P53 LONG RIFLE - 2nd MODEL (FRENCH CONTRACT)
Lock Plate Date:
3 solid bands
This is an improved rifle on the 1st Model. It was developed as a
direct result of reports from troops using the first pattern
guns in the Crimea (one of the first times in British military
history that this happened). It has three main changes from
its predecessor -
1. Spring retained barrel
bands. The board of Ordinance had worried with the screw bands
on the 1st Pattern were liable to breakage from over tightening
and the retaining washer or nut could easily be lost.
2. Improved heavier hammer, for more reliable ignition of
3. A heavier built, and thus stronger, stock.
Due to shortages and the inability of the Birmingham gun trade
to supply the required arms, the British government awarded
contracts to French gun makers in St Etienne to supply 20,000
2nd Model rifles... these arms were subsequently delivered between May 1856
and March 1858.
Upon delivery they were of course considered by the Board of
Ordinance and the British gun trade as inferior...there is
naturally little foundation to this claim, however as was the
practice at the time, they were immediately issued to front
line troops, so few remain today as they would have had a hard
It is not untypical to find that the surviving arms today were
refurbished at Pimlico prior to re-issue to volunteer corps
and militia after their service in front line regiments.
French contract rifles will have the following:
1. The date on the lock in italics
2. Below a crown 'V+R' behind the hammer on the lock.
roundel on the stock is simply two rings (one inside the
other) with a date stamp (in line with the muzzle)
4. The inspection stamps are 'Crown' above and 'F' and then
the inspectors number
(which can be seen closely on the
area of this web site)
The above specifically identify there origins, otherwise
appear exactly like British manufactured rifles.
The French Contract Pattern
53ís that are not associated with the South Australian batch
of 2,000 are quite rare.
On This Example
The Butt Plate is stamped with 'V Lk5
538'. Essentially this means 5th Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteer
Corps with the rifle / rack number of 538...Further research as shown
that they were 'raised' in Glasgow in 1859.
During 1860, a number of independent
rifle corps, then existing in the City of Glasgow, were merged
as the 19th Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. By the end of
the year, the 19th had reached a strength of nineteen
companies, and included contingents provided by Glasgow firms,
the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, and the newspaper and
printing industry. The 19th was renumbered as 5th in 1880, and
later provided the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Highland Light
Extracted from "The
Territorial Battalions, A Pictorial History 1859-1985" by Ray