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M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle

(Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

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M1854/68 Danish Suhl Taprifle

(Suhler Tapriffel m/1854/68)

M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle    

(Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)

M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle

Danish Suhler Tapriffel M. 1854-68 w numbered bayo. CREDIT

M1854/68 Danish Suhl Taprifle - Photo Credit


M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle    

   A word about nomenclature:  Regarding Danish rifles, we have seen in the various literature Denmark’s rifles denominated a M.[year(s)] and as M/[year(s)] and a m/[year(s)] with no certainty as to the “official” Danish military designations.  Even quasi-authoritative sources (e.g., ) use multiple kinds of designations.


   For these reasons for English designations we have elected to use the most commonly used designation on this website, which is “M[year(s)]”.   When designating in Danish we will use:  “m/[year(s)]” .  Authoritative information on this issue would be welcome.


  Denmark is a comparatively small country (slightly smaller than the US states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined) situated on the Jutland peninsula, in Northern Europe, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east.  It is surrounded by water except for its 42-mile southern boundary with Germany and includes  some 500 nearby islands, of which only 100 or so are inhabited.  It was the Danish Vikings, who between 800-1000 A.D. conquered much of England.

  Although Denmark acquired substantial territorial possessions during its history, including uniting with Norway and Sweden under Danish rule in the late 1300s, Denmark was forced to give Norway to an independent Sweden at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and with that loss, most of its empire was gone.


  In the 1830s and ‘40s the desire for a liberal constitution spread throughout the populations of Denmark as well as its Schleswig-Holstein dependencies (Schleswig was a Danish dependency and Holstein a German dependency, both ruled by Denmark).  In January of 1848 King Christian VIII, the absolute monarch of Denmark, died.  This occurred  during a period of increasing liberal agitation across not only Schleswig-Holstein but all of Europe. The new Danish king, Frederick VII,  installed a new Cabinet creating a constitutional monarchy.


   Unfortunately, the new liberal constitution did not extend to the Duchy of Schleswig, which left the question of  Schleswig-Holstein in limbo.  The Duchy was then a region of Danes and Germans.  While a part of the Danish monarchy, it was a separate, self-governing duchy, separate from the Kingdom of Denmark.


   In 1848 the Germans of Schleswig and Holstein revolted against the Danish government which had been planning to fully integrate the duchy into Denmark.


   The Prussia and other German States supported the rebels but the Danes prevailed 1849, leading to the Treaty of Berlin (1850) reaffirming Danish rule, although not an outright merger with Denmark. Later, the Danish government’s violation of the settlement led to renewed warfare in 1863 and the famous Prussian victory in 1864 (heavily attributed, although perhaps not accurately, to the Prussians’ more modern Dreyse breech-loading rifles).  Denmark was forced to surrender the regions to Prussia and Austria, although,  ironically, in 1920, the people of northern Schleswig voted to rejoin Denmark.


  If nothing else, Denmark’s wars with the Prussians in 1848-50, and again in 1864, in which the Danes lost control of Schlessing-Holstein, taught the Danes the value of modern breech loading rifles.  To their credit, the Danes did not engage in the interminable trials undertaken by some of their contemporaries, but settled fairly quickly on the M1867 Remington Rolling Block rifle.  Being pressed for cash following defeat by Prussia, Denmark was unable to completely re-equip its military forces with new Rolling Block rifles, so conversion of its earlier 1848 pillar breech percussion rifles via the Snider system was concurrently pursued. 

M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

The M1848/65 "Tap" rifles (also variously  referred to as M1848/65 and M1848/66 rifles) were converted to the Snider system from Denmark's stock of the pillar breech percussion M.1848 Bagladeriffles ("rear loader rifles"). (A "tapriffel" is a pillar breach rifle.  Pillar breech is explained below under PREDESSOR & FOLLOW ON RIFLES at the bottom of this page). Such a rifle is a converted M1848, converted from percussion to use the first Danish metal cartridge in 1865, 17.5mm Patron M1865.  The rifle and cartridge were later used by fishermen to hunt seals. The conversions were accomplished at the Copenhagen arsenal between 1866 and 1868. 

