Antique, Breech-Loading Flintlock Poachers Gun, Screw Barrel Take-Down Gun
Anonymous, circa 1800-1830
23.75-inch .45-caliber barrel, overall length: 42.5-inches
Screw barrel rifles were not common but were occasionally made for deer park hunting
[and poachers]. The British had quite a tradition of making various styles of breech
loading rifles for hunting beginning in the mid-17th century. This example is likely
unique, a one-of-a-kind item made to order and won’t show up in any book that we
know of. We did find similar designs (concepts) on pages 61 and 62 of D.R. Baxter’s
These take-down guns were designed to be disassembled to avoid detection when
traveling to a poaching location. Many poachers were after game for market sales rather
for their own tables. The hungry lower classes could not afford a gun such as this.
Poaching was a serious crime therefore avoiding detection by landowners and
gamekeepers was of paramount importance.
The square breach with cantered corners transitions to the round tapering 23.75-inch
barrel continuing to the swamped muzzle. The barrel is unscrewed from the chamber
facilitating loading; next…return the barrel to breech block, prime, and fire. These guns
(rifles and pistols) were accurate and powerful but slow loading, which was not an issue
for deer hunters on the big estates. The frame remains in excellent original condition; a
steel spring keeps the pan closed; sliding safety; action is smooth and dependable. The
detachable stock featuring low comb and steel buttplate has a small amount of blended
fill in the right side of heel. Well-made and excellent condition.