I purchased this rifle from the daughter of Brigadier General Dollard Ménard, Anne has kept this rifle close for many years and was looking for a good home for it. General Menard was an avid collector of historical firearms. This Brunswick rifle was willed to his daughter after his death. It is not known where the rest of his collection ended up but many were disposed of by his son.
In 2005, a member of his family put his medals up for auction. This raised considerable media attention due to the risk of the medals being purchased by non-Canadians. Quebec philanthropist Ivonis Mazzarolo paid $40,000 to keep the medals in Canada. The case you see in the pictures would have held his DSO Medal, it is my wish to one day return the case to the medal so they can be united again. Anyone with information as to where his Medals reside, would be encouraged to contact me.
Brigadier General Dollard Ménard DSO, GOQ, CD (7 March 1913 – 14 January 1997) was a senior officer in the Canadian Army. As a Lieutenant Colonel he was wounded five times during the Dieppe Raid in 1942 while leading "Les Fusiliers Mont Real". His story inspired a famous Canadian World War II poster Ce qu’il faut pour vaincre (What it takes to win). He was later made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. Since all of the other commanding officers were either killed or captured, he was the only commanding officer who had landed at Dieppe to return to Britain after the raid.
Upon graduation from the Royal Military College of Canada, student # 2290 in 1932, he received his lieutenant's commission in 1936 in the Royal 22e Regiment, ("the Van Doos"). He served in India in the infantry, the cavalry and the tanks from 1938 to 1940 and took part in the Waziriztan Campaigne. In March 1940, he was promoted to captain and joined the staff of the Inspector General for the East of Canada. He was commanding officer of the East Sector of Quebec, which included amongst others Camp Valcartier from 1958 to 1962. He insisted that all units under his command with a francophone majority use French for drill and parade orders. He was posted to Army Headquarters, Ottawa, in 1962, to work with Major-General Arthur Wrinch. He remained at Army Headquarters until he retired in 1965.
In 1994, he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. His citation for the Order of the Army reads:
While he commanded his battalion during the operation of Dieppe, on August 19, 1942, this officer gave evidence of the highest qualities of courage and of initiative. He was wounded at the beginning of the raid, as he landed with the first groups of assault, but he continued to steer the operations of his unit by wireless telegraphy, under a fire fed by machine guns, by mortars and by artillery. Later, with the aim of reaching a more favourable position, he dragged himself up to a high point of the ground, but he was again wounded. Even after having been transported aboard a landing barge, and although wounded for the fifth time, he continued to insist on organizing the defence against planes, and taking care of his men. He put an example which is in the best tradition of the Army and was an inspiration for all the officers and the privates of his battalion.
Aged 83, Ménard died on 14 January 1997.
The Brunswick rifle was a large caliber (0.704 inches or 17.9 millimetres) muzzle loading percussion rifle manufactured for the British Army at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield in the early 19th century. Its name is derived from the historical German state of Brunswick because the British were experimenting with Hanoverian percussion cap technology during the period Great Britain andHanover (1714–1837) had the same head of state.
The Brunswick rifle was one of several designs submitted to replace the Baker rifle. Unlike the Baker rifle, the Brunswick rifle used a special round ball with raised ribs that fit into two spiralling grooves in the barrel. During its evaluation, it was noted that the Brunswick's unique round meant that the Brunswick rifle could not fire the standard British paper cartridges in use at the time. The rifle was also noted as being very heavy, and that it fired a relatively low velocity round. Despite these detriments, the rifle performed much better than expected, and the Master-General of Ordnance ordered the rifle to be produced with a 30-inch (76 cm) barrel of .654 inches (16.6 mm) caliber. The new rifle was designed to accept a bayonet, though the design was changed with the mounting moved farther back since experience had shown that the Baker rifle could not be fired with its bayonet fixed. In December 1836, trials were conducted to compare the Brunswick rifle against the Baker rifle. The Brunswick rifle proved to be equally accurate at shorter ranges, and more accurate at longer ranges. The Brunswick rifle also proved to require less cleaning than the Baker rifle. Evaluators also noted that the simplified two groove design of the Brunswick was likely to have a longer service life than the barrel of the Baker, and the Brunswick rifle was noted as being very rugged overall. In January 1837, the rifle was approved for production.
Almost immediately, the caliber was changed from 0.654 inches (16.6 mm) to 0.704 inches (17.9 mm) under a new program of standardization. An altered pattern was submitted in August 1837, and the first bulk order of 1000 rifles was given on October 25, 1837. In January of the following year, it became apparent that 600 of these would be required urgently for Col. Brown's Battalion of the Rifle Brigade and that the Enfield factory would not be able to supply them in time. Thus the whole order was put out to the trade in London at a charge of 38s per rifle.
Production began in March 1838, and the first mass-produced rifles were issued to the Rifle Brigade, the Canadian Rifle Regiment, and a few specialized units in 1840. The Brunswick rifle developed a reputation for being difficult to load, but was fairly well received and remained in production for almost 50 years. The rifle was used in England and assorted colonies and outposts throughout the world. Several refinements were made to the design during its production life, and production of the rifle was finally discontinued in 1885. The Brunswick was also manufactured in Belgium. Limited numbers of Brunswick rifles were imported to the United States during the Civil War. Some of those ended up in the hands of units such as the 26th Louisiana Infantry, which was partly equipped with Brunswick rifles during the Siege of Vicksburg.