M1854/68 Danish Suhl Taprifle (Suhler Tapriffel m/1854/68)

   The M.1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifles" (Suhler Tapriffel M.1854/68) were originally Prussian percussion muzzle-loading rifles manufactured in Suhl, Thuringia, Germany, once popularly known as waffenstadt Suhl (weapons city Suhl) because of its extensive gunmaking industry.  These rifles had been smuggled to the Schleswig-Holstein rebels, but after the failure of the rebellion of 1848, the captured rifles of this pattern were upgraded between 1853 and 1855 at the Kronborg armory and re-issued to the Danish Army as the M.1854.   Between 1865 and 1868 the rifles were subsequently converted to the Snider breech-loading system by the Copenhagen armory (Kjobenhavns Toihuls) and re-designated M.1854/65.

M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle  (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)

  The Danish Navel rifles have an interesting history that runs concurrently with the M1854/68 rifles.  These rifles were originally a group of five thousand pillar-breech, cap lock, .69 caliber rifled muzzle loaders ordered from Pirlot Freres in Liege, Belgium around 1847-48 by the rebel forces in the Germanic states of Schleswig-Holstein.  These rifles were originally referred to by them as the M1849.  After the failure of the 1848 rebellion and transfer of the rebels’ arms to Denmark, 2,540 rifles were adapted for Danish military use by being modified at the Kronborg armory between 1853 and 1855 to mount a double-edged hanger-bayonet, via a rarely seen side mounted bar reminiscent of British Brunswick rifles.  After modification they were issued to the Danish Navy as the M1853. 

   When the M1867 Danish Remington breech loading rifles were adopted by the Danish Army in 1866, Denmark could not also concurrently afford new rifles for their Navy and so elected to use a less costly breechloader conversion to the Snider system (most commonly seen as applied to the British Snider series, but the same system was also adopted by the Dutch as the M1848/67 Dutch Snider.  Like the Danish M1848/65 and M1854/68 rifles, these naval rifles were converted to the Snider system in Copenhagen in 1866  and subsequently officially referred to as the M1853-66 Navy Rifle (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/53-66).



  This version of Snider conversion found on all three Danish Conversion varieties features a substantial, right opening breech block locked by a rather large, solid button on the left side, a transverse firing pin struck by the original rifle’s hammer and original lockplate, and the breech block has a large gas escape hole in it, not found for example on the British Sniders.

M.1848/65 Rifles (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

1865_bagladriffle M1848-65 Danish Museum.jpg

Bagladeriffel m/1848-65 - Photo Credit Royal Danish Arsenal Museum

   These rifles were converted from Danish stocks of M1848 pillar-breech rifles.  The original barrels were fitted with a Dahlhoff rear sight, graduated from 300 to 900 alen (190 to 565 meters; 210 to 620 yds).  Early M1848 rifles retain the patch box in the right side of the butt, but later rifles do not have this feature, and many of the M.1848s were re-stocked, using the original bands and nose-cap.  Trigger guards and serpentine side plates are brass but the remaining mounts including bands and nosecap are iron.  The upper sling swivel is mounted below the center band and the lower swivel is mounted below the lower edge of the buttstock.  The M1848/65 Rifle accepted the M1848 socket bayonet, a conventional design locking with a simple ring.


   The first years after 1848, the newly produced percussion muskets were fitted with a steel box on the right side of the stock for patches and small tools but later produced M1848 rifles deleted this feature and, if re-stocked during conversion to M1848/65, this box was omitted


   In overall appearance the rifle does look generally like the M1848/65 Danish Snider version but with a somewhat bulkier feel due to it’s heavy brass barrel bands and nossecap and the quite prominent barrel band springs placed below the barrel bands.  The trigger guard and left side serpentine counterplate are also brass, with steel  the sling swivels situated below the center band and along the lower edge of the buttstock.  A bit surprisingly, the buttplate is steel and well-marked.


   The Snider System breech conversion is identical to that of the M1848/65 infantry rifles.


   This rifle also is fitted with the very distinctive brass Dalhoff curved rear sight with ranges calibrated from 300 to 900 Danish ‘ells’.


