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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I saw an 1853, P53, Tower Enfield tonight. Original. What struck me as odd though was the fact that there was no rifling & the wall of the barrel looked a little thin. Any body ever seen this before? Is there a worth on this? The barrel just looked strange to me. I have one & it looks different from mine. Thanks.
 

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Not too unusual, the bore has been reamed out for use as a shotgun. In the post CW period, muzzleloading surplus arms were a drag on the market and one of the first things done to them to make them more saleable was to ream the bore out, usually to about a 20ga. (.62 caliber) The gun could then be otherwise modified by the new owner by cutting the stock, shortening the barrel, etc., etc. Some remained in full military configuration because the purchaser didn't have the money to pay to have it done, lacked the skill to do it himself, or just wanted to leave it like it was. One gunsmithing book of the period by Stelle and Harrison said that converted military muskets were "just the thing" for clearing the cornfield of crows, even suggesting that they be left in the barn loaded for quick availability for the task.

As to value, it is worth more than a cut gun but worth less than one in like condition with a rifled bore.
 
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One other possibility.....

After the War, during the Reconstruction Period, Southerners were not permitted to own a rifled musket or rifle. Only smoothbores. Possibily it could be a soldier's "Bringback" that was reamed out to a smoothbore to satisfy the local county federal judge. Most counties had a federal judge along with 15-20 occupying union troops, and most federal judges ruled with an iron hand.
 

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One other possibility.....

After the War, during the Reconstruction Period, Southerners were not permitted to own a rifled musket or rifle. Only smoothbores. Possibily it could be a soldier's "Bringback" that was reamed out to a smoothbore to satisfy the local county federal judge. Most counties had a federal judge along with 15-20 occupying union troops, and most federal judges ruled with an iron hand.
Wow. I never heard that before! Never really thought about weapon restrictions. Not that I'm a real close student of The Late Conflagration. Makes sense though. That probably explains a goodly number of the converted rifled muskets you see. Thanks, M.P.:)
 

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One other possibility.....

After the War, during the Reconstruction Period, Southerners were not permitted to own a rifled musket or rifle. Only smoothbores. Possibily it could be a soldier's "Bringback" that was reamed out to a smoothbore to satisfy the local county federal judge. Most counties had a federal judge along with 15-20 occupying union troops, and most federal judges ruled with an iron hand.


No offense, but to quote Colonel Sherman T. Potter - "Bull fritters"! While it is POSSIBLE that such rules were made locally in some places on some RARE occasions, this was never a widely spread much less enforced order, it was UNENFORCEABLE, especially with an armed force the size of a Corporal's Guard. The Southern people remained armed and generally peaceful throughout throughout the onerous period of Reconstruction. Southern "bringbacks" were rare in the extreme unless they were in the hands of deserters who had walked away from the Confederate Armies before surrender (a sadly common occurrence) and the vast majority of those either left their weapons in camp, "lost" them or sold them to the first taker with Yankee coinage. The Confederate Army honorably surrendered ALL weapons, except some officers' sidearms, at the end of the hostilities. Most of acknowledged Confederate weapons in existence today still exist because they were picked up by Yankee soldiers (mostly officers who could afford the extra baggage) or were purchased out of the surplus arms sold off at the end of the War. The rifle described in the first post in the thread was one of the latter and could have been a Confederate or Federal-used Enfield since both armies used the P53.
 

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Brits made a smoothbore version of the p53 Enfield for colonial troops, might want to ask in the British gun pub.
Mike


Yes, but they were generally made on the Indian subcontinent and are obviously marked or are variations. After the Sepoy Mutiny, native troops so armed used the last model of British weapon. Example - a P53 Enfield variant while Crown troops were using the breech loading Snider or the Martini.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
True Story

Interesting story. When my G-Grand daddy came back from the war, he & his travelling partner managed to steal a revolver & a bag of powder & ball, & a little food from a Yankee outpost. When he got home he hid them in the attic. Well, the Yankees showed up one day & his daddy met them at the door. When they asked if there were any weapons in the house, daddy, a good Methodist minister who didn't believe in lying or stealing said, "Sure do. They are up in the attic." My G- Grand daddy went flying up the stairs, grabbed every thing, went out the attic window, & spent 3 months living in the S. Carolina swamps. True story. Read about it in his memoirs. He & Daddy didn't get along that well afterwards.
 