The Brunswick had a two groove barrel designed to accept a "belted" round ball Like all rifles of the period, the Brunswick rifle suffered from the problem of being difficult to load. Rounds for rifles were required to fit tightly into the barrel so that the round would grip the rifling as it traveled down the barrel, imparting a spin to the round and improving its stability. Even though the rib and groove design of the Brunswick allowed it to use rounds that did not fit quite as tightly, the black powder used during this period would quickly foul the barrel, making even the Brunswick's design more and more difficult to load as the rifle was used.
Since the Brunswick used a round that was specifically designed to be mated with the grooves in the rifle, it had to be oriented properly in order to be loaded. This made the rifle difficult to load at night, when the grooves could not be seen. The lock was originally a back action design, with the mainspring located behind the hammer. This design proved to be unpopular, as it weakened the wrist of the stock. Later Brunswick rifles featured a more conventional side action lock. The stock was made of walnut, and featured a straight wrist and a low comb butt. A patch box with a hinged brass lid was located on the right side of the butt. Originally, the Brunswick rifle used a single compartment patch box. Later rifles used a slightly larger patch box with two compartments.
The ramrod pipes, trigger guard, and butt plate were all made of polished brass. The rifle was designed to accept a sword type bayonet which mounted by use of a bayonet bar, similar to the design of that used on the Baker rifle. The bayonet bar was relocated further back due to problems that had been experienced with the Baker rifle. The Brunswick rifle used a block front sight and a two position folding leaf rear sight which could be set for either 200 or 300 yards (180 or 270 m).
The rifle weighed approximately 9 to 10 lbs (4.1 to 4.5 kg) (depending on the pattern) without the bayonet attached.
The Pattern 1836 featured the original back action lock and the single compartment patch box. The first of these were 0.654 inches (16.6 mm) caliber. This was changed fairly early in the rifle's life, and most were 0.704 inches (17.9 mm) caliber. All subsequent patterns were 0.704 inches (17.9 mm) caliber. The Pattern 1840 featured a dual compartment patch box, and had several minor improvements to the Pattern 1836. The Pattern 1841 replaced the back action lock with a side lock. However, this lock change was not put into manufacturing until 1845. This version also used a wrought iron barrel instead of twisted steel, and a simple plug that replaced the break-off breech plug used in earlier patterns. The Pattern 1848 featured other minor improvements, and used an improved bayonet latch with the locking notch located halfway along the bayonet bar on its upper side. Only a few batches of rifles produced for the British Army were fitted with this improvement. A heavier version in 0.796 inches (20.2 mm) caliber was produced for the Royal Navy.
oldguns.ca, virtual museum collection.
The Kerr Rifle was designed circa 1860-61 by James Kerr, who at that time was serving as the superintendent of the London Armoury Company, a position formerly held by Robert Adams of Adams revolver fame. On May 10, 1861 Kerr received English Patent #4348 (1861) for his unique rifling design. The small bore, .451 rifle had a 6 groove, 37” barrel that was slightly recessed at the muzzle to protect the rifling and to facilitate the loading of the paper cartridge. The overall length of the rifle was 53”, and it was stocked to within 1 ““ of the muzzle, with no provision to mount a bayonet. All of the guns were produced by the London Armoury Company, and it is believed that only about 800 of the rifles were manufactured between 1861 and the cessation of London Armoury Company operations in 1866, although I am not aware of any Kerr Rifles with dates later than 1864 on their locks. For all practical purposes, the gun was a standard London Armoury P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket, with an upgraded barrel. The barrel could be easily exchanged for a standard 39” long .577 caliber barrel for those who wanted a dual caliber rifle. This was important for the military target rifle shooters in England, who often competed in matches that required a standard military pattern rifle in .577 caliber, and also competed in classes that allowed for small-bore rifles. The interchangeability and swappable barrels made the Kerr Small-bore Military Target Rifle a popular choice for those competitive shooters. The rifle was also one of the most accurate designs available during the early 1860s, eclipsed in its accuracy only by the Whitworth patent rifle, which sold for substantially more money. From an economic standpoint, a Kerr rifle cost roughly twice what a standard P-1853 Enfield rifle musket did, but a Whitworth could cost as much as 20 times more than a Kerr Rifle! The Kerr Rifle was typically equipped with an upgraded and refined version of the standard “Enfield” type rear sight, and with a windage adjustable front sight. As production of the rifles continued, more expensive and complicated sights were offered as options on the guns, including various tang mounted “peep” sights. Extended trigger spurs, and other target shooting enhancements were also available as special order features on later production rifles. The initial production guns were typically standard brass mounted P-1853 London Armoury Enfields, with the Kerr barrel, enhanced sights and a special bronze tipped rammer of appropriate length for the shorter barrel. As production continued, better quality wood was used in the stocks, and checkering of the wrists and forends became more common. Iron mountings were also made available as well. Later guns were more often enhanced with engraved locks, screws and forend tips, and of course a myriad of custom order features were always available. As with all London Armoury produced arms, the Kerr Rifle underwent some minor improvements as production continued. The most obvious being the adoptions of the rounded Baddeley Patent barrel bands in the lower and middle positions of the stock. These bands had a small, recessed tension screw that eliminated the possibility of snagging the tension screw from the standard Palmer Patent clamping bands. The Palmer band, however, remained in use in the upper position, where the sling swivel was installed. During the American Civil War era, only those Enfields produced by the London Armoury Company and the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock (RSAF) utilized the Baddeley Patent barrel bands. The extreme accuracy of the rifles, their reasonable price (when compared to Whitworth Rifles) and the strong relationship between the London Armoury Company and the Confederacy would suggest that a large number of these special rifles would have been acquired by the south for use by sharpshooters. While the Confederacy did, in fact acquire some of these special rifles, it seems unlikely that they obtained more than 60 to 80 of them, and documents suggest that only about half that number ever made it into the field.