   Like many rifles of the era of its original manufacture (e.g., Austrian Wanzls and Belgian M1777/68 Terssen), but unlike the Danish M.1848/65, the walnut stock is manufactured with a very distinct cheek piece on the left side of the buttstock.

  The breech block locking lever of the Danish Snider consists of a large button (16 mm, .63 inch) on the left side of the breech block, which is particularly distinctive.  So too is the interesting Dahlhoff back-sight with curved leaf positioned immediately forward of the action in both infantry and naval models.  The Infantry rifle's barrel is retained by three bands, the center band also mounting a through-bolt which supports the sling swivel.  The metal nosecap is conventionally fitted back from the muzzle, to which is welded with a very small bayonet stud below and well ahead of the front sight.

  The barrel of the naval model, unlike that of the infantry version, is retained by keys, with a brass nosecap being fitted very nearly at the tip of the barrel, immediately under the long bayonet bar (a bar, not a lug or a tenon; see photos) welded to the right side of the muzzle. There is also a transverse bolt through the stock very near the muzzle which supports the upper sling swivel.  The lower swivel is mounted at the front of the trigger guard.   The trigger guard is brass with an integral spur similar to that of the M1867Austrian Werndl rifles produced after late 1869..  The nosecap and cleaning rod channel guides are also fashioned of brass as are the barrel bands, left side lock plate reinforcing serpentine and the buttplate.  The rear sight is a Dahloff  “grasshopper” pattern (see photo).   The Snider breech block of the naval rifle bears a close similarity to the later M1869 Dutch Snider.

M1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifle" (Suhler Tapriffel M. 1854/68)


M1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifle"Photos Credit: Michal Novotny

  Both the Danish M1848/65 and the Danish M1854/68 rifles are fitted with an unusual insetted, long, rectangular brass plate held within an iron frame.  This has occasionally been referred to as a base or foot for affixing a rear sight for long-range target shooting and also as a unit designation mark. 

M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle  (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)


   The European walnut stock has early 19th century lines and a prominent cheek rest as found on Jaeger rifles of the period, brass mountings, and a pin/key fastened barrel similar to the British Brown Bess.  That is, this rifle was produced without barrel bands as the barrel is pinned to the stock via three transverse keys.  The upper sling swivel is mounted transversely through the stock just below the brass nosecap and the lower swivel is mounted through the front of the brass trigger guard.   In addition to the nosecap and prominent Jeager style finger-rest trigger guard, the cleaning rod ferrules (two of them) and the buttplate are also brass.  Overall, this rifle really belongs to that generation of long arms produced in the early part of the 19th century and not the middle of the century.



M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle  (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

   Conversion serial numbers are stamped on the barrel and into underside of the breechblock on all Danish Snider conversions.


  "MD - 1848"  is the model designation of the pre-conversion muzzle-loading rifle.  "1857" obviously the year of manufacture and "818" the production number/serial number that year, so that "1857-818" is the rifle's complete serial number.


M.1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifles"

   The M.1854/68 rifle lockplates are marked with their original "Crown over SUHL, S&C to the right of which appears a large Year of Manufacture over a serial number, e.g, “1855/7433".  The serial number also appears on the left barrel flat (although it may also carry a conversion serial number as well), buttplate tang, trigger guard and on the nosecap; the cleaning rod displays the same year and the bayonet, if present will also be serial numbered to the rifle (year-number).  The breesh-block and counterplate will both be marked with a Danish Royal Crown as well as numerous smaller parts.

Suhl Danish Snider.JPG

Photos Credit:

M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval rifle:  The left side of the barrel as well as the brass serpentine lockplate support (counterplate), trigger guard, and buttplate all carry the serial number.   Ideally even the cleaning rod will also display this number but historically were often swapped around.. The lockplate is marked with the original Belgian manufacturer’s markings (e.g. “PIRLOT FRERES À LIÈGE”), and the top of the breech block and tang are stamped with the Danish Royal Crown.  The lower part of the buttstock may exhibit a cartouche just behind the trigger guard. The left part of the stock behind the trigger guard also may (but need not) display regimental markings.  As often found on rifles of this period, the Danish naval rifle  numerous Danish markings on metal parts, as well as on the stock.



