Weapons of the British Army

Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifled Musket

The Enfield Pattern 1853 Rifle-Musket entered service with the British Army in 1853, and continued to be produced until 1867 when it was replaced by the breach loaded Snider Enfield Rifle.  Many Enfield 1853 rifles were converted to the Snider specification.

This was the first rifle to become standard issue in the British Army.

The term “rifle-musket” meant that the rifle was the same length as the musket it replaced, because a long rifle was thought necessary to enable the muzzles of the second rank of soldiers to project beyond the faces of the men in front, ensuring that the weapon would be sufficiently long enough when fitted with bayonet to be able to be effective against cavalry, should such a need arise.

 

The 39 in (99 cm) barrel had three grooves, with a 1:78 rifling twist, and was fastened to the stock with three metal bands, so that the rifle was often called a "three band" Enfield.

The rifle's cartridges contained 68 grains (4.4 g) of black powder, and the ball was typically a 530-grain (34 g) Pritchett or a Burton-Minié, which would be driven out at about 850 to 900 feet (259 - 274m) per second.

The Enfield’s adjustable ladder rear sight had steps for 100 yards (91 m) – the default or “battle sight” range – 200 yards (180 m), 300 yards (270 m), and 400 yards (370 m). For distances beyond that, an adjustable flip-up blade sight was graduated (depending on the model and date of manufacture) from 900 yards (820 m) to 1,250 yards (1,140 m). British soldiers were trained to hit a target 6 feet (180 cm) by 2 feet (61 cm) – with a 2 feet (61 cm) diameter bull's eye, counting 2 points – out to 600 yards (550 m). The target used from 650 yards (590 m) to 900 yards (820 m) had a 3 feet (91 cm) bull's eye, with any man scoring 7 points with 20 rounds at that range being designated a marksman.


Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifled Musket

 

Type

Rifled Musket
Place of origin

United Kingdom

Service history


In service

1853 – 1867
Used by

Great Britain & Colonies, United States of America, Confederate States of America, Japan, Denmark, Empire of Brazil

Wars

Indian Mutiny, Crimean War, New Zealand Land Wars, US Civil War, Boshin War, Paraguayan War, Fenian raids, Red River Rebellion, Second Schleswig War

Production history

 

Designer

RSAF Enfield
Designed

1853
Produced

1853 – 1867
Number built

approx 1,500,000
Variants

Carbine

Specifications


Weight

9.5 pounds (4.3 kg) unloaded
Length

55 inches (1,400 mm)
Cartridge

.577 ball
Calibre

.58 inches (15 mm)
Action

Percussion lock
Rate of fire

User dependent, Usually 3+ rounds a minute
Muzzle velocity

900 ft/s (270 m/s)
Maximum firing range

2,000 yards (1,800 m)
Feed system

Muzzle-loading
Sights

adjustable ramp rear sights, Fixed-post front sights