Offered for sale February 2003 for US$7750.00
Fine Antique Arms
Thomas Turner Military Match Rifle
Dealers Catalogue Description
This is a gorgeous, cased, military sharpshooter's rifle by Thomas Turner of Birmingham, England. Thomas Turner was a highly respected gun maker, barrel maker and inventor. His small bore .451 Whitworth caliber rifles were among the most popular in the early to mid 1860's, rivaled only by the Whitworth and the London Armoury Company Kerr Rifle. The Thomas Turner was imported by the South, along with the Whitworth and Kerr rifles. It is interesting that this gun, while absolutely original, has no external British proof marks. It has a hexagonal Whitworth type bore coupled with a very fine front sight and an equally precise, military style rear sight. The gun retains 98% of its original finish, with vivid case colors on the lock assembly, the tang, the nose cap, trigger guard and butt plate. It has its original nipple protector, brass tipped ramrod and quick-detach swivels for the sling. The stock is figured walnut with all the metal parts having a very high quality, floral pattern engraving. The only markings on any of the exposed metal or wood is on the lock plate (Thomas Turner/8 Fisher St/Birmingham). The case is a deluxe mahogany casing that is lined with green leather. The original flask, cap tin and bullet tin with six original, paper patched bullets are present. The case is in superb condition, inside and out. When the gun was found, the case was locked with no key. Someone broke the hinges to get it open. They did not damage the wood. There are no gouge marks anywhere and the hinges are restorable. When all is said and done, this is an extremely fine Whitworth Rifle made by Thomas Turner at the beginning of the American Civil War.
This rifle is unusually fitted with a Whitworth barrel. Turner patented his own rifling (16th April 1860 - see above). Bill Curtis describes Turner's rifling as "normally five groove, which started deep at the breech with sloping sides and got shallower up the bore to half way where it changed from sloping sides to straight sides and continued to get shallower to the muzzle."