This is an early Enfield Pattern First Pattern Brunswick Rifle made in 1839. This is the scarce 1st pattern with the back action lockplate. The bayonet lug is also positioned about 2 inches further down the barrel than the more commonly found 2nd models. The top of the buttplate is regimentally marked "1st 60TH" which denotes ownership to the 1st Battalion of the 60th Rifles along with the Regiment's original Quartermaster's inventory number... "21". Issued only to elite British Rifle battalions, the Brunswick Rifle used a two groove 70 Caliber bore and was the first percussion rifle to be adopted by the British military. In 1838, it replaced the much-loved but obsolete Flintlock Baker Rifle. The Brunswick was rather difficult to load and while this rifle has its historical critics, its range of accuracy was 3-400 yards was quite an advancement for an 1830's era military rifle. This was also a significant improvement over the Baker Rifle's range. The purpose of the Brunswick rifle was to provide medium range fire support (long-range by 1830's standards) from well-trained Rifle brigades behind Infantry units outer flanks.
The 60th Rifles were divided from 1 up to as many as 5 battalions depending on the era and needs of the British Empire. The 1st and 2nd battalions are the most famous and long-standing units. 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 aka the KRRC. The original component of what would become the 60th Rifles was formed in America during the French-Indian Wars by American Colonists & Foreigners. These units were the first British military units to depart from the traditional Red uniform and wear dark green. Given their flanking positions, these uniforms helped conceal their presence and earned the 60th the nickname, "Green Jackets". I'm a little confused as to whether this was the title for the 2nd Battalion or applied to both the 1st and 2nd. 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 with the 1st and 2nd Battalions condensed to a single unit known as "The Royal Green Jackets". This rifle has survived thousands of miles travelling across land, sea, and seen 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. By the mid-1850's, the Brunswicks were mostly replaced in the 1st Battalion after they were issued Pattern 53 Enfields. This gun would certainly participated in the Indian Mutiny of 1857 where the 1st 60th fought with the Ghurkas and EIC to defeat the mutineers at Meerut.
By the early 1860's, the Brunswick rifle had been replaced by the .577 Caliber Pattern 53 Enfield which incorporated the Minie Ball System. With these newer Enfields effective to ranges of a thousand yards and more, the Brunswick's 300-400 yard range was no longer effective and these guns became military surplus. However, a couple thousand surplus Brunswicks did find their way into the American Civil War. Due to the lack of good rifled muskets on both sides, many troops were forced to carry the Model 1842 smoothbore and the 1816 Conversion in .69 caliber. Perhaps this is what motivated the Confederacy to acquire the Brunswick rifle from the British. On 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). A Confederate Brunswick is 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. Over the years, most of the Brunswicks I've encountered here in the US have been re-stocked without patch boxes. Given the fragile nature of the back-action lockplates, this was probably necessary considering the rough usage a gun was to see in the service of the Confederacy.
This Rifle was the 21st Rifle in the 1st Battalions Inventory and it 1839 date is the earliest we've encounterd for Brunswicks...even for the 1st Pattern. The curator at the 60th's KRRC museum was nice 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 and when. Originally, this rifle would have come new with a browned barrel, case colored lockplate, and brass furniture. Even though its now 167 years old, its still in NRA Antique Very Good condition. The action still works as good as when it was new and the bore is still quite good with sharp 2 groove rifling. It has a few scattered pits from many years of storage but shows surprisingly little use. In fact, you can still see the originally machine lines the boring machine made cutting the grooves back in 1839. The 30" round damascus barrel is retained in the wood by 3 iron keys located along the foreweood. The barrel still retains a considerable amount of its original browned mixed with patina along with much of the swirled damascus pattern visible....this quite remarkable because browning in many ways is much more fragile than blue and seldom survives on guns of this vintage. 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 various proofmarks and British military service broad arrows. Note: Even a Confederate used Brunswick will have these Broad Arrows as they were sold as obsolete surplus...not a privately contracted makers. The lock is dated 1839 and "TOWER". There is a Crown over the letters "V.R." which stands for Queen Victoria Regina. Both the front and adjustable rear leaf sights are intact. The folding long-range leaf appears original but has a minor braze repair near the hinge. 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 "21" perpendicular to these markings at the top edge of the buttplate. This is an issue or inventory number. The wood is walnut, in very good condition and solid with only minor handling despite it various travels and campaigns. There are a couple very minor age cracks which have been carefully mended and are nearly invisible. 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 one. Its not very often we find such a rare and historical rifle from such a historic British Regiment. Furthermore, this will also make an acceptable example of what the Confederacy ordered and used during the Civil War. Whether you are a collector of British military, Confederate items from the Civil War, or just enjoy history, this would make a great addition and investment to almost any collection.