Military Review

"The Prince's Carabiner" and "Monkey Tail" by Westley Richards

63

Frederic Prince's carbine


Military affairs at the turn of the eras. A series of articles about carbines of the US Civil War aroused great interest among VO readers. By the way, it was very interesting for me to work on it myself, although I had to shovel a bunch of English-language sources. But many VO readers immediately pointed out to me (and quite rightly!) That the topic should be continued, giving a description of similar species weapons, which at the same time took place in Europe. And ... I fulfill the request of VO readers!

Let's start with the fact that the 50-60s of the XIX century were peaceful in Europe. The armies are large, the weapons are standardized. Some promising samples were developed over the years, and their service life was calculated for decades. And no one was surprised at this. Everyone believed that this was how it should be! And nevertheless, new items appeared.


Frederic Prince's carbine, prepared for charging

So, in February 1855, the London gunsmith Frederick Prince patented an unusual system for loading a gun from the breech. The prince offered his rifle to the Artillery Council. In his trials at the High School of Shooting, he surpassed the rival Anfield musket (1853) in the same year. However, the Council refused to consider the possibility of adopting the new system, considering it too complex and expensive to manufacture.

"The Prince's Carabiner" and "Monkey Tail" by Westley Richards
Prince's carbine in .577 caliber. The photo clearly shows the device of the shutter mechanism


What was so complicated there and what were the advantages? The prince used a movable barrel, which opened the breech when moving forward and thus allowed a paper cartridge to be inserted into it.

Once the hammer has been fully cocked, the rifle is ready to fire. To charge it, the weapon had to be half-cocked. Then unlock the bolt handle by pulling back its curved part, which protruded beyond the guard of the trigger guard. Further, the shutter handle had to be slightly turned to the right, and release the two lugs that blocked the shutter. Now all that was left was to push the bolt forward along the short L-shaped channel inside the box. This opened the bolt, allowing the shooter to load the paper cartridge. After that, the bolt handle was pulled back and turned again to the left to fix the locking lugs. After that, the bolt handle, together with the protrusions inside the receiver, kept the bolt locked during firing.

It all sounds a little complicated, but in fact the mechanism worked quite simply: the trigger is half-cocked, the primer is put on, the handle is to the right, then forward, the cartridge is in the barrel, then the handle is back and left, the trigger is fully cocked and ... shoot!


Brandtube and scope

During the tests, the Prince's rifle was able to fire six shots in just 46 seconds, with 120 shots in just 18 minutes made by the Prince himself. The prince also fired 16 shots, aiming at a standard piece of stationery from 100 yards away. Trials at Hight also showed that his rifle had better accuracy than Anfield at 300 yards.

Unsurprisingly, as early as 1859, a group of prominent London gunsmiths, including Joseph Manton, Henry Wilkinson, Samuel Nock, Parker Field and Henry Tatham, approached the Armaments Council. with a request to reconsider his decision regarding the Prince's rifle.


The appearance of the Prince's carbine

Specimens have survived to this day with barrels ranging from 25 to 31 inches, most of which have three or five grooves. The rifles were produced in various calibers - from standard (for the British army .577) to guns for hunting deer and rabbit (.24 and .37 caliber). Due to the diversity of manufacturers, rifle scopes vary greatly, ranging from simple dovetail plate sights to more sophisticated ladder scopes, and there is even a series with folding aperture (ring) scopes.

It can be argued that by refusing to adopt the Prince's system, Great Britain missed an opportunity to get ahead in the field of arming its infantry. And again, it took a war for the rearmament of the British army to get off the ground ...


Westley Richards shutter circuit

However, if not for the entire army, then, at least for the cavalry, the British nevertheless adopted a carbine that was loaded from the breech. It was Westley Richards' famous monkey tail, which appeared in 1861 and produced 21 copies. 000 were produced by Westley Richards himself and 2 by the state arsenal in Enfield. Many thousands more were made for the civilian market and for export to other countries.