The only confirmed purchase of Kerr Rifles by the Confederate central government was an order placed with Sinclair, Hamilton & Company in July of 1862 by Caleb Huse. It is important to remember that Archibald Hamilton, the principle in Sinclair, Hamilton & Company was also the Managing Director of the London Armoury Company. The order specifies:
“20 small bore Rifles, best cheq’d stocks, brass mountings”
The rifles cost 108 schillings each, only about 25% more than the 75 schillings that Huse had been paying for London Armoury P-1853 Enfields, complete with bayonets. The 20 Kerr Rifles from this order apparently ran the blockade sometime between the fall of 1862 and the fall of 1863, and were eventually delivered to the Richmond Arsenal, where they remained in store until November of 1863. It is not clear when the rifles were delivered, nor when they left England and when they arrived in the South. On November 16, 1863 Colonel Gorgas of the Confederate Ordnance Department informed Lt. Colonel Hypolite Oladowski, Chief Ordnance Officer of the Army of Tennessee, that he had ordered the Richmond Arsenal to send 20 Kerr Rifles, complete with ammunition to the Army of Tennessee for the use of their sharpshooters. Lt. Col. Oladowski subsequently transferred 10 of these Kerr rifles to General Patrick R. Cleburne’s Division (Hardee’s Corps) at Tunnel Hill, Georgia on December 23, 1863 at the request of Captain Charles S. Hill, Ordnance Officer. Captain Hill officially confirmed the receipt of these rifles on December 24, 1863, and included a personal note wishing Oladowski “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”. No further documents have been uncovered relating to the field use of the remaining 10 brass mounted Kerr rifles, although it seems unlikely that these very important rifles would languish in the Richmond Arsenal unnecessarily, when they certainly could have been put to use in the field. An additional group of Kerr Rifles has been documented in Confederate service, and these guns also saw service in the Western Theatre with the Army of Tennessee. The group of 11 guns were a gift to General John Breckenridge from an unidentified “English Friend”. Breckenridge had formerly commanded the Kentucky “Orphan Brigade”, and he passed the guns directly to his old brigade. In April of 1864 a shooting contest was held by the brigade in Dalton, GA, and the two best shots from the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th Kentucky Infantry were issued these special rifles, with the 11th gun going to Lieutenant George Hector Burton who was placed in command of this elite sharpshooting unit. The Orphan Brigade was officially the 4th Brigade, First Division of General Hardee’s Corps at that time, so all documented issues of Kerr Rifles were to elements of Hardee’s Command. One example of a Kerr rifle in a private collection has strong Confederate provenance and is likely one of the 11 Breckenridge guns. This rifle is iron mounted. It appears likely that the Breckenridge rifles were iron mounted, while the Huse purchased guns were brass mounted. In June of 1864, Lt. Col. Oladowski submitted an Armmament and Ammunition Report of the Army of Tennessee for the week ending on June 25. In the report he noted 29 “.44 calibre” rifles. Whitworth Rifles are noted separately in this report, which suggests that these 29 rifles were in fact Kerr Patent Rifles, the 10 sent to Cleburne at Tunnel Hill, the 11 given to the Orphan Brigade and 8 others, which may have been part of the additional 10 rifles left in storage in Richmond. In an August 4, 1864 Consolidated Armament and Ammunition Report sent to Colonel Gorgas from Captain W. D. Humphries, Depot Ordnance Officer, East Point, Georgia, Army of Tennessee he states that:We have in this army 38 Whitworth and Kerr’s Rifles which are the same cal. and the Whitworth Cartridge is much preferred of which we have no supply in reserve.” The report does not, however, specify how many of each rifle were currently in the field. Additional Kerr rifle purchases are suggested by a report found within the Prize Court records of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. The report relates to the capture of the blockade-runner Elizabeth. The vessel was captured while attempting to enter Charles-ton on May 29, 1862, and belonged to John Fraser & Company. Listed within the cargo of the ship were “14 small calibre Enfield Muskets”, which were almost certainly Kerr Rifles. The guns were valued at a paltry $7.00 each, interesting in that US contracts were paying at least double that for regular Enfield rifle muskets. The document further reveals that the rifles were packed in a crate that was marked with a WD within a rhomboid, which almost certainly meant that they were War Department purchases, but no corresponding reference to these rifles is found in existing Confederate documents or the Gorgas summary. Also, the crate would have certainly contained 20 rifles, so it is unclear what happened to the other 6 that should have been in the case. It appears almost certain that at least a few other Kerr Rifles were acquired by Confederate speculators, and were delivered to the Confederacy during the war. The configuration of these guns cannot be determined. However, a reasonable assertion can be made that the Confederate acquired and used Kerr rifles were of “best quality” wood with checkered stocks, standard Kerr patent sights and were delivered with both brass and iron mountings. The presence of enhanced target-shooting features such as tang sights, other specialty sights, pistol gripped stocks or triggerguards, etc. would almost certainly rule out the gun as a candidate for Confederate use. Reasonable deduction reveals that the 20 brass mounted rifles purchased by Caleb Huse would be dated either 1861 or 1862, while the iron mounted Breckenridge guns could be dated as late as 1864, although it seems more likely that they are dated 1862 or 1863. The captured guns from the blockade runner Elizabeth could only bear 1861 or 1862 dates, and it is not clear if these were brass or iron mounted.
oldguns.ca, virtual museum collection.
