Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 228: Civil War Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Scarce and Desirable Civil War Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $4,000 - $6,000

Scarce and Desirable Civil War Merrill Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Manufacturer: Merrill James H
Model: Single Shot-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 54
Barrel: 33 inch round
Finish: brown/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 392
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 111
Class: Antique

The Merrill rifles are among the rarest Union rifles to see use in the Civil War. Only 770 were purchased by the Ordnance Department for the Union Army, while thousands of the carbines were ordered for the cavalry. The 21st Indiana Volunteer Infantry (1st Indiana Heavy Artillery) Regiment were almost entirely armed with these rifles, and smaller quantities were issued to sharpshooters in Michigan, Arkansas, and Massachusetts regiments. It has a rounded blade front sight, bayonet lug on the right for a saber bayonet, three-leaf rear sight, Merrill patent markings on the breech lever and lock, "1863." on the tail of the lock, "23" on the underside of the lever and on the side plate, "ZB" inspector cartouche on the left stock flat (Zadock Butt), brass furniture, a spare nipple in the patchbox, and a modern leather sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine with 50% original brown and casehardened finish, general mild wear, attractive aged patina on the brass furniture, and light markings. The stock is also fine and has a crisp cartouche, dark oiled finish, a few tiny flakes, and minor wear. Mechanically fine. This is a rare opportunity to get your hands on both a fine condition and scarce example of a Union breech loading rifle that is missing from most Civil War collections.

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