Manufactured in the mid-19th century, the cartridge loading Dreyse bolt action rifle was a revolutionary step in small arms development. Dreyse's design was adopted by the Prussian army in 1841 and sporting variants followed soon thereafter. With heavy swamped octagonal blued barrel rifled with four grooves and inlaid with two silver bands at the muzzle and signed "V. DREYSE SÖMMERDA" in silver towards the breech. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and the front sight is of blade form. Bright scroll engraved receiver marked "CAL: d. zdsp: 0.49" on the right side. The barrel, receiver and bolt have matching serial numbers, and the bolt is engraved with the outline of the firing pin to assist a gunsmith with replacing this fragile component. Scrolled flat fronted trigger guard houses a double set trigger mechanism and is engraved with further scrollwork and with pierced scrolled green horn finger rest. Well figured 14 1/4 inch full stock with raised cheekpiece and checkered grip. Plain iron rear sling stud and forward sling mount, German silver barrel bolt escutcheons, and green horn forearm cap. Ramrod absent.
Fine. The blued finish to the barrel has faded to a plum color. The remaining metal parts are slightly discolored, all engraving remains clear. The stock has numerous age related storage and handling blemishes, bruises and marks, and some chips to the leading edge of the raised cheekpiece. Checkering remains sharp. The cleaning rod housed beneath the forearm is missing, and the green horn forearm cap is chipped. Mechanically needs work as the needle fire mechanism is broken. A fine and very scarce example of an important evolutionary step forward in the development of modern small arms.
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