This is a regimentally marked 1st Pattern Brunswick rifle that once belonged to the Elite 1st Battalion 60th Rifles of the British Army. The rifle is dated 1839 and marked "TOWER" and is an early example of the First Pattern Brunswick known as the Model 1837. This is real piece of 1830's era technological innovation that played a role in both British as well as Confederate Military histories. This 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. This was quite an advancement over the smoothbore Brown Bess Musket and required a newer brand of soldiers known as the Rifle Brigade.
In today's world, surpisingly few of these true original British Military Brunswicks have survived compared to their predecessor, the Flintlock Baker rifle which 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 19th century was over. Of the 2,020 sold as surplus to Caleb Huse for the Confederacy, most Confederate Brunswicks I've encountered have been either re-stocked or appear to be composites made up from other British rifles (see photo Flayderman's 8th Edition for photo) Today, while there are plenty of Brunswick patterns made for foreign armies, actual English made Brunswicks that saw use in the British military are quite scarce and rarely find their way onto the market.
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 "482". 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 30% spotted original Browned finish on the barrel....this quite remarkable because Browning is 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 with British proofs and broad arrow. The lock is marked "Tower", dated "1839" 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 still retain a considerable amount of its original darkened shellac finish. The wood is very solid and in remarkably good condition with understandably, numerous small nicks and dings that bear witness to its various travels and campaigns with the 60th Rifle Brigade. There are a few minor age cracks, but the wood is very solid with a solid wrist and still retains a fair amount of original shellac 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 with its original and well thought-out design consisting of a small brass ring that surrounds the tip that we're assuming was designed to protect the bore from iron-to-iron contact. I don't think it would be possible to find a Brunswick much more untouched than this gun. Its never been cleaned or enhanced...which means its still wearing its original history which was put there by hands of soldiers more than 150 years ago.
Who were the 1st 60th Rifles?
The 1st Battalion of the 60th Rifles were known at the time of this Rifle's service as the King's Royal Rifle Corps or more simply, the "KRRC." The 60th has a long history which is still going strong today. Originally, the 60th Rifles was formed in America during the French-Indian Wars and consisted mainly of American Colonists & "Foreigners." Faced with hard lessons learned from this war and the American Revolution in which Colonists wielding Pennsylvania rifles inflicted severe casualties upon the British from great distances, the British Military was forced to re-think its more traditional battle tactics. Given the new advantages of the rifled gun, the 60th evolved into an elite unit known as the "Rifle Brigade" whose purpose was to provide accurate fire support in proximity to front-line infantry units carrying the smooth-bore Brown Bess pumpkin slingers. These units were a vast departure from traditional troops and among the first to receive rifled weapons consisting of initially, the flintlock Baker Rifle followed by the percussion ignition Brunswick Rifle. They were also the first unit to receive camoflaged uniforms in the form of Green Jackets instead of the traditional red. These unique uniforms earned the 60th rifles the nickname "Green Jackets". The 60th usually had 2 battalions, the 1st and 2nd although I believe it did have up to 5 battalions during its peak eras. The First Battalion travelled extensively throughout the world but by the time the 1840's and 50's rolled around, 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. 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. This particular example was built by Tower in 1839 and survived thousands of miles of travel across land, sea, and plenty of combat.
Confederate Brunswicks: While this particualar Brunswick did not see actual use in the Civil War, it is identical to what the Confederacy purchased during the war. Here is their story: During the Civil War, the South's limited Industrial capacity, greatly limited production of weaponry and forced them to turn to Europe, mainly England for purchasing modern weapons to arm their troops. Confederate and Union buyers actively secured contracts for the more modern Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle which fired a .577 Caliber at ranges up to 900 to 1000 yards under ideal conditions. While the Brunswick was quite an advancement in its day during the 1830's -40's, by the early 1860's, it was no match for a Pattern 53 or the 1861 Springfield. Thus, it is perplexing to many Civil War buffs why the Confederacy would purchase the obsolete Brunswick to arm its troops. Nonetheless, there is documented proof that the Confederacy did in fact purchase and use the Brunswick rifle during the Civil War. 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). For what Robert E. Lee accomplished on the battlefield, Huse was probably equally qualified in his abilities of finance, securing large quantities of arms, secretly running hundreds of thousands of arms through the blockade, and thus placing weapons into the hands of Lee's armies. After reading through Wiley Sword's book, it seems that Confederate financial troubles outside of his control may have played a role as to why Huse purchased such a quantity of outdated surplus Brunswicks...perhaps even in broken condition. This would also explain the several I've seen here in the U.S. that appear to have been restocked without patchboxes. Some even use locks from other models of rifles. To improve the rifle's limitations, the Confederates adapted a .70 Caliber Minie Ball round which was found to be more accurate than the original "belted ball" ammunition. Such ammunition is occassionally turns up for sale on Civil War Relic hunters websites. 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. It is only Confederate Arm used in the Civil War to have British Military Proofs. (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.
For over a year now, we have closely watched the market for other Brunswicks and to the best of my knowledge, this is currently the only British military/English made 1st Pattern Brunswick currently on the market in the US and probably the world. During this span of time, we have seen half a dozen or more Baker Rifles at shows or auctions but only two 1st Pattern Brunswicks which were both sold last year. Of those two, one belonged to us which can be seen in our Previously Sold section of this website. This is a fantastic example of an early Brunswick bearing Unit history which saw action in at least 2 wars during its service live. Best of all, its still wearing all of its history....still uncleaned with a fantastic patina.
We are also offering a scarce original 1st Pattern Brunswick bayonet made by Enfield and dated 1848 that can be purchased with this rifle.