Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1199: Burnside Second Model Full Length Percussion "Rifled Musket"

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Only Known Civil War Era Burnside Second Model Breech Loading Full Length Percussion "Rifled Musket"

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

Only Known Civil War Era Burnside Second Model Breech Loading Full Length Percussion "Rifled Musket"

Manufacturer: Bristol Firearm Co.
Model: Burnside
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 54
Barrel: 34 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 3449
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 157
Class: Antique

This is the only known full-length musket variation Burnside rifle manufactured by Bristol Firearms Co. circa 1860-1862, and certainly the first one this writer has ever seen. The Burnside rifled musket is described in "The Burnside Breech Loading Carbines" by Edward A. Hull pages 47-50, in which the author sums it up in a nutshell, "The story of Burnside's breech loaders would not be complete without recounting the tale of guns that never were... the rifles and rifled muskets that the Burnside Rifle Co. contracted to deliver, and didn't... The order was placed on August 28 [1861, by Army Ordnance Department] and Hartshorn [Agent] acknowledged it on August 31. From the description of the arm in the order it would appear that second model Burnside breech loaders having a thirty seven inch barrel and a full stock were intended for delivery. Since a changed caliber was not mentioned in either the proposal of the order, .54 caliber arms were probably to be delivered." This example has a 34 inch barrel, although it does measure 37 inches from the muzzle to the end of the breech block. Matching numbers "301" are on the frame and breech block, with the underside of the barrel marked "300". Taking into account the serial number of this rifle being one after the approximate 300 manufactured first model Burnside carbines (very likely the same continuous serial range), this is one of if not the earliest second model Burnsides to feature George Foster's breech-latch lever design and is marked on the right side of the lever "G. P. FOSTER. PAT./APRIL 10th 1860" (patent number 27,874), and also no longer has the provision for a tape primer mechanism as found on the first models. Pinched blade front and dual flip up ladder rear sight graduated to 900 yards, saber bayonet lug, 5-groove rifling, lock marked "BRISTOL FIREARM CO.", and a full length walnut forend with an endcap and two barrel bands. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes leather sling and wood tampion. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good plus overall, retaining strong traces of original blue finish in protected areas mostly concentrated on the sides of the breech block, with the barrel turned to a smooth brown patina, the receiver turned to a gray/brown patina and some scattered light spotting overall. Wood is fine with some scattered scratches and dents. Mechanically excellent. The only known example of a Civil War era Burnside "Rifled Musket", this transcends to a level beyond rare!

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