Object Title

Centrefire bolt-action rifle - Wilson Patent

Centrefire bolt-action rifle - Wilson Patent

Date

about 1867-1868

Object Number

PR.5563

Provenance

Former MOD Pattern Room collection.

Physical Description

Single shot bolt action rifle by Thomas Wilson. With a folding leaf sight with ungraduated slide, and blade foresight. The trigger is made safe with a hinged lever blade which, when pushed forward, prevents the trigger from being pressed. The stock is of standard Enfield form with 3 barrel bands and brass trigger guard and buttplate. This rifle is built to the specifications of Thomas Wilson’s British Patent No. 3211 (13th November 1867). HOWEVER the rifle incorporates the subsequent modification of the safety catch on the trigger guard. This Thomas Wilson modification has a British Patent number of 2744 (of 5th September 1868). On the barrel are stamped Birmingham Proofs Crown over crossed sceptres with a V and Crown over BP. The style indicates Birmingham Proof dates from 1855-1868.

Techniques

Machine manufacture

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelLength32.3in.
BarrelLength820mm
OverallLength52.2in.
OverallLength1300mm
OverallWeight3.88kg
OverallWeight8.9lb oz

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number A719

Calibre

.450 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Bore Size
52
Barrel
Stamped
Serial number
A719
Breech
Stamped
Proof
Crown over BP
Barrel
Stamped
Proof
Crown over crossed sceptres V
Barrel
Stamped
Maker
T.WILSON & Cos PATENT
Breech
Engraved?

Associations

Notes

Thomas Wilson was not a gunmaker per say but a ‘designer of firearms systems’, located in Birmingham. From 1855-1868 he had 25 British patents linked to firearms.
His first outing into the world of British Ordnance was in 1860, with his single shot capping breech loader in .551 cal. His design was also suitable for converting Enfield Muzzle Loaders (notably the Enfield Pattern 1853 in .577 cal), which he did for the 1861 British trials. This conversion was not successful, so he tried later again in 1864 with the same 1859 patent. Wilson’s rifles were originally made under British Patent No.685 (1860) as capping breech loaders. This bolt action rifle with its rear twist action locking lugs released by a knurled breech knob, is a modification for a centrefire cartridge of the percussion-cap and separate cartridge action of the original patent.
It is unclear at the present time if this modification was added to existing rifles (Patent No. 3211) or if new rifles were produced with this modification (Patent No.2744). Therefore this rifle has to be dated from about 1867-1868, as Thomas Wilson disappeared from the firearms trade around 1868. These rifles were entered again into the 1868 trials, but lost out to the Martini Henry rifle.