There is probably no muzzle loading rifle more renowned for accuracy than the Whitworth Patent Rifle. Sir Joseph Whitworth was an incredibly talented engineer who was responsible (among his many innovations and inventions) for the establishment of the first standardized thread system for screws. This is something we tend to take for granted today, but the standardization of thread count, thread pitch and screw diameter was a revolutionary idea during the mid-19th century when screws were handmade and hand cut. His reputation for being able to produce machines with tight tolerances lead the British Board of Ordnance to approach him in 1854 to help with the design and manufacture of the machinery that was needed for the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock. This facility would be the first one in England to produce small arms on the principle of interchangeable parts, a production method that had been pioneered in America by such companies as Colt’s Patent Firearms and Robbins & Lawrence. Subsequently, the Board of Ordnance asked Whitworth to provide input for potential improvements that might be obtained in rifled small arms barrels. To this end, Whitworth consulted prominent gun making engineers like Charles Lancaster (who developed the “oval bore” mechanical rifling system) and Westley Richards (who was working with an octagonal bore mechanical rifling system). Whitworth’s interest in precision machining and in the potential for improved accuracy of firearms lead to his adoption of a polygonal, 6 sided, mechanical rifling system that proved to be extremely accurate. While he cannot be directly credited with the invention of the 6-sided mechanical rifling system, he can be accurately considered to have substantially improved it in such a way as to make it extremely successful. Much of his design accuracy was due to his work with the projectile, which he designed to be longer and smaller in diameter than the typical musket bullet of the day, yet retaining the weight of a military service type bullet. His 530 grain, .451 caliber hexagonal bullet did not depend upon unreliable expansion of a hollow base in order to engage the rifling of the bore, but instead replied upon the tight mechanical fit of his bullet to the .451 polygonal bore. The end results were simply stunning accuracy for a muzzle loading firearm, with one test resulting in a 12” group at 1,800 yards; a group shot at just over 1 mile with a black powder muzzle loading rifle. These are the kinds of marksmanship results that are expected from today’s highly accurized bolt-action sniper rifles in .50BMG and .338 Lapua, not a 19th century muzzleloader. Whitworth began manufacturing his revolutionary rifles in 1857 and in 1860 formed the Whitworth Rifle Company in Manchester, England. Initially, the majority of his customers were serious target shooters, who were interested in obtaining the most accurate rifle of the period. He produced the rifles in a variety of styles from cased multi-barrel sets to military style match target rifles, and everything in between. In 1862 Whitworth’s company was reorganized as the Manchester Ordnance & Rifle Company. There is probably no more famous, nor more desirable, variant of the Whitworth Rifle than the handful that were purchased by the Confederacy during the American Civil War. These guns were put to devastating use against the Union Army, particularly the officer corps and against artillerymen. These guns were all “2nd Quality” Military Match Rifles, and at least some of the later deliveries were equipped with 4-power Davidson telescopic sights, while earlier deliveries used Whitworth’s conventional rear sights and “globe” front sights. It is unlikely that more than 50 of the rifles were imported during the course of the war, but the legendary stories of their use and great accuracy have made them an iconic piece of American arms collecting history. While the Confederacy was actively attempting to acquire the extremely accurate and expensive rifles during 1861 and 1862 (Major Anderson of the Confederacy noted they were to have cost as much as “$1,000, in the equivalent of gold, for reach rifle and one thousand rounds of ammunition.”), the British military was still exploring the possibilities of the Whitworth design. The Board of Ordnance had already experienced good results in testing other mechanical rifling systems, as their Brunswick rifles had worked well in the past, and the oval bore design of Charles Lancaster had almost been adopted over the 3-groove, progressive depth rifling used on the P-1853 Enfield Rifle Musket. The board, however, understood that there were certainly advantages to Whitworth’s smaller bore size and tight tolerance mechanical fit projectile. Whitworth explored numerous variations of his polygonal design for the Board of Ordnance from 1858 to 1862 and produced many experimental rifles, which varied in barrel length, rate of twist, barrel material, etc. in an attempt to find the perfect combination of accuracy, handling, weight and durability. The first rifles to be produced in any quantity were officially designated the Pattern 1862 Whitworth Rifle. These rifles were all produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock (R.S.A.F.) with 36” iron barrels, 6-sided polygonal rifling, in .451 caliber (52 bore) with a 1:20” rate of twist, and were intended to look very much like the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle musket then in general use. The iron mounted rifle used the same lock as the Pattern 1860 Enfield Rifle (then in production at RSAF and among various contractors), as well as much of the same furniture, such as the butt plate, trigger guard, etc. The rifle used 3-barrel bands rather than the two that was standard on the 33” barrelled service rifles then in production. These 1,000 rifles were utilized in various field tests, and were commented upon favourably enough for the Board of Ordnance to authorized the production of 8,000 more rifles for field trials. These rifles, which would become the Pattern 1863 Whitworth Rifle, had slightly shorter barrels, at 33”, due to the fact that the barrels were made of steel rather than iron, and consequently weighed more than their iron counterparts. The new P-1863 also incorporated some minor improvements in the rear sight, and