Westley Richards open bolt carbine. Apparently, because of such a strange handle, he got his unusual nickname ...

History it began ... as early as 1812, when William Westley Richards, Sr. founded a firearms company that quickly became famous for its excellent craftsmanship and innovative design. When his eldest son Westley Richards joined the company in 1840, she found a creative genius in him that elevated it to the status of "London's Best Gunsmiths". Prolific Inventor: Westley Richards received seventeen patents from the British government in 32 years. The most famous of these was the breech loading system, informally called the "monkey tail".

Note: Monkey tail is a stable English expression for something with a curl at the end.


"Monkey's tail" on the tail ... not similar. The shut-off piston of the bolt, made of copper, is clearly visible

As with the American Joslyn rifle, the fancy nickname comes from the elongated bolt handle that was recessed into the top of the frame behind the trigger. While the hammer is not cocked, you can raise the lever up, and thus open the breech of the barrel. The shooter inserted a paper cartridge with a felt tray and lowered the "monkey's tail". In this case, the bolt piston pushed the cartridge into the bore and closed it. The hammer is cocked, the capsule is put on the hose, and the carbine is ready to fire. As an additional safety measure to ensure that the bolt remains closed, the bolt was designed in such a way that the pressure of the powder gases in the barrel, when fired, moved the piston backwards, while also blocking the bolt.


Westley Richars carbine, adopted by the British army

Richards' innovative approach was also associated with the polygonal rifling system proposed by the industrialist Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who developed it in collaboration with Joseph Whitworth, a famous artillery engineer who ordered his first "sniper" rifles from Westley Richards. The only difference was that Whitworth's rifled barrel was hexagonal, Brunel's was octagonal, and it becomes more and more twisted from the breech to the muzzle. Like Whitworth's rifling, Brunel had twice the traverse speed of his contemporaries - one revolution per 20 inches. But unlike the Whitworth rifle, which needed a six-sided bullet, Richards rifles fired conventional cylindrical bullets that pressed into the rifling and slid along the surface of the octagonal barrel. And then it happened that Richards asked Brunel, who did not like to get involved with patents, would he allow him to use Whitworth's patent in his rifles? Brunel agreed, and Richards stamped Whitworth's patent on their barrels. It was a cunning business move, since by this time everyone already knew about the amazing accuracy of the Whitworth rifle.


Westley Richards carbine chambered in 1869 metal cartridge. In this sample, the bolt was lowered by a lever "flowing around" the trigger bracket

The British War Office was not prepared to give up its 1853 Enfield Pattern 1853 Rifled Musket / Pattern 1853 Enfield / P53 Enfield / Enfield Rifled Musket. But it nevertheless ordered two thousand 19-inch monkey-tail carbines for the 10th and 18th Hussars and the 6th Dragoon Guards Regiment. And nineteen thousand 20-inch carbines, intended for the Yeomenri regiments and the colonial cavalry, were produced at the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) in Enfield (United Kingdom).

Then he received an order for two thousand 36-inch rifles from Montreal. Equipped with bayonets, they were intended to suppress the Fenian uprising in Canada.
The company received an even more substantial order from Portugal, where it sold another twelve thousand rifles, carbines and monkey-tail pistols.


Westley Richards 39-inch rifle, 1881 side-lever

Westley Richards' Monkey Tail continued to hold its ground even after unitary rounds made percussion primers obsolete. Thus, rifles with a 24-inch barrel became popular among the Boers in the 1880s. Unable to purchase metal cartridges, the Boers used homemade black powder cartridges, and in extreme cases, they could even be loaded from the muzzle! The Boers themselves believed that their accuracy was quite consistent with the new Martini-Henry rifles used by the British.

Westley Richards himself wrote:

“Boer boys are said to learn to shoot at an early age and are not considered skilled until they can hit a hen's egg 100 yards away with a monkey tail rifle.

