What You Need to Know: West Mercia Q&A on Firearms Licensing
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In the history of firearms, the military double rifle invented by British Gen. John Jacob of the Indian Army was probably one of the most ambitious designs ever devised. General Jacob was a fascinating person, one of those larger than life mid-19th century characters whose career reads more like a novel than fact. He tamed great portions of India?s wild Northwest Frontier & set up civil administrations. As an improvement on the British issue Brunswick Rifle, which fired a belted round ball, he devised a symmetrical conical projectile with studs that mechanically fit in the rifle?s bore, giving far better accuracy than the Brunswick. He continued his work, to include the invention of a bullet with a fulminate nose plug that exploded upon contact that was felt would be great for blowing up enemy artillery at long distances. At about the same time he invented the double rifle, and figured that style would perfectly suit his rifling system. In the mid-1850s Jacob contracted with British gunsmith Swinburn & Son to make the unusual arms. Each rifle had a special patchbox proudly engraved with the proposed unit?s name, ?Jacob?s Rifles?. Jacob raised a battalion of native riflemen and armed them with his double gun. ?Jacob?s Rifles,? as the unit was to be called, numbered about 1,000 officers and men, 900 of whom were issued with Jacob?s very expensive rifles. Some time after Jacob's death in 1858, the rifles issued to his troops were put back into stores and the troops were given more conventional longarms. Ultimately the doubles were released from service and sold for large game hunting use, some having either one or both barrels converted to smoothbore to allow a choice of shot or bullet. This is a rare, excellent original Jacob double-barreled rifle of 32 bore (0.524 caliber.) The barrels measured 24 inches and the gun?s overall length is 40 inches. The right barrel has had the majority of it's rifling contemporarily removed to allow use for shot/ musket ball. The left has all of it's original crisp rifling. Both barrels are clean. This weapon has had it's bayonet lug removed. It's sights are graduated to a very optimistic 2,000 yards. (The 6-inch-long rear leaf was so contrived that to use it at an extreme range it had to be fired from the chest). The rifle's cocking and double trigger firing action work perfectly as they should. It's wood work and metal is in superb condition with just the minor bumps & bruises on the wood to be expected of a weapon of this age. It's hammer plates are both crisply marked 'Swinburn & Son 1860' and it's patch box lid 'Jacob's Rifles'. The rifle is complete with original ram rod and sling swivels. Price for this innovative, historic piece which is one of only 900 made includes UK delivery. NB As an antique percussion rifle no licence is required to own this item in the UK if retained as part of a collection or display. Sn 7387.