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Old December 4, 2017, 01:30 AM   #1
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Snider Enfield rifles

I think I asked about these a while back, but in a different section. Given how much I liked the responses I got in the Burnside thread, I figure I'll ask about these rifles here.

So, bottom line is the Snider's interest me and owning one is on my list along with a Burnside and maybe a Martini Henry for old black powder cartridge guns. The only difficulty I have in getting to own one of these is I have to buy them online and I don't like not being able to look them over in person because they are so old.

So my question is: What should I look for and what questions should I ask the seller? I always ask about the bore, that's a standard question for every gun I have an interest in, but are there any things specific to the Sniders that are dealkillers?

I won't ask about bullets because I think from all I've read and watched on reloading the Sniders is that round ball loads work best due to the slow twist.
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Old December 4, 2017, 01:10 PM   #2
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No round ball loads in a Snider. Although it's been done, it's not the best. A Snider is a BP cartridge rifle, not a muzzle loader. Uses .577 Snider ammo. It was sort of the Brit version of the TrapDoor Springfield. There was a Carbine version too. Fair number of 'em on the assorted auction sites at not totally stupid prices. Track of the Wolf sells brass. It uses a .570" lead bullet. Loaded ammo is expensive. Ten-X loads it periodically. Runs $89.99 per 20.
A Martini Henry is usually a .577/450. Ten-X loads it too at $99.99 per 20.(Have a .pdf how-to for making reloadable cartridges out of 3/4" brass bar stock if you ever want it. Uses a .460" bullet.) There was a .303 British variation too. Used by Canadian Militia up to W.W. I. Never seen one in decent condition though. Been looking for one for about 40 years now. Every time I see the movie 'Zulu'. snicker.
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Old December 4, 2017, 04:12 PM   #3
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Check-out IMA https://www.ima-usa.com/j if you're heading in that direction. But you probably already know that.

A few years ago I picked up an 1864 Snyder-Henry and a Mk IV 1885 Martini Enfield from them(both untouched). Wanted a cool winter project to bring life back to them. I have to say that maybe I was lucky but, after cleaning off all the YAK grease and grime, they turned out very well. Bores and chambers shined almost like new. Obviously they needed some wood repair but I wasn't disappointed with either one. Other than the obvious, what to look for in a Snyder would be the breach to barrel alignment, since that was a conversion from the original percussion guns.

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Old December 4, 2017, 04:28 PM   #4
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^ What did you use to get all that crud off and how bad was the wood damage that needed fixing?

Basically, if I got one of these, would I be getting a safe and okay shooter?

https://www.ima-usa.com/collections/...ched-condition

EDIT: I think I'd rather get one that they've cleaned themselves and have it hand selected. I just read through what the untouched ones may not have and firing pins was one of them. No, I want to shoot these, so firing pins are a necessity.
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Old December 4, 2017, 08:51 PM   #5
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I purchased a cleaned and complete from them and I am happy with it. I shoot 24ga plastic shotgun hulls trimmed down to correct length and .60 round pure lead balls. I load the hulls with 2F Goex black powder.

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Old December 4, 2017, 10:44 PM   #6
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^ What did you use to get all that crud off and how bad was the wood damage that needed fixing?

Basically, if I got one of these, would I be getting a safe and okay shooter?

https://www.ima-usa.com/collections/...ched-condition

EDIT: I think I'd rather get one that they've cleaned themselves and have it hand selected. I just read through what the untouched ones may not have and firing pins was one of them. No, I want to shoot these, so firing pins are a necessity.
Basically the cleanup required alot of mineral spirits, steel-wool, elbow grease and time. The wood repair on both of mine was minimal; some minor crack repair on the Snyder in the lock cavity and then finishing up with boiled linseed oil. No rust or missing parts on either one.

If you speak with to them, I'm sure they'd tell you that the best chance of getting a good shooter would be with the Mk IV Martini's as they're all original British made. The majority of the Snyders(unless you're extremely lucky) were modified from 1853 percussion Enfields in Nepal.
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Old December 4, 2017, 10:54 PM   #7
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I purchased a cleaned and complete from them and I am happy with it. I shoot 24ga plastic shotgun hulls trimmed down to correct length and .60 round pure lead balls. I load the hulls with 2F Goex black powder.

TK
Nice looking Snyder there. Mined turned out about the same. Did you grease those .60cal balls with anything special or just thumb press them into the hulls.
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Old December 4, 2017, 11:02 PM   #8
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Basically the cleanup required alot of mineral spirits, steel-wool, elbow grease and time. The wood repair on both of mine was minimal; some minor crack repair on the Snyder in the lock cavity and then finishing up with boiled linseed oil. No rust or missing parts on either one.

If you speak with to them, I'm sure they'd tell you that the best chance of getting a good shooter would be with the Mk IV Martini's as they're all original British made. The majority of the Snyders(unless you're extremely lucky) were modified from 1853 percussion Enfields in Nepal.
Snyder ammo is easier to make than the .577/.450 is.

