German bellows rifle (breech loading)
German bellows rifle (breech loading).
This rifle came up for auction recently. The blurb was:
"Serial # NSN .28 caliber (7mm) smoothbore, octagonal 30-1/4” brass-lined barrel with ornamental adjustable rear sight and iron rear tang sight with adjustable elevation, 42-1/2” overall.
Barrel has a spring loaded pop-up mechanism with lever to open forward of trigger guard. Barrel pops open at breech when lever is pushed forward. Bellows action located inside wooden lid within buttstock. Bellows is operated by cranking open V-springs with heavy tension, held open by a sear mechanism, which, when released, force air into breech, forcing projectile forward, projectile is loaded at breech.
Complete with original hand-forged iron crank with turned wood handle. Mechanism is similar to that of a Wheellock.
Rifle features double set triggers and brass trigger guard with finger grooves, brass ramrod ferrules, brass butt plate, and matching full brass side plates on each side of breech, brass barrel tang and tang sight mount, and an iron hinge on forend, which opens when barrel is tipped up.
Walnut full-length stock with relief carved cheek piece with relief-carved sprig of foliage on stippled ground towards butt, followed by a small silver oval escutcheon, probably added later.
Large wooden lid on right side, which is fastened by three screws and has a brass escutcheon, through which the crank rod protrudes from the butt.
This bellows rifle closely resembles a Wheellock rifle, characterized by the finger looped trigger guard, heavy cheek rest, ornamental fixed sight and tang sight, heavy butt, full length fore-end, and double set triggers.
Rifle comes with documentation on the bellows air gun. These were probably used for indoor target practice and social shooting by wealthy people.
Excellent condition. Barrel with spotted brown patina and a hole drilled on each side about 1” from muzzle. Hinge, flip-up barrel, and bellow mechanisms all excellent and functional. Stock excellent with scattered marks from use. Brass furniture has aged to dark patina. The crank is excellent, with brown patina.
This is a very scarce and unique German rifle."