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Argo44 Offline OP
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Edit Note: The current New History of Reilly is on p.54 of this line; the list of extant guns, dated is on p.44 - (the history is regularly updated and moved to the last page of the line)

Gentlemen, I am new. I am a Vietnam Vet, 2 tours, Special Forces, MACV-SOG and have spent some 25 years of the last 40 serving abroad for our country. I'm a gun enthusiast but not an expert. I recently bought an English hand-made EM Reilly, 12 ga. SxS hammer-gun shotgun after thinking about purchasing an English double for 25 years. The reason?

I served at the American Embassy in India for three years in the late 1980's. My landlord was Indian Army Major General D.K. (Monty) Palit, former chief of operations of the India Army (during the Indo-China War), Sandhurst in the 1930's, WWII Indian Army veteran, and noted military author. He was from an upper-class Indian family which had adopted British customs when it came to gun-sport (late 1880's on). He had 5 doubles on his wall passed down by his father and grandfather, I believe they were: a 12ga Holland & Holland, a 12ga E.M. Reilly, a 16ga possibly Army-Navy, one I'm not sure of and a 20ga. William Evans.

I had a CJ-7 Jeep in New Delhi at that time; he had the hunting permits; and we went out often in the Falls of those three years, hunting ducks, dove and quail in the brilliant yellow mustard fields of Uttar Pradesh on the Gangetic plain. He used his H&H; I used my Remington 870 - a pump - something he informed me one didn't do in polite society (I countered that in Alabama we might have a dog - here he had 5 shikaris and a couple of servers cleaning the birds and making duck-curry sandwiches - different places, different solutions). But the idea that I needed a SxS became fixed - even more so when he gifted my wife the 20ga William Evans as we left country. Since then I've held dozens of English SxS's. Nothing felt right.

Gen. Palit's books and obituary:

Then at a gun show in November this Reilly hammer gun just stuck to my hand. It was 6 lbs 1oz, chambered for 2 1/2; 30" Damascus barrels; twin triggers; no ejectors; with that beautifully slim upper stock and receiver back that comes with hammer guns - It was similar to the General's E.M. Reilly as I remembered it; Perhaps I had imprinted on that gun? But whatever It felt like a rapier, while everything else now seemed like battle-axes. The seller had about 15 guns from very high-quality makers. He said I was the only person ever to show interest in the Reilly. He insisted on my shooting it..I did and couldn't part with it..It had some imperfections; it wasn't pristine, had been worked on; I paid too much but it was my gun,

The Serial number is 34723. On the rib is the name and address of the maker, E.M Reilly & Co., 16 New Oxford Street, London. I believe this shotgun was made in 1898 and it is perhaps one of the very last guns produced at the Reilly store at this location where they had worked for 51 years before they closed it (to be explained in subsequent posts).

I'm by no means an expert on English handmade doubles - there are contributors here who definitely are. However, After buying the Reilly I've done some research. I believe the Reilly numbering system (for long guns - hand guns had another entirely different system) from at least 1830 to 1905 was consistent, always numerically ascending (with a possible break of some 5000 SN's when the Store was transferred in 1847 per below) and that there are enough guns on the internet and enough known events associated with certain serial numbers to enable one to get a pretty good idea of when an individual Reilly was produced, possibly within a couple of years. And I've discovered some erroneous information which has been widely disseminated (Brown's Vol 3 being one of them).

I thought I'd share some of these findings with this extremely knowledgeable group and with the SxS shooting community at large with a request: that owners of Reilly's post their guns on this line, including serial numbers, Company name and address as imprinted on the guns and patent numbers if possible, and photo. With this information available in one spot surely the chronology of E.M. Reilly Serial Numbers can be refined.

I'll add three moe posts - 1) History of the firm (including various patent dates); 2) Important "date marker" serial numbersed guns; and 3) a list of 100 Reilly guns with serial numbers I've found on the internet in serial number order.

L-R: Author; Patel (who made the duck curry); General Palit, in New Delhi, November 1988:

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

28 years later....a Reilly SxS in memory of General Palit:'

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 01/29/21 11:22 PM.

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Argo44 Offline OP
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First I’d like to go into who were the Reilly’s, the father Joseph Charles (J.C.) jeweler (actually silver smith) turned gun-maker and has son Edward Michael. There is a lot of speculation that the father JC and son EM were marketers rather than gun makers. I’ll disagree. Surely they were engravers (there are swords and bayonets with the Reilly name on them)(you can't be a silversmith without knowing English engraving). Yet there is a consistency to the stocks, barrels, workmanship. engraving, etc. that makes a sporting Reilly to me almost instantly recognizable. They appear to only put Serial Numbers on guns they built or which were ordered at their shops; they put their name on other guns they were marketing but not numbers.

The Reilly name was very well known in the 1800’s and their guns were regarded as not only well made, affordable, and beautiful but innovative. They attempted at least three times to win a British Army gun contract using other makers’ patents; 1853 when the Enfield was adopted, 1865 when the Snider was adopted, 1870 when the Martini Henry was adopted. (These trial dates are date markers for numbered Reilly guns per a post to follow below)…and to do so he had to have had “connections.” Their guns were modern (though one could buy a muzzle loader in 1880 or a hammer gun in 1905); and they sold every type of gun in their shops new and used; they were one of the first London shops to sell Breech loaders.

Reilly was not anonymous. They made guns for European kings including the King of Spain, King of Portugal, King of the Netherlands and Indian Rajahs. And, they were highly regarded in the gun world. They were the sole agents for American Sharps rifles (1880), for Comblain breech loaders (1867), etc. They sold used guns. They sold Tanter revolvers and other hand guns and he put his name on all sorts of guns which passed through the shops including at least one winchester, a Navy Colt, etc.


To illustrate, here is a quote from "Karma Express," a description of a trip on the The Deccan Odyssey, one of India's most regal luxury trains:

"Afterward, we were ferried out to the palace of the maharaja of Kolhapur, a late-Victorian pile in the syncretic Indo-Saracenic style invented by the British. It was designed by the English architect Charles Mant, although Lewis Carroll might have had a hand in it.

"The maharajas were great collectors of empire's bric-a-brac. The tomblike salons exuded a Dickensian squalor and were crammed with sambar heads and taxidermic elephants in full regalia, horse racing trophies, and stuffed fantail snipes. There were lamps with deer hooves for stands, electrically illuminated peacocks, glasses with boar-tusk handles, and beautiful English guns from the London firm of E. M. Reilly.

Last edited by Argo44; 07/14/18 03:54 PM.

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Argo44 Offline OP
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Chronology (cribbing shamelessly from trw99’s research and Roy Frossberg but adding some things): http://www.answers.com/Q/Where_can_you_f...on_serial_15346

1786 - Joseph Charles Reilly was born in 1786 in Granard, Co Longford, Ireland. At some time he moved to London.

1812, he married Martha Barkley (b.1787 in London) on 17 May 1812. They had a daughter, Elinor, and in a son, Edward Michael.

1814-1835 - he opened a business as a "jeweller" (goldsmith or silver plate - not sure) at 12 Middle Row, Holborn Bars and, as was common with jewelers in those days, he also part-exchanged, bought and sold guns. He held the Tenancy on this building from 1814 to 1835. (there is an engraving of this building from the Illustrated London News dated 1867. JC Reilly's presence at 12 Middle Row is confirmed by property records and London voting lists.

Note: I'm going to speculate. In the early 19th century Joseph Manton had raised gun making to an art form with elaborate engraving etc. I speculate that Reilly received guns from the Lawyers and country gentlemen around him to engrave...and this got him into the business...and that he began to market first pistols then went from there).

"Early in the present century, Messrs. Reily, gun makers, were established near Chancery Lane, in Holborn, where they enjoyed the patronage of members of the legal profession, besides an extensive country (gentry) connection Their premises were extensive, and afforded every facility for carrying on a large business. They adhered to the principle, that “It is not sufficient that an article be cheap; it must also bear the test of excellence.” (quotes from Wyman’s Commercial Encyclopedia) (1888).

J C Reilly guns were sometimes engraved "Holborn Bars”. Note: "Holborn Bars" likely refers to guns made at 12 Middle Row. This quote is interesting because it explains his connections: “Holborn was anciently of much consequence, not only on account of the many eminent people who resided here but because of the Inns of the Court (note: "lawyers") which graced both its north and south sides.”.” Holborn Bars used to stand a little west” … (Bar is a tax collection site…a road toll…there were six leading into London at the time on this road).

Inns of the court at Holborn, then and now:

See this site for a description of Chancery Lane and Holborn Bars and a woodcut.


Interpretation of the Woodcut with location of Reilly's store per a map on Ancestry.com:

Note in the engraving on the top of Middle Row that stuck out into and blocked the street; Reilly's store was there. Sign says "Holborn Bars." "Inns of the Court" in the background.

1816 - Edward Michael Reilly born to Joseph Charles.

1819 - He entered a maker’s mark at Goldsmiths Hall in 1819 as a plateworker from 12 Middle Row, Holborn. (Note: I've been unable to verify this; there is a John C. Reilly from 1818-20 with a silver maker's mark; Plate would seem to indicate he worked in silver. Every goldsmith's mark is registered but I have difficulty navigating the site. Somebody in London might research this.)

