Enfield Pattern 1856 Army Short Rifle - Inventory Number: RIF 167
The P-1856 was the first short rifle in the new .577 caliber family of muskets made by the Enfield factory in England for the British Army. The long three band rifle musket which was used by the regular line infantry was introduced in 1853, known as the P-1853. The P-1856 was issued to all sergeants of Line Regiments, the Rifle Brigade and the 60th Regiment, the Cape Mounted Rifles and the Royal Canadian Rifles. Unlike the P-53 that was called a "rifle musket" the P-56 was called a "short rifle" or just a "rifle" to separate them from the long three band P-53 with a 39" barrel and the short carbine with 24" barrel. The P-56 had a 33" barrel. The P-56 replaced the old Baker and Brunswick rifles which was used in the British Army prior to the adoption of the minié system in 1851. Large numbers of these rifles were imported by both sides during the Civil War. Unlike the navy pattern P-58, the Army P-56 was completely iron mounted, with three-groove rifling and sling swivel mounted behind the trigger guard. All iron surfaces on this specimen have turned to a smooth, light brown patina. The lock is marked “1860 TOWER” and the action is crisp and holds on all positions. The bore is dark but retains sharp rifling. The original ramrod is in place and is missing the threaded end for cleaning implements. The rear sight and bayonet lug have been long missing from the barrel. The stock is in good condition with the typical wear, dings, and dents from service, and is stamped “13” on the comb and “118” opposite the lock. Overall, a nice representative example of a well-made British rifle that was used extensively by both sides in the Civil War.
Inventory Number: RIF 167