POTD: Late 18th Century Ferguson Patent Breechloading Flintlock Rifle
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have the absolutely legendary Ferguson Breechloading Flintlock Rifle. This Ferguson patent rifle was manufactured by a London gunmaker by the name of Joseph Hunt. It is much fancier than its normal military models, but it works for a general overview all the same. These rifles were an evolutionary step in the flintlock line and were the creation of Captain Patrick Ferguson. In military trials, they were expected to fail since the day they were tested was a rainy, windy, and miserable day. All of that being said, due to their unique unscrewing breech and the breech-loading mechanism they worked basically flawlessly and were reported to be exceptionally accurate out to 200 yards.
“Originally invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson with intent for military use in 1774 and granted 1776 dated British patent number 1139. To operate, the knob protruding off the rear of the trigger guard is turned one rotation clockwise, which opens up the top of the breech end of the barrel, allowing access for loading of powder and ball; during a time when loading from the muzzle end with a rammer on a smoothbore musket was commonplace. In a combat scenario, the advantages of this system include the ability to reload drastically quicker, and also the ability to reload from the prone position in order to keep oneself from being exposed to the enemy, a feat near impossible with a muzzle-loading musket.”
Lot 1285: Ferguson Patent Breechloading Flintlock Rifle by J. Hunt. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/82/1285/ferguson-patent-breechloading-flintlock-rifle-by-j-hunt.