1831 - The Times newspaper of 5th January 1831 reported a burglary on the 1st of January at the same address, the premises of J C Reilly, gun maker and silversmith. The value of property stolen was estimated at ÂŁ150.

1834 - Note: Cannot find Reilly advertisements for guns in London newspapers before about 1834….here are two and they seem to concentrate on pistols:

-- London Morning Chronicle, 1 Sep 1834: GUNS AND PISTOLS.-J. C. REILLY has acquired an excellent assortment of SECOND HAND GUNS, chiefly In exchiange, for less than half their value…..

-- London Morning Chronicle, 15 Dec 1834: GUNS and PISTOLS.-J. C. REILLY is desirous of DISPOSING of an accumulation of' SECOND- HAND GUNS, received in exchange, at about one-third the original price…

1835 – 1847 - 1835 – 1847: JOSEPH CHARLES REILLY (known also as J C REILLY) was in business as a gunmaker at 316 High Holborn, London. Any Reilly with the High Holborn address must be 1835 to 1847

(Note: Several sources claim 316 High Holborn allegedly was the old premises of Joseph Manton; But Wikipedia reports Manton went bankrupt in 1826 and his shop on “Oxford street” was seized and his entire stock of guns were sold to Joseph Lang. He revived his firm temporarily 1827-28 it too fell into debt, and he spent 1828-29 in debtors prison - He died Jun 1835; Other sources claim Manton’s shop was on Dover Street in Holborn. So more sources are needed to support this assertation - unless Manton occupied 316 High Holborn during his attempt to revive his firm and stayed there till his death in 1835). Here are addresses for Manton per a manufacture of reproduction labels:

Joseph Manton
Davies Street, Berkeley Square, London
1795 - 1805

John Manton
6 Dover Street, London
1801 - 1815

Joseph Manton
11 Hanover Square, London
1812 - 1820

Joseph Manton
Marylebone Park House, New Road, London

-- Morning Chronicle, London, 14 Aug 1835: REMOVING.- JOSEPH CHARLES REILLY will be removing at the end of this month, to the spacious premises, 316, High Hoiborn, near Chancery-lane,

1835-47: There are hundreds of advertisements by JC Reilly in various London periodicals..almost daily.. including this one from London Evening Standard, 1 February 1839: “Pistols of every description, and a large Stock of Second-hand Guns by the Mantons, Purdey, Forsyth, &c. at half price. REILLY, 316, High Holborn, near Chancery-lane.”

See: http://www.genesreunited.co.za/searchbna/results?memberlastsubclass=none&searchhistorykey=0&keywords=reilly&county=london%2C%20england&from=1830&to=1839&type=advertisement&page=1

1838 - Name/Store: Reilly, Joseph Charles, gunmaker; 316 Chancery St., 8. High Holborn, Division II Holborn Bars, London; (John Tallis’s London Street Views, London Shops and Businesses 1838-1840)

1840 : Name: J C REILLY at 316 High Holborn mentioned as a ‘gunmaker’ in Blaine’s Rural Sports

1841 - Name: Joined by his son, Edward Michael as a partner; the 1841 census listed Edward as "Gunmaker." (Some reports claim that EM joined his father in the business in 1835 on the move to High Holborn, age of 19, which seem plausible at least as a trainee, possibly not as a partner).

1841 - In the 1841 census Joseph and his family were recorded at "Holborn (above the Bars)", both Joseph and Edward described themselves as gun makers.

1841 : Name: JOSEPH REILLY is mentioned in the poem ‘Shooting’ by Alexander Webber, published in this year.

1847 - Store: Opened 502 Oxford; See Reilly SN 8463. St.; aka New Oxford Street, London. A history of Reilly claims that EM Reilly kept his father's system of consecutive Serial Numbers when Oxford St. Opened and that he began with SN 8400 and by 1880 had reached about 20,000. I can find no evidence he cited, but from the below analysis and list of SN's, the author knew what he was talking about.

The opening of this store was likely in late March 1847…see below:

-- “The lease of these premises (Holborn) expired in 1847. The new road from Holborn to Oxford Street had just been opened affording an opportunity to obtain a new building situated in a fine central position, the leading approach fro the City to the extreme west end of London.” (Wyman)

-- London Morning Post, 13 Mar 1847: “GUNS, PISTOLS, and RIFLES.— REILLY, Gunmaker, 316, Holborn, near Chancery-lane.— The Lease of these premises will expire at Thursday next, and he is RE- MOVING to 502, New Oxford Street

-- See: London Daily News, 23 April 1847. “BLISSETT, gunmaker (formerly Reilly's), 316, High Holborn, near Chancery-lane.”

-- London Daily News, 30 Oct 1847: “Pistols of every description. Gentlemen going abroad, officers, and cadets, will find all their requirements anticipated in REILLY'S extensive Stock; New and Second-hand', 502, New Oxford-street, removed from Holborn. FRANCE, SWITZERLAND, ITALY. CONTINENTAL.”

Label on the case of 8464 i.e. "Removed from Holborn":

Print of 502 Oxford St. from a label in a case:

502 (16) Oxford Street today:

1850 : Book: E M REILLY published his ‘Treatise on Air Guns’ Trade labels advertised ‘Air Canes for Sale’

1851 - Exhibition: London Great Exhibition E M REILLY of Oxford Street exhibited guns (not just air guns either) at the Great Exhibition. He was known to have been influenced by the breechloaders shown by Lefaucheaux of Paris and was ‘overdone with orders’. the Reillys together with Joseph Lang and John Blanch were the best known promoters of centre-fire guns after the 1851 Great Exhibition (see below catalogue).

Great Exhibition catalogue entry #237 (right below #236 Rigby): “Reilly, E.M. New Oxford St.; Manu — Improved guns, rifles, pistols, air guns, etc. (comment" J.C. is not mentioned in this catalogue).

“Messrs. Reilly first exhibited the now popular “Breech-Loaders” in the World’s Fair of 1851, but the sporting public had not then discovered the great advantages of the system. About this period or a few years later, Messrs. Reilly received favorable reports of their breech-loaders from a few unprejudiced sportsmen. “The quickness of loading is wonderful; the new gun kills as well as my old ones.” (Wyman)

1851 - British Army trials which picked the .577 Enfield as standard rifle, adopted in 1853. Any Enfields built by Reilly must post date 1853.

1854 - Advertisement; Reilly, Joseph Charles, 502, Oxford Street. Reilly, Edward Michael, 502, Oxford

1854 - Advertisement: Reilly: selling self-cocking Tranter revolvers on the Adams Patent.

1855 - Exhibit: Messrs Reilly were exhibitors at the Paris exhibition of 1855 and their display “attracted considerable notice and valuable patronage.” All the goods were sold and many orders booked.

1855 - Fredrick Prince's breech loading patent - (see Reilly SN 10782 & 11645); Fredrick Prince's .577 percussion breach loading rifle. outshot the just adopted Enfield 1853 in trials in 1855. 1859 several gun makers petitioned the Board of Ordnance to reconsider their decision. Reilly was marketing this gun and is so mentioned in the below historical site. He always had the most modern breech loaders in his shop. History: http://www.historicalfirearms.info/post/130153944059/historicalfirearms-frederick-princes

1855 - Beaumont-Adams patent; (see B 7452 - probably not a Reilly SN).

1858 - Advertisements in London Travel literature carry the name "Reilly, 502 New Oxford Street, London

1858 - Field Trial: breechloader v muzzleloader trials with [amongst others] Lancaster, Needham and Lang. Placed tenth in a trial of ’58 and eleventh in ’59.

1858 - Guns: Produced rifles on the C E Green & J Green patent – a ‘capping breech loader’ that had a rudimentary cartridge ignited by an external cap fired by a conventional side hammer.

1858 - Advertisement: Address used was
“Reilly, Gun Maker, 502 New Oxford Street, London”

1859 - Opened a branch store at 315 New Oxford Street aka 315 Oxford Street, London. (see Reilly SN 12079). J.C. Reilly used “Reilly & Co.” (believe JC had retired he was 74 years old; he died 1864). Edward sold guns labeled 502 Oxford street as Edward M. Reilly & Co.

(interesting that in 1844, Issac Riviere was listed as a gun maker at 315 Oxford street per a list of London gun makers) (Riviere had considerable influence over the design of precussion pistols and patented his own lock in 1825; he died in 1851) https://books.google.com/books?id=OZxeAA...rn&f=false-

- see advertisement below - left is 1858 (no 315), right is 1859 (with 315 + shooting galleries).

1859 - Advertisement: first use of “E.M. Reilly? First noted use of 315 Oxford Street address.

Note Prices quoted in Guineas: From Wikipedia: "Even after the coin ceased to circulated (1816), the name guinea was long used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings (Ł1.05 in decimalised currency). The guinea had an aristocratic overtone; professional fees and payment for land, horses, art, bespoke tailoring, furniture and other luxury items were often quoted in guineas until a couple of years after decimalisation in 1971." A cased Reilly breechloader in 1859 was 15-30 Guineas. Assuming $4.50 per Guinea at exchange rate at that time, a Reilly could have cost between about $70 and $130, a lot of money in those days.