It's hard to say which is more: truth or advertising, but in any case, how many years these rifles have been used speaks volumes.


Boer Archers, many of whom have fired Westley Richards rifles for decades!
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  1. Hunter 2
    Hunter 2 14 November 2020 05: 39
    +8
    Vyacheslav Olegovich hi we are tired of waiting for you! Great Article! Although I had to read with a "calculator" belay , it's not scary - write More fellow
    1. kalibr
      14 November 2020 08: 02
      +8
      Alexei! Glad you like it. I remember that you seem to have written about the translation of their measures into ours ... But ... it does not work, especially now, after an illness. The weakness is such that you simply cannot sit an extra minute at the computer. Now two materials are already ready on the revolving carbines of the USA in 1835 - 1865, so there will be something for you to read.
      1. Hunter 2
        Hunter 2 14 November 2020 08: 20
        +8
        Are looking forward to good ! They just intrigued me, I had a chance to shoot from the MTs 255/20 revolver gun, the happy owner of which is now my close friend! I wish you to recuperate as soon as possible! hi
        1. kalibr
          14 November 2020 08: 22
          +6
          Thanks! You have to eat caviar with spoons - ha-ha, so that won't be the case!
        2. Undecim
          Undecim 15 November 2020 23: 30
          +1
          revolver gun MTs 255/20, the happy owner of which is now my close friend!
          And what is the happiness of owning such a shooter?
      2. Catfish
        Catfish 14 November 2020 10: 30
        12
        Good morning, Vyacheslav! hi I am glad that everything is over and you are gaining shape again, to be honest, without you it was pretty empty here.
        We had some Westley Richards hunting rifles in the department and the workmanship and finish are amazing.
        Here, for clarity, I laid out a couple of his fittings, they, of course, are not from our museum, although ours are no worse, I just do not have photos.
        1. Hunter 2
          Hunter 2 14 November 2020 10: 38
          +6
          Quote: Sea Cat
          Good morning, Vyacheslav! hi I am glad that everything is over and you are gaining shape again, to be honest, without you it was pretty empty here.
          We had some Westley Richards hunting rifles in the department and the workmanship and finish are amazing.
          Here, for clarity, I laid out a couple of his fittings, they, of course, are not from our museum, although ours are no worse, I just do not have photos.

          Class good The caliber of these Elephant Breakers is interesting ... can you tell me? hi
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 14 November 2020 10: 43
            +9
            600NE (nitroexpress).
            1. Icelord
              Icelord 14 November 2020 11: 59
              +6
              That is, for a man weighing 90 kilos at least.
            2. Icelord
              Icelord 14 November 2020 12: 00
              +6
              Konstantin hi ... And it will be bad))
            3. Icelord
              Icelord 14 November 2020 12: 04
              +7
              I'm 475, shot. Never again. Exactly. angry
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 14 November 2020 12: 44
                +5
                I had no idea to try laughing , there was enough in the DShKM army, but at least there was a turret on the tower.
                1. Icelord
                  Icelord 14 November 2020 12: 47
                  +3
                  Who are these calibers for? For terminators? Or show-off, I have?
                  1. Catfish
                    Catfish 14 November 2020 12: 50
                    +8
                    Well, probably for those who like to shoot elephants with rhinos, but more such power is not needed at close range. Unless to punch armored cars in the First World War. laughing
                    1. Icelord
                      Icelord 14 November 2020 12: 53
                      +6
                      375 H&H above the roof, I'm so croco five meters almost through
                    2. Icelord
                      Icelord 14 November 2020 12: 55
                      +5
                      Shot at length
                    3. Lexus
                      Lexus 14 November 2020 18: 26
                      +8
                      Konstantin hi,
                      but for amateur masochists there are still 700 Nitro Express (17.8 × 89R) bully