introduced a bayonet lug on the upper barrel band to accept a bayonet based upon the Pattern 1856 sabre bayonet. The reason the bayonet lug (“bar” in English terminology) was placed on the upper barrel band rather than directly on the barrel was the belief that it would be too difficult to adequately weld the bayonet lug directly to the steel barrel. As a result, the upper band was of the wide variety with a transverse pin through the band and stock for additional support. This pattern of barrel band had been introduced for the P-1856 Type II (also known as the P-1858) “Bar on Band” series of rifles. These 8,000 Whitworth patent rifles were produced at R.S.A.F. and were issued to a large number of regiments for field trials. In general, 68 of the rifles were issued each of the regiments that received them for the trials (possibly to equip the “light companies”), and field reports were to be complied regarding the rifles in service performance over the next few years. At least 12 regiments not in service in India were issued the new P-1863 Whitworth Rifle, including the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, 1st Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards, 1st Battalion 3rd Foot, 2nd Battalion 5th Foot, both 1st & 2nd Battalion of the 60th Rifles and the 73rd Foot. Five additional regiments in Indian service were also issued the rifles, including the 42nd Highland Foot and 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade. In general, the reports from the field were quite similar. The rifles tended to foul badly when used in hot environments. In many cases it was difficult for the average solider to ram more than a half-dozen rounds before the rifle became too fouled to load. When combined with the much higher cost per unit versus a standard P-1853 Enfield rifle musket, as well as the slower rate of fire, it quickly became obvious that the P-1853 was more than sufficient for the typical needs of the line infantry, and even though the Whitworth had tremendous advantages in accuracy, it was not a practical weapon for general issue. Although the guns remained in limited experimental issue through 1867-1868, with many regiments testing them, the guns were never considered a potential replacement for the P-1853 Enfield. In the end, the Whitworth design became an anachronism that proved the potential for smaller bore rifle accuracy, but at a time when the age of the muzzle loader was coming to an end and the metallic cartridge breechloader was about to change the world of warfare forever. The Pattern 1863 Whitworth rifles were subsequently returned to storage and eventually sold as surplus, becoming a footnote in the history of 19th century British military small arms development. While the rifles never made a significant difference in the British military, they did manage to gain iconic status in the hands of a few Confederate sharpshooters, and at the shooting competitions at Wimbledon, insuring that the Whitworth Rifle would never be merely a footnote to arms historians and arms collectors.
oldguns.ca, virtual museum collection.
In 1763 France adopted a new infantry musket, much stronger than the previous design, to answer the needs of an accelerated fire coming from the war tactics developed during the Seven Years War. The new gun was found too heavy and was replaced after only three years by the 1766 Model. After this date it has been replaced by the Model 1770/71 and the muskets given back from the soldiers have been used in 1775 when the American Independence War started and France distributed numerous 1763 - 1766 muskets to the troops in the American revolution and of the newborn United States of America. Many Charleville Muskets were used in Upper and Lower Canada in the early 1800's and specifically the war of 1812. This example is is very fine condition with strong wood and excellent original finish. Mechanically it functions as it should. A very fine example with tons of history, American and Canadian.
oldguns.ca virtual museum collection.
When it comes to antique military arms, there is probably no name better known than “Brown Bess”. The term is a generic reference to the iconic musket of the British soldier during the 1700s, and is applied to a wide variety of British musket patterns that saw service over the course of a century. While many stories and theories abound about the origin of the name “Brown Bess”, nobody is aware of a documentable origin for the term. “the nickname is obviously an affectionate one. Bess was a sturdy, dependable wench who felt good in your hands during desperate moments.” While the British military did not refer to the arms at the time with pattern or model dates as we collectors do, they did utilize terms like “Long Land Pattern” and “Short Land Pattern”, terms that are now fairly well known to most antique military arms collectors. The first of the muskets typically referred to as a “Brown Bess’ was what we now refer to as the Pattern 1730, which established the basic pattern that all British military infantry muskets would follow for 100 years. The Pattern 1730 was a produced from about 1727 to 1740 with “significantly less than 96,000” being produced during that time. The musket was about 62” in overall length, with barrel that was usually about 46” long, smoothbore and nominally .76 caliber. The musket barrel was secured to the stock by a single screw through the breech tang, several transverse pins through the stock, and by the mounting screw for the upper sling swivel. The lock was the classic Brown Bess “banana” shaped lock with a rounded profile, an unbridled pan and a swan neck cock. The rammer was wooden with a brass tip, and was retained via three brass pipes and a fourth tail pipe. The balance of the furniture was brass as well, including the buttplate, side plate, trigger guard and nose cap. The musket was improved circa 1740 with the addition of a bridled pan and beefier furniture. These muskets, produced from roughly 1740-1742 have been categorized as Pattern1730/40 muskets, and are in fact a transitional pattern to the Pattern 1742. The most significant change in the 1730/40 muskets was the adoption of the Pattern 1740 “double bridled” lock. This lock incorporated a bridled pan on the outside of the lock plate, in addition to the traditional bridle inside the