Replacing Whitworth Barrels in the 19thC

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The Whitworth rifle with its hexagonal bore set new standards in accuracy and in the early 1860s was used by keen long range riflemen in target shooting competition. By the late 1860s it was however being supplanted by other gunmakers using shallow groove rifling and hardened cylindrical bullets – notably Metford and Rigby. It is not uncommon to find Whitworth stock/lock fitted with such barrels as 19thC riflemen ‘upgraded’ their rifles, and over the years the original Whitworth barrel becomes separated.

I was recently contacted by the owner of one such Whitworth barrel enquiring if the Whitworth database held any further records. Luckily the owner of the original stock/lock, fitted with a Metford barrel, had provided information 10 years previously. Cross reference of serial numbers matched. Happily, and after gaining permission, the owners of the respective parts are now in touch with each other and can exchange information.