1855 Sappers n Miners Shortened Lancaster Bayonet


A rare P1855 Lancaster Oval Bore Rifle Sword Bayonet and scabbard that was issued to Sappers and Miners (later termed Engineers) and was later shortened with the addition of an inner bush to the muzzle ring.
The bayonet has a brass mounted hilt, three rivet held boiled leather grips and a screw mounted spring. The blade originally ended in a quill pointed tip, but this has been reduced in order to make it more manageable. The ricasso is stamped with several inspectors marks and the back of the blade is stamped TR2 (Truro Rifles in Cornwall?). The bayonet was made for the P1855 Lancaster which had a slightly oval bore calibre, that improved the accuracy of the weapon. This example has been modified to fit an unknown type of rifle of smaller calibre (possibly the newer 0.303 cal Martini-Henry), given that the muzzle ring has a steel reducing inner bush. The original scabbard has been shortened and has been embellished by some engraved decoration on the brass. The issue number 175 has been nicely engraved on the throat. Condition is good with the leather still intact.
Charles William Lancaster (1820-1878) was devoted to his craft and was among the best England had to offer in the field of firearms making and invention. It was around the year 1850, when he conceived the idea of the oval bore. Indeed, it is very slightly oval, almost imperceptibly and the rifling is very subtle and this rifle could easily be mistaken for a smooth bore. The rifling is also “gain twist”, meaning that the twist gets faster as the projectile approaches the muzzle. He believed that the oval bore was the future form all rifles and cannons should take due to the design’s inherent ability to mitigate the fowling that came from using black powder, as well as their accuracy. His system was not ultimately adopted for the Pattern 1853 infantry rifle-musket, but it was adopted in smaller numbers for sapper muskets.
Size: 58.5 cm (23 inches)
Weight: 802 g