M1807 Jeger rifle Kyhl’s flintlock
One of the gems in my collection and I have two almost identical ones – original and almost untouched M1807 model jäger rifle’s for the light infantry with Kyhls flintlock and the extremely scarce Hirschfänger bayonet, both probably produced in 1810 or 1811.
To start with the bayonet of the rifle, the original was either the M1788 or the cut down version the Dragon pallask M1750/91 where the basket was cut away and the blade shortened.
In 1801 there was mounted steel attachment on the side of the hirshfänger that fitted a squared cylinder on the left side of the barrel – a more than 1 kg bayonet sticking
almost 10 cm out to the side of the rifle. It was probably not very efficient as bayonet and must have made shooting difficult.
The hirshfänger as bayonet for use in Norway was ordered in 1810 and taken out of use already in 1830, then rebuilt back to the conventional hirshfänger and used as a sidearm for the infantry. A new bayonet was designed for the rifle in 1851, ten years after the rifle was converted to percussion and when it was just about completely obsolete. The M1807 was also fitted with pillar breech system in 1851, giving easier loading and better contact between the rifling and the bullet.
The M1807′s are lovely little 22 lødig rifles. The ramrod is brass tipped, all the trimmings are in brass, the stocks are in close to perfect condition and there has never been any significant rust on the rifle. Regretfully somebody at one time has sanded down the barrels a little, but except for that they are in just about in brand new condition.
The lock on this rifle is rather different to the more conventional flintlocks. The hammer lies behind the lock plate, so does the spring for the steel. It was the Danish “rustmester” Kyhl who invented the system, one of the reasons because it was cheaper in production having less parts than the conventional flintlock. Christian Wilcken Kyhl was the armourer (rustmester) at Copenhagen Arsenal and also invented a.o. a modified attachment system for socket bayonets.
The introduction of his new lock created enormous problems with the workers at Kronborg Geværfabrik that produced the locks. As the new lock contained fewer parts than the older flintlock, the pay was reduced accordingly per lock. In reality it took the same amount of time producing the new lock as the old ones and the workers thereby made less money. In 1807 a large arms factory was established in Wotka in Russia with an enormous need for qualified workers. A lot of the Danish workers therefor left Kronborg, thereby reducing the competence of the staff. In several ways the M1807’s was the beginning of the end of the high quality and good workmanship on Danish military arms.
The Kyhls lock was also supposed to have advantages compared to the older locks in regards to dampness when raining. I’ve tried to understand why this lock should be superior, but have not found any explanation. Please help me out here.
Very few of the M1807 exist today as original flintlocks here in Norway, the smooth bored one even has an “added bonus”: In the rear of the barrel you can scarcely make out the following in very faint engraving: OR J.C. I 55. This is probably the Oplandske gevorpne infanteri regiment that was established July 1. 1810 and existed until the end of 1817.
Within the regiment there was a “gevorpen bataljon” with a “jegerkorps” and this rifle could have belonged to jeger number 55. There was also a second “gevorpen bataljon” with its “jegerkorps, and a “national bataljon” with a Fronske kompani jegere.
As a result, newer rifle models often had larger bore than the older ones. The M1755 was 24 lødig, but this M1807 was 22 lødig.
The iron of the barrels was fairly soft and firering these guns eventually wore down the rifles. As a result, the were “trukket opp” (rebored or re-rifled) every once in a while giving them a larger calibre. This became rather a problem as it was desired to have the same calibre in the same unit.