                      1. cat Rusich
                        cat Rusich 14 November 2020 23: 43
                        +1
                        KS-23 and carbine KS-23M "Drozd" - rifle 4 caliber = 26,5mm, rifled
                        ks-23
                        Or TOZ-123 "Drake" smooth-bore for "civilians"
                        toz-123
                        They do not sell cartridges for them - they use 4-caliber cartridges for flare launchers or aluminum cartridges for aircraft "heat traps".
                        flare gun
                      2. Lexus
                        Lexus 14 November 2020 23: 57
                        +4
                        There, the main purpose is throwing grenades and shooting with buckshot. hi
                  2. Lexus
                    Lexus 14 November 2020 18: 37
                    +5
                    and 950 JDJ (24.1x75). They do not dare to smack them at all. fellow



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  2. vladcub
    vladcub 15 November 2020 09: 03
    +1
    With such a gun, only shoot at KAMAZ vehicles. And even better: I put it in the bulldozer's cabin and don't give a damn about everything.
  3. Lexus
    Lexus 15 November 2020 15: 08
    +1
    Glory hi,
    I immediately remembered Marvin John Himeyer. Sorry for the dude - he turned out to be really cool.

  4. Phil77
    Phil77 15 November 2020 19: 17
    +1
    Hello Alexey! Plot class !!!
    Chimeir-well done !!! A real human being !!!
    I respect !!! good good good
  5. Lexus
    Lexus 15 November 2020 19: 48
    +1
    Sergey, hello! hi
    MAN was really hounded. And he gave the last fight to the mockers. Nobody but him
    did not die. But his death was not in vain. The cement plant went bankrupt, the corrupt officials, following the investigation, lost their posts. This is simply impossible with us. Below is the audio recording that he sent to his brother on the eve of those events. It clarifies a lot.


    "If Marvin is your friend, then you can't find a better friend ..." (C)
  • The comment was deleted.
  • Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 November 2020 18: 18
    +3
    Beauty, no words.
  • Lexus
    Lexus 14 November 2020 18: 48
    +5
    Such, even regardless of the caliber, are only suitable for collecting. No words - just gorgeous. But any scratch or abrasion is like a "Faberge sickle". winked
  • hohol95
    hohol95 14 November 2020 22: 39
    +4
    I remember the film "Tremors of the Earth". There, a fan of "firing" shot from a similar "bang" at the creatures crawling out from under the sand in order to dine on a human!
    Burt's most striking weapon in the film is the William Moore & Co. double-barreled elephant gun. 8 gauge.
    Bert's elephant swatter (a William Moore & Co. 8-gauge double-barreled shotgun) was borrowed from a weapon collector. The shotgun was loaded with blank cartridges made to order from a solid brass rod.

    I am not a hunter and the Internet gives the following data 8 caliber is 21,2 mm ...
    Such is the small-caliber "cannon" ...
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 14 November 2020 23: 39
      +3
      Yes, I remember this movie, Bert and his survivor wife, ready for any kind of apocalypse.

      The mobile version of the elephant.
      1. Lexus
        Lexus 14 November 2020 23: 50
        +3
        All the same, shoot only in a family row to compensate for the recoil. wassat

    2. Lexus
      Lexus 15 November 2020 00: 21
      +2
      Namesake hi ,
      there was a larger "trunk". Monstrous Weft. I did not find details, only a photo.



      1. hohol95
        hohol95 15 November 2020 23: 48
        +1
        Mad Max nervously chews his toenails ... good
  • cat Rusich
    cat Rusich 14 November 2020 18: 21
    +3
    Crimean War 1853-1856 - Britain, France, Kingdom of Sardinia, Ottoman Empire against the Russian Empire. Austro-Italian-French War April 27 - July 12, 1859 - France and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire ... Not such a "peaceful" decade in Europe in 1850-60.
  • Mister X
    Mister X 16 November 2020 00: 12
    +1
    sold another twelve thousand rifles, carbines and monkey tail pistols