  The Danish Snider is a rather close adaptation of the British Snider with a right-pivoting breech block containing a diagonal firing pin struck by the original hammer.  One element that will likely get the attention of anyone experienced with British Sniders is how solid, substantial and robust the Danish action is.  Its new steel action is noticeable heftier than it's British counterpart, with a more positive feel to it's action.  This seems to increase overall weight by some amount, but also feels like a worthwhile tradeoff.  Costs, however, may have been a factor for the British examples.


  Opening the breech block and pulling it back on it’s guide rod extracts the spent case via an extractor co-located on the guide rod and moving rearward with the breech block.  Like all Snider conversions, ejection is a simple matter of rolling the rifle over, tipping the case out of the receiver.

   Unlike the early versions of the British Snider (but similarly to the later Mark III), the Danish Snider’s breech is locked into firing position by a wedge, actuated by a thumb button, that locks into the left side of the receiver well.  The firing pin is free floating (not spring loaded) and, if it were not withdrawn, the breech would be jammed closed by the tip of the firing pin.  Retraction of the firing pin is accomplished by the camming action of the internal spur of the breech block locking button.  When pushed, an arm on the locking button cams the firing pin back, all of this taking place inside the breech block itself.  In other respects, operation of the Danish Snider is substantially identical to that of the British Snider

M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle  (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)


M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle  (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)



M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle  (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

  • Overall Length:  1,325 mm (52.15 in)

  • Weight, empty:  4.4 Kg (9.7 lbs) empty

  • Barrel Length:  865 mm (34.01 in)

  • Rifling:  5-groove rifling; RH, concentric

  • Rear Sight:  Tangent sight graduated from 300 to 900 alen (615 yds) (?)

M1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifle" (Suhler Tapriffel m/1854/68)

  • Overall Length: 1328mm (52.25 in)

  • Barrel length:  851mm  (33.50 in)

  • Rifling:  4-groove

  • Rear Sight:  Dahloff “Grasshopper” curved sliding leaf, sight graduated from 300 to 900 Danish ‘ells’     (615 yds) (?)

M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle  (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)

  • Overall Length:  1,180 mm (46.5 in )

  • Weight, empty:  4 Kg (8.9 lbs)

  • Barrel Length:  700 mm (27.6 in)

  • Rifling:  5-groove; RH, concentric

  • Sight:  Dahloff “Grasshopper” curved sliding leaf, graduated from 200 to 900 units, most likely Danish alen (125.5 to 565 m, about 138 to 618 yds)



  SPECIAL NOTE:  We have information suggesting the existence AND non-existence of both a short rifle as well as a carbine version of the Danish Snider, but thus far we been unable to find photos or additional information regarding either.  We would gratefully appreciate help from any knowledgeable persons.  Please contact us!


M1848/65 Danish Snider Infantry Rifle  (Bagladeriffel m/1848-65)

  The rear sights of the newly converted m1854/68 rifles are substantially identical to those of the M1848/65.



M1853/66 Danish Snider Naval Rifle  (Fládens Bagladeriffel m/1853-66)


   An interesting feature of the Danish conversions is that because of the differing histories of the rifles, all three of the main issued varieties have markedly and substantially different bayonets.  The M1848/65 Infantry Rifle accepted the Danish M1848 socket bayonet, a quite conventional bayonet that locks via a ring onto a small lug directly below the barrel above the cleaning rod.  The M1854/68 is fitted with a similar bayonet lug, but its bayonet locks to the rifle using a Kyhl spring attachment, while the M1853/66 Naval Rifle was adapted in around 1854 to accommodate the brass-handled double-edged M1852 sword bayonet.

Danish M1848 socket bayonet


M.1854/68 Suhl "Tap Rifles" socket bayonet

 Janzen asserts that this bayonet was manufactured by the Germans specifically for the Danish rebels. The bayonet is fitted with a Kyhl's patent locking mechanism.  It has an overall length of  565mm (22.25 in) with a full length triangular blade of 502mm (19.75 in).

