VERY RARE, Transitional C1860’s Victorian English Beatley of Basingstoke Improved Patent .400 Calibre Swivel Breech Loading, Percussion, Internal Firing Pin, Black Powder Rifle. Sn 14573 - 14573
The Hampshire Museums and Archives Service in Winchester has a collection of billheads for the English Gunmaking Beatley family, For example, a bill dated 13 September 1834, was printed with the description:
London Street, Basingstoke
J. H. Beatley, Gun-Maker
Bell Hanger, Brass Worker, etc.
and Sole Manufacturer of Brownjohn’s Patent Cap Charger.
Percussion and other Fowling Pieces, with London proved Barrels, finished throughout on the most esteemed Principles. Percussion Caps, adapted for the above Chargers of superior Quality. Fishing Apparatus of all Kinds, of the best Manufacture. Articles of Brass Work cleaned and lacquered.
Agent for the Portable Oil Gas – fittings neatly and expeditiously executed.
Thirty years later, in 1864, Charles Beatley delivered a bill that advertised:
London St, Basingstoke
Gun Maker & Fishing Tackle Manufacturer,
Tin Man, Whitesmith, Working Cutler & Repairer of
Steel Trusses, Archery of Every Description, etc.
Percussion & other Fowling Pieces, with London proved Barrels, finished throughout on the most esteemed Principles. Percussion Caps, adapted for the above Chargers of superior Quality. Gun Powder, Shot, etc. Fishing Apparatus of all kinds, of the best Manufacture. Articles of Brass Work cleaned & lacquered. Gas fittings neatly & expeditiously executed.
Fitter up of invisible fences in parks, pleasure grounds, gardens etc. and wire working of every description, in brass or iron. Copper and tin ware, in every variety.
This is a very rare, transitional improved patent rifle by Beatley of Basingstoke. Little is known about this innovative breech loading internal firing pin black powder rifle. The rifle has a 29 ¾” octagonal barrel and is 47” overall length. It has a clean bore with crisp rifling. It has a block with post fore sight and block with ‘v’ notch plate rear sight. The top of the barrel is engraved ‘Beatley Basingstoke’. The underside of the barrel has black powder proofs. Its original Walnut stock with chequered panel wrist has a steel butt plate with foliate engraved extended tang. The action and trigger guard have quality foliate engraved decoration and the top of the swivelling breech block is engraved ‘improved patent rifle’. The breech is opened for loading by depression of a flat button on a lever on the underside of the action, this allows the breech to be swivelled open by sideways operation of the lever. A percussion cap is then placed on a nipple on one side of the breech chamber and powder bullet / ball and wadding loaded into the other side. The chamber is then closed using the lever. The weapon is cocked by pulling back its cocking lever which has the appearance of a traditional hammer. This lever cocks the internal hammer and is ready for firing. Its loading and firing actions work perfectly. The previous owner of this piece has compiled several internet sourced A4 size paper printouts covering topics such as ‘Gunmakers Of Basingstoke’, ‘London Gazette’ and ‘Census Returns ‘. The information, which accompanies this piece, although providing some information about the Beatley family and their connections to other Basingstoke Gunmakers does not shed any light on the Patent or origins of this rifle. The price for this very rare transitional rifle worthy of further research includes UK delivery. NB as an antique black powder rifle no licence is required to own this item in the UK if retained as part of a collection or display. Sn 14573