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Rare Civil War J.P. Moore American "Long Enfield" Rifle Musket c. 1862

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Rare Civil War J.P. Moore "American Long Enfield" Rifle, c. 1862

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This is a rare early Civil War “Long Enfield” Rifle Musket manufactured by John P. Moore’s Sons in 1862. This particular rifle was formerly part of the famous John “Jac” Weller firearms collection.

John P. Moore established a firearms business as a gunsmith in New York City in 1822. Just prior to the Civil War, his sons George G. Moore and Henry T. Moore joined their father and the firm’s name changed to John P. Moore & Sons. A few years later, the firm was reorganized and the name was changed again to John P. Moore’s Sons. From 1838 until 1863, the company was located at 204 Broadway. That is the address of the company when this particular rifle was manufactured in 1862. From 1863 until 1879, the company was located at 208 Broadway.

The Moore “Long Enfield” are very sought-after firearms from the Civil War because of their rarity and because of the mystery surrounding their manufacture. George G. and Henry T. Moore, John P. Moore’s sons, were principally involved in importing firearms while their father was an actual gun manufacturer.

It is known that John P. Moore’s Sons was a major supplier to the Union Army of imported British-manufactured Enfield rifles. Indeed, US Ordnance records indicate that John P. Moore’s Sons sold 22,000 “Long Enfield Rifles” to the US Government. In addition, the company also sold 1,280 “American rifles, Long Enfield Pattern,” and 999 “Short Enfield rifles,” to the US Government during the Civil War.

Some historians believe that Moore’s “American” rifle muskets were assembled in New York from entirely foreign components while others believe the rifles were made entirely in Liege, Belgium. Most of the modern evidence, however, suggests that Moore’s Enfield Rifles were made in the US, using American-made components except for the Liege-manufactured barrels.

It is known that John P. Moore’s Sons purchased firearms components from both American and foreign makers during the Civil War and then contracted for their assembly. It is also now known that all of Moore’s “American rifles, Long Enfield Pattern,” used stocks made from American Black Walnut, not European Walnut.

Adding to the mystery is that Moore was the New York agent for Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company during the Civil War and it is speculated that some of the 10,000 barrels Colt purchased in 1861 were from P. J. LeMille of Liege, Belgium. Subsequently, these barrels were rejected by the Ordnance Department for use in Colt’s contract for the Special Model 1861 Contract rifle muskets. It is, therefore, theorized that some if not all of these Liege barrels were then incorporated into those Long Enfield rifles manufactured by Moore in the United States.

Ordnance Department records indicate that the US Government purchased 1,280 “American Rifles, Long Enfield Pattern” from John P. Moore’s Sons on the open market in 1862. All of these rifles were sold for $15.00 each, except for the last lot of 440, delivered on September 25, which were sold for $16.125 each. These 1,280 rifles were sold based on four separate orders as follows: June 27, 1862 order, delivered June 30, 1862, 240 rifles; July 4, 1862 order, delivered on August 6, 1862, 480 rifles; August 24, 1862 order, delivered August 29, 1862, 120 rifles; and August 30, 1862 order, delivered September 25, 1862, 440 rifles, for a total of 1,280 rifles, all delivered in 1862. These rifles were all delivered to Captain Silas Crispin at the New York Ordnance Agency.

The Barrel on this rifle measures 39 1/8” long and is round with a decreasing diameter from the breech to the muzzle. The top, rear of the barrel is flat for approximately 1 ¼”. The barrel exhibits a generally plum patina on the exposed portion with areas of old corrosion. The bottom, rear of the barrel has a “VI” hand-stamped assembly stamp. The top, rear of the barrel has a punch stamp with a line that aligns with another line and punch stamp on the tang. The Tang is broken at the screw hole but the rear piece is still present. The original Tang Screw is present and it has the matching “VI” assembly stamp. There are several stamps on the rear portion of the breech plug. The Front Sight base is present and is rectangular, which is brazed to the barrel 1 5/16” behind the muzzle. Evidence of the original three .25” wide grooves are present and the bore now exhibits a plum patina with pitting along its length.

The original Nipple Bolster is present and has a bottom profile that curves upward towards the rear, forming a flash shield. The bolster is flush with the lock plate surface and there is, correctly, no cleanout screw. The original Nipple is present and it and the bolster both exhibit considerable old corrosion.

