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Antique Rifles: 1500-1850

Early antique firearms from the 1500s to the 1800s range from flintlock and matchlock to percussion and single-shot rifles. In the early 1500s, the firearms used by Europeans expanding throughout the world were matchlock. The matchlock rifle was was what the settlers at Plymouth and Jamestown were armed with, and they were carried by Cortez in Mexico. Matchlock rifles were slow to fire and not very accurate, but were simple to use and could be a valued weapon in the right hands.

During the 1600s, the matchlock was largely overtaken by the more reliable flintlock rifle. Flintlock long guns were often faster and more dependable than the matchlocks they replaced. Both matchlock and flintlock rifles were well made from heavy metals and wood and these antiques are popular for collectors of not only firearms, but history.

The flintlock lasted until the late 1700s when the percussion cap was invented. Percussion caps were more reliable and had fewer moving parts than the flintlock and matchlock rifles they preceded. The percussion became a military standard, with some units like cavalry still using flintlocks for various specialized reasons. Near the end of the 1800s, the largest technological advancement in firearms was made: the metallic self-contained cartridge. This advancement led to rifles including the Springfield 1866 that were faster, more accurate, easier to reload, and supremely reliable compared to any weapon that came before. These single-shot rifles are very powerful and still used by hunters seeking an authentic experience.


Quick Facts

  • The Enfield rifle became the weapon of choice for the Confederate military in the American Civil war as they were smuggled in massive numbers
  • It wasn’t until 1540 that rifling barrels came into fashion. Rifles before 1540 are often inaccurate and were only useful in volley fire
  • The Crimean War was the last war to use only muzzle loaders

Recommended Items at Auction

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AMERICAN U.S. 72 CAL MODEL 1812 FLINTLOCK MUSKET
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
AMERICAN U.S. 72 CAL MODEL 1812 FLINTLOCK MUSKET
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $400- $600
$2604 Bids
A Brown Bess flintlock gun with bayonet
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A Brown Bess flintlock gun with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €700- €900
€7001 Bid
A .750 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK CARBINE
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A .750 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK CARBINE
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £1,000- £1,200
£5001 Bid
A RARE 0.66 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK CAVALRY CARBINE BY HENRY NOCK
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A RARE 0.66 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK CAVALRY CARBINE BY HENRY NOCK
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £3,000- £4,000
£1,5001 Bid
A RARE 0.66 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK VOLUNTEER CARBINE WITH ENCLOSED LOCK BY HENRY NOCK
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A RARE 0.66 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK VOLUNTEER CARBINE WITH ENCLOSED LOCK BY HENRY NOCK
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £3,500- £4,500
£1,7001 Bid
A CAUCASIAN FLINTLOCK RIFLE
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A CAUCASIAN FLINTLOCK RIFLE
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £1,500- £2,000
£7501 Bid
(A) ASSEMBLED FLINTLOCK MUSKET WITH SPRINGFIELD M1795 LOCK.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) ASSEMBLED FLINTLOCK MUSKET WITH SPRINGFIELD M1795 LOCK.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $500- $1,000
$2501 Bid
(A) US M1803/14 TYPE II HARPERS FERRY RIFLE DATED 1819.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) US M1803/14 TYPE II HARPERS FERRY RIFLE DATED 1819.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7501 Bid
(A) HARPER'S FERRY US M1816 TYPE III FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) HARPER'S FERRY US M1816 TYPE III FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
ANTIQUE BELGIAN FLINTLOCK RIFLE US IMPORT
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE BELGIAN FLINTLOCK RIFLE US IMPORT
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $400- $700
$1001 Bid
A 20 BORE NORTH INDIAN MATCHLOCK RIFLE
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
A 20 BORE NORTH INDIAN MATCHLOCK RIFLE
by Olympia Auctions
Est: £1,200- £1,800
£6001 Bid
(A) U.S. HARPERS FERRY TYPE III M1816 FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) U.S. HARPERS FERRY TYPE III M1816 FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Kentucky-style Full Stock Percussion Rifle
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Kentucky-style Full Stock Percussion Rifle
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
A .750 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK BROWN BESS
Nov 30, 10:00 AM GMT
A .750 CALIBRE FLINTLOCK BROWN BESS
by Antony Cribb Ltd
Est: £2,500- £3,000
£1,7001 Bid
(A) ATTRACTIVE LELAND SIGNED SILVER INLAID NEW ENGLAND RIFLE.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) ATTRACTIVE LELAND SIGNED SILVER INLAID NEW ENGLAND RIFLE.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $4,000- $8,000
$2,0000 Bids
(A) AMERICAN TIGER MAPLE STOCKED ST. ETIENNE MANUFACTURED MODEL 1763 FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) AMERICAN TIGER MAPLE STOCKED ST. ETIENNE MANUFACTURED MODEL 1763 FLINTLOCK MUSKET.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$2,6000 Bids
(A) FRENCH MODEL 1763 MUSKET WITH US SURCHARGED LOCK.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
(A) FRENCH MODEL 1763 MUSKET WITH US SURCHARGED LOCK.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
F.V. DREYSE, SOMMERDA. A MID 19TH CENTURY GERMAN 16 BORE TWIST ACTION COMBINATION RIFLE/SHOTGUN
Nov 30, 9:30 AM GMT
F.V. DREYSE, SOMMERDA. A MID 19TH CENTURY GERMAN 16 BORE TWIST ACTION COMBINATION RIFLE/SHOTGUN
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,0000 Bids
A MID 19TH CENTURY MANTON & CO. 577-450 SMOOTH BORE MARTINI ACTION RIFLE
Nov 30, 9:30 AM GMT
A MID 19TH CENTURY MANTON & CO. 577-450 SMOOTH BORE MARTINI ACTION RIFLE
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £800- £1,200
£4000 Bids
A 19TH CENTURY FRANK WESSON BREECH-LOADING TWO-TRIGGER RIMFIRE RIFLE
Nov 30, 9:30 AM GMT
A 19TH CENTURY FRANK WESSON BREECH-LOADING TWO-TRIGGER RIMFIRE RIFLE
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £700- £900
£3400 Bids
A flintlock miquelet gun by Antonio Romano
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A flintlock miquelet gun by Antonio Romano
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €400- €600
€4000 Bids
A fine flintlock gun
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A fine flintlock gun
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €700- €1,000
€7000 Bids
A fine flintlock gun by Barbuti
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A fine flintlock gun by Barbuti
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €800- €1,200
€8000 Bids
A beautiful miquelet lock gun by Vincenzo Sarli
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
A beautiful miquelet lock gun by Vincenzo Sarli
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€1,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Antique Rifles: 1500-1850


Morphy Auctions

Morphy Auctions

Antony Cribb Ltd

Antony Cribb Ltd

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Czerny's International Auction House

Czerny's International Auction House