This Civil War era military longarm, called the Austrian Muster 1854 “Lorenz” Rifle-Musket, was a favorite European longarm of both the North and the South. During the war, 226,924 such arms were imported to the Union while 100,000 muskets went to the Confederacy. Developed by the Austrian army to replace their older infantry muskets, the accepted design in 1854 utilized an advanced percussion ignition system by Josef Lorenz, a Viennese gunsmith.
This example is most likely one of the 200,000 imported by the Federals as the barrel has been bored to .58 caliber, a common practice by Federals to allow soldiers to use the .58cal Minie Ball. Furthermore, this example has minor ‘dings’ on the front of the barrel, a clear indication of a federal soldier attempting to seat an ill-fitting bayonet with a rock or other hard object.
The single-shot, single trigger, nine-pound muzzleloader measures 52½” long overall. It is fitted with a 37½” rifled barrel with great rifling in the bore (which would require a nice cleaning to remove surface rust and dust). Barrel is octagonal for 4½” at breech and blends to round. Bolster area is good with some light pitting. “K” and [star] stamp visible on left facet of barrel near tang. Other barrel markings are partially obscured numbers and on the right barrel facet adjacent to the stock. Gun Metal displays a pleasing (and untouched) chocolate brown patina with no rust or significant pitting or areas of oxidation. Three spring bands secure the barrel to the beech wood stock. Upper band having a wide single strap, slotted on the top and equipped with a ramrod pipe at the bottom and stamped with “K” and an indecipherable stamp. Middle band has the sling swivel and is close together to the upper band. Lower band is stamped with “K”.
Stock has no cheek rest but carved on the right side of the butt are “ES” and “JS”. There are three surface cracks on the bottom of the stock but do not compromise the strength of the wood. Iron sling swivels mounted at the triggerguard and on the middle band. Lockplate is stamped “859”, and was made in 1859. Rear sight is a larger, folding leaf sight with two windows graduated to 900 paces. Front sight has the long oval base mounted diagonally on barrel to match the angled slot on the bayonet socket. Mechanics strong. All screws original in good condition with none buggered. The heavy, cupped ramrod head has the drilled torque hole and threaded tip.
The fitted Lorenz bayonet has four center ridges. This bayonet is in excellent condition and serviceable. Mottled dark gray and chocolate brown patina, “00” stamp along the neck and no acceptance stamp, possibly as it was shipped directly to the United States vice Austrian service.
The Austrian M1854 rifle was the second most imported longarm to America from 1861 to 1865.
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