Eric from Iraqveteran8888 has a rare and unusual rifle with him in this video. He suggests that perhaps this gun could be referred to as the first true “black rifle” in history.
What he has is a Norwegian musket originally from the year 1774. The gun started out as a smoothbore flintlock, but was later – in 1841 – converted to percussion, and then in 1851 it was additionally manipulated to include better sights, a rifled barrel and a pillar breech was installed.
The stock was painted black – to preserve the wood? – and was the standard military weapon of Norway for many years.
The pillar breech improvement was invented by French Army General Louis-Étienne de Thouvenin in around 1844 to forcefully expand a bullet into the barrel’s rifling. This was done by forcing a flat bottomed conical bullet down the bore with a heavy ramrod until it came to rest atop the pillar. Then the bullet would have been given a heavy blow to cause it to slightly expand to tightly fit the rifling. This would have greatly improved accuracy and distance.
The pillar breech was effective and worked well for a while, until it was replaced by the Minie ball and later breech loaders.
This rifle fell out of favor with the Norwegian military when the breech loading, under-hammer Kammerlader came onto the scene, where the hammer was located on the underside of the gun. This feature helped preserve the shooter’s sight window as the smoke was blown down instead of up into the shooter’s face when fired.
In any event, this Norwegian pillar breech gun saw a lot of years of service and went through a number of conversions before being decommissioned and becoming the rare piece of firearms history that it is today.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.