1860 British Luxury Quality Whitworth Percussion Rifle


A very unusual and rare 1860 dated Luxury Quality Whitworth made Percussion Rifle with a Whitworth coat of arms.
The beautifully made percussion rifle is slightly shorter (29 ¾ inches) than the standard 33 inches (84cm) and is very unusually engraved with the Whitworth family coat of arms, indicating a gun possibly owned by Joseph Whitworth or a personally presented weapon to someone of note. The fittings and the stock are typical of a luxury private purchase example, with chequered stock, and a safety catch for when the gun is at half cock. The gun is also engraved WHITWORTH 1860. It is possible that the rifle was the property of a senior officer. The barrel has the iconic hexagonal inside barrel rifling, which made the rifle a deadly accurate weapon and is considered the first real sniper’s rifle. The calibre is 0.451 inch (11.5mm). The rifle retains the original patina of origin and the rifle is in a stunning condition. The lock plate has a couple of minor old rust spots. The rifle has a very good replacement ramrod.
The Whitworth rifle was an English-made percussion rifle used in the latter half of the 19th century, although it wasn’t adopted by the British Army. It was considered to be the very best rifle of its time in terms of accuracy, when compared to other British, French, American rifles, and those produced elsewhere. A single-shot muzzleloader with excellent long-range accuracy for its era, especially when used with a telescopic sight, the Whitworth rifle was considered too expensive and more prone to barrel fouling. But the Whitworth rifle saw extensive use with the Confederate sharpshooters in the American Civil War, claiming the lives of several Union generals, including Major General John Sedgwick, one of the highest-ranking Union officers killed during the Civil War, shot on 9 May 1864, at Spotsylvania. In October 2017, a surviving example of a Confederate Whitworth rifle was auctioned with a hammer price of $161,000.
Size: 117 cm (46 inches)
Weight: 3778g