1870 Mk III Snider-Enfield Cavalry Carbine

Created on October 11th 2018

An excellent Mk III Snider-Enfield Cavalry Carbine.

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Commonly known as a “Sleeper” in the Antiques Trade.  “Sleeper”: An item that has not been interfered with by an means and remains intact and undisturbed to the present day.  Some people like their antiques nice and clean and maintained to the latest professional standards.  It would be a falsehood to describe this as such. This is not one of them.  It looks to be quite the opposite – until further inspection is carried out.

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Imagine for a moment; this carbine was used heavily in its day, then passed on to native police or militia. When more advanced weapons came along it was turned in, cleaned out inside, slopped over with grease and locked away in the armoury. 100 to 120 years later the armoury is sold off to the trade and an old man buys the gun in an auction.  He doesn’t shoot it, he just puts it on his wall and shoots his other guns.  In the mean time the dust from the old man’s shed and a mixture of tobacco and passing car fumes forms a protective layer over the surfaces of the carbine. It’s a thick sticky brown deposit that lays especially heavily in the protected areas of the weapon.  Eventually, the old man passes to that better place and the carbine is forgotten about until, his daughter has to eventually sell the old mans’ belongings.  The shed is stripped clean and the carbine is sold off unceremoniously in an auction. Mainly because the daughter doesn’t want her boisterous son shooting his younger brother in the garden.  A dealer in the UK, with a penchant for the old and neglected buys it, without even seeing it.  In 2018 it arrives from the US in England.  Gentlemen, I present to you, this carbine for sale. I have done nothing to it.  It is almost as if the trooper who turned it in for storage, just passed it over to me.

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He was a conscientious soldier and looked after his trusty carbine. He always made a point of cleaning out the barrel after any action.  It shows. Internally, it is as close to immaculate as you will ever encounter on a service weapon. Externally it looks just as a 148 year old service carbine would.

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The Mk III Snider-Enfield was made from scratch and is not a conversion;  these sturdy, early breech loaders have stood the test of time well. The condition of the bore will give you the best results you can expect from a rifle of this age and design.  The mechanism of the lock and trigger, plus the ejection device, are in crisp, excellent condition. I use the word “crisp” in relation, especially, to the trigger.  The trigger release is very sharp, and doesn’t require the finger strength of Mr Universe to release it.  The swinging breech block slides perfectly on the side pin, without any rattling or deviation from its axis.  Ejection is smooth and not hindered by too much grease. Sometimes a build up of old grease can act as an hinderance.  On opening the block some interesting markings are revealed.  The serial number, which will be repeated on all the parts; “4856″. Then a crowned E (Enfield) inspectors mark.  Then four distinct circular punch marks (not yet seen on other Sniders) Meaning unknown? A number has been added later by means of electro-pencil that could be a phone number?  Or a store number?

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The carbine itself is of 100% standard production features as produced in 1870 at Enfield.  The lock is dark and undisturbed, although the timber below is just starting to open a little.  This is producing a wider seam along the length of the underside of the plate.  Through this opening, it is just possible to see some corrosion that has crept in and has started its evil work on the plate itself.  The face of the lock plate is nicely marked with the “Royal cypher /V.R.”.   Just in front of the hammer, the plate is marked clearly with a small “ordinance crown / 1870 / ENFIELD”.   The main cocking piece screw has a crows foot arrow on its domed surface.  The top seam of the plate is absolutely flush with the breech work of the barrel above.  The top surface of the swinging block is neatly marked with a “broad arrow / WD / crowned E /64″.  The breech ring has the simple marking of “III” centrally placed.

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Overall the carbine measures 37.1/4″ in length.  The round plumb-brown barrel measures 19.1/4″ long and the trigger pull is 13.3/8″ to centre.  Stocked in an attractive dark single piece cavalry carbine stock with a single barrel band – Enfield inspected and “WD” accepted.  Carbine sights.  Twin lock-plate screws crows foot marked with brass escutcheons.  Brass trigger guard – minor misshapen at the bottom with iron additional lanyard ring.  Brass butt-plate with large trap for twin cleaning rods – in place.  The butt-plate brass tang is unit marked; “R3 /F/20″.  Nipple protector and chain A/F.  The side of the butt stock is marked with the “R.M. / Enfield  and WD” roundel.  under is a clear 1.  Stock is excellent used condition with the normal dings and dents associated with an active military life.  No splits or shakes to the timber.   Some corrosion to the trigger guard cross pin has caused some disruption to the stock but the pin is fast and as a result, so is the trigger guard.   The twin round-head screws are in position where the leather sight protector would be (A/F)  The three-grove bore is very good with minor corrosion but uninterrupted rifling.

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A chance to equip yourself with a splendid un-spoilt carbine with a genuine dark patina which it is not possible to reproduce.

£ 1275.

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