Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

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Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby Gatofeo on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:47 pm

I just purchased, online, a Parker Hale-made 1858 Enfield 2-band muzzleloading rifle in .58 caliber. This is of the British Navy pattern, with 33" barrel.
I don't believe this rifle was ever fired, outside the factory for proofing.
The 4-digit serial number, British proofmarks under the barrel (BP under crown), PARKER HALE LTD BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND on the barrel all attest to it being a genuine Parker Hale.
The barrel has the progressive-depth rifling, authentic to the original Enfields. A cleaning patch starts tight in the muzzle, then becomes progressively looser as you approach the breech. This "choked bore" rifling was a feature of the original 1850s Enfields, which were just famous for long-range accuracy.
However, there is no Parker Hale cartouche stamped into the right side of the stock. My internet research indicates that this is one prime indicator of genuine Parker Hale.
When production of Parker Hale muzzleloaders ceased in the 1990s, the Italian bought the right to use the Parker Hale name.
Reproduction Enfields are still made today, but in Italy, with the Parker Hale name still stamped on them. Italian rifles have serial numbers larger than 4 numbers, and lack the British proofmarks under the barrel, or so I've read on the net.
Apparently, the only indicator lacking on this rifle is the Parker Hale cartouche stamped into the stock.
Did Parker Hale stop this practice at some point, or was it only done on the 1853 Enfield full-length muskets and musketoons?
My rifle looks 99% new, so I don't believe it's been restocked. This is an extremely well made rifle. My friends are envious at my find.
Incidentally, I picked it up -- without paperwork or box -- for $650. I felt that was a good deal, for a British-made barrel.
I know that's not an incredible bargain, but considering that the Italian-made Parker Hales are bringing $1,000 or more I think I did pretty good.
The lack of a cartouche stamped into the stock has me puzzled, though. Any thoughts?
"A vast desert. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment and metallic cylinders. The ugly cat is much amused." -- The quantrains of Gatodamus (1503-1566)


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Re: Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby Captchee on Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:19 pm

I wish I could answer your question . Maybe someone else here can .
What I can sadly tell you though is that you cannot trust barrel markings as an indicator of a gun being original or not . In fact when it comes to muzzle loading guns , I even suspect serial numbers . Even when you know what your looking at , you still can get burned .
The reason for this isn’t just unscrupulous sellers .
In todays muzzle loading market , for a lot of folks , the big deal is recreating originals as closely as possible . For many re-enactors they want authenticity . I cant tell you the number of times I have turned down work because someone wants me to actually place 17-19th complete markings on the barrels locks and parts . Seems like more and more re-enactors from F&I war all the way through US civil war want the correct markings placed on the guns . Many go so far as to want the guns aged . We arnt talking just a tarnish here . They want the gun to look like its 200 years old and seen a hard life , pealing lacquer, dents dings pitting rust and all
I actually had a customer one time want me to build him a NW trade gun . Then purposely break the stock and do a period repair .
Personally I will not do such things because some time down the road , an unknowing person will end up thinking they have purchase something that they have not .

So the big question I would put to you is , why is the gun in such good condition ?
Does that reason make since to you ?
Have a qualified collector look at the gun , evaluate it . Even then , frankly you just never know.
the case could very well be you have an original . after the fall of the USSR the market was full of 19th century millitarty arms in all manor of conditions
Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will hold our land."
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Re: Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby Gatofeo on Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:49 pm

The condition of this rifle is not highly unusual, not in my opinion.
Parker Hale made replicas of the Enfields at its Birmingham factory from 1971 to 1990. It's not unheard of for a firearm to be given as a gift, then left untouched for decades.
Within my own family, my father bought a Model 94 Winchester new in 1940. He went off to war and gave it to my uncle, who didn't hunt and had no boys to pass it along to. It sat in his closet, unshot and virtually new, until 1971 when he gave it to me (I was 16).
As I write this, there's a Parker Hale 1858 Enfield like mine on Gunbroker.com that looks new. The seller said he shot it once long ago, after buying it, then used it as a wall decorator for years.

I know what you're saying about counterfeit guns, though. Seems like an awful lot of trouble to fake a Parker Hale replica of the 1858 Enfield, though, when you consider that they remain so available.
Fake an original 1858? Absolutely. But where's the money in faking a rifle that might bring $1,000 -- on a good day -- on the used market.

I respect your experience and counsel, however. No doubt, you have numerous Tales of the Unscrupulous to tell.

For whatever reason, I'm reminded of the guy who claimed to have the original hatchet that George Washington used to chop down a cherry tree, when he was a boy.
"It cost me a pretty penny, but only the handle and head have been replaced," he boasted.

Alas, I hope I haven't been taken. But even if I have, new Italian-made ones are $1,000 or so and the fit, finish and quality on this rifle are outstanding. If nothing else, I'll have fun plinking with it here in the remote Utah desert.
"A vast desert. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment and metallic cylinders. The ugly cat is much amused." -- The quantrains of Gatodamus (1503-1566)


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Re: Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby Captchee on Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:01 pm

myself there is a difference between an ORIGINAL and an original
IE a Winchester 1873 and the same rifle made by Winchester inthe 1970 .
are both originals ?
sure after all Winchester made both .
but when you say ; I have an original Winchester 1873 , very few are going to think of 20th century production runs .
But as you say , it’s a parker hale . Ok so if it truly is then eather you have a 1000.00 gun , or you have one that maybe worth more because it lacks the proper markings . Kinda like a stamp being printed wrong and then accidentally put into circulation.
I just cant say . a lot more research is needed
Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will hold our land."
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Re: Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby muzzlegun on Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:21 pm

Kind of bringing an old thread back regarding the Parker Hale cartouche in the stock but I have a Parker Hale 1853 that is on the way to me right now. Because of no cartouche, I was suspicious even though the fellow insisted it was Birmingham made.. I had the fellow remove the barrel and he took pics of the proof marks. It has the BP with the crown above and also has the crossed scepters. In between the 2 proof marks it says 31 Drams Black Powder, 577 Gr Bullet. It has a 4 digit serial number starting with 67. So perhaps it is possible that Parker Hale did not stamp their cartouche in all of them or else some got by without being stamped.


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Re: Parker Hale 1858 Enfield - Real Deal?

Postby Gatofeo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:01 am

Since I posted this thread, I have learned, from a post in another message board site, what purports to be a serial number breakdown for Parker Hale Enfields.
I can't vouch for this, but notes from others who own Parker Hales, who purchased them new when they were still being manufactured, would support this:

Parker Hale serial numbers, manufacturing runs:
0000 to about 9000 -- made in Birmingham, England
About 9000 to 14000 -- Birmingham barrels, rest of rifle made in Italy
Over about 14000 -- Italian made, entirely

My PH 1858 Enfield is serial 77**. It has the same proofmarks stamped under the barrel as are found on those known to be made entirely in England. It does NOT contain any Italian proofmarks or MADE IN ITALY stamped on the brass trigger guard.
Yet, it lacks the Parker Hale cartouche on the stock. This rifle is like-new and the stock is obviously original to the rifle. No, it has not been refarbed.
Based on what Muzzlegun wrote above about his own PH Enfield lacking a cartouche, and the closeness of his 67** serial number to my 77**, it would appear that not all PH Enfields received a cartouche. I don't believe this is too common, but probably not enough of a variant to interest collectors.
"A vast desert. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment and metallic cylinders. The ugly cat is much amused." -- The quantrains of Gatodamus (1503-1566)


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