Benchrest rifle America /Utica about 1850

US-American benchrest rifle or slug gun by Ferris of Utica.

Extremely heavy, blued and eight edged barrel cal. .45 with makers signature on the left "FERRIS-UTICA-N.Y.". Color harded bayk lying lock. Half stock from American walnut wood.

So called "False Muzzle" with a stop before the telescopic sight made of brass which was to avoid an unexpected firing.

About these heavy benchrest rifles exist lots of stories from hunters and sharpshooters. Originally these weapons have been constructed and developed from hunting guns as sporting arms but later came in use as arms of sharpshooters during the Civil War in the US. With these guns sharpshooters shot enemy officers at great distances.

Development of such guns started at the end of the 18 century in the New England States when they were called "Turkey-Rifles", because one aimed at the heads of bound turkeys.

The official use of the first benchrest rifles began about 1835. As the barrels were very heavy the benchrest rifles always remained without a front stock.

For shooting they were laid on a bench or a sack of sand or another help. At this time these guns were already fitted with percussion and light trigger. The optics began with simple diopters up to the legendary telescopic sights with enlargement and double cross wires.

Total length is 115cm, weight 14kg.

Photos of "Arsenal.de" with my grateful thanks.