Feature Article

Three Mighty Scottish Rifles: Henry, Erskine, and Kennedy

Three Mighty Scottish Rifles: Henry, Erskine, and Kennedy
From top, the Erskine, Henry, and Kennedy double rifles all had stunning wood, and all made lots of smoke. In rainy weather and no wind, the smoke from the Henry completely obscured the target for at least 15 seconds.

We had the privilege of examining and shooting three double rifles from a private collection, all from the 19th century, and all being, for their time, reasonably powerful. They are that primarily because of their bore sizes. The test firearms were two 12-bore and one 14-bore double rifles, all by Scottish makers. The 14-bore was a Thomas Kennedy percussion rifle that took 500-grain balls, 14 of which make a pound. The other two were cartridge rifles, one by James Erskine taking a short 12-bore paper or brass case with a 0.735-inch ball, and the other by Alexander Henry, taking a 2.5-inch brass or paper case and a huge charge of powder behind a bullet of about 900-1100 grains, the bullet being either a grease-grooved bullet or one paper patched to fit the 0.770-inch bores. Prized collector’s items, they have relatively high values as shown. Let’s take a look at each in turn, oldest first. Read More

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