Danish 1853/66 Snider Rifle

1853
  • Country: Denmark
  • Ignition System: Rimfire
  • Calibre: 17,5 x 28R Danish

This short rifle was originaly a pillar breech percussion rifle used by the Schleswig-Holstein rebels in the first Schleswig war (1848-1851). It is said that they purchased 2560 rifles from the Belgian manufacturer Pirlot Frères in Liège. These rifles were handed over to the Danes at the end of the conflict as war reparations. They were issued to the navy under designation m/1853 percussion rifle. Finally in 1866 a total of 1100 of these rifles were converted to the Snider system. The conversion is so close to the Dutch snider conversion that they must have been inspired by the Danes. It would be interesting to know if either the Dutch or the Danes performed these conversions under license from the Snider estate.

The rifle is configured in the general style of German jäger rifles including a pistol grip extension on the trigger guard and a raised cheek rest on the left side of the stock. The barrel thick walled and is rifled with five deep grooves. The calibre is 16,9mm (.66″).

The rear sight, called the Dahlhoff sight, appears to date from when the Danish first took possession of these rifles since the rear sight appears on other Danish rifles from 1848 onwards prior to conversion to the snider system. The sight is entirely of brass and closely resembles the sights used on Autrian Lorenz jäger rifles.

The muzzle has a long bayonet bar on the right side for mounting a very long sword bayonet with a very elegant leaf shaped blade.

The conversion as mentioned above is nearly identical to the Dutch conversion with a few exceptions, namely the locking mechanism is in this case entirely contained in the breech block and is actuated by pushing on the large button, a clever feature of this mechanism is that the action of pushing in the button also withdraws the firing pin backwards due to a camming action as the firing pin is not spring biased, this feature also means that if the firing pin got stuck in the case it could easily be withdrawn simply by pushing the button. The large hole in the breech block appears to be a weight saving feature. The extractor is a small claw extractor in the stle of the British snider. The cartridge, called 17,5x28R Danish, is a rimfire catridge therefore the firing pin is angled to strike the rim of the cartridge.

The rifle can be fired using specially adapted cartridges with have an off-centre hole in the base for a .22 or Flobert blank. The cartridge is then loaded as normal, when loaded one has to make sure that the blank is aligned with the firing pin when the block is closed. Using these cartridges and a suitable mould this rifle is the most accurate of all my sniders.