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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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A BRITISH STYLE FOWLER, C. 1750
Apr 23, 9:00 AM CDT
A BRITISH STYLE FOWLER, C. 1750
by Jackson's International
Est: $100- $200
$3759 Bids
KETLAND LOCK TRADE MUSKET.
Apr 17, 10:00 AM EDT
KETLAND LOCK TRADE MUSKET.
by Poulin Antiques & Auctions
Est: $600- $900
$3504 Bids
A JEZAIL AFGHAN MIQUELET LOCK ISLAMIC RIFLE, CA. 1816
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
A JEZAIL AFGHAN MIQUELET LOCK ISLAMIC RIFLE, CA. 1816
by Helios Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1003 Bids
A JEZAIL AFGHAN FLINTLOCK ISLAMIC RIFLE, CA. 1800
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
A JEZAIL AFGHAN FLINTLOCK ISLAMIC RIFLE, CA. 1800
by Helios Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1002 Bids
A German flintlock carbine, ca. 1700
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A German flintlock carbine, ca. 1700
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€2,2001 Bid
A Bulgarian flintlock rifle, ca. 1800
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A Bulgarian flintlock rifle, ca. 1800
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4401 Bid
CONTINENTAL WALNUT 70 CAL. FLINTLOCK, POSSIBLY 18TH CENTURY Length: 42 3/4 in. (108.6 cm.)
Apr 24, 1:00 PM EDT
CONTINENTAL WALNUT 70 CAL. FLINTLOCK, POSSIBLY 18TH CENTURY Length: 42 3/4 in. (108.6 cm.)
by Potomack Company
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
AN EN EIBAR FLINTLOCK SPORTING MUSKET, CA. 1813
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
AN EN EIBAR FLINTLOCK SPORTING MUSKET, CA. 1813
by Helios Auctions
Est: $2,000- $2,500
$1,5000 Bids
Ornate 18th Century Potsdam Arsenal Flintlock Rampart Gun
May 17, 9:00 AM CDT
Ornate 18th Century Potsdam Arsenal Flintlock Rampart Gun
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $5,500- $8,500
$4,7500 Bids
Silas Allen Jr. New England Flintlock Rifle
May 17, 9:00 AM CDT
Silas Allen Jr. New England Flintlock Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$3,5000 Bids
Engraved J. & J. Miller Revolving Pill Lock Rifle
May 17, 9:00 AM CDT
Engraved J. & J. Miller Revolving Pill Lock Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $6,000- $9,000
$5,0000 Bids
A German flintlock hunting rifle, ca. 1690
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A German flintlock hunting rifle, ca. 1690
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€2,5000 Bids
A wheellock rifle by Giovanni Battista Francino, Gardone Val Trompia, circa 1600
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A wheellock rifle by Giovanni Battista Francino, Gardone Val Trompia, circa 1600
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€5,0000 Bids
A long South German wheellock gun with fine bone inlays, circa 1600
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A long South German wheellock gun with fine bone inlays, circa 1600
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€14,0000 Bids
A South German wheellock hunting rifle, circa 1650
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A South German wheellock hunting rifle, circa 1650
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4,0000 Bids
A German bone-inlaid wheellock rifle, circa 1650
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A German bone-inlaid wheellock rifle, circa 1650
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€7,4000 Bids
A Tyrolean flintlock recoil target rifle by Josef Dünckl, Schwaz, circa 1800
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A Tyrolean flintlock recoil target rifle by Josef Dünckl, Schwaz, circa 1800
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€3,6000 Bids
A fine flintlock carbine with fire-gilt barrel, Johann Adam Knod, Carlsbad, circa 1730
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A fine flintlock carbine with fire-gilt barrel, Johann Adam Knod, Carlsbad, circa 1730
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€11,5000 Bids
A flintlock rifle with carved stock, Hell, Strasbourg, circa 1740
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A flintlock rifle with carved stock, Hell, Strasbourg, circa 1740
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4,2000 Bids
A German flintlock rifle by Juncker in Grumbach, ca. 1760
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A German flintlock rifle by Juncker in Grumbach, ca. 1760
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€1,6000 Bids
A South German flintlock rifle, circa 1710
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A South German flintlock rifle, circa 1710
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€12,5000 Bids
A German flintlock rifle, circa 1710/20
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
A German flintlock rifle, circa 1710/20
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€1,5000 Bids
An Italian silver-mounted deluxe miquelet rifle, circa 1710/20
May 16, 10:00 AM CEST
An Italian silver-mounted deluxe miquelet rifle, circa 1710/20
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€4,8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Antique Rifles: 1500-1850


Hermann Historica GmbH

Hermann Historica GmbH

Rock Island Auction Company

Rock Island Auction Company

Helios Auctions

Helios Auctions

Scollard Auctions

Scollard Auctions