The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1680
  • Steel, snake-wood, antler, wood and engraved
  • Length: 114.5 cm, overall
    Length: 87.8 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.6 cm, calibre
    Weight: 3.933 kg
  • Stamp: Two initials, now illegible
    Inscription: 'VD. R 17'
  • A1104
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, with an octagonal barrel, the top plane incised at the breech with a sighting groove, on either side of which two initials have been stamped, now illegible, and at the end of the groove a mark resembling a halberd. Backsight with single folding leaf, blade fore-sight. Rifling of eight grooves.

    Lock with internal wheel. Lock-plate chased with flower and foliage over its entire surface. The ring-neck of the cock is engraved as a monster and the upper jaw with a similar reptile; cocking lever ending with a knob. The plate covering the end of the spring of the cock is engraved with a flower.

    Stock of dark snake-wood inlaid with ivory, showing on the butt hunting scenes with classical figures, boldly designed and unusually well executed; the background is occupied with foliated scrolls and tendrils, on the fore-end is a running design of hounds in pursuit of boar, bear and deer. Some of the subsidiary decoration is of antler. On the underside, by the rear trigger-guard finial, is an oval, ivory plaque inscribed in Gothic characters:

    VD. N 17

    Butt-trap with a cover of antler engraved with strapwork and a figure of Eve.
    The steel protective knob is missing from the butt-plate. Steel trigger-guard etched and engraved with scrollwork. A small, semi-circular plate has been riveted in front of the finger indentations. Trigger lacking. Wooden ramrod with antler tip and steel ferrule threaded to take a worm.

    German, possibly Munich, about 1680, the associated lock possibly either Bohemian or Bavarian.

    The lock is probably not the one originally fitted, as the stock shows signs of extensive alteration to accommodate it.

    The touch-hole, which is placed unusually low, is lined with white metal. The inlay of the stock is made of antler. Only the first two letters of the inscription are in Gothic characters, the remainder are in script.

    The mark on the barrel resembles N. Støckel, II, p. 1452, no. a 5047, which is tentatively identified as Munich. The same mark occurs on a wheel-lock rifle by Georg Müller with a stock by Hieronymus Borstorffer in the Pauilhac collection in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (no. M.Po.789; Reverseau, Musée de l'Armée, 1982, p. 101, pls. 18 and 19, and p. 172 numbered in error M.787).
    The decoration of the lock resembles that on guns made by Hans Keiner at Eger in Bohemia, but similar work was also done at Regensburg and in neighbouring Bavarian towns (Hayward, Art of the Gunmaker, II, 1963, pp. 127-8).

    B. Thomas considered that all the inlay was 19th-century (personal communication), but the extensive patching of the stock in order to fit the present lock suggests that the stock itself at least must be old.