Muzzleldrs 1854 Lorenz Musket

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rl102510

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Can anyone give me info on this 1854 lorenz, it has XI LA carved in it, as well as 2 members initials from the Louisiana 11th battalion, it has the original ramrod.
 

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rl102510

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It does appear to be done by a broker since it doesn't have any markings on it, it looks like it has a maker's mark on top of the barrel but I can't make out what it says. It's about a .58cal, definitely not the .54cal, still has some rifling in the barrel.
 

johan_steele

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If it's .58 it's more likely US... BUT the AoT CS got their paws on a lot of them w/ Forrest providing many via capture. Anything is possible but if the seller can weedle or create a CS connection expect the price to increase in a dramatic fashion. I'd be automatically suspicious of any CS provenance unless it's set in stone. The "It's been in the family since the war, the owner was killed at Chickamauga" is cute but automatically proves the provenance fake.

Look at the unit history of the alleged unit and see, often the arms they were issued is mentioned. If they specifically mention getting Enfields...

From condition I can see value in the$750-1000 range w/ a dealer willing to pay about half that. In short a nice Lorenz.
 
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rl102510

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Thank you, I've been researching the 11th la battalion but I'm coming up short on what rifles they used, I saw post by Mr. Dixon saying the la 11th infatry used the m1854 but obviously they are a different group, I also read that volunteers were more likely given the m1854 witch the 11th battalion was volunteer.
 

johan_steele

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By mid 64 most of the AoT was carrying the Lorenz, mostly in .54, some ammo returns are available but Louisiana troops might be difficult... good luck. And FWIW if it's yours you have a nice representative Lorenz.
 
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Don Dixon

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Your firearm is a Muster 1854, Type II, System Lorenz, rifle. The long range ladder sight which differentiates it as a Type II is missing, but the wider slot in the barrel for the sight is the give-away. My sense is that is was one of the arms manufactued by Austrian contractors for export to the Federal Army. Typically, these rifles were missing the cheeck piece on the left side of the stock (yours is missing); the lock plate was not marked with the Emperor's double headed eagle or the date (i.e., 858) the lock was manufactured since the rifle never entered the Emperor's service (I can't tell from your photographs); and the barrels have fewer of the assembly and proof hyrogliphics than are found on rifles that entered the Emperor's service (again, I can't tell from your photographs).

Some of the contract export arms were manufactured in ".58" caliber in Austria, rather than the Austrian standard 13.9 mm/.547 inch caliber. By mid-1863, the Federal Army was boring and re-rifling large numbers of ".54" caliber Type IIs to .577 or .58 caliber and issuing them to Federal troops. Its not uncommon to find Federal units equipped with Springfield rifle muskets, Enfield rifle muskets, and M1854, Type IIs, in .577 or .58 caliber, at the same time. There would have been maintenance issues related to spare parts, but at least they all used the same ammunition.

If the Louisiana markings are to believed, my sense is that this was a Federal rifle which was caputred and reissued to a Confederalte soldier. I know of no .58 caliber System Lorenz rifles which were purchased by Confederate purchasing agents. What might have come through the bockade as speculation is another matter.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

rl102510

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Thanks Don, it doesn't have anything on the lock plate, the .58 cal through me for a loop since, for reasons you stated. Have you seen any carvings done by soldiers using roman numerics like the xi that's on this piece?
 

Craig L Barry

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The 30,000 M-54 Lorenz rifles which were issued to the AoT in mid-1864 were part of an earlier shipment which were condemned as "a lot of trash...in horrible condition" upon arrival in Nassau in 1863 and sent to be refurbished and repaired. Just based on numbers (of imports), I can only account for about 80,000 *documented* M-54 rifles purchased by Confederate agents, the backing for that is found in the footnotes in the Chapter on the Austrian Rifle in "The Unfinished Fight Volume I." In contrast, the Union imported well over 225,000 most of which went to Western troops. Just based on the numbers, odds are in favor of it initially being a US import.

