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1861 3-Band Tower Enfield Rifle w/ Bayonet

This  is a good solid above-avg example of an early Civil War imported Pattern 53 three band Tower Enfield rifle with original bayonet. This rifle has a great early 1861 date which is still in attic condition with its original bayonet.  Privately purchased in England and run through the Union blockade via the daring exploits of blockade runners, the Enfield sustained the Confederacy during the Civil War and almost as equally provided the Union with badly needed modern arms during the first half of the war. 

Caliber is .577 indicated by the bore size of "25" stamped twice on the left side of the barrel.  Lock is dated 1861 over "TOWER".  Behind the hammer is a crown sans the "V.R" for Queen Victoria Regina...thus showing it was a private purchase and not to the British Gov't.  39.2" barrel is the original length for the 3 banders.  Proofs on the barrel indicate that this rifle was built in Birmingham which became a boom town during the Civil War producing large quantities of arms for both sides. The number "38" is stamped behind the barrel in the wood along with the number "3" opposite the lock by the rear screw.  The bayonet has two tiny letters, "G.T" stamped at the back of the blade.  

Overall, this is in NRA Antique Good++ to Very Good condition...this Enfield is well preserved and looks like it came from a fairly dry Western climate. This rifle was put away for a long time. The wood has a light butternut color from such an arid climate...however, the wood isn't dried out, checked or cracked. The metal has not original finish...basically smooth gray metal that is turning to a light patina with only minor spots of pitting around the nipple area and normal dings a marks from military use. Nice markings throughout.  The brass furniture consisting of the buttplate, trigger guard, and forend cap have age to a nice uncleaned patina.  BP and TG screws are nice and still point in North-South directions. The lock works well at both full and half cock. Nice tight wood to metal fit throughout.  Original nipple.  Bore hasn't been cleaned in decades but in spite of the dust, it looks fairly bright and rates easily as Very Good or better with strong rifling...however, due to its age (143 years old), for obvious reasons, this is no way should be construed as an endorsement that its safe to shoot. The wood is solid, as stated earlier, its solid with NO burn-out around the wood surrounding the bolster area...this is often burnt away from ignition sparks from the caps. There are some marks right side of the stock where some brass tacks were removed.  We've studied the bottom side of the wood intensely looking for a name, usually the Main Contractor to the Americans or Rebels, which sometimes reveals whether it went into Confederate or Union hands.  This one has only a couple of letters visible...this is only a guess but we think it may say "SARGENT" as we found this name inside the lock along with the name "SPITTLE BROS, a sub-contractor." 

Bayonet has been on this rifle forever as the metal is exactly the same color with the barrel metal being somewhat brighter where the bayonet rested, no doubt, for many decades. Even has a few specks of old closet paint identical to ones on the rifle. Its been with this rifle a very long time which is why we're selling it only as a pair.

Both the Confederacy and Union imported these during the war which started in Mid-1861 when the Confederacy sent Caleb Huse, to Britain to secure contracts for the Enfield rifle.  Shortly thereafter, Union agents like Naylor, Schuyler Hartley & Co., began buying up all  available arms as well.  The two main centers of manufacture for the Enfield were London and Birmingham.  Nearly all Enfields imported during the Civil War were made by private firms in one of these two cities.  Typically, the "TOWER" markings you find on the locks suggests smaller makers oftentimes from Birmingham which seem to assemble rifles through a guild system of various craftsmen with specialties.  Primary London makers like Bond, London Arms Co., Potts & Hunt, Barnett, Parker Field & Son, tended to put their own company names on their locks instead of Tower although that is not a rule, there are always exceptions, just an observation on our part. 

All in all, just a nice Enfield that could have seen use on either or both sides during the War.  I wish we could find more like this one...its in far better condition than we normally encounter in our travels.




Antique Arms, Inc. | P.O. Box 2313 | Loganville, Georgia 30052-1947 | 770-466-1662 (W)