Dane M1854-68 bayo. CREDIT

 Danish M1854/68 rifle bayonet, Photo Credit

M1854-68 Dane Bayo latch - CREDIT

 Danish M1854/68 rifle bayonet socket & locking mechanism, Photo Credit:


Photos Credit: Michal Novotny

M1853/66 Sword Bayonet



  The M1865 16.9mm Danish Snider, aka 17x28R (aka M1865 cartridge and aka 17.5x29R) is the largest rimfire cartridge ever fielded by any military anywhere and may be the largest rimfire cartridge ever produced.  This cartridge is another of the very early, relatively low power, large caliber rimfire rounds adopted for use in a converted muzzle-loader retaining its original barrel and is comparable to the Austrian M1854/66 & M1863/66 Wanzls and the early Swiss M1817/42/59/67 and M1842/59/67 Milbank-Amsler conversions.  


  The case is a straight sided, rimmed, copper design topped with a conical shaped lead bullet lubricated with grease grooves.   The bullet develops a muzzle velocity of about 325 m/s (1,065 fps) for the M1848/65 and the M1854/68 about 300 m/s (990 fps) for the naval rifle with standard ball cartridges.


  • Bullet diameter:  16.80 mm

  • Neck diameter:  17.87 mm

  • Base diameter:  17.94 mm

  • Rim diameter:  20 mm

  • Case length:  27.5 mm

  • Total length:  40.02 mm

  • Total weight:  460 grains   

M1865 Danish w .22_b.JPG
M1865 Danish w .22_a.JPG


  The M1848/65 rifles were converted at the Geværfabrik Kjøbenhavn,  between 1866 and 1868.  Denmark's M1854 percussion pillar-breech caploaders were, like the M1848s, also subsequently altered at the Geværfabrik Kjøbenhavn, but in 1868.

  About 1,100 of the 2,540 rifles which had been captured from the Schleswig rebels after 1849 were eventually also converted to the Danish Snider system, becoming the M1853/66, at the Geværfabrik Kjøbenhavn in 1866.  Like the infantry rifle, it too was chambered for the 16.9 mm, rimfire cartridge.


  None known, however and interestingly, the M.1854-68 rifles were later used in the period 1873-1885 in the Danish West Indian Islands (Dans-Vestindiske Øer.;  Danish Antilles or Danish Virgin Islands)



Predecessor Rifle(s):  M1848 Bagladeriffel

M1848 Danish.jpg

M1848 Danish Perkussionsriffel.jpg, Photo Credit:

 Pillar-breech rifles were smooth-bore muskets that were later rifled and equipped with a pointed pillar or stem on the face of the breech plug in the bottom of the barrel.  A Pillar-breech rifle relied on the ramrod forcing the bullet against the pointed pillar in the breech to expand the base of the bullet into the rifling rather than relying only on the force of the charge to do so.

Pillar Breech Cut-Away CREDIT

Pillar Breech Cut-Away, Photo Credit:

Pillar Breech rifle tang with 'pillar' CREDIT

Pillar Breech rifle tang with 'pillar', Photo Credit:

M1854 Danish.jpg
M1854 Danish Action Area.jpg

Photo Credit:

Note:  We have been unable to locate photos of the Predecessor rifle of the Danish M1853/66.  Our information indicates that the Schleswig rebel acquired rifles were then denominated M1849 and that this designation was altered to M1853 by the Danes post-capture, when the Danes made alterations in 1853 for to use by the Danish Military.   We would appreciate a source of photos of the original M1849, if any of such exist.



We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Søren Skovgaard Møller in assisting us with this page.  Also a special thanks to Michal Novotny for providing pictures


Gamle Danske Militaer Vaben (Old Danish Military Weapons) Th. Moller (Author, Illustrator), Host & Sons Forlag, 1963, 94pgs.


Sad Note:   I have been told by a Danish correspondent that the Danish government closed the finest arsenal collection of arms in Denmark and destroyed all the sniders and Remingtons in the arsenal.  I have not independently confirmed this, but I hope that it's untrue.

Page built September 9, 1999
Revised September 28, 1999

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

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