Object Title

Percussion muzzle-loading musket - Wilkinson's underhammer patent

Percussion muzzle-loading musket - Wilkinson's underhammer patent


about 1839

Object Number



Old Tower Collection

Physical Description

The mechanism consists of a flat spring 7 ½ in. in length, screwed at the front into the underside of the stock. The rear section is formed into the ring-head striker, and the rear face of this is cut to form the sear which engages in notches cut into the leading edge of the trigger-cum-tumbler. The nipple is placed in a semi-circular iron cup just ahead of the trigger guard, and is screwed directly into the bottom of the barrel. The cup is part of the larger plate which carries the entire mechanism, extending from the point where the spring screws in at the front, to the rear of the trigger guard bow. The action is operated by pulling the ring-striker downwards, when its rear tip catches in the notches on the front edge of the trigger-tumbler. When the trigger is pulled the notch is pulled backwards away from the sear tip, and the striker head falls on the nipple. Stocked to 3 3/8 in. of the muzzle, with the bayonet stud acting as foresight. The barrel is retained by three slides and the upper sling loop screw. Brass fore-end cap with Hanoverian spring catch for the bayonet protruding through it. Three brass ramrod pipes, the upper one trumpet, and the two lower ones barrel shaped. The lower sling loop is mounted on a screw into the stock ½ in. ahead of the stock flats, so that it does not interfere with the operation of the mechanism. Brass buttplate similar to India Pattern, but lacking the intermediate step. The round browned barrel is octagonal for the first 1 ½ in. at the breech, and a notched block backsight is brazed 3 in. from the breech. London commercial proofmarks are stamped on the left side of the breech, and the top flat is engraved, WILKINSON PATENT.





BarrelLength38.9 in
BarrelLength988 mm
OverallLength54.75 in
OverallLength1385 mm
OverallWeight4.3 kg
OverallWeight9.1 lb


Serial Number None visible


0.76 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Proof marks
Crown over GP
Left breech
Viewer's marks
Crown over V
Left Breech
Top Flat



This musket, along with a Brunswick-pattern rifle on the same system (XII-1819), was submitted to the Woolwich Committee on Percussion Arms in 1840; they were subjected to a 1,000-round trail before being rejected, despite the fact that the same idea had been previously rejected, in 1835.