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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

14 April 2009

British Military Rifles 1740-1840

DeWitt Bailey
ISBN 1-931464-03-0
Rating: Buy, Hardcover, New

A non-fiction book, an unusual read for me, British Military Rifles 1740-1840 is a wealth of information about the history of the Baker Rifle and documents the variants of the rifle and bayonet over the production period from 1800 to 1838. The rifle remained in service until 1843 when the Brunswick Rifle (percussion cap design) replaced it. The book includes two full chapters on the Baker Rifle, also one on the Bayonets, and another on accoutrements & ammunition. If you're interested in the Baker Rifle the book is a worthwhile purchase, but wait there's more....
  1. There's a whole chapter on the Ferguson Rifle, a breech-loading flintlock rifle from the late 1700's.
  2. There is a chapter on the history of the Rifle Corp from 1798 to 1841.
  3. Indian Rifles
  4. Rifles of the American War.
  5. British Rifles during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Blackpowder Rifle Project

Mrs. Bugbear declared a moratorium on gun purchases until I write the PPE. It may be a testament to my high degree of procrastination that the moratorium has lasted three years.

Mrs. Bugbear's father has piqued my interest in black-powder shooting, I've been doing some research on the variously available reproductions of flintlock rifles. The rifle that I am most desirous of is the British Infantry Rifle popularly known as the Baker Rifle and made famous by Sharpe's Rifles by Bernard Cornwell. I admit that I largely know of the rifle because of the T.V. series but I wanted to know more both about the history of the rifle and about the construction.

The Baker Rifle was largely based on the German and Austrian hunting rifles (jaeger rifles) of the time. It's only real innovation as far as I know was to reduce the rate of twist to a quarter twist over the length of the barrel which would be about 1 in 120" I believe. The effect was to reduce the re-loading time and it only minimally affected the accuracy

The Rifle Shoppe sells a couple of parts kits for the Baker Rifle and I am seriously considering forking out the lucre to purchase a kit. Interestingly most of information I had found prior to purchasing British Military Rifles 1740-1840 indicated that the barrels were polished, not blued. Some of the documentary evidence in the book argues that the standard issue Baker Rifles were indeed browned (British parlance for blued). Imagine my relief since I fully intend to browne my Baker Rifle if I buy the kit. Browning the barrel also makes more sense for a rifle whose purpose in the British Army was sharpshooting and skirmishing, "Oh look what's that shiny thing in the bush over there?" Browning definitely makes sense and it also makes the care and maintenance of the rifle much easier. Parkerizing would be better but that would be too anachronistic for my tastes.

Also on the table as options for The Blackpowder Rifle Project are:
  • Cartridge Sharp's rifle in .45-70 (Brass Cartridge not Cloth)
  • Ruger No.1 in .45-70
  • Browning Highwall 1885 BCPR in .45-70
  • Uberti reproduction of the Winchester 1885 Highwall Rifle in .45-70
  • Pedersoli Jaeger Rifle
  • Jaeger Rifle Kit.
Damn, so many options so little money!

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