1859 - London Field Trial; Reilly entered the British 1859 Field Trials with a 15 bore breech-loader built on the Lefaucheux system. Placed 11th. It was highly praised by the editors of “Field” magazine.

1859 - Patent: Henry Jones' patent #2040 was granted September 7, 1859.

1860 - Patent: C.E and J. Green, Provisional Patent (bolt action system)

1862 - Patent: Green Bros Patent 23 (bolt action system). See Reilly SN 13333.

1862 - Exhibition: “Great preparations were made by the firm for the London exhibition of 1862 and about that time Mr. Edward Reilly had taken partners and extended his business to a great extent, having opened a branch further westward on Oxford Street near Regents Circle where an active trade was carried on” (Wyman)

1863 - Patent: ’Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104

1864 - 1861 UK Census JC Reilly listed as a fund holder and land proprietor living in Bourn End, Cranfield, Bedfordshire. He died in Cranfield, Bedfordshire in 1864. His Will was proved at the Principal Registry in that year; the value of his estate was under Ł7000. His son Edward Michael, gun maker also of 502 New Oxford Street, was appointed one of the executors.

1864: Advertisement: “Improved Enfield Rifles” etc.
E.M Reilly & Co., Gunmakers, 502 New Oxford Street, London;
Branch establishment 315 Oxford Street, near Regents Circus.

1865 - Patent: ’Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752

1865 - Trials: British trials to pick a breech loader after German victory over the Danes in 1864. British Army picked the Snider action Enfileld, .577 as a stop gap breech loader. Reilly entered a Green Bros patent rifle (see 13333). All Reilly Sniders should be post-1866. Note Sniders continued to be used by the Indian Army, and elements of colonial militias for the next 40 years; Reilly made Snider hunting rifles bought by British Army officers going abroad so they could use issue ammunition. The Snider, though was only a stop gap.

To begin the process on the next generation breech-loader, British War office held a prize competition in 1865 with a prize money of Ł5000 to select from various designers a weapon that utilised a smaller, higher velocity projectile than the .577” snider. The trials were to take place within the next two years, with an ultimate winner to be announced in 1869,

1866 - Advertisement: Australia (re Tasmanian agents for Reilly): for E.M. Reilly & Co, 502 New Oxford Street, London, which “begged to announce” that the Reilly was built “on systems not liable to derangement”. The advertisement shows a pair of under-lever pin- fire guns built on the Jones under-lever system in bore sizes 12, 15 17, and 24.

1867 - Partnership: Comblain bolt action (Belgian) patent; described in "The Engineer" May 15 1868 on page 347. Reilly presented the Comblain as a possible successor to the Snider during 1870 trials.

1867 - Patent: Rebounding hammers were patented by Stanton;

1867 - Paris exhibition - great success. M Reilly & Co were awarded a Prize Medal at the Paris Exhibition.

“At the Paris Exhibition of 1867, Messrs. Reilly were highly successful and recognized as the leading makers to the best amateurs of the day, which led to the establishment of a branch house in Rue Scribe, Paris. Captain James Forsyth said in the “Field” of July 6, 1867 - “The stand of arms shown by Reilly & Co. of London, is undoubtedly the best in the Exhibition. Almost every system of breech-loading that has been introduced for sporting guns and rifles is here seen, and their heavy double central-fire rifles for shells and for spherical balls are in every way excellent. This Firm is among the first to adopt and carry out improvements; and they offer the advantages of working at comparatively low rates and carrying out orders with dispatch I can myself speak to the soundness and excellent shooting their central-fire rifles, having used them several seasons in India, with the effect of leading me to prefer their central-fire system as now constructed.” In August of the same year Captain Majendie, R.A, one of the Commissioners appointed by the British Government, wrote to the “Illustrated London News”: — “The English display of arms consists of a fine collection show by the English Government; also Messrs. Reilly’s who’s case is one in which the proper course has been adopted to exhibit in a worthy manner the advance position of the English gun trade by a private firm. Messrs. Reilly have a number of sporting guns and rifles of different sorts, the best being made on the central-fire system.”

1867; Army trials: (For a successor to the Snider) On June 11, 1867, the prize sub-committee of the OSC reported that 104 rifles had been submitted for examination. Of those, 37 were in compliance with the terms of the advertisement, 67 had not complied, and while ineligible for the competition were set aside for consideration on their own merits. Further consideration of the 37 complying rifles, resulted in the rejection of 28. The nine systems to be carried over for trial, and requiring six specimen arms were the Albini & Braendlin, the Burton No.1 and No. 2, the Fosbery, the Henry, the Joslyn, the Martini, the Peabody, and The Remington. (See the Reilly Comblain mentioned in the chronology below)

1868 (January?) - Store: Opened a branch store at 2 Rue Scribe, Paris. (see Reilly SN 15270); Most guns made subsequent to this date and up to 1886 should have the Paris along with either 502 or 315 Oxford Street or New Oxford Street or just Oxford Street or New Oxford with Rue Scribe with no number. There are exceptions, however, and some gun ribs had only the Oxford Street addresses for some reason or another (there was some Franco-phobia around in Britain at the time).

(The date of the opening of this store is confirmed by advertisements in British travel books showing the Rue Scribe address for the first time + reproductions of the gold and silver medals won at the 1867 Paris fair).

-- Earliest London Newspaper ad for Reilly with the Paris address (they trumpted their medals at the 67 Paris fair from August 1867 on) is this one; as of end of October 1867, no Paris address in his ads. PALL MALL GAZETTE, London, 12 Feb 1868: E. M. REILLY and CO., 502 NEW OXFOD STREET, London. Branch Establishments- 315, Oxford-street, London ; and 2, Rue Scribe, Paris

1870 - Trials: Trials to replace the Snider by British Army, Reilly enters a Belgian Comblain breech loader with his name on it. No Paris address but Paris is stamped on one butt on Comblain nr. 32, probably a trial gun.

1871 - Martini Henry (Martini action, Henry barrel) adopted by British Army. (See Reilly SN 17644) It was used until 1892 when the Lee-Medford then Lee-Enfield was adopted and continued to be entered in marksmanship contests until WWI. Reilly made Martini Henry’s for the next 30 years in various calibers. The first Reilly Martini Henry I can find is SN 17644 (and I can't be sure it's really a Reilly SN). (I do not believe he place Reilly SN's on many subsequent Martini orders though he put his name on them..17644 is the only Reilly SN I can find - and the SN may not be his).

On 13th April 1871 the orders were placed at the Royal Small Arms factory at Enfield for full scale production of the Martini Henry Rifle, between then and 1874 The Martini Henry was trialled throughout the Empire by various regiments, and finally on September 28th 1874 it was authorised for full issue to the British Army. (Mark I-IV variants - this was the gun of Rork's Drift, the Zulu Wars; the Second invasion of Afghanistan in 1878 - used by British Regiments, etc).

1871 - Advertisement in Statesman’s Yearbook, 1871:
E. M. REILLY and CO.,
502 New Oxford Street, London.

1871 - American catalogue: 1871 J. H. Johnston Great Western Gun Works catalog:
Muzzle loader = sold as ‘English’, ‘Belgian’, ‘American’, only Greener is called out by name
Breech loader = Greener, Westley Richards, E. M. Reilly & Co

1870-1880 - Advertisements in Bradshaw Illustrated travel books.
E.M. Reilly & Co of 502, Oxford Street, London, branches 315, Oxford Street, London and 2, Rue Scribe, Paris

1870 - Advertisement, “Bradshaw’s Pedestrian Route Book for Switzerland, Chamouni and the Italian Lakes.” 502 and 315 Oxford Street and Rue Scribe addesses. It mentions: Sole manufacturers of the Reilly-Comblain rifle for military and sporting purposes (see Reilly-Comblain entries below in the SN thread)

1872 - Patent: Anson's fore-end fastener patent no. 3791

1874 - Patent: Needham patented a hammerless, barrel-cocking gun which was also the first ejector in 1874.

1875 - Patent: W.M. Scott's patent 3223

1875 - Patent: Anson & Deely patent; the first hammerless gun with top lever.

1878 - Patent: Mills 3rd bite patent no 4980

1878 - Patent: Patent Number 761 was recorded by William Middleditch Scott and Thomas Baker

1878 - Exhibition: Paris Exhibition

1881-1891: Reilly guns dominate pigeon shooting contests in England and abroad,

1881 - Address: Late in 1881 Oxford street was re-numbered - 315 becoming 277 and 502 becoming 16. Reilly used both numbers along with Rue Scribe in advertisements in 1882. Theoretically guns after 1881 ought to have 16 Oxford or 277 Oxford along with the Rue Scribe Paris address. However, some guns apparently continued to be labeled with the 502 and 315 Oxford Street numbers. (see 1882 advertisement below)

1882 - January, Advertisement: Royal Red Book of Court and Fashionable Register for January
277 (315), Oxford St., W; 16 (502) New Oxford St.[/color],
and Rue Scribe, Paris

1883 - Advertisement; Army Navy Calendar for the Financial Year1883-84 (Note continued use of the 315 and 502 addresses)

Advertisement for EM Reilly,
located at 315 and 502 Oxford Street, London and Rue Scribe, Paris

1883 - Exhibition: Calcutta, 1883. Silver medal prize.

