Skip to content

Brown/van Choate Trials Rifle: Internal Hammer in 1871

This is lot #3221 in the upcoming RIA Premier Auction. It was scheduled for April, but has been postponed – check their web site for upcoming Online Only auctions every month, though!

Designed by Silvanus Frederick van Choate and manufactured by the Brown Manufacturing Company of Newburyport Massachusetts, this was a single shot rifle entered into US military testing in 1872. It has a number of interesting features – although that is not that same as having useful features. In particular, it has an unusual internal hammer firing system, which accounts for the dual triggers. The rear trigger is actually the cocking lever (opening the bolt will also recheck the hammer automatically) and the front trigger fires the rifle. This allows for manual decocting, albeit in a way that would be considered quite hazardous by today’s standards. Choate also patented a system for adjusting the friction of the bolt opening and closing, which appears to have been implemented in this rifle. This is a great example of an answer to a question nobody was asking…

Not surprisingly, the rifle failed to make an impression in testing, and only a handful were ever made. It did not see commercial sale.

Cool Forgotten Weapons merch!

Forgotten Weapons
6281 N. Oracle #36270
Tucson, AZ 85740

Leave a Reply