    hi
    Is there no mistake?
    There were also pistols?
  • Alien From
    Alien From 14 November 2020 05: 42
    +2
    This is work! Bravo!!!!! hi
  • Lech from Android.
    Lech from Android. 14 November 2020 05: 50
    +2
    When I read such articles about rarities, it is as if you are imbued with the spirit of history ... you remember all the famous battles of those years with the use of this weapon.
    Thanks Vyacheslav. hi
    1. kalibr
      14 November 2020 08: 03
      +7
      Quote: Lech from Android.
      When I read such articles about rarities, it is as if you are imbued with the spirit of history ... you remember all the famous battles of those years with the use of this weapon.

      The most interesting thing is that I have the same feeling when I write them.
  • The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 14 November 2020 07: 12
    +5
    All the same, how inventive and restless the human mind is in attempts to kill its own kind! What kind of tricks I have not come up with to do it faster, more accurately and at a greater distance.
    Thank you, Vyacheslav Olegovich. Waited for the weekend and your article!
    1. kalibr
      14 November 2020 08: 03
      +9
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Waited for the weekend and your article!

      There should be another one tomorrow. At least I hope so ... But the issue of publication is not in my competence. If you were in my ha-ha, you would read my material daily, or even twice a day. I would have bothered you ...
  • Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 14 November 2020 08: 10
    +6
    It all sounds a little complicated, but in fact the mechanism worked quite simply: the trigger is half-cocked, the primer is put on, the handle is to the right, then forward, the cartridge is in the barrel, then the handle is back and left, the trigger is fully cocked and ... shoot!
    1. kalibr
      14 November 2020 08: 23
      +9
      It is you who are making fun of me, Vladimir. I understood!
      1. Nikolaevich I
        Nikolaevich I 14 November 2020 08: 36
        +8
        hi Honestly, Vyacheslav ... it's not out of malice! This is a joke reaction to the statement that everything works quite simply ... something didn't seem to me! wink
        PS And be sure: We love and respect you! yes
  • Senior seaman
    Senior seaman 14 November 2020 10: 51
    +9
    Let's start with the fact that the 50-60s of the XIX century in Europe were peaceful.

    I would say very!!!
    1852-53. Turkish-Montenegrin conflict. Very "peaceful"
    1853-56. Great Britain, France, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire, together with Russia, are peacefully resting in the Crimea and in four other theaters of military operations.
    1859 year. Second Italian War of Independence. Participants France, Sardinia and Austria.
    1863-64 uprising in the Kingdom of Poland. You can say "peaceful protest"
    1864 Austro-Prussian-Danish War. The Swabians and Prussians "peacefully" fucked the Danes.
    1866 Austro-Prussian-Italian. The Prussians and the Italians, with particular cynicism, got hold of yesterday's ally.
    And that's not counting the regular incursions of "peaceful Europeans" in Asia, Mexico, Africa and other places.
    For the rest - peace on earth, but goodwill in men
    P.S. in fact, I am very glad that you are back, I missed you :)))
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 14 November 2020 11: 24
      +9
      These are all "little things in life" laughing , but that we did not have enough Shpakovsky, you, Ivan, are one hundred percent right. hi drinks
      1. Korsar4
        Korsar4 14 November 2020 13: 01
        +7
        "What do we have - we do not store, having lost we cry"?

        But seriously, you get used to certain things. This determines the way of life.
      2. Icelord
        Icelord 14 November 2020 14: 36
        +4
        Join
    2. kalibr
      14 November 2020 11: 38
      +4
      Ivan, from those wars that you named for the NON-INFORMATION SOCIETY of those years, the majority were somewhere there. One Eastern war was more or less significant, and all the rest were "so-so".
      1. Senior seaman
        Senior seaman 14 November 2020 11: 41
        +5
        Hmm, for the "non-information society" any war outside the outskirts ... somewhere there :))
        1. kalibr
          14 November 2020 11: 55
          +4
          That's it!
          1. Senior seaman
            Senior seaman 14 November 2020 12: 51
            +4
            But still
            50-60 years of the XIX century