1884 - Prize: Awarded a Gold Medal in the London Exhibition.

1885 - Exhibition: "Messrs. Reily & Co.’s stand at the International Inventions Exhibition of 1885 was acknowledged to have been one of the best-appointed exhibits. Express rifles formed an important part in this display. the double 450-bore and 500-bore with long cartridge and 120 grains of powder, and the 400-bore with 90 grains of powder, were much admired and considered equal to the work required of them, viz, deer-stalking, black buck, etc. Amongst the exhibits were Magnum Express 577, and large bore rifles, 12, 10, 8, and 4 gauge, single and double barreled, of the latest construction, taking heavy charges of powder, as supplied to well-known hunters and explorers in Africa, India and other parts of the world. Rook and rabbit rifles of 300-bore, with hammers and hammerless. The shooting these small bores - either single or double barrel - rifled on their non-fouling system, is wonderfully accurate.” (Wyman)

“Messrs. Reilly also exhibited self-ejector hammerless guns, which throw out the exploded cartridge case or cases as may be… This gun has the automatic safety bolt and other recent improvements in hammerless guns."

1886 : Advertisement: Burke’s Landed Gentry publication shows premises at 277 Oxford Street, 16, New Oxford Street and Rue Scribe, Paris.

1886 - Address: Reilly closed Rue Scribe, Paris. (See Reilly SN 26584). Some claim he opened another office in St Honore. I doubt this. The address is for a hotel. Perhaps he kept a mailing address there. - I'm not denigrating others' research...I just can't find the references...please add to this if you know more.

The last SN I can find with Oxford St. and Rue Scribe. It's on a label in my case. The SN is 26584 and there is a date 1886 in the corner, hand written:

1887 - Proof Mark: “Not for Ball” proof mark dropped.

1889 - Southgate lockwork, ejector and interceptor sear patent no 12314.

1889 Jun - 1890 Feb: Law suit re easement to the entrance way to 277 New Oxford Street. Reilly v. Booth. Cited in land law cases for the next 100 years: https://books.google.com/books?id=lTIyAA...don&f=false

1890 - Personal: EM Reilly dies. Business taken over by his sons Charles E. Reilly (b1871) and Herbert (Bert) H. Reilly (b. 1875)? Who ran the business since these boys were 19 and 16 years old at the time? Mary, the wife?

1893 - Patent: Southgate's ejector trip patent no 8239

1898 - Address: 16 New Oxford Street closed. (See Reilly SN 34723); 277 New Oxford Street remains open.

1903 - Registration: Charles Arthur Farquhar Reilly (b1870) & Herber Horace (Bert) Reilly listed at 277 Oxford Street, London in electoral roles.

1903 - Address: 277 New Oxford Street vacated - moved to 295 Oxford Street. (See Reilly SN 35423)

From 1904 to 1911 the firm was recorded at 295 Oxford Street. According to oft repeated information, A gun built c1905 also carries his late father’s address of 12 Middle Row, Holborn on the top rib. I've seen bad information repeated ad nauseam and become "history." Middle Row was destroyed and the Prudential building built there in the late 1800's. Before accepting this, I'd like to see the gun and the serial number.

In 1912 E M Reilly & Co Ltd was recorded at 13 High Street, Marylebone. The directors of this limited company were H Reilly and C W Roberts. I've attempted to establish the identity of CW Roberts...no success so far. Welcome additional information. (see page 15: CW Roberts is likely George W. Roberts, liquidated who handled the bankruptcy of Reilly on June 8, 1912.)

Last edited by Argo44; 10/01/18 12:58 PM.

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From the above history and the below list of 100 Reilly Serial Numbers I’ve found on the internet, here are some the key Serial Numbered guns which can be used as “chronological markers.” I’ll post the list of all of the guns I’ve found to support this. Note: The Reilly hand-guns appear to follow a different numbering system, perhaps having started at 40,000 - haven’t researched them.

162 - 1820’s? Earliest Reilly I can find. I speculate that any Reilly labeled "Holborn Bars" was made and serial numbered at 12 Middle Road, Holborn above the Bars. Reilly moved to 316 High Holborn in 1835.

1024 - 1835? This is speculation but I believe 1024, even though it is a pistol, is the earliest Reilly made at 316 High Holborn that I can find.

3329 - 1847? Last use of 316 High Holborn Street on a gun (although there may be later ones)

8463 - 1848?; first confirmed used of Oxford Street on gun (case label has “removed from Holborn); (Note gap of some 5,000 numbers from the last Holborn Street gun and the first confirmed Oxford Street gun...this needs more data).

10782 - 1855 Frederic Prince patent - breech loader, trialed in 1855 against the Enfield rifled muzzle loader. First Reilly Prince.

12079 - 1859 (first mention of 315 Oxford Street)

13333 - 1862 (first mention of Green Bros Patent) (this is Green Bros Test gun 32, almost certainty produced in 1862)

15270 - 1868 (first mention of Paris address; non rebounding hammers) (all commercial guns should have the Paris address at least on the cases and in advertisements from 1868 to 1886; however per below, some guns continued to have only the London addresses engraved on the ribs)

16341 - 1870 (first Reilly Snider = post 1866; rebounding hammers = post 1868)

17644 - 1872? (First Reilly Martini SN, Martini Henry adopted by British Army 1871 - can't be sure this is a Reilly number)

25161 - 1885? (Problematic gun - It has the 502 Oxford + Rue Scribe address; and the case is labeled 1880 made for the King of Spain; But the SN seems wrong and the story is very odd -check it out. So was the original gun stolen and replaced by Reilly later using the original markings?

25460 - 1885 (First confirmed use of the 277 Oxford address on a gun rib; the address changed in 1881 but 315 Oxford rather than 277 continued to be used on the guns themselves and at times in advertisements, as was 502 Oxford rather than 16 Oxford) (Note: This could change; There are a number of guns with 16 Oxford and Rue Scribe and 277 Oxford and Rue Scribe posted on the internet. Unfortunately, SN’s are not posted.)

26584 - 1886 (Label in a case w/date. Last Paris +16 Oxford address?)

34723 - 1898 (Last confirmed use of 16 Oxford Street address on a gun)

34865 - 1898 (277 Oxford Street address continues to be used on a gun)

35092 - 1900? (277 Oxford Streed address...declining sales?)

35413 - 1903 (first confirmed use of 295 Oxford Street address on a gun)

Last edited by Argo44; 03/22/16 09:28 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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+++++List of Reilly Serial Numbers to 1904 and comments +++++++++++++ (!!!!!!!!!!!!! = date marker serial numbers)

162 - (1820’s?); !!!!!!!!! First Reilly SN on the net !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Address: J.C. REILLY, HOLBORN BARS LONDON; Believe this is the 12 Middle Row address, Reilly was there from 1814-1835,
Description: 14 bore, percussion, single-barreled muzzle-loading shotgun shotgun; re-browned twist-iron triple-stage 32in. barrel with carved bands at the intersection, the top-flat signed in gothic script 'J.C. REILLY, HOLBORN BARS LONDON',
Comments: The auctioneer identified this as an circa 1835 gun. This is the earliest serial number I’ve ever seen for a Reilly and if it is accurate, it has to be 1820’s…Reilly engraving was always special and it looks like this gun had it (no photo available)

176 (Pistol) Pre 1835. Believe this is the 12 Middle Row address, Reilly was there from 1814-1835
Description: Serial #176, .50 caliber, 8 3/4" smooth bore octagon barrels with lightly oxidized bores. The tops of the barrels are each marked "J.C. REILLY, HOLBORN BARS, LONDON" and each lock is engraved "J.C. REILLY". The locks and hammers show lovely flowing foliate scroll with panoplies of arms engraved on the hammers. The bolsters are equipped with platinum blow out plugs.
Comment: Do not know if Reilly hand-guns used his sequential Serial Numbering, These pistols though with "Holborn Bars" may have. Note rounded butts.-
Terry Boffum owned these gunst.

xxxx (Pistol)
Name: J.C. Reilly, Holborn Bars, LONDON
Description: British Mid 19th Century Pocket Pistol, comprising: Small [Overall Length 14cm] Muzzle Loading Percussion Pocket Pistol, Proof Marks to Underside of 5.5cm Barrel. Complete with Foliate Decoration, Bag Shaped Walnut Grip & Folding Trigger.
Comment: Holborn Bar indicates this pistol is pre 1835 before the move to High Holborn.

xxxx (Pistol) - Must be after 1835, see above
Description: .50 caliber pistol with a 10-inch octagonal barrel measures 15-inches in overall length. Wood ramrod with flared brass cap, brass section at rear unscrews exposing the worm. Top of barrel marked "JOSEPH CHARLES REILLY 316 HIGH HOLBORN LONDON." London proof marks. Platinum blowout plug on nipple drum. One barrel key with oval silver escutcheons. The brown Damascus finish slightly worn.

