Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 254: Charles Phelps .577 Mont Storm Sporting Rifle

Auction Date: August 26, 2022

Extremely Rare Engraved Chas. Phelps .577 Mont Storm Patent Breechloading Percussion Sporting Rifle with Case

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,000 - $5,000

Extremely Rare Engraved Chas. Phelps .577 Mont Storm Patent Breechloading Percussion Sporting Rifle with Case

Manufacturer: English
Model: Single Shot
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 577
Barrel: 27 1/4 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 455
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 253
Class: Antique

Incorporating William Mont Storm’s British Patent no. 2933 of 29 November, 1860 (which referenced an earlier Patent submitted by A.V. Newton, British Patent no. 907 of 1 April, 1857), this rifle is an extremely rare example of an early capping breechloader. Mont Storm had received a U.S. Patent in July 1856 for his hinged breech block system with locking bolt actuated by the fall of the hammer and moved to cover his Patent in Great Britain where his design was trialed by the British Army with a view to converting the stocks of Enfield percussion rifles and carbine to breech loaders (Snider’s Patent was eventually chosen) and he was awarded a silver medal at the Great London Exposition of 1862 for his design. The blued round tapering barrel has a block mounted bead front sight, a sprung folding tangent rear sight graduated to “1000” yards, and a small resting block for the hinged breech. The breech section comprises a hinged breech block with lifting handle to the right side and the percussion cap pillar, the upper surface of the breech block and parts of the breech frame are scroll engraved. Birmingham proof marks are struck on the underside of the barrel, breech frame and hinged breech block. The standing breech is scroll engraved, marked “MONT STORM’S/PATENT/NO. 852” and incorporates the breech block locking bolt actuated by the fall of the hammer. Casehardened side lock is signed “CHAS. PHELPS/3, POOD LANE, LONDON” and finely engraved with scrollwork and a panel scene involving a recumbent stag. Well-figured straight hand walnut half stock with checkered grip and forearm, the forearm with a sculptured dark horn cap and the underside of the butt is inset with a blank silver shield shaped initial escutcheon. Scroll engraved blued iron pistol grip trigger guard with checkered finger rest and engraved with a panel scene of a hound chasing down a running stag on the bow, and border and scroll engraved blued iron butt plate. The underside of the butt is fitted with a sling eye, the corresponding sling eye is fitted beneath the barrel. In original brass cornered mahogany fitted case lined in dark blue baize. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection

Rating Definition:

The barrel retains 90% blued finish which is beginning to thin and show a covering of small marks from cleaned light surface corrosion spotting. The breech retains a similar percentage of blued finish, has some russet patina around the percussion cap pillar, and has clear engraved decoration. The lock retains 20% strong original casehardened finish in the sheltered area beneath the hammer, the remainder of the surface has a grey patina, engraving remains sharp. The stock has sharp checkering and numerous storage and handling blemishes throughout, the horn forearm cap has two very small surface blemishes on the left side. The trigger guard retains 40% original blued finish with a light russet patina showing through on the checkered finger rest, the butt plate retains 70% original blued finish with some dulled patches from cleaned light surface corrosion marking. The barrel key escutcheon on the right side of the forearm is chipped. The case remains in generally good condition with some damage to the top edges of the some of the smaller partitions, the lid is cracked in two places stemming from the right rear corner and has some old damage to both rear corners. Overall a fine example of an extremely rear earlier breech loading percussion sporting rifle.

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