Very Good condition with lots of character, age, and patina, mixed with original finish on both the metal and the wood. These rifles were completey handmade and originally came with browned barrels, case colored locks, and brass furniture. The 30" round damascus barrel is retained in the wood by 3 iron keys located along the foreweood. The bore still retains its pronounced two groove rifling with original barrel notches for aligning the special ball ammunition into the muzzle. The barrel amazingly still retains some of its original browned finish with patches of solid brown in some areas and grey metal with small streaks of browning swirling along the pattern of the damascus....this quite remarkable because its much more fragile than blue and seldom survives on guns of this vintage that saw military usage. The 60th seemed to take good care of this rifle as there is very little evidence of pitting or abuse. The barrel is marked Enfield 1842 whilce the lock is dated 1843..which is totally correct. The lock is marked "RL MANUFACTORY ENFIELD" with a Crown over "V.R." which stands for Queen Victoria Regina. There are various small proofs on the lock and barrel as well. Both the front and adjustable rear leaf sights are intact and untouched. The lock functions quite well with a very strong hammer that locks up well on both half and full cock positions. The brass furniture is in good condition and consists of the nose cap, ram rod guides, triggerguard, patchbox, and buttplate. The buttplate is engraved "1ST 60TH" with the number "909" perpendicular to these markings at the top edge of the buttplate. This is an issue or inventory number. I inquired to the 60th's KRRC museum about this and the curator was nice enough to explain that each piece of equipment in the Regiment including rifles were assigned an inventory number by the Quartermaster. This allowed the Quartermaster to keep track of who had what. The wood is walnut, in good condition and solid with small nicks and dings from its various travels and campaigns. There are a few minor age cracks, but the wood is very solid, and still retains a fair amount of original finish or varnish mixed with dark patina from years of usage and many more in storage. The patchbox has its original two compartments, one for greased patches, and the other for the Brunswick rifle tools which were retained by a small brass bar screwed into an iron shaft at the base of the compartment. This is also intact. The ramrod is original and in good condition. I don't think it would be possible to find a Brunswick much more untouched than this. Its never been cleaned or enhanced...which means its still wearing its original history, put their by hands of soldiers more than 150 years ago. We're very pleased to have the opportunity to offer this rifle and I think you will find our price to be quite competitive for such a rare historic gun. Whether you are a collector of British military, Confederate items from the Civil War, or just enjoy history, this would make a great addition to almost any collection or musem.
We are also offering an original 1st Pattern Brunswick bayonet made by Enfield and dated 1847 that can be purchased with this rifle.