1024 - (Pistol)!!!!!! 1st recorded SN with 316 High Holborn (after 1835 - see above re move to 316 High Holborn in August 1835 documented by London Tax Records and newspaper advertisement);!!!!!
Address: Reilly 316 Holborn London
Description: erkussions-Terzerolpistole um 1840 Joseph Charles Reilly London
achtkantiger, glatter Lauf, im Kaliber 8,5 mm, mit leichter Gravur an Laufmündung, sowie Signatur auf der Oberseite "Reilly 316 Holborn London". Mit Rankendekor graviertes Perkussionsschloss, Abzug klappt bei Spannung des Hahnes aus.
Comment: Pistol….interesting serial number. rounded butt

1174 - (1837 +?); (If the above pistol SN is correct this will be after 1835 move to 316 High Holborn)
Address: J.C. REILLY (no address);
Description: 8 bore, percussion, single shot, muzzle loading shotgun. Patch box in butt.

1292 (Pistol) (1837 +?)
Address: Reilly, London
Description: Miniature 120-Bore Box-Lock Percussion Pocket Pistol By Reilly of London, Circa 1850. With round turn-off barrel engraved with a band of foliage at the breech.
Comment: Percussion miniature pistol, typical of early Reilly’s; believe he manufactured this. Note the rounded butt…seems to be a marker.

3329 - (1846-1847?) !!!!!!!!!! First and last recorded SN'd gun with High Holborn - I believe this was c1847 just before they moved !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Description: 10 gauge/.58 caliber. 30 inch brown twist barrels, the concave rib signed Joseph Charles Reilly 316 High Holburn London; single standing/single folding rear sight; breech end of rib inlaid with two platinum bands. London proofs. Patent breech. Scroll-engraved tang and back action locks, the latter signed Reilly. Engraved steel furniture. Figured walnut half-stock with vacant silver wrist escutcheon. Sling swivels. Brass-tipped ramrod. Together with green baize-lined oak case.

xxxx (1840’s?)
Description: A fine classical English iron mounted half stocked double barrelled hunting gun c. 1840 by Joseph Charles Reilly with butt cap, trigger guard, and locks finely engraved with English scroll, c. 71 cm. long barrels in calibre c. 16,5 cm. marked on the strap JOSEPH CHARLES REILLY 316 HIGH HOLBORN LONDON.
Comment: Beautiful engraving with a classic Reilly stock..the markers are there very early. He made this gun. I want it.

8463 - (1847); !!!!!!!!!! Earliest SN after move to 502 Oxford !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Address: Reilly, New Oxford Street, London (case label has “removed from Holborn);
Description: .390, percussion, double express rifle. Enfield type rifling, muzzle loading; (breaks down) with patch box in butt;
Comment: This is the first confirmed use of the Oxford Street address on a Reilly gun..and the label "removed from Holborn" would indicate an early provenance after the change to Oxford street. But there's that pesky gap of 5,000 serial numbers.

84xx - (1847);
Description: 6 Bore; 26.25'' barrel, Manufactured in England circa 1840s. Original browned finish barrel, casehardened lock, mounted in a walnut stock with double wedged forend and checkered wrist. Fine scroll leaf engraving on the lockplate and stock mounts. Engraved on the side of the lockplate "REILLY.LONDON". The barrel has likely been shortened to the present length. Ramrod is a later replacement. The lock functions fine. Antique, s/n 84xx

8578 - (1849?);
Address: JC Reilly, 502 New Oxford Street, London (case label has “removed from Holborn);
ca 1850, lock signed Reilly (Joseph Charles R. London), lock and steel mounts with engraved decorations, triggerguard with no 8578, twist barrels with London proof marks, signed on the rib JC Reilly, 502 New Oxford street London, 114 cm, case with label
Comment: "Removed for Holborn" means it should be within a couple of years of the March 1847 move from 316 to 502. 1849 would seem a logical date.

xxxx - (1853-65?);
Address: Reilly, Oxford Street, London.
Description. .577? Muzzle loading, percussion, rifle, with Enfield like sights. No details (Polish site)…
Comments: This might be a sporting Enfield. Patch box in butt.

B 7452 - (1855?) (Beaumont Adams patent) (502 address - earlier than reported?) (I now feel the "B" in front of the number makes this certainly NOT a Reilly number.)
Address: E.M. REILLY, 502 NEW OXFORD STREET, LONDON; (note “B” in front of SN)
Description: .577 Beaumont- Adams patent 5-shot, double action, percussion revolving (cylinder) rifle. The patent is dated c1855. It was retailed by Reilly. It is possible Reilly tried to convince the British Army to adopt it (.577 caliber; British Army). (beautiful stock, what would become a typical Reilly stock)
Comments: This rifle looks like a revolver. Serial number has a "B" in front of it...Reilly seems only to have done that when selling other's guns. But I believe he was involved in trying to get the Armory to recompete the Enfield bid and put it up against this gun!

9137 - (1855?) (I now believe this is not a Reilly SN - yet check it out; Damascus barrel, gorgeous stock, beautiful work)
Address: E.M. Reilly & Co, 502 Oxford St. London
Description: .40 Calibre Break Action Needle Fire Rook Rifle
Comment: this Patent was taken out in 1855. I have a feeling Reilly marketed these guns (see second one below in the late 1850’s. This looks like a Reilly SN but may not be; other makers sold these guns as well.

see another similar Needle Fire gun (no SN) marketed by Edwin C. Green at (on page 8):
image here: http://www.jcmilitaria.com/display_image.asp?ID=10135

10315 -
Description: .6-BORE PERCUSSION SINGLE-BARRELED FOWLING-PIECE, serial no. 10315, circa 1855, with tapering twist-iron 38in. browned barrel, moulded short sighting rib at breech with long borderline engraved steeple to the front terminating in a finely engraved starburst,
Comments: No Photo, etc. Identified by seller as c1855.

10354? - (1856?) (SN very unclear)
Address: Reilly 502 New Oxford Street London
Description: .400, SxS double breech loading rifle completely redone in 1890’s.
Comments: the gun is so redone that it looks very 1890’s. The only original thing left looks to be the barrels and the action with the SN. Interesting though. SN is unclear from the photos,

10619 - (1857?)
Name: “Reilly” (no details)
Comments: Christies is not helpful in the info they leave behind after their sales.

10621 - (1857?)
Name: E.M. Reilly, London (cannot confirm this from photos - if true, 1st use of EM Reilly on a gun)
Description: .376 Percussion sporting rifle by E M Reilly, 24 ins octagonal half stocked barrel. Muzzle loader.
Comment: Very old-school, with Reilly stock. Remember though both armies went through the War Between the States with old school Enfiled like percussion rifles.

10782 - (1857?) !!!!!!!!!! 1st Frederic Prince - 1855 Patent !!!!!
Name: Reilly, New Oxford St, London
Description: .577 percussion breach loading rifle. Fredrick Prince 1955 Patent. Outshot the 1853 Enfield in trials in 1855. 1859 several gun maker petitioned the Board of Ordnance to reconsider their decision.
Comment: Reilly was marketing this gun. He always had the most modern breech loaders in his shop. Looks like he put his SN on this one

11227 - (1858?)
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford St., London
Description: Standard military configuration 1853 pattern Enfield, muzzle loader; Percussion.
Comments: 1853 Enfields were still the standard gun of the British Army and of the Confederate Army. Very fine work, gold inlay

with signed tapering sighted barrel rifled with four shallow grooves, scroll-engraved back-action lock, figured walnut half-stock, chequered grip, scroll-engraved trigger-guard fitted with sliding safety-catch engaging the bolt at the front, and engraved steel butt-cap
71.5cm; 28 1/8in barrel. Frederick Prince patented this system in 1855.

11651 - (1859?) !!!!!!!! 1st use of EM on a rib - documented 1859 advertisement !!!!
Name: E.M. Reilly, Oxford St., London
Description: .577" Snider sporting rifle converted from percussion, by Reilly, London, with military style ladder rearsight, the Breech engraved "E.M. Reilly Oxford Street, London", plain lock with rounded hammer, the plate engraved "Reilly, London"; walnut halfstock with fore end and wrist, plain steel mounts including scrolled trigger guard numbered 11651, and large patch box in butt, Percussion.
Comments: Key comment is that this was an Enfield…probably built by Reilly per above…then later (after 1866) converted to Snider…a straight forward conversion.

12079 - (1860?) !!!!!!!!! first mention of 315 Oxford Street address ]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Description: 451 PERCUSSION VOLUNTEER MILITARY TARGET RIFLE; Muzzle loading, Percussion.
Comment: This is the first SN with the 315 Oxford Street address on a gun. 315 Oxford opened in 1859. Patch storage in the butt.

12532 - (1861?)
Name: REILLY, 502 NEW OXFORD STREET, LONDON (on case E.M Reilly & Co., 502 New Oxford Street, London).
Description: Gold plated 12 bore, percussion fire, muzzle loading rifle. ALL the metal parts have been gilded, it has 32″ fluted barrels and a beautiful Walnut stock.
Comment: Highly ornate, gold plated, fancy stock, amazing case obviously made for a Marahajah. This does not have the Paris address.
Secong Ad says 1855. I’d reckon it to be 6-7 years older based on serial number.

Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford Street, London
Description: 20 bore, 29" barrels with very good bores that show a little scattered light pitting. This is a very nice quality shotgun that remains in very fine condition. The back action locks are engraved with folky gamescenes with gamebirds in wooded scene surrounded by scroll. Reilly pinfire double gun. [Terry Buffum Collection]

13333 - (1862?) (Green brother’s patent) !!!!!!! Firm identification !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Description: .577 PERCUSSION CAPPING BREECH-LOADING CARBINE, MODEL 'GREEN BROTHER'S PATENT’. one of the first produced (licence use number 23) after 1862 patent. Submitted for the 1864 breech loading trials. Lost out to the Snider.
Comment: A very important “Marker” serial number. This is one of the first Green patent (1862) guns.

13590 - (1863?)
Name: E.M Reilly & Co., 502 New Oxford Street, London.
Description: Percussion sporting rifle, double barreled express (Elephant gun) 10 bore (cal. .775), steel slightly tapered damascus round barrels, 61.40cm long
Comment: Amazing the British Museum could be so wrong…they dated this 1880’s-90’s. The address alone simply could not be 80’s-90’s.

13599 - (1863?)
Name: E.M. Reilly, 502 New Oxford Street, London
Descriptions: late percussion-era, 12-bore two groove, “Express” double rifle #13599, ca. 1865-70. Superb 26” heavy barrels
Comment: With case…Label has Sanskrit lettering.

14115 - (1864?)
Name: E.M Reilly (nothing further - no photos, etc)
Descriptions: Underlever hammer double; 29 1/2" fancy damascus barrels aged brown with lots of original pattern. Very good bore with a couple of scattered pits. Best quality jones under lever action

14580 - (1865?)
Descriptions: 12 gauge muzzleloading shotgun serial number 14580. The side by side round barrels are 27 1⁄2 inches long and light gray in color and show some evidence of the single twist pattern

14985 -
Descriptions: Sidelock, underlever hammer gun. 16 ga, 28" matted rib damascus barrels choked cylinder and cylinder with very good bright bores having a few light pits present. The damascus barrels
Comment: Terry Buffum collection.

15129 - (1867?) (No Paris address)
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., 502 Oxford St. London
Descriptions: 12 Bore PIn FIre Side By Side Shotgun w/ 30" bbl

15270 - (1868?) (first mention of Paris address; but with non-rebounding hammers) !!!!!!! First Paris address !!!!!!!!!!!
Name: E.M.Reilly and Company Oxford Street London & Rue Scribe Paris.
Descriptions: .577 calibre double barrel hammer breech loading underlever black powder proof African dangerous big game rifle.circa 1870 #15270. non rebounding back action locks,Jones patent rotary u/lever,26"
Comment: Note that these are non-rebounding hammers; Rebounding hammers were patented by Stanton in 1867; Reilly was quick to get the latest advances into his shop. So....after the opening of Rue Scribe, before the patent of rebounding hammers? Can't be...latter in 1868, former in 1867....but it narrows it down.

Descriptions: 12 ga (2 1/2"), 30" matted rib damascus barrels both choked open cylinder having bright excellent bores. The barrels have toned to a pleasing brown patina and display a strong damascus pattern displaying just a few light handling marks. The breech ends and 3/4" of the rib show nice engraving, the rib is marked "E.M. REILLY & CO. OXFORD STREET LONDON.".
Comment: Terry Buffum collection.

15356 -
Name: E M Reilly (no further info)
Descriptions: 12 gauge under lever hammer shotgun
Comment: No other info on this gun but a great answer by xxxxx on this site though!!

Name: Not mentioned in ad except for “Reilly & Co.) (no address mentioned).
Descriptions: .50 cal., 30 1/4" octagon barrel of new manufacture, utilizing the original breech. The barrel shows a nice modern plum brown with some toning on the sharp edges and a bright-face muzzle. The breech plug shows some light scroll engraving and has vibrant restored color case-hardening. The lockplate is now primarily a gray and brown patina, as is the long tang and triggerguard, buttplate and nosecap. The lock shows light loose scroll, as does the hammer, the lockplate maker marked.
Comment: Terry Buffum collection; Looks like a classic sporterized 1853 Enfield.

15625 - (1868?)
Name: E.M. REILLY 502 NEW OXFORD STREET LONDON Branch Establishment 2 Rue Scribe Paris
Descriptions: 4 bore SxS cased hammer gun SN 15625 converted by the company in the eighteen hundreds from the original pinfire to centerfire.
Comment: George’s gun and subject to some painful back and forth-ing typical of the internet.

15961 - (1868?)
Name: E.M. Reilly (no further descriptions)
Descriptions: 12-bore (pin-fire) double-barrelled hammer rifle.
Comment: Christies is pretty stingy with their after-sale into.

16341 - (1869-70?) (markers - Snider, pre-Martini; first mention of rebounding hammers) [color:#FF6666]!!!!!!! First rebounding hammers (1867) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![/color]
Name: E.M.Reilly (No further descriptions in the article)
Descriptions: Began life as a .double rifle, a 577 Snider double made in 1874. It was proofed for blackpowder and marked “26.” indicating a 26-bore, or .577 caliber. It has Stanton’s rebounding hammers, and the only fully “snap Jones underleaver I have ever seen.
Comment: Terry Weiland wrote this up in Digest, 2014, p. 152; 68th edition, as a restoration project. He said it was made c1874. It might be earlier. Reason being - 17644 is the first Reilly Martini I can find and that has to be after 1871. So this Snider probably is a couple years earlier. Rebounding hammers came out in1867…this is the first Reilly I can find with them unless George’s 4 originally had them.

Name: E. M. Reilly & Co. New Oxford Street London
Descriptions: Round, smoothbore, juxtaposed, damascened (minor defects), 8 mm. cal. barrels with a slightly hollow rib, sighted nozzle, marked "E. M. Reilly & Co. New Oxford Street London" in gold, on the lower part of the breech are various English test bench marks; fine forward spring batteries finely engraved with racemes around hunting scenes with hounds, marked "E. M. Reilly & Co." in gold; the received and the other mounts are engraved en suite; fine briarwood stock (a repair at the throw) checkered like the mouth's black horn rod; some mounts, among which the trigger guard, the safety lock (before the trigger), some screws, the firing pins' bases and the rod's locking mechanism are still blued; the butt plate is made of hard rubber, on the lower part of the stock is a silver shield.

16585 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co, Oxford Street, London and Rue Scribe Paris
Descriptions: 10ga underlever big-game gun with exposed hammers, double-triggers, finely bank-note scroll engraved with hammer safeties.
Comment: Auction said 1880’s-90’s. Has to be early 70’s unless it were refurbished.

16607 -
Name: E. M. Reilly (no addresses mentioned and no photo of the actual address on the gun)
Descriptions: Classic Snider, .577 rifle. Brass plates.
Comment: Paris address should be on this rifle.

xxxxx - (1870?) (entered the 1870 British army tests))Reilly-Comblain)
Descriptions: Reilly-Comblain. .577 bolt action Belgian rifle patented in 1868 which Reilly attempted to marked to the British Army as a substitute for the Snider. May have entered the 1870 trials which selected the hybrid Martini-Henry,
Comment: There are at least 5 Reilly-Comblains on the internet. One has a Paris address stamped on the butt; All the others only the Oxford St. Address. He was marketing this gun to the Army and probably didn’t want to mention Paris. I cannot find a Reilly SN on any of these rifles. They would be a marker if someone could come up with one.

1870 - Advertisement, “Bradshaw’s Pedestrian Route Book for Switzerland, Chamouni and the Italian Lakes.” 502 and 315 Oxford Street and Rue Scribe addesses. Ad mentions: "Sole manufacturers of the Reilly-Comblain rifle for military and sporting purposes."







16765 -
Descriptions: 12 ga SxS shotgun. 30” Damascus barrels, 2 1/2” chambers; extractor lever. beavertail forestock. Looks like rebounding hammers.
Comment: Beautiful stock.

16768 -
Name: E.M. Reilly (Auctioneer’s description; no address mentioned)
Descriptions: 12 bore hammer gun; 29 1/2-inch damascus barrels with 2 1/2-inch chambers about improved cylinder borings, the rounded frame, rebounding bar lock, hammers and push forward under lever with scroll engraving
Comment: (no mention/photo of entire address on the gun)(Should have Paris address)

16808 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., London (Auctioneer’s description)
Descriptions: Double Barrel Shot Gun w/Exposed Hammers
Comment: (No mention/photo of entire address/ should have Paris)

16810 -
Descriptions: 12 bore, pin-fired, double shotgun with cartridge lifter. 30” Damascus barrels. 'Jones' swing under-lever opening
Comment: From the photos, non-rebounding hammers…looks like they have to be in half cock to break the gun.

