A Pattern 1853 Tower Enfield

Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#1
Hello all. I recently acquired this rifle from an estate sale here in Texas. It is in rough condition showing extreme neglect and missing a part or two. Unfortunately worms have made a meal of the stock as well. ACW is not my regular area of collecting but I thought this rifle might be an interesting way to expand my collection into new territory.

The lock is in considerably better condition than the barrel. I'm not sure if one or the other has been replaced, or if the barrel is just a lower quality iron that suffered more in the previous owner's barn. Please note that I oiled the rifle with Ballistol and gently brushed away surface rust and grime with a rag (no scrubbing or scouring) before taking these pictures. The hammer was seized when I got the rifle, but simply oiling the lock was sufficient to free it up.

Here are the pictures:



There are additional images in the album here: https://imgur.com/a/5b5UxyZ

I believe this rifle might have Confederate provenance. It has what I believe to be ordinary cottage industry Tower markings, however the remnant of a circle stamping on the top of the stock in front of the butt plate tang seems like it could be the "circle SL" stamp I understand to be associated with Confederate service.


Additionally, every screw that I have taken out of the rifle has Roman numerals cut into it, a practice I understand to be associated with Confederate armorers. Here is the best example:


I cannot make out any markings on the barrel and the stock is beat to hell which might be obscuring other markings, but there is a 'U' stamped into the front band. I also did not find any markings inside the lock plate.

Incredibly enough, despite the neglect, the lock screws came out freely. I haven't tried to remove any other screws, I'm worried I may damage the stock by unscrewing the trigger guard or buttplate screws.

Please let me know what, if anything, the visible markings say about this rifle's history, and where I might need to look to find more markings. I am also curious about the brass disc and plate inlaid in the stock. I do not see those on other P53s I've looked at.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
 

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Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
362
Location
South Carolina
#4
Welcome from South Carolina.
The Roman numerals found on the parts are assembly numbers. The Enfields imported in the ACW did not have interchangeable parts, except the English Government military arms and those made by The London Armory, neither of which is this rifle musket. The assembly numbers on the screws should match the edge of the lock, and barrel bands, underside of the barrel and other places.
The "U" on the top band is probably a US band on it as a replacement.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#6
Powder fouling around the lock never cleaned. Only a guess. Thanks for posting this @trevorsworth.
That's what I was thinking, as the extreme pitting evens out forward of the breech end of the barrel and the steel is smooth all the way up to the muzzle after the rear band.

Welcome from South Carolina.
The Roman numerals found on the parts are assembly numbers. The Enfields imported in the ACW did not have interchangeable parts, except the English Government military arms and those made by The London Armory, neither of which is this rifle musket. The assembly numbers on the screws should match the edge of the lock, and barrel bands, underside of the barrel and other places.
The "U" on the top band is probably a US band on it as a replacement.
The assembly numbers then would help armorers reassemble the gun as each screw was specifically mated to its hole?

Welcome to the group from middle Alabama and you have to admit that the rifle makes a statement.
It certainly makes a statement for good storage practices. :smile:
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
5,448
Location
Hoover, Alabama
#8
That's what I was thinking, as the extreme pitting evens out forward of the breech end of the barrel and the steel is smooth all the way up to the muzzle after the rear band.


The assembly numbers then would help armorers reassemble the gun as each screw was specifically mated to its hole?


It certainly makes a statement for good storage practices. :smile:
I've seen worse.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#9
Welcome From The Heart Of Dixie. @Lanyard Puller is spot on. I would also pull the barrel since you already hve the lock off and see what markings are on the bottom of the barrel and in the barrel channel of the stock.
My only concern with doing that is the forward area of the stock is totally compromised and I’m worried the barrel may be all that’s holding it together. I will probably work up the nerve to take the bands off tonight.

I've seen worse.
It really is in a very fair condition considering its age. When I’m 157 I’m sure there’ll be many more worm holes in me.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#12
Here are the wormholes in my poor 1862 Tower Enfield. Your stock is in pretty good shape. View attachment 211148
Apologies for the improvised photograph, I didn’t have any pictures showing this area and had to take one in a hurry. The damage is quite serious at the forestock. This is probably more termite than worm but I don’t really know.


I worry that if I remove the barrel I may accidentally break the stock in this area just from handling it.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#16
After a lot of consideration I determined the stock is solid enough to carefully remove the barrel. It was easy and again none of the screws were seized. I managed not to break the stock, but weight-wise it feels like the front of the stock is made of balsa wood. Eek.

Anyway, there's no markings in the barrel channel of the stock. However, on the underside of the barrel, I came up with these markings:
  • 735 is stamped on the breech plug.
  • At the breech end of the barrel, there is a 2*
  • 0352 a few inches forward of the breech
  • CA a few inches forward of that with what might be an I or an L afterward. "CAL" would make sense but there's no sign of there ever having been numbers after it.
I can't get clear pictures of these markings but they're easy to make out with my eyes - my phone just can't seem to focus right.
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2015
Messages
651
#18
That's a very interesting Enfield . I wonder if the V notch rear sight and ram rod are CW period added or post war added. Do you know anything abuot where it came from. I like to look at a old gun like this and wonder where it's been. Its not the prettiest girl at the dance but I like old guns like that. Thank you for posting it. Looks like it has had a hard life take care of it.
 
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Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
6
#19
That's a very interesting Enfield . I wonder if the V notch rear sight and ram rod are CW period added or post war added. Do you know anything abuot where it came from. I like to look at a old gun like this and wonder where it's been. Its not the prettiest girl at the dance but I like old guns like that. Thank you for posting it. Looks like it has had a hard life take care of it.
I've seen some other Enfields with this type of ram rod. It's so bent up from crushing that it's hard to get it in and out of the gun so I could definitely believe it's CW period. The sight I'm less sure about. It is definitely not original to the gun, but might have been added during the war.

I actually don't know anything about the previous owner. My aunt found it at an estate sale in east Fort Worth for peanuts and thinking it might be an antique picked it up and brought it to me. I'd have liked to know if it was part of his family or some such...

Thanks guys for all the feedback and welcomes!
 
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