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I concur that it most probably was something not enforced in many areas, but it definately was in a number of places. South Carolina, for example, was more tightly governed or controlled due to its major role in starting the War. Other areas such as central Georgia and into the Alabama Black Belt along the old Plantation Belt were governed closely as were the Plantation areas of Louisiana. Research the "White League", an organization of Southern military officers, and you'll see references to this subject. Example: the Great Election Riot of 1874 in Barbour County Alabama. In this instance the White League broke up the election by stealing the ballot boxes killing between 18 and 20 potential voters in the process. The follow-up federal investigation pointed out that the ban on rifled muskets had not been violated by the White League, rather one of the six members initiating the Riot had large numbers of "The New Breech Loading Shotgun" in the words of the Reconstruction federal judge, shipped into Barbour County to by-pass the law.

In my own home area of Southern Appalachia enforcement was most probably a hit and miss situation. Manufacturing Southern Mountain Rifles was an industry prior to, during and after the War, and in my research I find no reference to the ban in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and extreme north Georgia. In Georgia from about Atlanta south through the Plantation Belt you will find references to the rifled musket/rifle ban and other unlawful acts such as secret assembly. Masonic Lodges seem to have been an exception to this in most cases, but even here some Lodges were watched carefully. One west of Atlanta known as the Camp Creek Lodge comes to mind.
 

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woodsrunner. Interesting that you mention the Masonic Lodges being left alone. I have a book, titled "Noted Geurillas", printed in 1877. Goes into great detail about Quantrell, Mosby, Bloody Bill Anderson, the James boys etc etc. Before, during, and after the war. Many passages relate to the aftemath of a battle, skermish, or raid. Prisoners were to be either hung, or shot. (by both sides) However the wearing of a Masons ring would get you a full pardon, and a head start! Brother Masons obviously respected each other. Great book if you can find it. Mine is a first edition, and pretty much fell apart when I read it.:( M.P.
 

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After the Sepoy mutiny, the British lost some faith in the loyalty of their INDIAN militias. In direct response, Towers were bored out to .65 caliber in England for issued to native INDIAN forces so they would not be as accurate and deadly as .58 caliber rifles.
 

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...even suggesting that they be left in the barn loaded for quick availability for the task.
Several years ago I picked up a CW Springfield ('61, '63?) modified with the barrel conversion to smoothbore and stock cut down. I paid $50.00 for it. The action was frozen (full cock), the stock weathered, just what you'd expect as a "barn gun" which is probably the reason for the low price. The first thing I did was to check if it was still loaded, yep. Took some time and careful work to get that mini and charge out. Cleaned up the lock, barrel and stock ready to hang on the wall. I did for a short while and then sold it. Wish I still had it in that I would probably be shooting it now.
 

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My Grandfather was born on a farm in Bulloch County, Georgia.

He told me that when he was a boy, everyone it seemed had a double barrel shotgun, a '73 Winchester Rifle and a Smith & Wesson Revolver.

He was dumbfounded when I started shooting muzzleloaders when I was 15. He told me that as a boy he had worked and scraped to get up enough money to buy his first breech loading shotgun. Before that, he had hunted with a muzzleloading shotgun that had been passed down thru the family to him.

When he went off to college when he was 19, his older brother gave him as a "Going Away Present" a Smith & Wesson Revolver.

Point being: Southerners have ALWAYS been well armed except for a short, short while after the Civil War. Matter of fact, when Georgia was founded in 1733, every male that came from England had to bring a musket.
 
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