16961 - (1868?)
Name: E.M. Reilly (no further descriptions)
Descriptions: 12-bore (pin-fire) double-barrelled hammer rifle.
Comment: Christies is pretty stingy with their after-sale into.

16987 - (pre 1875)
Name: EM Reilly & Co., 502 Oxford St., London
Descriptions: double gun, muzzle-loading
Comment: Advertisement placed in the “Northern Territories Times,” Palmerston (Australia) on Saturday, August 28, 1875 re a stolen gun.

17204 -
Descriptions: 12 bore, pin fired, rotary-underlever shotgun. Damascus barrels.
Comment: Non rebounding hammers.

17393 - (1871-72?)
Name: E.M. Reilly, New Oxford Street, London and 2 Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: 12 bore push-forward underlever snap action hammergun, serial number 17393. It has 30" Nitro reproved bold Damascus barrels; Purdey 1863 patent doube-bite locking bolt (patent 1104 of 2nd May 1863, use number 948). sprung push-forward underlever

17474 -
Name: “London and Paris address”
Descriptions: 12 bore Reilly hammer shotgun
Comment: “I had a similar gun (to 17393) I just consigned to Greg Martin. #17476, Purdey thumb push opener, also with the London and Paris addresses.”

17644 - (1872-3?) (First Reilly Martini - has to be after 1871) !!!!!!!! First Reilly Martini - (note; can't be sure this is a Reilly SN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Name: E.M Reilly & Co., Oxford Street, London (no Paris address)
Descriptions: .577 (.450) Martini-Henry action
Comment: This is the first Reilly Martini I can find. The SN is stamped on the receiver and action and may not be his; However this gun has to be after the 1870 trials. Martini’s were made in various calibers by Reilly for 30 years. This is the only one I’ve found so far with a Reilly serial number. In the Victorian era it was common practice for Officer’s & Other Ranks of Volunteer & Militia Units to privately purchase their own weapons to supplement their limited supply of issued weapons. Privately purchased Martini Henry rifles & carbines were manufactured by quality gunsmiths using genuine Enfield manufactured parts.

Here are other Reilly Martini’s, with no identified SN’s.

— See this Martini, E.M. Reilly & Co, New Oxford Street, London & Rue Scribe, Paris, .450, black powder, Elay 3 1/4 express.

— and this .577/.450 Reilly Martini, E M REILLY & CO, OXFORD ST, LONDON; black powder. (no Paris address)

— .380 Martini Rook Rifle, E.M. Reilly, 315 oxford street , London.

Name: Illegible
Descriptions: Also have in my rack 18536, a 20b backaction hammergun. Jones Rotary Underlever, 30" Damascus barrels, horrid replacement wood, cross bolt forend, nice bold foliate engraving. Barrels out of proof and slotted. 6094 stamped on short rib. Top rib engraving illegible.
Comment: From Toby on the board.

18547 -
Descriptions: A 15-bore needle-fire double-barreled sporting gun/ Needham’s patent, SN 18547; 28 1/2in. damascus barrels

18766 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford Street, London & Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: E M Reilly double rifles in .500BPE. rebounding hammers. extensively engraved, Damascus barrels
Comment: Both of my rifles have the same London and Paris addresses on the barrels. I'm interested in your source regarding the closing of the Paris "storefront" closing in 1872. Brown makes the following statement; "There was a Paris branch in the Rue Scribe certainly in the 1870s and 1880s."

18954 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford Street, London & Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: E M Reilly double rifles in .500BPE. rebounding hammers. extensively engraved, rust-blue barrels

19953 (SN indistinct) -
Descriptions: SxS 500 Express, hammer gun. 28” solid rib, case hardened steel barrels. round back action type lock
Comment: The serial number is indistinct on the multiple photographs of various parts of the gun. But it looks to belong in this era. No Paris address however.

Descriptions: 20 ga, 26" matted rib damascus barrels choked modified and cylinder with bright excellent bores. The barrels have toned to a pleasing brown patina having a strong damascus pattern. The barrels display a few light handling marks and have a small cluster of pinprick pitting on the right barrel near the muzzle. The breech ends display a light scroll engraving and the rib is maker marked "E.M. REILLY & CO. OXFORD ST. LONDON”. leather luggage style case with a brass plate on lid marked "G.F.H./ 90 LANCASTER GATE/HYDE PARK", the inside has been re-lined in a cardinal red fabric displaying E.M. Reilly manufacturing label
Comment: Terry Buffum collection.

20808 -
Name: EM Reilly & Co., London on left and right locks, E.M. Reilly &Co. New Oxford St, London (left barrel); & Rue Scribe, Paris (right barrel)
Descriptions: Rifle, .500 (3") BPE, Rebounding hammers, two folding leaf express sights (100, 200 yds). Side lever action.
Comment: Excellent photos posted at: http://s814.photobucket.com/user/ZSkibo/slideshow/Reilly%20500%20BPE

20396 -
Name: E. M. Reilly & Co., Oxford St., London
Descriptions: Cased 20 Gauge E. M. Reilly Sidelever Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun. Serial no. 20396. 20 gauge. 26 1/4 -inch Damascus barrels

21098 -
Name: E. M. Reilly & Co (no photos or other info from the auctioneer)
Descriptions: 10-bore (2 1/2) bar-action hammer gun SN21098 ; Barrel length: 28” (The barrels may have been shortened.); Chambers: 2 1/2""; Chokes: IC / IC; Material: Damascus; Rib: game; Locks: bar action sidelock hammer; Operating lever: Jones under lever;
Comment: Should have the Paris address

21099 -
Name: E.M.Reilly (address not mentioned
Descriptions: A fine 12 bore sidelock hammer gun

21304 -
Name: E.M.Reilly & Co (no mention/photo of complete address by auctioneer)
Descriptions: .450/.500 double rifle

21659 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., Oxford Street, London
Descriptions: 12-bore hammer gun by E.M. Reilly, no. 21339; Jones patent rotary-underlever, rebounding sidelocks, best foliate-scroll engraving, well-figured stock with recoil-pad, the damascus barrels with game-rib; 30in. barrels, both approx. I.C., 2˝in. chambers, London nitro proof

Name: E.M. Reilly & Co (side plates);
Descriptions: 20 ga, 25 1/2" matted rib barrels choked cylinder and cylinder with very good bores having light scattered pitting in both barrels. The barrels display a strong and lovely damascus pattern with the general surfaces toning to a pleasing brown patina, the barrel flats are marked "TATE GMKR IONE CA". The locks, frame and fences have been cleaned long displaying a bright pewter color, they display full coverage foliate scroll engraving; both sides are marked "E.M. REILLY & CO". The rebounding hammers
Comment: Terry Buffum collection; should have the Paris address; It may have been rebreed though.

22068 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co New Oxford Street London & Rue Scribe a Paris
Descriptions: Double hunting gun, 7cm 8 cal black powder,
Comment: ŕ deux canons en table en damas étoilé mis en couleur tabac avec large bande de visée antireflet gravée E.M. Reilly & Co New Oxford Street London & Rue Scribe a Paris, avec hausse fixe et quatre feuillets gradués jusqu'ŕ 200 mčtres, épreuves de Londres sous les tonnerres, extracteur (Long. : 70 cm, cal. 8, poudre noire, chambré 80 mm, poids : 4 725 g). Platines “arričre” jaspées ŕ chien extérieur avec sűreté bleuie au demi-cran d'armé et signées E.M. Reilly & Co. Bascule avec clé anglaise. Crosse pistolet en noyer quadrillé (Long. : 37 cm), bride de renfort, pontet bronzé noir gravé du numéro de série 22068, plaque de couche en fer, longuesse quadrillée avec embout en corne.

22093 -
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co
Descriptions: 12 ga, 30" matted rib barrels choked modified and improved cylinder with bright excellent bores. This is an interesting shotgun utilizing Thomas Woodward's patent action.
Comment: Terry Buffum Collection

22210 -
Name: E.M. Reilly's 502 Oxford Street
Descriptions: E.M. Reilly & Co shotgun, rebounding hammer gun with bar action locks (fine scroll engraving), non-ejector, Damascus barrels, side-lever, straight hand stock with vacant gold escutcheon, Anson push-rod fore-end jammed in place

22423 -
Name: E. M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford St. London & Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: Cased E. M. Reilly Bar-in-Wood Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun.
Serial no. 22423. 12 gauge. 30-inch Damascus barrels with game rib; splinter fore-end with Anson release (1872).

23172 -
Descriptions: 12 ga, External Hammer Dual Trigger Side By Side Shotgun with Extractor; The underside of the forend wood is marked “23172”. The underside of the forend metal is marked “W. ANSON / 6912 / PATENT”
Comment: 502 Oxford + Rue Scribe = pre 1881/2.

23574 -
Name: No mention.
Descriptions: bar-in-wood side-lever, 12-bore hammer pigeon gun with two sets of barrels, third bite and scroll engraving. Cased in leather. This was used as his go-to game gun when Cyril Adams visited the UK. 30” Steel barrels.
Comment: Should have Paris and Oxford addresses.