While that doesn't rule out Confederate battlefield pick-ups, captured arms, etc. Essentially you are left with a mystery inside an enigma. There is no real way to know its history for certain. I would consider that part of its charm. An intact M-54 Lorenz Austrian rifle with Civil War provenance and all orginal parts is a very affordable and collectible piece. If made in Austria, the makers name is generally stamped on top of the barrel just foward of the barrel tang. The fact that this name is worn off or if you don't see it is not surprising. While less research has been done on the Vienesse gun-makers (vs London & Birmingham), the fact is that they used very similar production methods (hand-made) as did Belgium and the rest of Europe. In fact, Belgium produced more than a few copycat M-54 Austrian rifles. It could well have been made there.

As far as stock carvings with Roman numerals, etc...yes those are found or they could be added years later to give the piece more of a Confederate flavor and raise its value to collectors. Simply no way of knowing.
 
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Don Dixon

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Tim Prince asked me a similar question about Roman numerals on Austrian arms. The photos he sent me were of marks in the barrel channels of the arms, not on the outside of the stocks. One also sees them occasionally on the underside of barrels. They were associated with arms that had been modified from Austrian standard. Are they markings to facilitate the reassembly of the arms after modification? That's a reasonable speculation, but I don't know for sure. Its one of the many research issues associated with the Austrian arms.

The observation stating that the Austrian arms being imported were a lot of trash reflects an inadequate reading of Vandiver's book on the importation of arms through Bermuda. The same Confederate agent who said that they were trash later reported that he didn't have the tools, facilities, or workmen to open and inspect the shipping crates, and that the arms in the few crates he had been able to open were better than he had initially been led to believe.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

1860man

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Hello new guy here,I have a Lorenz 2 58 cal adj sights. Stock is marked f.h.w..d with ixi over the w. Small x behind trigger, shoots pretty good any extra info would be great
 

FiremarshalBill

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Just out of curiosity, what was the purpose of the brass ring (photo 20130705_071639) at the end of the Lorenz ramrod for? When my M1854 Lorenz was dug up in the Arizona desert in 1970, it was cocked and loaded but the ramrod was no where to be found, so I bought a generaic replacement ramrod, but it has no brass ring on it. Are the original Lorenz ramrods still available for sale?
 
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thomas aagaard

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Just out of curiosity, what was the purpose of the brass ring (photo 20130705_071639) at the end of the Lorenz ramrod for?
When you use a steel ramrod in a rifled barrel you slowly grind down the metal between the rifling.
Since brass is softer than steel it is the ramrod that will be damaged over time and it is much cheaper to replace than the barrel.
So it is to protect the rifling from this wear

The Danish 1863 drill book state that when doing "dry" drill with rifled firearms, that is with no powder and shot being loaded, then you do not use the ramrods because of this.

Since not drawing the ramrod would sort of undermine the point of drill, all garrisons had a good number of older smoothbore muskets that was used for drill.

edit:
In the 1850ties all soldiers was issued a smoothbore and the 20% best men, when it came to the marksmanskills, was also issued a riflemusket and got extra training and cartridges so they knew how to use is properly.
So they had two guns and used the smoothbore for drill, and field exercises firing blanks and the rifle musket was only used for live firing on the range. (and combat)
For guard duty they used guns that belongs to the guard, not the unit who happened to do that duty.
(it is the same today in the danish army in Denmark. The Main guard at the base got x guns that you use when you got the guard.)

Then in 1860 the army uprifled a lot of the smoothbores so everyone was issued one.
But old smoothbores was stil used for drill... and guard duty since you dont' really need a rifled gun to hit someone at 20m and guardduty involved the guns being loaded and unloaded daily. So this was a bit hard on the guns.


In a tiny professional army like the prewar US army this might not be an issue. But in armies that was based on training large numbers new draftees each year this was seen as an issue.
 
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James N.

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Hello new guy here,I have a Lorenz 2 58 cal adj sights. Stock is marked f.h.w..d with ixi over the w. Small x behind trigger, shoots pretty good any extra info would be great
Sounds like a nice one - welcome to the forums from the host of the Stonewall Jackson Forum!
 
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