lock that retained the tumbler. The Pattern 1742 Long Land Musket was produced from 1742 to 1750, and although the subsequent P-1748 and P-1750 were in production by the time it came to pass, the Pattern 1742 was the standard issue musket during the Seven Years’ War, which is better known in America as the French & Indian War. Like its predecessors, the Pattern 1742 was approximately 62” in overall length, with a nominally 46” long barrel of about .76 caliber. The total production of the muskets is estimated to have been around 106,900, which Goldstein & Mowbray base upon known orders for socket bayonets to accompany the guns. According to their research, roughly 1/3 of all Pattern 1742 musket production was shipped to the American colonies for service in the French & Indian War, with at least 15,833 shipped “for and with British troops” and an additional 14,798 sent for the use of colonial volunteers and militia. The guns were referred to in period British ordnance documents as “Land Service Musquets of King’s Pattern with Brass Furniture Double-bridle Locks, (and) Wood Rammers”. The Pattern 1742 was significantly beefier than its predecessors, with a much more robust stock that was better suited to the harsh life of military service and extensive campaigning. It also incorporated a much more robust trigger guard. While the earlier Pattern 1730 and 1730/40 muskets had utilized a brass nose cap, this feature was dispensed with on the Pattern 1742, although many muskets were retroactively upgraded with brass nose caps post-1748, when a steel rammer was adopted to replace the wooden one. After the steel rammer was adopted, many of the early production Pattern 1742 muskets had their upper and tail pipes modified for use with the new rammer and had a nose cap added at the same time. The Pattern 1742 was essentially replaced the transitional Pattern 1748 which remained in production only long enough to bridge the gap to the Pattern 1756 which was the last of the 46” barreled “Long Land Pattern” muskets to be produced. The Pattern 1756 was produced in significant quantities when compared to its predecessors, with between 200,000 and 250,000 being produced. While other patterns of “Brown Bess’ muskets would continue to be produced over the next 50 years, the Pattern 1756 brought an end to the era of the Long Land Pattern.
This musket is marked Warranted on the lock, indicating a musket used for trade, likely it was intended to use as trade goods in the slavery era, perhaps on board the British East India Company ships. It has the usual Birmingham proof stamps indicating manufacture in Birmingham. A warranted gun would have been made with the permission of the reigning Monarch. This musket is in extremely fine condition, with good solid wood throughout, the lock works perfectly and would likely make as excellent shooter if one were so inclined.
oldguns.ca, virtual museum collection.
Upper and Lower Canada were formed by the Constitutional Act of 1791, in response to the wave of United Empire Loyalists moving north from the United States into the French-speaking province of Quebec following the American Revolution 1765-1783. The result was the division of the old Province of Quebec into two colonies, Lower Canada to the east and Upper Canada to the West, each with their provincial legislatures. While Lower Canada retained the seigneurial system, language, and religious institutions of Quebec, Upper Canada developed on a model of British society.
In the wake of the American Revolution, United Empire Loyalists fled northwards to the Province of Quebec, followed by other English-speaking settlers. By 1790 the influx of new settlers numbered about 10,000. The territories they settled were already occupied by Indigenous peoples, including the Wendat, Tionontatehronnon, and Algonquin. The Loyalists, guided by Sir Frederick Haldimand, settled primarily along the St. Lawrence River in the area of Kingston, along the shores of Lake Ontario by the Bay of Quinte, and around the Niagara Peninsula. While Quebec had been established as a British colony with the Treaty of Paris 1763 and the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the majority of the population remained French-speaking. The English settlers, however, brought with them their own political and religious ideals, and tensions soon arose between the two groups. One key issue was that of land ownership. The Province of Quebec had established a seigneurial system that awarded parcels of land to nobles and religious communities, who then allotted pieces of the land to tenants in return for farming the land. Used to the freedoms they had held in the Thirteen Colonies, the new settlers wanted instead to own their lands in their own right. Similarly, they pushed for representative government, a British system of parliament, and British civil law. Religion was another point of tension. While the Roman Catholic Church was the established Church in Quebec, the new settlers looked to establish their Protestant Church.
In the years prior to the division of Quebec into the Canadas, Britain had hopes that floods of English settlers would anglicize Quebec. Prior to the Loyalist wave, the floods did not materialize. The Quebec Act of 1774 had restored the Catholic Church in Quebec, and the old French civil law, reversing the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The Canadiens were not ready to give up their recently restored privileges.
The solution arrived at was the division of Quebec. The British Constitutional Act of 1791 officially divided Quebec into the primarily French-speaking Province of Lower Canada, and the primarily English-speaking Province of Upper Canada. Each province established its own government, with an appointed lieutenant-governor, executive council, legislative council, and elected representative assembly. While Lower Canada retained the seigneurial system, language, and religious institutions of Quebec, John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, was determined that the new province would be a model of British society.
The territory of Lower Canada extended west from the Ottawa River to the Great Lakes, south of Rupert's Land. Lower Canada extended east from the Ottawa River to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, including what is now Labrador.
