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Allen & Wheelock Drop Breech

Single-Shot Rifle [ 1860 ]

Production of the Allen & Wheelock drop breech rifle spanned from 1860 to 1871

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/26/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Allen & Wheelock Drop Breech Rifle saw limited service in the American Civil War and only then were they acquired through private purchase by soldiers and not as standard-issue equipment. As such, they saw limited production totals of no more than 2,000. This single-shot rifle was loaded through a dropping breech block system manually actuated by the trigger guard lever mechanism. A distinct feature of these rifles was their half-octagonal, half-round barrels. The Allen & Wheelock Drop Breech Rifle could be purchased chambered for a variety of rimfire-based cartridges including .22, .41, .42 and .44 calibers. Production of this unique rifle spanned from 1860 to 1871 out of the Allen & Wheelock facility at Worcester, Massachusetts.

The wood furniture, made of walnut, made up two key areas of the gun's design - the forearm and buttstock. The buttstock was capped by a steel buttplate with a crescent shape to fit snugly against the shoulder of the operator and housed a takedown tool. The forearm was set just ahead of the relatively short receiver and capped by a steel nose cap. A single band was fitted ahead of the nose cap around the blue finish hardened barrel. Barrel lengths could vary based on requirement and measured from 23 inches to 28 inches in overall length and clearly stamped with the Allen & Wheelock company marking. Optional loop slings could be added ahead of the forearm and under the buttstock. In between the wood components was the iron receiver which contained the critical internal working components. The trigger was fitted within a ring guard under the body and ahead of the straight hand grip and made up the lever needed to lower the breech block to accept a fresh round. The lowering action of the breech block automatically ejected any spent casing already in the chamber. The hammer was very identifiable at the rear of the receiver with its pronounced tang. Sights included a front blade as well as a adjustable V-notch rear, adjustments made utilizing a marked area with lever along the left side of the gun body - marked for elevation adjustments ranging from "0" to "10".©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

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United States


Single-Shot Rifle

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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)


Single-Shot; Trigger Guard Operating Breech Lever

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


.22; .41; .42; .44 (Rimfire)

Rounds / Feed

Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.

Allen & Wheelock Drop Breech Rifle - Base Series Designation.

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