23746 -
Name: E.M Reilly (no address/photo)
Descriptions: EM Reilly 36 ga black powder proofed pre 1900 back action; hammer gun
Comment: Restoration project from “British and American 410 shotguns” by Ron Gabriel (2003). He doesn’t mention markings on the gun unfortunately. He estimated the age at 1890-1910. The serial number is, however, before the close of the Paris office…thus it is at least pre-1886…possibly 1880 or thereabouts…the gun surely looks pre 1880.

xxxxx - (1882-86)
Name: E.M. Reilly & Co., 277 Oxfort Street, London and Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: I just added this nice EM Reilly to my gun safe the other day. A gent in Texas had it for sale. 28-inch barrels, hammers are non rebounding, perfect bores, nicely engraved on the action, rib, and sight leaves, Jones under lever and heel and toe plates. Should be fun to shoot and not too difficult to come up with an accurate loa
Comment: Frustrating; beautifully cased gun but no SN, no description in the post. the label can’t be made out from the photo. But this heavy bore rifle has the 277 address (1882 on) and the Paris address (before 1886). It looks remarkably like 23746 above.

xxxxx - (1883?)
Name: E.M.Reilly & Co with London & Paris
Descriptions: Cased Cape Gun; 12 bore 30" 174 Side by side damascus barrel + rifled in .577 express cal.
Comment: Nr. 169 in the auction, Beautiful gun but frustrating lack of information. I’ve included it because of the below gun also with no SN but both the 16 Oxford Street (post 1882) and Rue Scribe (Pre 1886) dates. I have a feeling both guns belonged to the same owner and probably were purchased together.

xxxxx - (1883?)
Name: E.M.Reilly & Co. 16 New Oxford Street London & Paris
Descriptions: Double barrel muzzle loading?(in a break down rifle??), percussion, hammer gun; Damascus steel 27 1/2” 8 bore SxS rifles.
Comment: The description give me some problems. It sure looks like a pin-fire to me. But those address are significant…no photos. Item 197.

23853 -
Name: E M Riley & Co., Oxford Street, London & Rue Scribe, Paris
Descriptions: 12 bore double barreled side by side hammer action shotgun with ornate engraving to the locks and dolphin hammers. 30” Damascus barrels.

Name: E.M. REILLY & CO 315 OXFORD STREET LONDON" and the left barrel is stamped "& RUE SCRIEE PARIS COMPRESSED STEEL
Descriptions: 12 ga, 31" matted rib barrels choked improved cylinder and modified with bright near excellent bores having just a few light pits. The barrels are an overall mottled brown patina having remains of some light blue with scattered light pinprick pitting present. The breech ends display a very light geometric engraving and the
Comment: Terry Buffum collection.

++++++ Refer to subsequent post for SN's above 25,000 to 35650 on page 3 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++ See page 4 for list of Reilly's without SN labeled "xxxxx" + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

25161 - ??? !!!!!!!! 1885 SN with 1880 date on the case !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Descriptions: 25 1/2in. black powder only bold damascus rifled barrels. breech ends with feathered bands and single gold line, individual fore-end with Anson push rod release catch, the iron retaining much original colour-hardening; sidelever action with Purdey 1863 patent double bite, carved percussion fences, rebounding bar locks by Stanton, bar-in-wood, standing breech
Comment: This is a problematic gun for me. The gun was made for King Alphonso XII of Spain. The case is marked “shooting prize 1880”. It was supposedly given by the king as a shooting prize. But the number should be about 1884-85 date range; Yet the address is Pre 1882 - either that or Reilly continued to use his traditional 502 address rather than “16” for reasons of tradition..or the gun was made later to fit the case which was already in Spain…

25172 -
Name: E.M. Reilly, 575 Oxford St London (sic)
Descriptions: No details
Comment: very vague information. (Oxford Street 502? 277? 295?)

25232 -
Descriptions: E.M. Reilly shotgun, hammer gun with rebounding back-action locks (scroll engraving), Jones screw under-lever, non-ejector, twist barrels, straight hand stock with vacant escutcheon, snap fore-end (not Hackett).
Comment: 502 address. No Paris. Odd.

25273 -
Descriptions: .450 (3 Ľ in. black powder express) rotary-underlever double-barreled hammer rifle. 28 in. (71 cm.) black powder only blued barrels; double triggers, non automatic safety and extractors. Included is a beavertail forend
Comment: 502, no Paris.

25460 -
Descriptions: 12 ga, 29" matted rib barrels choked full and full. London black powder proofs. Steel barrels. Box lock.
Comment: 277 address post 1882…no Paris?? First gun with a serial number and the 277 address on a rib.

25516 -
Name: No name mentioned.
Descriptions: E.M Reilly & Co. 12 bore double barreled box lock, side by side ejector shotgun, 28in, barrels
Comment: first “modern” engraved side plates, very abbreviated, ending abruptly behind the breech and just ahead of the trigger guard. I’m wondering if this marks the end of E.M himself supervising operations and perhaps the ideas of H trickling in. He would be 70 years old at this point,

26218 -
Name: No address mentioned
Descriptions: 12G E.M.Reilly & Co Side by Side Double Trigger Boxlock Non Ejector. Original Case No Safety Action Automatic. 2 1/2″ 65mm Barrel Length 30” Choke True Cylinder
Last edited by Argo44; 03/30/16 08:57 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,706
Likes: 106

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,706
Likes: 106
Great information Argo. I'm not sure there was any question in your posts, so I'll just comment on the one I own.

My first Brit double was an E.M. Reilly 12ga hammerless boxlock extractor model I bought back in the '90s from Bob Deekins who posted it for sale here on this site. It immediately became my favorite quail gun and remains so today.

Terry Buffum, a poster here and knowledgeable about Reilly said it was a very late serial number likely built after 1900. I've always wondered whether The "maker" actually built any of the guns bearing the name or if they were products of the London trade. I don't believe anyone now knows for sure.

Congratulations on finding one that suits you. Shoot it in good health and welcome to the board...Geo

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 152

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 152
I have a 10 Bore E M Reilly double rifle 28" Damascus barrels, weight 13 pds 3 oz. Underlever hammer non rebounding hammers fully engraved. serial number 16585. Stamped on bottom of barrels EMR and on the bottom rib L1963. barrels engraved E M Reilly & Co Oxford Street London & Rue Scribe Paris.
I also have an 8 Bore E M Reilly underlever hammer double rifle. Rebounding hammers serial number 30245. E M Reilly engraved on lock plates, no engraving on barrels, although the address could have been polished off as the damascus barrels were rebrowned in England. Border engraved, groove diameter .8354. case length 3 1/4"
Twist about 52" weight 16 pds 8.8 oz.

Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 388
Likes: 1

Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 388
Likes: 1
I don't have any real input on the subject of E.M. Reilly and co as gunmakers. I do have an interesting and useless little snippit of trivia for you though.

Reilly took over the premises of 2 rue scribe in Paris. The person who leased or rented the same address immediately previously to Reilly was an American man by the name of Adam Worth. Worth was a man of high intellect and intelligence, and he was also a master criminal wanted on both sides of the Atlantic.

This man Worth, was the person that Arthur Conan Doyle based "The Napoleon of crime" aka "Professor Moriarty" on in his Sherlock Holmes stories. It is believed Worth used the premises as a casino and front for his crimes.

Told you it was trivia, but there you go.

1 member likes this: John Roberts
Joined: Feb 2016
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Argo44 Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3,202
Likes: 339
Gary, I got your 16585 - see above and a link to your post. I didn't have the 30245...It should be after Rue Scribe closed (1886) and before 16 Oxford Street Closed (1898); it could have had either the 16 or 277 Oxford street address. Since it's midway between 26584 (last number I can find with the Paris address - 1886) and 34723 (last number I can find with the 16 Oxford Street address - 1898)...say 1892 manufacture date?

I'm pretty sure Reilly placed no Reilly serial numbers on guns that were not at least ordered through him although he did put his name on guns he sold. I can base this on a Winchester he sold, a Sharpes, the Comblains and a couple of other examples. There is a unity in his stocks, engraving, and general feel that would indicate that if he didn't make them himself, he sure exercised strict quality control over the product. I'm inclined to think that at the very least he finished everything in his building.

Oh I've found an engraved bayonette and an engraved sword with his name on it.

Bonny, great bit of trivia. I actually researched the supposed Reilly shop in St. Honore in Paris (I speak French and have a French wife)...Paris - heck Europe - is full of these stories and this one was apt.

Last edited by Argo44; 02/22/16 10:46 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3,202
Likes: 339
Argo44 Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3,202
Likes: 339
George, I got you gun as well 35472 - check it out above. It is after 35423, the first gun I can find with 295 Oxford Street on it....i.e. 1903/4. So Your's must have had the 295 Oxford address on it....likely 1904? Note: I found a later serial number.. But I sort of quit looking after 1904. The Rileys from 1917 on seem to have added a digit in front of their numbers...they are 6 digit numbers,

I've kept all the pictures I can find for comparisons and have linked each serial number with the site where I found it. If anyone wants to do more researh - look at the photos attached to those sites - you'll be impressed with their beauty and elegance.)

Last edited by Argo44; 03/10/16 06:17 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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