The terms “upper” and “lower” refer to the relative location of each province along the St. Lawrence River, which hints at the importance of rivers as highways for travel in the period. Upper Canada was located nearest the source of the St. Lawrence, “upriver”. In contrast, Lower Canada was closest to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, “downriver” (traveling with the current).
With the establishment of Upper Canada, the seigneurial system of Quebec was abolished in favour of British freehold land tenure. Established as the official Church of the province, the Anglican Church received preferential treatment, for instance being granted large tracts of land as clergy reserves, "for the support and maintenance of a Protestant Clergy.” Simcoe established British civil law and trial by jury, established the provincial capital at York (Toronto), and left a legacy of road building and town planning. Promises of free land drew more immigrants to the province. By 1811, the population of new settlers was almost 90,000.
In the early nineteenth-century, control of the province fell to the Family Compact, a small Conservative group, loyal to the British Crown. They were chosen from the friends of the lieutenant-governor and appointed to prominent roles within the government. The Family Compact was known for its corruption, granting government positions in return for favours of financial or political support, and preferential treatment of friends and supporters. But they were also “progressive industrialists,” promoting building programs and public works. But their aggressive hold on power, confined to a select elite few, fed political tension.
The War of 1812 was a defining moment for Upper Canada, which generated patriotic myths and heroic figures such as Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock, and Tecumseh. The war also strengthened ties with Britain, and immigrants flowed from Britain into Upper Canada in place of the American immigrants whom the war had halted.
As Upper Canada grew, it struggled economically, and by the 1820s had fallen into chronic debt. The province also lacked in infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, and local government. The government’s failings and corruption all contributed to the 1837-1838 rebellion. Early attempts to push through political reform, led by those such as Robert Baldwin, were moderate and unsuccessful. William Lyon Mackenzie took charge of the reformers in 1837 and left them into armed revolt against the government. The rebellion was defeated, but reform would follow.
The Act of 1791 did not put an end to tensions in what was now, Lower Canada. While the majority of the population remained French-speaking, the British imposed English as the official language. The House of Assembly was divided between the English-speaking Tory Party, and the French-speaking Canadian Party, the House majority. Similarly, two political papers, The Quebec Mercury and Le Canadien voiced the interests of the English merchants and the Canadiens, respectively. Gradually, English began to take over as the language of business; by 1831, 45% of Quebec City's population was English-speaking, and by 1842 they made up 61% of Montreal's population.
Lower Canada appeared to thrive as the population boomed, growing from 110,000 in 1784 to 330,000 in 1812. Fur trade and commercial agriculture continued to dominate the economy. The timber trade grew rapidly after 1806 as demand rose, in part to meet the needs for shipbuilding. By 1832, however, the economy was in crisis. The declining price of furs and wheat resulted in a sharp decline in production, and many farmers were reduced to subsistence farming. The Province fell into chronic deficit importing wheat from Upper Canada. By the early nineteenth century, overpopulation had led to land scarcity and an increasing rural population, fuelled in part by British immigrants, which contributed to class struggle.
These events and conflicts helped to fan the growing nationalism sentiments which came to a head in the Patriot insurrection of 1837-1838. The subsidy crisis, attributed to the “château clique”, the problem of customs duties between Upper and Lower Canada, and rising ethnic tensions all added fuel to the fire. Tensions boiled over in 1837 and rebellion broke out, “Patriots” taking up arms against the English army. Poor organization proved fatal to the rebellion, and the English response was swift and decisive. In response to the rebellion, Sir John Colborne appointed a special council to govern Lower Canada in place of the House Assembly until 1841.
In 1838, Lord Durham, sent to report on the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada, condemned the “political cliques”, the Family Compact and château clique”. He advocated for the establishment of responsible government and the amalgamation of Canadas into a single Union, as well as the assimilation of the French Canadiens. In 1841, the Act of Union officially united the two Canadas into the single Province of Canada.
This particular piece is in .577 Caliber, with a 24 inch barrel with a fine, bright bore. This is a very rare, Lower Canada marked carbine that uses one of the Liege contracted, E / LG proofed barrels; one of about 100 such carbines, and one of only 76 Foot Artillery marked carbines. The metal has an overall blue/plum-brown patina. The lock plate is marked TOWER and dated 1856. The stock is English walnut with Pryse and Redman stamped along the belly of the butt and inside the barrel channel in the stock and a large WD, broad arrow, War Department stamp on the right side. There is a name stamped into the stock on the left hand side but I cannot make it out, it appears to be an H. LOD--.
The brass furniture has an overall mustard patina with small hole drilled through the edge of the trigger guard with a chain attached to a nipple protector and unit issue markings on the butt plate tang: LC / D / 3, since there is no D designation in an artillery company, I believe it to be, 1st Sherbrooke Rifle Company. If anybody has any different deduction I would love to hear it. The wood has numerous handling marks and blemishes throughout, along with some tiny chips missing from the ramrod channel, and the barrel bands match the rest of the metal. This is a fine example of a very hard to find, Canadian unit marked Enfield Artillery Carbine, and would make a fantastic addition to any collection. Ref: "Defending the Dominion - Canadian Military Rifles 1855-1955" by David W. Edgecombe, (2003).
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Antique Barnett Hudson Bay Company Large Bore Percussion Northwest Trade gun, made circa the 1840s in England.
