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Thread: was Snider Enfield armi sports' inspiration?

  1. #1
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    Default was Snider Enfield armi sports' inspiration?

    I have been following the articles on defarbing as of late. I oft wondered why the enfields just don't come correct from the start? I mean where did armi get the markings it did to put on it's repro. then I saw a snider lockplate while surfing. I read these are post civil war period conversion rifles and have the round lock plate washers and the word/numbers "1859 enfield" in the lock. I'm curious, is the snider the model armi sport made theirs from, and is it only post war? i mean the 1859 means it was a ealry lockplate put on a later converted weapon but where were these enfields with these so marked lockplates originally? Only in europe or did they make it to the states? If so would a lockplate with enfield engraved on it also be correct and not of needof defarbing? Rob H

  2. #2
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    The tale I have heard 'round the campfire for the past 14 years is a sfollows (other can add to or contradict as they wish).
    Parker Hale used original gauges and standards when they first produced P53 Enfields more than 30 years ago. Their piece became the standard and the Italians are sometimes called less a copy of the P53, and more a copy of the PH. While Parker Hale did some neat things, they also did some strange things with the hammer, sling swivels, and their desire not to copy the period markings not too closely.
    However, PH based theor piece on the final production of the RSAT, the 4th model with the Bradley barrel bads, etc. The 4th model does not seem to have been imported into the states, but instead we received mainly the 3rd model. See problems developing?
    You are right, though, the 4th model was the basis of all Snider conversions I have seen (although I make no promises that earlier models weren't also used in some numbers). Good observation in making the connection between the repro and the Snider.
    Lindsey
    Lindsey Brown

  3. #3
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    There were four models of the P1853 Enfield rifle-musket, and three of the four will show up as Snider conversions in varying quantities.

    -The first model is very rare and had screw-tightened bands. Very few of these survived to be converted to the Snider breech loader system.

    -The second model had solid barrel bands with retaining springs, like the '61 Springfield. Some of these made it into the States during the conflict, but most were relegated to colonial garrisons throughout the Empire. These guns were copied and used as the basis of the Mk. III Snider-Enfields that were used in Nepal, and which are now being offered by IMA and others.

    -The third model P53 was the most common in both Federal and Confederate service. It was a non-interchangeable rifle, and the ones that made it into the States were contractor-made. They had Palmer bands (the ones with the little nubs), which the British Army had discovered caught on the soldier's uniform and were generally less desirable than the rounded hard bands and Badderly bands they switched to with the 4th Model. A great many Enfield-made rifles of this pattern were converted to Snider, mainly by contractors and bear the <--S--<<< (S-arrow) Snider commercial patent mark. The remainder were refurbished by Pimlico and distributed to native troops as second-class arms. Due to their official neutrality, the British did not sell government arms to either side.

    -The fourth model P1853 were made with interchangeable parts by the Royal Manufactory Enfield and London Small Arms. These had the Badderly bands and round-eared screw escutcheons to differentiate them from the square-eared arms which were non-interchangeable. Almost all of these ended up as Sniders in first-line service, and the conversion was mainly done by Enfield, with the Snider breeches marked with W/|\D government ownership mark. All converted arms used Mk I or Mk II Snider breeches with various incremental upgrades denoted by stars (*) after the number on the breech.

    -Finally, the Mk III Snider-Enfields were new-manufactured arms with a locking breech produced mainly by Enfield and Birmingham Small Arms. The governement-made arms followed the 4th model P53, with the addition of a steel barrel, while the BSA guns were of various types.

    So as Mr. Brown has said, Parker-Hale made their reproduction of the 4th Model by copying the original sealed pattern gun for the 4th model Enfield, using from original government gauges. They used "Enfield" and the pattern date on their lock plates, which I'm sure seemed reasonable at the time given that the date on the plate was supposed to be the year of manufacture, and no one wanted a 1975 Enfield. Euroarms emulated Parker-Hale, and Armi-Sport did a moderate redesign of the gun by adding Palmer bands and switching the name plate from Enfield to London Small Arms, though they goofed by using the abbreviation of the name. Also, since LSA Co. was making interchangeable Enfields, the round-eared escutcheons would be correct on these guns. "Defarbing" them by replacing them with square-eared escutcheons is incorrect, unless you're also going to change the lock plate to "Tower" and add other appropriate Birmingham markings. An "Enfield" lock plate would only be correct for the Civil War if it were on a 2nd model P1853 which also bore "Sold Out of Service" marks like -><- or ->SS<- thus showing it had been decommisisioned by the Army and sold to the Trade for resale where ever. Some of these may have made it in early in the War, but for the most part, the British tried to avoid this.

    I hope this is helpful and enlightening.

    Cheers,

    Michael
    Michael McComas
    Bailey, Bennett & Scott, Tailors
    www.confederate-tailor.com

  4. #4
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    Mike, thank you. Its great to see some verifiable Enfield information posted by a fellow like you who knows what he is saying and has been studying for some long while. Much appreciated.
    Chris Hubbard
    146th New York
    www.acwsa.org

  5. #5
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    Chris,

    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. Sniders are certainly a passion of mine. To be totally thorough, I should cite my sources for the Enfield information. Any inaccuracies in relaying the info are my fault.

    Adams, W. O., Skirmish Line article on Enfields, 2005(?)
    Roads, Dr. C. H., The British Soldier's Firearm: From Smoothbore To Smallbore 1850 to 1864
    Curtis, W.S. et al, various articles at Research Press's British Firearms page
    and various BB posts by Adrian Roads, David Minshall, and Curt Schmidt.

    Speaking of inaccuracies, the London Small Arms locks should have the abbreviation and not have it spelled out. I think I said it the other way around in my previous post.
    Last edited by Bailey Bennett & Scott; 01-16-2007 at 08:04 PM.
    Michael McComas
    Bailey, Bennett & Scott, Tailors
    www.confederate-tailor.com

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