Jacobite rifles?

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StarnesRowan

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I was wondering if anyone has run across any evidence weathe the highlanders of the 45 carried any rifles at all. I know fowlers and muskets where common I also know that england and Germany where building rifles by this time.
 

TFoley

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At the Culloden Battlefield Exhibition centre, you can find examples of some very fine bladed weapons, including one of the pair of Brodie claymores made for Charles Edward Stuart 'Bonny Prince Charlie' and his brother Henry, but only ONE firearm from the clans.

Read - 'In the battle exploration zone large glass cabinets display the power of the two armies as weapons face each other across the display space. Alongside the muskets and swords sits a rather unique weapon, the blunderbuss. Rather than the sleek long muskets this gun is short and stocky and is probably best described as an 18th Century shotgun. The wide barrel allowed multiple projectiles to be fired towards the enemy. Upon the barrel is an inscription ‘Taken at the Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746 by Capt John Goodenough with 18 balls in it ‘ which adds yet more intrigue to this special piece.'

There is no evidence of any kind to suggest that rifles were part of ANY Scottish war effort. not only were rifles the province of gentlemen or of the aristocracy, there was no widespread use of rifles in the British Isles at that time, except perhaps for deer-stalking on the many great estates of the day.
 
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It seems even later, at the time of the revolution many in the UK were unfamiliar with rifles, ‘screw bores’.
English rifles are known back to the time of the Tudors, but still seems microscopicly rare
 

Tacksman45

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I was wondering if anyone has run across any evidence weathe the highlanders of the 45 carried any rifles at all. I know fowlers and muskets where common I also know that england and Germany where building rifles by this time.

Hi there,

This is a interesting question, and it is one that we have discussed in my Jacobite reenacting group as well as on our website. You are correct that rifles were being made in Britain and Germany well before the Jacobite era, however I am not aware of a source that specifically states that any Jacobite ever carried a rifle on campaign. There are many accounts, contrary to common belief, of Scottish Highlanders being more than capable marksmen if and when they could get their hands on firearms. The biggest issue with Jacobite troops being armed with rifles is the fact that guns in general were very scarce in Scotland during this era. The reason for this is that guns were something that required hard money to purchase, which is something that Highlanders generally had precious little or any of. During the 1745, most of the Jacobite troops would have been armed with muskets, however most of these were French and Spanish muskets that Prince Charlie brought over with him from France, and British Land Pattern muskets that were captured at Prestonpans. Fine English, Dutch, and Spanish fowlers would only have been carried by the privileged few who could afford them, and some captured Government issued muskets as well as pirated muskets and fusils from Spain, France, and Holland would have been carried by the fighting men of the individual clans. While it is true that English sporting rifle were made for wealthy English gentlemen, and a few of them would have likely made their way to Scotland, the chances of one of these falling into a Jacobite soldier's hands is unlikely.

However there is an interesting possibility about Jacobites and rifles. There was a small but highly unique gunsmith school in Scotland going back to the 1400's (you are probably familiar with the all steel Scottish pistol which was created to get around a dispute with the carpenter's guild in Glasgow) and from the 1670's up through the early 1700's an unknown number of what are known as "Scottish National Longarms" were produced in Scotland. What is interesting is that of the 28 of these guns which are known to still exist 3 of them are rifled! It is not known for certain if any of these gun were used in the Jacobite Uprisings, and it is questionable if even a Highland chief that was not allied with the English could have even afforded to buy one, it is just possible that a rifled one of these could have been carried by someone in one of the Uprisings.

If you are interested in Jacobite reenacting let me know if I can be of any other assistance!

Sincerely,
Tacksman45
 
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StarnesRowan

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If you are interested in Jacobite reenacting let me know if I can be of any other assistance!

Sincerely,
Tacksman45

I am definitely interested but I already have a unit to join. The whole reason I ask this question is I have a smooth jeager that was built on the pattern of one made in the 1740s-50s and didn't know if I would be able to use it.
 

Tacksman45

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I am definitely interested but I already have a unit to join. The whole reason I ask this question is I have a smooth jeager that was built on the pattern of one made in the 1740s-50s and didn't know if I would be able to use it.

A German smoothbore jaeger would in my opinion not be a suitable piece to carry for a Jacobite impersonation. The most appropriate firearms for this impersonation are early model English Long Land Pattern muskets and 1728 or earlier French muskets, followed by English "Queen Anne" pattern muskets, Spanish muskets, and Spanish escopetas. Unless you are doing a very wealthy impersonation I would avoid fowlers unless they are the relatively plain Dutch club-butt fowlers. If you are interested I can post a link to my group's weapons guidelines page. Also I would like to know about the group you want to join. Where are they located, and what events do they participate in?

Sincerely,
Tacksman45
 
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Unless you are doing a very wealthy impersonation I would avoid fowlers unless they are the relatively plain Dutch club-butt fowlers.

Sincerely,
Tacksman45

As I recall, at least one or two Scottish Herron Butt Fowlers were also captured from the Jacobite leaders.

Gus
 
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Gus, If you could find the source for that and give it to me I would really appreciate it!

I'm not sure if it is in the following book as I'm in the process of updating additional shelves for my library and it's buried in one of the piles.

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I checked the National Museum of Scotland and it looks like they are updating their online collections. When I find something, I'll be sure to come back to let you know,

Gus
 

Tacksman45

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I'm not sure if it is in the following book as I'm in the process of updating additional shelves for my library and it's buried in one of the piles.

I have this book and I will read through it again. If you happen to find out which page or which book that was in please do let me know. Thanks!
 

Rudyard

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Some Scots long arms where rifled & one known a breach loader. But the scarcety of such arms would I believe make it most unlikley many if any where remotely general. Pistols survive being more easily hidden but Scots long arms are so scarce only 28 or so survive known on earth, but pistols being easier to hide had a better chance ..plus by the 45 any distinctivly Scots S' hances would be getting old .. Having said that if you cobble up a pre 1700 example alterered to flint or ' English lock' & age it a bit it would pass muster .Ide say some no doubt would be about by then still. . I doubt any one could argue the possibility . It would be no less unreal than you or me still using a rifle from the late19th C . Iv'e made them just to hunt with and to appreciate them as a rare group of historical arms . I have that book but a way more usefull work is the booklet written by R W Savage & the late Claude Blair put out by Gooding's ' Museum Restoration Service' and titled ' Scottish firearms
was about 5 $ at most museums, I bought them at Fort Ti but 'Smoke & Fire 'will carry them Worth their weight in gold I assure you . Not sure if Smoke & Fire are still going
( It stands for Donlyns cooking she told me ) exelent service & listing all the events going
Regards Rudyard
 

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