The mid 1800s saw a great many single-shot breech-loding rifles arrive on the market. They often used falling block or tipping block actions and today stand proud as attractive, beautifully engineered and accurate platforms for launching a bullet towards its target.
Some were accepted for service use, while others were never more than sporting rifle actions. With the arrival of Mauser magazne rifles in the 1890s, these single-shot beauties enjoyed but a short period of dominance. In a market focussed on double rifles and bolt-actions, these mechanical masterpieces are frequently overlooked. They should not be.
Here, we have a rare example of the work that was being undertaken in the 1870s to improve on the single shot breech-loading idea.
The .577/.450 rifle pictured weighs 7lbs 14oz and has a 26 1/2" barrel with Metford rifling. It was made and proof tested for black powder cartridges. It is stamped, rather than engraved, with the words 'Duval-MacNaughton Patent No.23'.
While the metalwork is relatively plain and inductrial in appearance, the stocking has been done by hand to a very high degree of workmanship, it is nicely profiled and chequered, with a cheek piece and engraved heel and toe plates.
It has leaf sights up to 300 yards and a flat, filed rib.
The Duval-MacNaughton was a rival, put forward against the Martini Henry as a prospect to become the new service rifle for the British Army. Examples are very rarely encountered and it is likely that very few were made. The reality is that it was just one of many falling block rifles designed and offered to the public in the 1860s and 1870s and of them all it appears not to have been very favourably received.
Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on (modified )