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Rare 1st Pattern Brunswick Rifle w/ Regimental History

This is a regimentally marked 1st Pattern Brunswick rifle that once belonged to the Elite 1st Battalion 60th Rifles of the British Army. The unique back-action lockplate is dated 1840 and marked  "R' Manufactory Enfield"  While it pales in comparison to advancements of later years following its introduction, the Brunswick rifle was quite an innovation back for the British Military during the 1830's.  It was designed to replace the aging Baker Rifle with its obsolete flintlock design in the more updated form of the rifled Jaeger rifle.  Essentially, the Brunswick was the first rifled gun with a percusssion ignition system to be issued to the British Army.  It featured a .70 caliber bore with prominent 2 groove rifling with an effective range of up to 300 to 400 yards.  Unfortunately, the 1850's era Minie Ball with 3 groove rifling used in the Pattern 53 Enfield has long over-shadowed the contributions the Brunswick rifle made in the decades that preceeded it.  The Brunswick's range was well beyond the smoothbore Brown Bess and 1839 Percussion muskets issued to regular infantry troops. It was also more effective than the almost worshipped but obsolete Baker Rifle. This required a new type of soldier known as the Rifle Brigade.  The 60th Rifles 1st Battalion was known as the KRRC....(King's Royal Rifle Corps).  The green uniforms worn by the 60th earned the Battalion the nickname "Green Jackets".   The First Battalion travelled extensively throughout the world but by the time the 1840's and 50's rolled around when this Brunswick was in service, they were spending a great deal of their time in India.  During this rifle's period of service, we know the 1st 60th was based in Ireland in 1843.  By 1845, the 1st 60th was in India, and in 1848-49, this rifle no doubt saw combat in the the Sikh War. It is also highly probable that it also survived the brutal 1857 mutiny 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.

In today's world, surpisingly few of these true original British Military Brunswicks have survived occasionally make appearances here at shows and auctions here in the US. This scarcity is especially true of the earlier and more fragile 1st pattern Model of 1837 which used back-action lockplates which left the stock wrist suspectible to breakage. One can only surmise that many were probably broken or severely damaged during their service life and discarded long before the end of the 19th century.   There were also a number of these sold to the Confederacy in 1863.  Correspondence shows that  2,020 Brunswicks were sold as surplus to Caleb Huse, the  Confederacy's principal arms buyer in Europe during the Civil War.

This particular rifle has only recently been discovered after many decades of storage.  It is engraved "1st 60th" on the top tang of the brass buttplate.  This marking is identical to the one we sold last year which can be viewed in the "Previously Sold" page of this website.  Next to the regimental markings are the numerals   "726".  According to the Royal Green Jackets museum, this would have been  the Quartermaster of the 1st 60th's Equipment number assigned to this rifle.  In turn, this Quartermaster would have issued each soldier with a numbered set of equipment which included this rifle.  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 is in remarkably good condition still retaining all of its pronounced two groove rifling with original muzzle notches placed at the end of the grooves for aligning the special ball ammunition when reloading. The barrel still retains 40% of its original fading browned finish with nearly all of the twist pattern still visible. The 60th seemed to take good care of this rifle as there is very little evidence of pitting or abuse. The barrel is marked with British proofs, "Enfield", "1839" , and a small broad arrow.  The lock is marked "Enfield", dated "1840" with a Crown over "V.R." which stands for Queen Victoria Regina.  This would have been built very early in her reign as monarch. . 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 wood is walnut and and has survived the past 167 years in quite remarkable shape.  There is even part of the original Enfield cartouche visible on the stock just forward of the patch box.  There are also the letters "WS" with additional proofs located on the left side of the stock opposite the lock plate.  A small crown over the number "2" is located at the end of the breech plug and on the wood just behind the trigger guard.  The wood is very solid with no cracks or chips.  The only  are some small fill repairs around the edges to the key wedges that secure the barrel.  These are minor cosmetic repairs (not structurual), nearly invisible, and do not detract from this rifle's appearance in any way.  The brass patch box 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 with its original and well thought-out design consisting of a small brass ring that surrounds the hollow threaded tip that we're assuming was designed to protect the bore as it prevents iron-to-iron contact.  I don't think it would be possible to find a Brunswick much more untouched than this gun.  This rifle is a time capsule of British Military History as well as 1830's era technology.  

Item# 0775




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