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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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Model 1809 Potsdam Musket
Jun 22, 9:30 AM EDT
Model 1809 Potsdam Musket
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1504 Bids
Model 1831 Prussian Musket
Jun 22, 9:30 AM EDT
Model 1831 Prussian Musket
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$1254 Bids
Ramon Zuluaga Miquelet Escopeta
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
Ramon Zuluaga Miquelet Escopeta
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $2,500- $4,000
$2,0003 Bids
A FINE 18TH-19TH CENTURY MOROCCAN NIELLO SILVER MOUNTED FLINTLOCK RIFLE.
Jun 19, 10:30 AM BST
A FINE 18TH-19TH CENTURY MOROCCAN NIELLO SILVER MOUNTED FLINTLOCK RIFLE.
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £200- £300
£1801 Bid
A 16-BORE BRASS-BARRELLED FLINTLOCK BLUNDERBUSS SIGNED JOYNER, LONDON, no visible serial number,
Jul 29, 10:00 AM BST
A 16-BORE BRASS-BARRELLED FLINTLOCK BLUNDERBUSS SIGNED JOYNER, LONDON, no visible serial number,
by Holts Auctioneers
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0001 Bid
Ornate Afghan Jezail Flintlock Rifle with Inlaid Stock
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
Ornate Afghan Jezail Flintlock Rifle with Inlaid Stock
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $800- $1,200
$7001 Bid
Engraved and Carved M. Fordney Signed Smoothbore Flintlock Rifle
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
Engraved and Carved M. Fordney Signed Smoothbore Flintlock Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $3,500- $5,500
$3,0000 Bids
U.S. Harpers Ferry Model 1803 Flintlock Rifle Dated 1815
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
U.S. Harpers Ferry Model 1803 Flintlock Rifle Dated 1815
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $2,000- $3,500
$1,8000 Bids
H.N. Signed Silver Accented Flintlock American Smooth Bore Rifle
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
H.N. Signed Silver Accented Flintlock American Smooth Bore Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $2,250- $3,500
$1,9000 Bids
Two Antique Muzzleloading Long Arms
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
Two Antique Muzzleloading Long Arms
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$1,0000 Bids
British Parr Flintlock Officer's Musket
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
British Parr Flintlock Officer's Musket
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $1,400- $2,250
$1,2000 Bids
19th Century Brass Barrel Cylinder Reservoir Air Gun
Jun 22, 9:00 AM CDT
19th Century Brass Barrel Cylinder Reservoir Air Gun
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $950- $1,600
$7000 Bids
Lancaster Flintlock American Long Rifle
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
Lancaster Flintlock American Long Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$2,5000 Bids
Two Spanish Style Miquelet Firearms
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
Two Spanish Style Miquelet Firearms
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $1,400- $2,000
$1,2000 Bids
Flintlock Jaeger Rifle by Franz Xaver Schaschl of Ferlach
Jun 23, 9:00 AM CDT
Flintlock Jaeger Rifle by Franz Xaver Schaschl of Ferlach
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$2,5000 Bids
Carved Germanic Flintlock Jaeger Rifle
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
Carved Germanic Flintlock Jaeger Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,8000 Bids
A.C. Edge Contemporary Virginia Flintlock American Long Rifle
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
A.C. Edge Contemporary Virginia Flintlock American Long Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $1,600- $2,250
$1,4000 Bids
An 1807 Model Jagers carbine converted to percussion
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
An 1807 Model Jagers carbine converted to percussion
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €200- €400
€2000 Bids
An infantry 1842 model Augustin musket with bayonet
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
An infantry 1842 model Augustin musket with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €350- €550
€3500 Bids
An 1849 model Augustin Kammerbuchse with bayonet
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
An 1849 model Augustin Kammerbuchse with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €500- €800
€5000 Bids
An 1849 model Augustin Kammerbuchse with bayonet
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
An 1849 model Augustin Kammerbuchse with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €500- €800
€5000 Bids
French Model 1816 Saddle Ring Flintlock Musketoon
Jun 21, 9:00 AM CDT
French Model 1816 Saddle Ring Flintlock Musketoon
by Rock Island Auction Company
Est: $1,800- $3,000
$1,6000 Bids
A 1798/99 Model infantry flintlock gun with bayonet
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
A 1798/99 Model infantry flintlock gun with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €300- €600
€3000 Bids
A 1798/99 Model infantry flintlock gun with bayonet
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
A 1798/99 Model infantry flintlock gun with bayonet
by Czerny's International Auction House
Est: €400- €600
€4000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Antique Rifles: 1500-1850


Czerny's International Auction House

Czerny's International Auction House

Rock Island Auction Company

Rock Island Auction Company

Olympia Auctions

Olympia Auctions

Holts Auctioneers

Holts Auctioneers