At the time, it was considered revolutionary: the Austrian Lorenz rifle of 1854 not only offered the newly developed "compression" bullet, but was also the first military weapon in the then German Confederation to feature a comparatively small caliber of 13.9 mm. Something that today's black powder shooters would also like to try their hand at. For this purpose, the Italian family-owned company Davide Pedersoli built a replica for the first time a good two years ago – now another version follows, already from series production, which we received for testing.
The test gun: the new variant, which Pedersoli calls the "Lorenz Rifle Infantry Type II," came about primarily because of the barrel twist. The twist of Pedersoli's first Lorenz version, with a length of 1:1650 mm, did not correspond to the original rifle; the measured original had a twist length of about 1:2007 millimeters. After some delays, a copy of the Lorenz rifle M.1854 Model II is now available, whose barrel construction is quite close to that of the original of 1854, given the twist of 1:2000 millimeters. To stay with the barrel, there are a few small deviations to accommodate for target shooting needs. For example, the rifled section of 880 mm in length is followed by the 37 mm long, Pedersoli-typical powder chamber with a diameter of just under 6 mm. Then the barrel has the same internal diameter over its entire length, so it does not features the slight tapering like the original. In general, the barrel is designed for sport use, because of the quality of the Pedersoli Match Grade (PMG) barrel. And since it is of interest to shooters because of possible replacement, the touch hole liner thread is M8x1.25 mm, like the one of Pedersoli's Enfield rifles.
New: the Lorenz Rifle II from Pedersoli now not only has the original barrel twist, but is also visually very close to the original
Technically, Pedersoli's Lorenz Rifle Infantry Type II corresponds to the original Type Two rifle. Visually, the test rifle is very close to the original, which did not have a walnut stock until 1862. The most noticeable difference is the dovetail front sight, which was fixed on the original. The other external differences are minimal: screwed instead of riveted sling swivel lugs and a rear sight base supplemented by a screw. The walnut stock is polished and oiled. On the trigger guard and under the patent sling swivel screw, fits are quite generous. Although this can be ignored on the trigger guard, a barrel that is hollow under the patent breech plug is displeasing. This is because it should lie smoothly and firmly in the stock bed over its entire length – it is important for accuracy too. The metalwork is good. There were only slight but visible tool marks in the area of the nipple base.
Before the first shot, there's also the practical check of the sights and trigger: the front sight, which can be laterally moved in the dovetail, is 2.5 millimeters high. The accessories included a replacement front sight of 4-mm height, which was fitted for the test. Windage can be adjusted well after loosening the aforementioned rear sight screw. The rifle has a military-grade single stage trigger. The trigger pull weight is about the same as the original. Like there, the trigger creeps slightly. Overall: as expected. Then the preparations – first that of the gun: clean the inside of the barrel and powder chamber and remove all grease. Unscrew the nipple, degrease it, rub the thread with separating paste and screw it back. Otherwise, the nipple may get frozen solid.
Field test: with the Pedersoli Lorenz Infantry Rifle Type II on the shooting range
The testers shot from a sitting position at a distance of 100 meters. They supported the rifle on the forend and buttstock. The groupings are the best of two series of five shots, measured from center of hole to center of hole. Before each round, the examiners snapped two caps to clear out the barrel. There was no cleaning during the series, but dry wiping was performed twice in between and after the clearing caps. The powder was fed into the barrel using a 10 cm funnel. The bullets were pressed into the muzzle by hand and pushed onto the powder with a ramrod. The test team used large RWS 1218 musket caps. Overall, the testers fired the Pedersoli-Lorenz about 150 times. With the original 515-grain compression bullet, the rifle did not shoot in an exciting way. With the first three loads, two out of five shots were not on target and the bullets arriving there clearly keyholed. However, one should not draw any false conclusions from this. Because with original weapons, the corresponding Lorenz bullets hit the target. Twenty-five millimeters long before being fired, the original 31.12-g bullet may have measured 21 to 22 millimeters at most, thanks to the compression that already occurs when the charge is ignited.
Different times, different customs: modern bullets are greased
The fact that with today's bullets is almost impossible to hit the target is probably due to the way they are loaded: in the past, the lead was part of a paper cartridge that was greased in the bullet area. There was no grease in its grooves – unlike today. This is probably what prevents complete compression – and without it, no reliable guidance in the barrel and thus no accurate hits. According to the test, the Pedersoli hits best with short hollow-base bullets and medium-weight loads. If both fit, it performs at its best. Two of the test loads held the ten of the ISSF target. However, the Pedersoli-Lorenz rifle requires some willingness to adapt: the sight picture of a narrow blade front sight and V rear sight is very fine. What's more, when aiming you can easily “lollipop” the sights with a slight bit of white under the target for the shooting distances of 100 or 50 meters. But if you have to go over both distances, this can only be achieved using different aiming points – not a mistake, but a contemporary feature.
Pedersoli Lorenz Rifle Type II specs and price
Lorenz Infantry Rifle Type II|
Pull Weight: ||87.12
|Notes:||Percussion muzzle-loader, walnut oil stock, iron butt plate and fittings, single-stage trigger, long powder chamber (diameter 6 mm approx).|
Test wrap-up: the Lorenz Rifle Type II makes a "bella figura"
All in all, with the new Pedersoli-Lorenz model for just under 1700 euros, you get a muzzle-loading rifle that is not quite inexpensive, but is true to the style and also, on the whole, neatly crafted. With the right load, it shoots acceptably for sporting purposes and also makes a "bella figura" in reenactment.
What we liked:
What we found less good:
original replica ||The
trigger creeps slightly|
barrel profile (twist)||The
barrel bedding at the rear|
proper loads, quite accurate|
whole neatly finished|