A Whitworth of One’s Own

Couple of very nice period Whitworths have come up for sale recently, and the outfit selling them has been kind enough to allow me to post the photos of them.

First up is target model. Whitworths were the rifle to beat in 1860s long-range matches and were competitive well into the 1880s in Britain, and longer than that in the Empire.


You can see here the tang sight for fine adjustment, as well as the pistol grip. Note the beautiful workmanship and checkering.

A look at the business end shows Sir Joseph’s distinctive hex bore, and since this is a target rifle, the globe sight with adjustable windage. For a muzzle loader it’s often easier to do a quick windage adjustment at the muzzle, since you have to upend it anyway to load. The folks selling it did an unusually good job of photography, and there are many more here, which you may enjoy for a while until the link goes bad.

There’s also a very nice Whitworth in military configuration. By that we mean not for the Confederacy but for the Rifle Brigade of the British Army, which used it briefly. What makes this rifle a bit unusual is that it was made by Whitworth rather than by the Enfield factory, which made the rifles used by the army. It may have been a special order for a private customer.

This one has military sights, three barrel bands, and a lug for a sword-style bayonet, which seems a bit excessive.

While the workmanship is typical Whitworth, it is much more spartan with no checkering or fancy sights.

The front sight is a typical military barlycorn sight, which would be a bit thick for ultra long range shooting.

The ladder-type sight is graduated to 1350 yards, with two different scales on the elevator—one for the hexagonal bullet and the other for the the cylindrical bullet.

More excellent photos here, until the link goes dead.

Both rifles, as you might imagine, went for a premium price.

Many thanks to Liberty Estate Services, LLC for permission to post these photos.






4 responses to “A Whitworth of One’s Own”

  1. Bryce a Suderow Avatar
    Bryce a Suderow

    Brett, take a look a book of letters written by a union sharp shooter. The title is “all’s for the best”

  2. […] Take it away, Fred. Let’s start with a rare and beautiful target rifle. […]

  3. […] Take it away, Fred. Let’s start with a rare and beautiful target rifle. […]

  4. […] the iron sights, for example, to the two Whitworths in a previous post—this one is quite simple. However the fit and finish is just as good, including the fine […]

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