Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1286: 18th-Century British Collumbell Breechloading Flintlock Rifle

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Unique/Rare Mid 18th-Century British Collumbell Breechloading Flintlock Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

Unique/Rare Mid 18th-Century British Collumbell Breechloading Flintlock Rifle

Manufacturer: English
Model: Percussion
Type: Musket
Gauge: 65
Barrel: 34 inch round
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1105
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 212
Class: Antique

A very early mid 18th-century breechloading flintlock rifle manufactured by British Gunmaker David Collumbell, who originally apprenticed to Gerrett Johnson in 1712. David Collumbell started his own workshop in 1734 in Westminster, London. He was appointed Gunmaker to Ordnance in 1756, and to the East India Company in 1761, and would live until 1777. This early example of his work features a single start threaded 8 1/4 turn breech plug for loading access from the underside of the barrel. Rare and expensive for its time, a rifle such as this would typically be used for sporting purposes by wealthy Englishmen, giving an advantage in the ability to reload at the breech end with a rifled bore while sitting up high in a tree or from prone. Small front blade sight and single ornate barrel band with U shaped rear sight on top. Barrel with twelve-groove .65 caliber rifling, flaring to .67 caliber at the muzzle, marked with London crown proofs on the left breech and "COLLUMBELL LONDON" on top. Rounded early style lock marked "COLLUMBELL". Light coverage floral scroll engraving on the breech end of the barrel, sideplate, trigger guard, and buttplate. Full length stock with ramming rod below, and raised relief shell carving at the top of the wrist. Butt of the stock contains a removable 4 1/2 inch rod intended for use in the initial turning of the breech plug after a live firing. Provenance: Firearms for Freedom Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine with a lightly aged patina on the re-polished metal surfaces, very light scattered surface pitting, some light handling marks, and sharp markings. Stock is also fine with crisp raised relief carving visible on top wrist, some scattered dings and scratches, a 5 1/2 inch repaired section of wood at the front, some light spots, a 5 inch crack at the left of the barrel, and crisp edges. Mechanically excellent. One of the earliest breechloading sporting rifles of its kind, displaying some of the finer work in 18th-century British gun making.

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