ENFIELD P53 LONG RIFLE - 2nd MODEL
(ROBINS & LAWRENCE 'WINDSOR' CONTRACT)
|This Example Lock Plate Date:||1857|
|Manufacturer (s):||Robbins and Lawrence, Windsor|
This is an improved rifle on the 1st Model. It was developed as a direct result of reports from troops using the first pattern guns in the Crimea (one of the first times in British military history that this happened). It has three main changes from its predecessor -
1. Spring retained barrel bands. The board of Ordinance had worried with the screw bands on the 1st Pattern were liable to breakage from over tightening and the retaining washer or nut could easily be lost.
2. Improved heavier hammer, for more reliable ignition of percussion caps
3. A heavier built, and thus stronger, stock.
Triggered by the war in the Crimea the British government awarded several contracts to foreign powers for production of the Pattern 53, 2nd Model.
A contract for 25,000 rifles was awarded to Robbins and Lawrence, Windsor (Vermont USA) in 1856 and as such these rifles carry the Windsor mark on the lock plate a simple crown behind the hammer. The solid bands have a crown over ‘A’ and a number on them.
Due to financial difficulties only 16,000 of these rifles were produced and were considered by the Board of Ordinance as ‘…..of inferior quality’. The rifles that had been delivered, as was the policy at the time, were immediately issued - the policy being to use inferior quality first. Up to 10,400 of the rifles were delivered to Britain, however due to the end of the Crimean war and a number of other factors unfortunately for Robbins and Lawrence the factory ceased to trade in 1858. The majority of the rest of the rifles, which were still at the factory, were sold on the American market as surplus.
Interestingly because of the advanced manufacturing process used in the factory, these rifles had fully interchangeable parts and were of comparable, if not better than, those made in Britain. A certain amount of natural prejudice from the British arms trade and the Board of Ordinance will have helped create a poor image of these guns with 'their walnut stocks which were prone to breakage'
..... Interestingly I have noted on a number of occasions that the wood used would appear to have been sub standard as they have knots in, indeed the the one used here as an example has one in the wrist of the stock - which would make it weaker and prone to breakage. It has been noted by several commentators that a quite a number of Windsor Enfield's did not pass British inspection, upon delivery and those that were, were indeed not up to scratch.
Between 1861 and 1863 many were refurbished at Pimlico and issued to volunteers and the militia...No known Windsor Enfield's were converted to Sniders.
Today these rifles are very rarely seen on the market, implying that few survived their military service.
For further information on this model of Enfield rifle the following links seem to be the best reference work the web.
MLAGB Forum chat back in January 2011