Object Title

Flintlock breech-loading rifle - By James Wilkes

Flintlock breech-loading rifle - By James Wilkes


about 1801

Object Number



Old Tower Collection

Physical Description

The Lock is a standard Ordnance pattern lock of the period but somewhat better finished. The rounded lock-plate ends in a teat at the tail, and is engraved WILKES ahead of the cock. The cock is a rounded swan-neck, with a flat comb with pronounced inward curl. Both cock and plate have a singer border line engraved. The breech loading system consists of a plug which screws into the left upper quarter of the barrel at the head of the chamber section, additional purchase being given to the plug by having a collar raised out of the surface of the barrel in addition to the thickness of the barrel wall. This plug is prevented from being dropped or lost by a link which is fastened to a U-shaped loop brazed to the barrel just behind the plug. It requires five complete revolutions of the plug to remove and replace it for loading. With this system and location of the plug, the powder is first poured in, then the ball placed on top. Stocked to 5/8 in. of the muzzle, the barrel retained by two slides and the upper sling loop screw. Brass fore-end cap with deep groove for ramrod on underside, three brass rod pipes of India Pattern but of smaller dimensions. Scroll brass trigger guard of Germanic type with nearly straight grip section, and with long rear finial held by two screws, with the lower sling loop screwed through a stud cast into the finial. No butt-trap. Brass butt-plate similar to Baker rifle, but with tang more tapered. Cheek-rest on left side of butt. Baker pattern side-plate. The rear of the small shaped like the Baker rifle. The full round twist iron barrel is fitted with a break-off breech of the Baker style, and is engraved between the breech and the back-sight, WILKES St JAMES STREET LONDON and stamped with Government proof house marks for privately made barrels on the left side of the breech. The foresight is a small low white-metal blade set into the barrel 4 in. from the breech with a single leaf hinged forward and a short ornamental finial running forward.





BarrelLength32.25 in
BarrelLength819 mm
OverallLength47.9 in
OverallLength1216 mm
OverallWeight3.7 kg
OverallWeight8.2 lb


Serial Number None visible


0.64 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Proof mark (Private London)
2 Crown over Crossed Sceptres
Left side of the breech.
Maker's surname and address.
Between the breech and the back-sight.
Ahead of the cock.



Rifled with seven grooves, slightly rounded and equal in width to the lands, making one-half turn in the length of the barrel.