Leonard Percussion Target - United States (1860)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Leonard Percussion Target Sharpshooter / Sniper Rifle.
Entry last updated on 10/5/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Leonard Percussion Target Rifle was one of several long arms used in the American Civil War for sniping and sharpshooting.
There were several major designs adopted for sharpshooters in the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the most famous of these was arguably the J.F. Brown rifle. Another competing design stemmed from Artemis Leonard and Leonard Percussion Target Rifle. Leonard arranged the Leonard & Sons gun-making firm our of Saxons River in Vermont and manufactured weapons from this location from the period spanning 1840 until 1860. With the arrival of war "between the states" in 1861, his precision weapon was in high demand.
The Leonard design was reminiscent of the J.F. Brown design. It featured a typical long gun form of the period with a long-running barrel and wooden stock. The forend was shortened under the barrel assembly which, itself, was oversized, octagonal in shape and of 31" length. The grip handle angled downward and contoured to the shoulder stock. The trigger unit was set in its usual place under the receiver. The key element of the Leonard gun was the optics set fitted over the gun and this ran over the length of the entire barrel assembly and action. The ramrod was set under the barrel, ahead of the forend, as it ran through a pair of channels securing it in place.
These guns were given a fine finish complete with engraving and some decoration, particularly the elegant shaping at the trigger guard. The action was of percussion cap with an exposed hammer and muzzle-loading of the .48 caliber bullet.
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