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DateOriginal Topic
14th May 2005Snider Carbine - Sling Swivel and sight cover
By Carl Daeche
I have recently obtained a very nice carbine MkIII dated 1870. Behind the trigger guard is a round ring sling swivel. There are no other attachments to the front of the rifle. Can anyone explain its purpose?

Secondly the rifle did not have the screws or the sight cover. Is there any contacts/companies making reproductions or supplying original screws? I have had no joy at Dyson.

Lastly I have seen some carbines with snap cap covers on chains from the trigger guard. Dis all carbines have this extra or only certain types?

I know I should buy the skennerton book but I have not got round to it yet? can anyone reccomend any others?

Cheers Guys
14th May 2005Coll

I'm guessing the ring at the trigger guard, instead of for a sling that attaches to the front also, is actually for the hook on a shoulder strap which is diagonally across a trooper's chest and holds the carbine at this position only, the carbine then hanging down at the trooper's side.

I think this ended up being changed because the carbine moved around too much, so a boot was created on the horse's saddle.

Look back at the topic Carrying Rifles On Horseback, if I remember correctly, somebody gives a better description.

14th May 2005Adrian Whiting

Is the ring on a bar that is mounted on the side of the stock, opposite the action plate ?

Does the underside of your trigger guard have a small threaded hole forward of the main bow of the trigger guard ?

Let me know, and in the meantime I'll check on a few details for you !


15th May 2005Carl
Hi Adrian,

the ring is mounted on the underside of the stock at the rear (but not part of) the trigger guard.

There is no small threaded hole at the front of the trigger guard - I have seen those to mount the snap cap cover chain. There is a little wear to the front of the main trigger guard but no specific fitting for the chain.

Thanks for your help Adrian and Coll.

16th May 2005Adrian Whiting

Noting that your carbine is a MkIII most likely explains why there would be no snap cap & chain. These were fitted to protect the nipple on muzzle loaders, so those on Sniders are on the rifles converted to that system. I do not think the MkII, as a new made arm, will have one fitted.

The ring mystifies me. All cavalry carbine Marks used the P61 ring on bar mount. Yours might be some form of local variation. From your description I anticipate that if slung, the carbine would actually hang upside down. The main variant on the P61 system that I have seen is that for the Witten (Martini) contract carbines for Rumania, which had fixed rings.

It makes me wonder if what you have is some form of convict guard adaptation, which through a chain to a waistbelt would make retention of the carbine easier, if it were grabbed. Although convict guard carbines were usually loaded with buckshot, they often reatin their rifling.

Hope this assists

17th May 2005Coll

Your last paragraph really interested me.

The description you give, being a 'convict guard adaption' involving a chain to a waistbelt is something I haven't heard of.

Was this used to effect during the AZW or around this era ?

Additonally, the idea of carbines firing buckshot evaded me.

May I ask if you could supply any more information about these two points ?


21st May 2005Adrian Whiting

Snider carbines were issued to Prison Guards. Given the role, the firearm was not required to be accurate over a long distance, and it had to be reasonably easy to carry, hence the carbine was usually adopted.

Since the Guard may have faced more than one assailant at a time, or may have literally been firing in the dark, the round issued for use was a conventional cartidge, but loaded with "buck and ball", a single large diameter ball supported by a few buckshot (in the same cartridge) or a plain buckshot cartridge.

Such rounds were also issued for sentry duty, notably in India. The practice extended to other rifles, including the Martini Henry. In fact there is a separate "buck & ball" cartridge for the MHR, designated .476" Indian Police.

In a number of cases the carbine or rifle was smoothbored for convict guarding duties, however this was not universal.

The Prison guards faced the issue of convicts seeking to grab a weapon off them. I say weapon because it also applied to other items that may be carried, such as bayonets or cutlasses. The latter two were often retained by a spring clip to the scabbard, a practice also adopted by the police ta the time. Retaining a firearm could prove problematic. It crossed my mind that Carl's unusual furniture addition to his carbine could well be for that sort of purpose.

21st May 2005Coll

Thankyou very much for answering my questions.

I was curious about the use of buckshot in the carbine, mainly because I had enquired in another topic if shotguns were used in any of the AZW battles.

Could this carbine have maybe been used in this capacity, with buckshot, at any of these battles, possibly in the hands of wagon drivers, etc., who weren't expected to be in a firing line, or even the best of shots ?

Also, about the ring at the trigger guard, could this have been used when the carbines were mounted on racks, with a single chain put through each of these attachments and locked with a padlock at the end of the rack for security purposes ?

This is just a guess on my part about the ring attachment's function.

22nd May 2005Carl

Thanks for the info on the ring. if hanging the rifle from it, it would certainly hang upside down. the ring is circular so I am sure that it was meant for a clip rather than any form of strapping.

22nd May 2005Adrian Whiting

I imagine that any retention arrangement would have used a spring clip onto a ring.


Usually any security arrangement would see a chain run through the trigger guard. It would not be necessary to fit a ring for that purpose I imagine.

The first pattern buckshot cartridge for the Snider was approved in 1868. It was for convict prison guarding and for the military for riot control. The MH equivalent was not approved until the 1880s, so too late for the AZW of 1879. I expect the motivation for the MHR round was when the Prison service received the rifle to replace the Snider.

I think it unlikely that Snider buckshot was issued for active service with drivers and supernumarys. It would have added to the supply complexity when ball rounds might as well be issued. Locally recruited drivers may have chosen to take personal shotguns, as Officers often did for hunting.


22nd May 2005Coll