The P1853 Enfield is probably the most reproduced military musket in the world. They are easily the most commonly encountered weapon on the modern Civil War reenactment battlefield. Yet, there has never been a perfect, 100% historically accurate Enfield offered by any of the big brands. Armisport, Euroarms, Pedersoli, and even Parker Hale reproductions all have their shortcomings; which is why David Stavlo build us this beauty - a nicely shaped and finished reproduction Birmingham contract P1858 Enfield; which is nearly perfect in every way.
David used an unfired First Generation Parker Hale as the base for this project. This accomplished two things right out of the gate. First it kept the cost down as it eliminated all of the "grunt work" (barrel inletting, lock inletting, etc.). Second, it also insured that the barrel dimensions would be correct both externally and internally as Parker Hale was the only company whose barrels featured both a properly profiled breech section and historically accurate progressive depth rifling (Parker Hale actually used original Enfield rifling machines to rifle their barrels). While the Parker Hale Enfields were beautifully made reproductions, they are far from perfect. Several characteristics of these muskets needed to be changed in order to reproduce a museum quality Confederate Enfield.
David began by replacing the lock plate with one of our custom-stamped 1861 Tower lock plates that he bone-charcoal color case hardened using the same methods that were applied to original Enfield plates. Our Tower lock plates are perfect copies of the originals. The incorrectly shaped Parker Hale Hammer was also replaced with a reproduction hammer that was cast off of an original and finished by David before being color cased to match the lock plate. The finished lock is stunning with beautiful engraving on both the lock plate and hammer with gorgeous color case.
The barrel was then "defarbed" by removing the modern Parker Hale markings and serial number, and stamping the proper Birmingham proof marks in their place. The barrel was then reblued to match the finish found on originals.. The addition of one of our machined rear sights completed the barrel work.
David then turned his attention to the stock - the heart of the musket. Parker Hale Enfields were the only reproductions to be made with historically correct English Walnut, however the factory stock dimensions are incorrect. David corrected this problem by re-working literally every inch of the stock. He started with the lock panels, cutting them in and shaping them with a rasp just like the originals. He then planed down either side of the butt stock to create the same flat sided butt found on original Enfields. He thinned out the forearm and reworked the entire forestock so that the incorrect Parker Hale Baddley-style barrel bands could be replaced with a set of correct Palmer bands that he heat blued and oil hardened just like the originals.
He finished the stock with a light coat of stain and several hand-rubbed applications of oil finish to make the it water proof. He stamped the stock with the enigmatic Confederate inspector's "JS/ANCHOR" as well as a host of other cartouches taken directly from an original Confederate-owned P1858 found in Russ Prittchard's book The English Connection. Original Confederate-imported P1858 rifles also featured engraved serial numbers on the upper tangs of their buttplates. David copied this features by engraving the number "631" on the buttplate using the same size and font of original guns.
David completed the work by installing and original Enfield rear swivel onto the trigger guard and a correct centered swivel on the front band. The finished product is a perfect reproduction of a Confederate-imported Enfield. The quality workmanship makes it far superior to any defarbed Italian musket and the period correct construction details like the progressive depth rifling and English Walnut stock put it in a class above even the most meticulously reproduced custom muskets.