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Enfield

The family of British Service Rifles and Carbines introduced during the 1850’s and 1860’s in 0.577 calibre marked the culmination of the soldiers’ muzzle loading firearm.

  • The Enfield Rifle - A visit to the Ordnance Factory, Enfield [1859].
  • The Enfield Rifle - On the manufacture of the muzzle loading Enfield rifle [1860].
  • War Department Notes - Samples of notes written by G.C. Holden in the mid 1860s covering muzzle stopper, snap cap, nipple wrench and the barrel.
  • P.53 Enfield Production Markings - A synopsis of Enfield production markings to help answer some common questions, with regards to identifying British government arms.
  • The Long Enfield 1853 - In 1861 the Secretary of the NRA sought a 'definition' of the P.53 Enfield rifle from Major-General Charles Hay, the Commandant and Inspector-General of Musketry, at the School of Musketry, Hythe. 
  • Managing the Enfield - A short treatise for shooting the Enfield rifle today, covering the rifle, equipment, ammunition, shooting, sighting, cleaning and bedding.
  • Enfield Paper Cartridges - This article draws from Hawes' work on Rifle Ammunition (1859) and other contemporary sources.

The Enfield Rifle

A visit to the Ordnance Factory, Enfield, in 1859: "The weapon that is at length turned out is, with its bayonet, 6 feet 1/2 inch long, and weighs 9 pounds 8 ounces. The length of the barrel is 3 feet 3 inches; its weight is 4 pounds 2 ounces; and the diameter of the bore is .577 inch. The bullet is elongated, and takes three-quarters of a turn whilst in the barrel. The general figure of the bullet is cylindrical, its a front-end rounded, and its rear-end has a conical shaped cavity formed in it."

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The Enfield Rifle

The first thing that strikes a visitor on entering the forges at Enfield where the barrels are made is the apparent rudeness and inadequacy of the machinery to its purpose. It may be urged that it makes the barrels very well, but the same excuse might be advanced for non-improvement in every stage of manufacture, and we are sure that among the clear-headed American mechanists now at the works are many who could at a day’s notice devise a far better apparatus for working up the iron of the barrels than that now in use. [1860]

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War Department Notes

In the mid 1860's a fortunate event occurred, the vast majority of the activities of the Ordnance Department of the British Empire was captured on paper. That is to say that an immense amount of information in the form of written descriptions, original drawings, official printed reports, circulars, proformas & tables etc were bound together in the shape of 5 handsome leather covered volumes.

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P.53 Enfield Production Markings

It is intended that this synopsis of Enfield production markings will help answer some common questions, with regards to identifying British government arms. A government rifle will NOT carry the commercial marks of the London or Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof Houses with their usual marks and double 25 bore size marks. To be a government rifle ALL the appropriate marks must be present.

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The Long Enfield 1853

Target shooting by Rifle Volunteers in the National Rifle Association (NRA) matches was primarily with their arm of issue, which in the 1860s was the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle. Following enquires to the NRA, in April 1861 Captain Edmond H. St. John-Mildmay, the Secretary, sought a 'definition' of the rifle. He wrote to Major-General Charles Hay, the Commandant and Inspector-General of Musketry, at the School of Musketry, Hythe (1853-1867). Hay responded and the NRA distributed the correspondence in May 1861 which was published in numerous newspapers of the time. Mildmay's brief covering note to the newspaper editors, and Hay's definition follow.

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Managing the Enfield

The family of British Service Rifles and Carbines introduced during the 1850's and 1860's in 0.577 calibre marked the culmination of the soldiers' muzzle loading firearm. This article does not attempt to deal with the historical aspects of these arms but merely to cover their modern use by enthusiasts. It has to be assumed that the person wishing to shoot these arms can show that he is a competent shot with rifles that are already established as being accurate. The author hopes that these notes intended for the guidance of the newcomer to that superb rifle, the Enfield, will prove of assistance and that, perhaps, there may even be a useful hint to the more experienced.

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Enfield Paper Cartridges

For today's researcher into Enfield ammunition, the definitive reference is "Rifle Ammunition. Being Notes on the Manufactures connected therewith as conducted in The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich" by Arthur B. Hawes, Captain (r.h.p.), Bengal Army and published in London, 1859. Hawes writes in his introduction: "These notes, intended at first only for myself, were, I am happy so say, useful to others; and from that reason more than any other, I am induced now to offer them, imperfect as they are, for the perusal of all who feel interested in the preparation of ammunition of different descriptions, with the exterior of which all soldiers are so familiar."

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