The original Rear Sight is present. This rear sight is a tangent leaf, long-range style rear sight, which is similar to the British Pattern 1853 rear sight, and it remains solidly soldered to the barrel 3 3/8” from the breech. The right sidewall of the base, which measures 2 ¼” by 13/16”, is graduated from 100 to 400 yards. The right branch of the elevation leaf is graduated from 500 to 800 yards and there is a “V” notch at the top of the leaf graduated at 900 yards. The elevation slide is still present and it moves correctly. The Rear Sight Spring is present and the spring screw is also present. The Rear Sight exhibits a plum patina with evidence of old corrosion.

The original Lock Plate is present and measures 5 13/32” by 1 3/16” and has a flat surface with rounded rear profile. The outer edge of the lock plate has two lines. To the rear of the hammer is the Moore spread eagle facing the rear over an American shield containing an “M” with 12 stars in the upper section and six vertical stripes below. Forward of the hammer is the date “1862.” The original Hammer is present and it measures 3 ½” long with a convex outer surface. The thumbpiece has checkering in an oval border. There are remnants of the original scribe line engraving on the outer surface of the hammer as well as on the original Hammer Screw. The back, interior side of the Hammer has what appears to be a “JP” stamp. The interior of the lock plate has the matching “VI” assembly stamp. The original Main Spring is present and is still strong. The Main Spring is connected to the Tumbler by a connecting link. The Tumbler has sear notches for full- and half-cock. The Bridle is present and both Bridle Screws have unmarred slots. The Sear and Sear Spring are both present and work correctly. The Lock Plate and internal lock parts all generally exhibit a plum patina.

Both original Sidescrews are present and both have flat heads with single slots. Both screws also have the matching “VI” assembly stamps.

All three original Barrel Bands are present. The Upper Band has the mating number “22” stamped on the lugs. The original lateral machine screw is present as is the original sling swivel. The upper band assembly generally exhibits a mixed plum and pewter patina. The Middle Band has the matching “VI” assembly stamp on one of the lugs. The original lateral machine screw is present and it exhibits a mixed plum and pewter patina. The original Lower Band has the “22” mating number on the lugs and it also retains its original lateral machine screw. The lower band assembly also exhibits a mixed pewter and plum patina.

The original Trigger and Guard Assembly is present. The assembly is brass and measures 7 ¾” long by approximately 11/16” wide. The trigger bow is integral to the assembly. The rearmost extension of the assembly is secured to the stock by two single-slot iron machine screws, both of which have unmarred slots. The original Trigger is present and is iron. The rear Sling Swivel is iron and is attached to the guard assembly through the front branch of the trigger guard with a lateral machine screw. The Trigger and Guard Assembly has a beautiful burnt mustard patina.

The original stock is present and is made from American Black Walnut. The original Butt Plate is present and is made of brass. The Butt Plate measures 4 7/8” by 1 ¾” and has a convex rear face that is also slightly curved. The tang measures 2 ¾” and has a round end. Both original iron machine screws are present. The butt plate exhibits a beautiful burnt mustard patina. Both original brass washers are present and both have a dark patina. The original brass Forend Cap is present and it is still retained by its original copper rivet. The left side of the stock, between the washers, has a period “PB” hand carving. The stock has a few small with-the-grain cracks but no major cracks are noted and the stock remains structurally sound.

The original iron Ramrod is present, which measures 39” long. There are seven grasping grooves and a 7/16” long slot for a wiping rag. The Ramrod exhibits a plum patina with evidence of old corrosion. The ramrod secures tightly in the stock.

As noted previously, this particular rifle was part of the famous Jac Weller Collection and is so indicated by a brass disc that states, “WELLER / COLLECTION / PRINCETON, N. J. / 471.” This brass disc is suspended from a steel split ring that is attached to the trigger bow. John “Jac” Weller was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1913 and attended Princeton University. While at Princeton, the 6’, 195 pound Weller was a star lineman on Fritz Crisler’s championship teams. During Weller’s three seasons playing for Princeton, the team had a record of 25-1. In 1935, Weller was recognized as a consensus All-American guard. After graduating from Princeton, Weller stayed in Princeton, New Jersey where he operated a real estate and insurance business. A lifelong firearms enthusiast, Weller was an honorary curator at the West Point museum in the 1960s. Weller was also an author on military history, weapons and tactics. Weller was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. He died, tragically, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 81 in 1994.

This is a rare Civil War firearm manufactured early in the war and one of the very few American manufactured Enfield Pattern rifle muskets issued during the war. The rarity, coupled with the fact that it was in one of the premier private firearms collections makes this an historic firearm.

This rifle is an antique so it can be shipped to anyone. This rifle will also come with a historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.


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