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Old December 25, 2016, 09:58 AM   #1
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Inherited historical rifle and its identity

Merry Christmas everyone! I should start by thanking everyone in advance for their expertise and input. My father inherited this weapon from his father after he passed away, but the history behind it is blurry at best. My father believes that this rifle may have belonged to my great grandfather who came over from Ireland in the late 1800s. One theory is that he fought in the Spanish American War, but again that is only a theory. There is an engraved "Army" on the weapon pictured here to include a serial number also pictured. My father has kept this rifle rolled up in a towel for years, so I finally took it upon myself to steal the weapon (temporarily of course) in order to have it placed in a nice display case for Christmas. The weapon measures 47 inches from the front of barrel to stock. I am an infantryman, so the rifle has always been near and dear to my heart. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks again!


SSG Bradley
US Army
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Side2 (600x335).jpg (144.2 KB, 311 views)
File Type: jpg Army (336x600).jpg (133.8 KB, 240 views)
File Type: jpg Serial (394x700).jpg (172.4 KB, 225 views)
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Old December 25, 2016, 11:23 AM   #2
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It appears to be a percussion fired muzzle loader. The pictures just weren't enough to do any better than that, sorry.

Looks to have an octagon barrel, which is not (as far as I know) the common military design. Good clear close ups of all markings, and the lock might tell us more. Also a rough estimation of the caliber.

At this point, it could be anything (other than a modern firearm), and without more info, its just guesswork.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old December 25, 2016, 11:25 AM   #3
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Hints: place the rifle on a darker background...your camera is metering off the light colored background and making the subject too dark.
Take a closeup picture of the action (hammer area), on the right side.
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Old December 26, 2016, 10:04 AM   #4
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It appears to have had an open sight which has been removed, for whatever reason.
Guns tend to soak up light when photographed, especially when 'goon cameras' are used which take an average light meter reading over the whole composition.
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Old December 26, 2016, 01:45 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
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Hi. Great Grandpa didn't use that rifle in the Spanish-American War(1898). Even the U.S. National Guard had Trapdoor Springfields by 1898.
However, you need better pictures and/or to post every mark on it. I suspect the 'ARMY' indicates it's a commercial copy of a U.S. Civil War rifled musket rather than any U.S. Army possession. No troopie was ever allowed to keep their issued firearms.
Spelling and grammar count!
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Old December 26, 2016, 09:04 PM   #6
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Possibly the Mexican American war. First issued Percussion cap rifles were in 1841 and 42. The war started in 1846.

So start by comparing your gun to the Model 1842 and work your way forward.

Oh finding out the caliber will narrow the search.
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Old December 27, 2016, 04:57 AM   #7
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While the pictures are not good, I believe it is a M1854 Austrian Lorenz rifle, which was heavily imported for use in the Civil War.
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Old December 27, 2016, 04:27 PM   #8
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Wow, thank you for all the replies gents. Sorry about the quality. I'm swinging by my dads later today to take some better pictures and will post them. I think Cutler nailed it though.

It should also be noted that we made a few calls to our family back east to get some more information. We were able to conclude that the rifle was from my grandmother's side who was German. This information tends to align with Cutler's theory about it being an Austrian Lorenz. The German side had been in the states since the mid 1800s.

Thanks again! I will post some more pictures tonight.


Mike Bradley
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Old December 28, 2016, 12:25 AM   #9
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New Pictures

Here are some new pictures. I hope these help.


Mike Bradley
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File Type: jpg Hammer (338x600).jpg (189.6 KB, 138 views)
File Type: jpg 20161227_125354 (600x338).jpg (145.9 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg 20161227_125605 (600x338).jpg (184.3 KB, 129 views)
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Old December 28, 2016, 09:50 PM   #10
James K
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As a general note, it is usually not a good idea to assume that a given military firearm was used by an ancestor in some war or other. Then, as now, military "surplus" guns were often sold by the thousands on the civilian market after a war, and that was certainly true after the U.S. Civil War, when some very advanced muzzle loading muskets suddenly became obsolete "junk". Those were sold literally by the freight car load.

I am not 100 percent sure, but that looks like a Model 1854 Austrian Lorenz short rifle which has a 28" .54 barrel. They were quite good, though troops who compared them directly to U.S. Springfield or British Enfield rifle muskets considered the Lorenz inferior to the British and American guns. I think it unlikely that it was imported by a private individual; some 7292 Lorenz short rifles were imported by the U.S. Army during the war. Over 250,000 Lorenz rifle muskets, basically the same except for a 37.5" barrel vs. a 28" tube for the short rifle, were imported by the Union, and some 100,000 by the Confederacy.

Jim K
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Old December 29, 2016, 03:12 PM   #11
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You bring up a great point James. Thank you. And thanks to everyone else for their knowledge.


Mike Bradley
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historical rifle , inherited

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