Most Snyder's were made in Nepal? That's just something I'll have to live with. As long as it can shoot and isn't rusted and has a decent bore, that's all I ask for from such old rifles.
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Old December 5, 2017, 02:29 PM   #9
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"...Most Snyder's were made in Nepal?..." Nope. London Small Arms Company and the Birmingham Small Arms Co. made and converted 'em. Lot of 'em copied in Nepal though.
It's Snider, not Synder.
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Old December 5, 2017, 02:47 PM   #10
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If I were to spend my mostly hard earned money on a Snider, would I be going the wrong way if I bought a Nepalese one over an English one? What would the price difference be between a Nepalese Snider over an English Snider?
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Old December 5, 2017, 10:31 PM   #11
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Nice looking Snyder there. Mined turned out about the same. Did you grease those .60cal balls with anything special or just thumb press them into the hulls.
I press them down without lube, but I put bore butter on the top.
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Old December 6, 2017, 12:24 AM   #12
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If I were to spend my mostly hard earned money on a Snider, would I be going the wrong way if I bought a Nepalese one over an English one? What would the price difference be between a Nepalese Snider over an English Snider?
Doubt that that would be a wrong way, but not sure it's a better one either. Since I got my Snider about 6 years ago, I've only ever seen one British marked one. It was priced just about what one pays for a restored Nepal one today and in about the same condition. They do show up from time to time, especially coming from Canada. My guess is that the demand for British or other European military arms just don't command much interest on this side of the pond. In one respect, that's good for those that just appreciate the history of military arms. Take advantage of that if that's your bent.
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Old December 6, 2017, 12:26 AM   #13
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I press them down without lube, but I put bore butter on the top.
Tnks, I'll give that a try.
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Old December 6, 2017, 01:27 AM   #14
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Doubt that that would be a wrong way, but not sure it's a better one either. Since I got my Snider about 6 years ago, I've only ever seen one British marked one. It was priced just about what one pays for a restored Nepal one today and in about the same condition. They do show up from time to time, especially coming from Canada. My guess is that the demand for British or other European military arms just don't command much interest on this side of the pond. In one respect, that's good for those that just appreciate the history of military arms. Take advantage of that if that's your bent.
My interest is in early single shot cartridge rifles of the mid to late 19th Century. Remington Rolling Blocks, Burnsides, Sniders, Martini-Henry, and the 1886 Lebel, even though that's a bolt action.

Also have an interest in Russian military arms of the early 20th Century, but that's a different topic.
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Old December 6, 2017, 10:13 AM   #15
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My interest is in early single shot cartridge rifles of the mid to late 19th Century. Remington Rolling Blocks, Burnsides, Sniders, Martini-Henry, and the 1886 Lebel, even though that's a bolt action.

Also have an interest in Russian military arms of the early 20th Century, but that's a different topic.
That's an interesting sub-set of arms to focus on and IMO, still one where one can find great examples at reasonable cost. When I think back to the '60's, when you could still pick up Rolling Blocks in 43Spanish or 43Egyption, for around $15, I could kick myself silly!
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Old December 6, 2017, 01:25 PM   #16
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That's an interesting sub-set of arms to focus on and IMO, still one where one can find great examples at reasonable cost. When I think back to the '60's, when you could still pick up Rolling Blocks in 43Spanish or 43Egyption, for around $15, I could kick myself silly!
That's about what a .43 Spanish or Egyptian is worth to me. Unless it's a decently common round like .45-70, .30-40 Krag, .303 British, 7.62x54r, or even .50-70, it's not a Rolling Block I'm interested in owning.

I buy guns to be shooters, not safe queens. That's why I asked if I could go wrong with a Nepalese Snider over an English one. If the Nepalese rifles are good shooters that, if taken care of, will last me a decade or more, I'll be perfectly happy.
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Old December 6, 2017, 01:58 PM   #17
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"...especially coming from Canada..." Ours came from The Old Country. At that time there was nobody making firearms here. Our government went crying to the Colonial Office for rifles to deal with the Fenian Raids(1866 to 1871) from the U.S.
"...difference be between a..." QC and metallurgy, but the Nepalese rifles are supposedly very well made just the same. There are likely some Afghan Village Smithy Sniders around too. Those are 100% hand made out of whatever materials were found locally.
The thing with collecting vs having a shooter is trying to have an example of all of 'em.
"...back to the '60's..." There was probably still milsurp ammo around, but not common. You can get or make either .43 fairly easily now.
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Old December 16, 2017, 09:52 AM   #18
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I'm concerned about lockup.
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Old December 17, 2017, 10:28 PM   #19
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The Snider action is pretty sturdy and since it swings open to the side (unlike the "trapdoor" Springfield) the pressure is straight back into the standing breech.

But unless one is, for some reason, interested in Nepalese weapons manufacturing, I would strongly suggest acquiring a gun made in England. Guns made in areas like Nepal and India tend to be well finished and look good, but the metal may be soft and not durable. (The British needed a native armed force to be called on in an emergency or for show; they did not need a native force armed with high quality, durable weapons that might be turned against them.)

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Old December 18, 2017, 03:25 PM   #20
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Given how many of these rifles were conversions of rifle muskets, I don't think there's going to be much difference in steel quality between English or Nepalese Sniders.
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Old January 1, 2018, 05:50 PM   #21
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You can find nearly everything there is to know about Sniders on the British Militaria Forums, Snider sub forum. Shooting, reloading, values, variations, info on where to buy etc are all throughly covered. In addition, You Tube has a number of videos on reloading for this Beast. Same is true with Martini Henry and other old British guns which are all featured on this website. .577 Snider is my ultimate cartridge. Have fun!

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Old March 16, 2018, 07:55 PM   #22
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I have a lead on a cavalry Snider rifle with a 20 inch barrel in superb condition. My question is how common were the shorter cavalry Snider's compared to standard ones?

Also, for shooting, how much of a loss in velocity can I expect going from a 36 inch barrel to a 20 inch?
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Old March 26, 2018, 02:11 PM   #23
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BTW, I'd use conicals instead of round balls. The P53 Enfields they were based on shot conicals.
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Old March 26, 2018, 09:06 PM   #24
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The Nepalese bores are larger and the .590 RB works well. On an British made rifle the .577 Minie should work fine. Pays to test to see as some British rifles have larger bores too.
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