The Lorenz Rifle was a rifle designed by Austrian Lieutenant Joseph Lorenz in 1854 for the Austria Empire. The Lorenz is also considered to be a rifled musket, due to the long barrel and the use of muzzle loading. The Lorenz was primarily used by the Union Forces in the America's Civil War which lasted from April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865, and was also, (but not as frequently) used by the Confederates.(CAK)
The Lorenz Rifle used many features from the existing Pattern 1853 Enfield. The barrel of the Lorenz used the same 1:78 twist rate of the Pattern 1853, but with a shorter 37.5in (0.95m) barrel. The barrel of the Lorenz was also bored in a smaller .54 caliber for increased accuracy (rather than the .58 caliber of the Pattern 1853).
The stock was almost identical to that of the Pattern 1853 Enfield, the major difference being that some Lorenz Rifle was occassionally given cheek pieces, which were carved into the stock.The quality of manufacture of the Lorenz Rifle was sporadic at best. Although the stock was made of walnut or beech, the barrel would be fitted to it with, occasionally, randomly placed barrel bands, sometimes ruining the balance of the rifle. Similarly the sights on the Lorenz could either be block or leaf sights.
The bayonet was fitted to the barrel using a quadrangle socket, which was more secure than the conventional triangular socket on the Pattern 1853. The sights were also made to accomodate the bayonet, giving the impression that the sights weren't fitted to the barrel correctly.
The Lorenz Rifle was chambered for the Minie Ball, like most rifled muskets since the Minie Rifle. However the Lorenz was bored in .54in (13.7mm), which was smaller than the typical .58in caliber of the Minie Rifle or Pattern 1853 Enfield.
A typical serviceman was expected to fire around 3 shots in a minute.
The Lorenz Rifle was primarily designed as a Short range rifle with no long range sights. Soon a Medium range version was manufactured with a tighter twist and adjustable sights for long range. The Long range version used an even tighter twist and long range sights.
Lorenz Pattern 1854 RifleEdit
The Lorenz Pattern 1854 was the standard version of the Lorenz Rifle, and was heavily based on the Pattern 1853 Enfield. The Short, Medium and Long range versions are all members of the Lorenz Pattern 1854 Rifle.
Lorenz Pattern 1862 RifleEdit
The Pattern 1862 effectively became a hybrid of the Pattern 1853 Enfield and the Springfield Model 1861. The lock plate was made to closely resemble the Pattern 1853 Enfield, while having a marginally thicker barrel to accomodate the bore of a .58 caliber Minie Ball, like the Springfield Model 1861 used. The Pattern 1862 was more consistent in manufacture than the older Pattern 1854.
The Wanzl Rifle was a coversion for the Lorenz Rifle which converted it to a breechloading firearm. This modification was prompted by the success of the Dreyse Needle Gun, and resulted in 70,000 total conversions.
The Austrian forces in the Second Italian War of Independence (in 1859) were the first to use the Lorenz Rifle in combat, where it performed well, despite the defeat of Austria. It would also be used in the Balklands. It would also be used in the Austro-Pussian War of 1866, where Austrian forces, along with German confederate states, would use the Lorenz Rifle, along with the Germanic Vereinsgewehr Rifle.
However the most notable use of the Lorenz Rifle was during the American Civil War. Over 226,000 examples were exported to the Union forces, with all of them being modified to fire in .58 caliber. A further 100,000 or so were used by Confederate forces, and remained in thier original .54 caliber. The Lorenz Rifle was one of the understated weapons of the conflict, being surpassed in use by the Pattern 1853 Enfield and Springfield Model 1861.
In the Austro-Prussian war was the last major conflict for the Lorenz Rifle, where it was easily out-performed by the Needle gun used by the Prussians. Despite the success of the Wanzl Rifle conversion, the brand new Werndl-Holub M1867 was released in 1867, replacing the Lorenz.