Highly sought after, furs had become a major commodity across Europe. With the Americas being a vast and unexplored Frontier full of brand-new resources, the local “Mountain Men” and Natives alike, had no qualms in becoming he largest suppliers. Naturally, the big business of furs began to boom. The Hudson’s Bay and Northwest Fur Co. were among the largest. Fur trapping, hunting, and trading did indeed offer some financial fortune, but as rewards go, it required great risk and sacrifice. Frontiersman would have always been on the lookout for natural and expected dangers like bear, mountain lions, and surviving through inclement weather. Although, in many cases this was the least of their worries. Fear of Native raids, jealous competition, and even local insurgencies would have been the last thought to cross the mind before an attempt of falling asleep. Even Popular culture, in its theatrical productions of “The Revenant” and “Frontier,” depict the business of fur trading as more dangerous than exciting. A rifle, just like this one, would have been the most significant tool one could have wielded, determining his level success or, unfortunate untimely death.
Trade guns like a Barnett musket were often slightly lighter and typically shorter than a traditional one. The trigger guard would feature a wider or more elongated trigger access, so that its user could wear gloves or mittens in colder weather. This example showcases a side plate with an embossed dragon as most of them did. This mark would help Native Americans recognize and authenticate the rifle. These rifles were given nicknames by many, such as “Northwest guns, Mackinaw guns, or Hudson’s Bay fukes.” It would not have been uncommon for fur traders to find powder, shot, flint, and parts through maritime traders, especially Native Americans, as this was their only means of supply. A good relationship between fur traders and gun suppliers was paramount.
The overall condition is good. The action is strong. The bore is good. The side plate has been cast into a swirling dragon. The lock reads “BARNETT" with the famous tombstone fox . Wood is somewhat smooth, the normal wear has likely been helped along. Overall a very nice example of an original Indian trade musket.
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The Martini–Henry is a breech loading single shot lever-actuated rifle that was used by the British army. It first entered service in 1871, eventually replacing the Snider enfield, a muzzle-loader converted to the cartridge system. Martini–Henry variants were used throughout the British Empire for 47 years. It combined the dropping-block action first developed by Henry O. Peabody (in his Peabody rifle) and improved by the Swiss designer Friedrich von Martini, combined with the polygonal rifling designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry. Though the Snider was the first breechloader firing a metallic cartridge in regular British service, the Martini was designed from the outset as a breechloader and was both faster firing and had a longer range. There were four main marks of the Martini–Henry rifle produced: Mark I (released in June 1871), Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV. There was also an 1877 carbine version with variations that included a Garrison Artillery Carbine, an Artillery Carbine (Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III), and smaller versions designed as training rifles for military cadets. The Mark IV Martini–Henry rifle ended production in 1889, but it remained in service throughout the British Empire until the end of the WWII.
This is an extremely nice condition rifle with an extremely good bore with very distinct rifling, bore chambered in 577- 450. It has very nice blue brown finish remaining on the metal surfaces and the wood is in outstanding condition, with some handling marks as would have been experienced in the field, including small chips. Mechanically it functions as it should, no doubt this rifle has a history to tell.
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The Snider first saw action with the British/Indian Army at the battle of Magdolia (Aroghee) in Ethiopia on 10 April 1868; during the battle the Kings own regiment alone fired 10,200 rounds. The Snider–Enfield served throughout the British Empire, including Cape Colony, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, until its gradual phaseout by the Martini Henry, beginning in 1874. Volunteer and militia forces continued to use it until the late 1880s. It stayed in service with the Indian Army until the mid-1890s.
The Snider–Enfield was produced in several variants. The most commonly encountered variants were the Rifled Musket or Long Rifle, the Short Rifle, and the Cavalry and Artillery Carbines. The Long Rifle has a 36.5 inches (93 cm) barrel and three barrel bands. Its total length (without bayonet) is 54.25 inches (137.8 cm) in length, longer than most rifles of the time. It was issued to line infantry and has three-groove rifling with one turn in 78 inches (200 cm). The Short Rifle has a 30.5 inches (77 cm) barrel and two barrel bands with iron furniture. This variant was issued to sergeants on line infantry and rifle units. It has five-groove rifling with one turn in 48 inches (120 cm). The Cavalry Carbine is half stocked and has only one barrel band. It has a 19.5 inches (50 cm) barrel, with the same rifling as the Short Rifle. The Artillery Carbine has a 21.25 inches (54.0 cm) barrel with a full stock and two barrel bands, and the same rifling as the Short Rifle and Cavalry Carbine.
This rifle is attributed to the 22nd Battalion, "The Oxford Rifle Militia" The regiment was active participating in the Fenian Raids with two companies doing border service in Quebec. By 1866 all eight companies were on service at Ridgeway, Fort Erie and Sarnia. In 1868 the militia was called out in the County of Oxford to aid with civil power in the event know as “The Whisky Riots”, when the Mayor of Woodstock, William Grey, requested assistance in dispersing a crowd which had collected and threatened two “whiskey detectives”.
This example has a bore that is in mint condition, fine sharp rifling, bright and shiny with absolutely no pitting, it should make an excellent shooter. The wood is in excellent condition, solid with no major issues. Metal finish has turned a pleasing brown, blue patina for the most part but there is still much original dark blue in areas. Mechanically, it functions as intended, a nice historical piece, identifiable to a Canadian Regiment.
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