Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3341: Cased Whitworth Rifle Company Commercial Percussion Rifle

Auction Date: December 2, 2018

Exceptional Cased Whitworth Rifle Company Percussion Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Exceptional Cased Whitworth Rifle Company Percussion Rifle

Manufacturer: Whitworth
Model: Percussion
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 451
Barrel: 32 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 6196
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 142
Class: Antique
Description:

The Whitworth rifle was designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth as a replacement for the Enfield Pattern 1853 but was never adopted despite excellent trials results because it was far more expensive than a regular rifled-musket. The Whitworth was capable of much higher accuracy than other rifles of the period and could even be expected to hit a target area fairly consistently at over a mile based on testing. Due to this incredible accuracy, they were used by some Confederate sharpshooters during the American Civil War and by British marksmen in competition. Confederate sharpshooters are believed to have even taken shots at Lincoln with Whitworth rifles while near Washington, D.C., and are known to have taken out multiple Union officers. Their incredibly high cost compared to other guns of the period and the Union blockade, however, prevented very many from getting into Confederate hands. This rifle features the distinctive hexagonal rifling used on Whitworth rifles and known to produce incredible accuracy, a beaded blade front sight, three barrel bands, adjustable notch and ladder rear sight with platinum lines, "WHITWORTH PATENT" on top of the barrel, British proofs and "B303" on the left at the breech, engraved border on the tang and other components, "crown/W" and "WHITWORTH" marked lock with a sliding safety, and matching numbers ("303") on the rear sight, lock, trigger guard, patch/cap box, and rear sling swivel and may be marked in other areas as well. The stock has some attractive flame figure and coarse checkering with molded borders between the rear barrel band and lock and on the wrist. The rifle comes in a case with a Whitworth Rifle Co. label and a full compliment of loading and maintenance equipment, including a scarce Whitworth patent bullet mold, rarely seen cartridge boxes, variety of bullets, large Dixon powder flask, cap tin, and more.

Rating Definition:

Excellent overall with 97% plus original blue and vivid casehardened finish, minor rub wear on some of the outer edges, minor contact marks on the wood, crisp checkering and markings, and attractive figure. Mechanically excellent. The case and accessories are all very fine with general mild aging and storage wear and some cracks in the lid. This Whitworth would be very, very difficult to improve upon!



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