In this episode Matt takes a look at a very special rifle, an 18th century breech-loader – the Ferguson Rifle.
Developed by Major Patrick Ferguson, a young Scottish light infantry officer, the rifle was heavily influenced by Isaac de la Chaumette’s breech loading system. The rifle used a threaded breech plug which screwed up and down to close the action.
Ferguson gained notoriety when he put on an impressive demonstration for senior officers on a wet and windy morning in 1776. As a result the British Army’s Board of Ordnance ordered his rifle into production and he was given command of a company of riflemen.
Ferguson led his experimental corps of riflemen during the 1777 Philadelphia campaign and fought at the battle of Brandywine. Sadly, Ferguson was wounded and his unit was disbanded. Ferguson recovered but was killed in 1780 during the Battle of Kings Mountain.
In this special episode Matt takes a look at a contemporary Durs Egg-made Ferguson Rifle and outlines the weapon’s history and how it worked before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of Ferguson’s breech-loading system.
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The Armourer’s Bench is a collaborative effort from Vic Tuff and Matthew Moss. We will be bringing you detailed examinations of historic small arms from around the world. We will delve into the history, use and operation of the weapons using videos, blog posts and high resolution images to tell their story.