Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1122: Civil War Era Kerr's Patent British Small-Bore Target Rifle

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Rare Civil War Era Kerr's Patent British Small-Bore Percussion Target Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Rare Civil War Era Kerr's Patent British Small-Bore Percussion Target Rifle

Manufacturer: London Armory
Model: 1863 Kerr Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 451
Barrel: 37 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 333
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 97
Class: Antique
Description:

This is a fine example of a Kerr Small-Bore Target Rifle manufactured by the London Armory Company. The .451 caliber Kerr rifle was designed as a moderate priced target rifle and was popular with target shooters in English Volunteer Rifle Companies during the early 1860s. Inventor James Kerr attempted to improve the accuracy of the .577 caliber P.53 Enfield rifle by reducing the caliber and introducing a unique form of rifling with six ratcheted grooves. The Kerr was considered to be a very accurate rifle for target shooting from 200-600 yards. The components of the Kerr rifle were completely interchangeable with the London Arms Company Pattern 53 rifle-musket. This enabled target shooters to compete in events that required the use of a military rifle as well as events that allowed the .451 'small-bore' target rifle. In 1863, the Confederate government imported at least 20 "small bore Enfield rifles". These rifles were issued to selected marksmen in General Patrick Cleburne's Division and were used in the Atlanta campaign. Kerr rifles are also recorded as being issued to marksman in other Confederate units. The rifle has an oil-finished walnut stock with deep checkering on the wrist and forearm, casehardened iron forend cap, rear sight, lock and hammer, barrel tang, trigger guard and butt plate with blued barrel and barrel bands. Features a special folding leaf rear sight adjustable up to 4,000 yards; the sight is reversed in comparison with the Pattern 53 Enfield rear sight and has finer elevation gradients. The ladder of the rear sight is marked "W.H. BLANCH/REGISTERED OCT 31/62/No 4520" in three lines. The target front sight is adjustable for windage. The muzzle is recessed to facilitate loading. The lock is stamped with a small "crown/LM" in a diamond ahead of the hammer, and initials "HJ" are stamped on the inside. The hammer has a checkered spur and is marked "CT", "J" and "crown/L/2" on the backside. The barrel is inscribed with serial number "689." behind the rear sight, marked "KERR'S PATENT" in one line on the top flat of the breech, and "L.A.C." and "REG'D 10 May 1861" with London "Crown/V" and "Crown/GP" proofs on the left of the breech. "3", "W.M" and "92" marked on the underside of the barrel at the breech, "713" marked on the rear surface of the barrel and tang. Absent ramrod. Includes period leather sling.

Rating Definition:

Fine, retains 70% original blue finish with areas of light to moderate scattered freckling and light thinning. Stock is also fine as lightly sanded and re-oiled, with re-cut checkering, a small re-glued chipped section ahead of the lock, and a few minor chips below the lock. Mechanically excellent.



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