            only we seem to be "deaf" and "non-informational". For chrono-aborigines, these were times of rapid progress in all areas of life, including information. During the life of one generation, steam locomotives, steamers, telegraphs, and many other technical curiosities have become commonplace. Circulation of newspapers and magazines increased from hundreds at the beginning of the century to thousands, or even tens of thousands of copies.
            1. kalibr
              14 November 2020 15: 46
              +4
              Ivan, I know. Moreover, I also had a cycle "The Poisoned Feather" here, where, in particular, it was told about the successes of Russian journalism at the beginning, middle and end of the 19th century. You can read it if you are interested ...
    3. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 14 November 2020 20: 50
      +2
      After the Napoleonic Wars, which upset all of Europe, these
      wars seemed like minor conflicts.
      1. Senior seaman
        Senior seaman 14 November 2020 22: 10
        +2
        Napoleonic wars
        who screwed up all of Europe

        ended in 1814.
        This is approximately like the 80-90s of the twentieth century, when Afghanistan or Chechnya seemed like real disasters, although everyone seemed to remember about the Second World War.
        In general, I mean that the 50-60s of the XIX century were not particularly peaceful, although they cannot be called very bloody either. These are normal years for Old Europe. Somewhere they cut someone, in another place they rob, in the third they persuade to take a loan :))
        The last quarter of this century was more or less peaceful for Europe. After the war of 1877-78, there were no major conflicts at all (except that the Serbs once fought with the Bulgarians, and the Greeks with the Turks), although crises happened constantly and there were fears that they could develop into an all-out war. Sobsno, it happened. But later.
  • Guazdilla
    Guazdilla 14 November 2020 12: 05
    +2
    It's amazing what they don't write about on Topvor. And even about the exotic, such as the Frederic Prince's Carbine. But now 3 days have passed, and no one has yet written anything about Kalashnikov Lushnikov.
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 14 November 2020 12: 46
      +7
      So why did it become - so write. hi
      1. Icelord
        Icelord 14 November 2020 14: 37
        +6
        No, then it’s better about the Pritz carbine. Interesting contagion
    2. kalibr
      14 November 2020 15: 47
      +4
      Quote: Guzadilla
      Kalashnikov Lushnikova

      What do you know about him? You know - share ... And I will tell you how to properly format the article.
      1. Icelord
        Icelord 14 November 2020 15: 55
        +3
        I, Vyacheslav Olegovich, don't know anything about Lushnikov. I'll go to the wiki
        1. kalibr
          14 November 2020 21: 22
          +2
          Me too, I don't know anything ...
      2. Icelord
        Icelord 14 November 2020 15: 58
        +4
        Tyuyu, at smoothbore 9mm, and Lushnikov, the former Minister of Trade, is responsible for sales
      3. Guazdilla
        Guazdilla 14 November 2020 16: 51
        +2
        There are few thoughts, but they lie on the surface.
        In particular, it's easy to post a video of the interview with Sivkov on Dentv.ru
        At the same time, the title of the article can be given a biting one, such as: "I would not sit down ka Lushnikov with "Kalash" in a galosh. "And to comment on just one moment that the system of St. Petersburg higher legal education has formed another creation in the person of the musician Lushnikov, who can silence the guns so that the muses speak.
    3. Icelord
      Icelord 14 November 2020 15: 59
      +3
      Shiyo is not new
    4. Icelord
      Icelord 14 November 2020 16: 44
      +4
      From, now I'm wondering. Does the civilian carbine fire in burst? Or a military smoothbore? Please clarify. Well, the constructor Lushnikov is also very interesting.
  • hohol95
    hohol95 14 November 2020 22: 42
    +2
    And in the Russian Empire ... Everything went decorously and slowly ...