1/95th Rifle - A Rifleman's Kit - The Rifle
The British Infantry Rifle (aka Baker rifle) was the first rifle issued in the British army and was also the longest serving, being in use for forty years before it was replaced by the Brunswick rifle. Even then it was still in use for a further 10 years in some areas of the brigade due to the Brunswick being difficult to load. Both were finally taken out of service in 1851 and replaced by the Enfield Rifle-Musket. The Baker Rifle was made by a man named Ezekiel Baker of Whitechapel, London. The weapon was selected, by the Board of Ordnance during its field trial at the Woolwich Arsenal in February 1800, for its rugged construction and superior performance.
Itís barrel was 30 inches long and was Ďrifledí at a quarter turn giving it an effective accuracy of 200 to 300 hundred yards and placing it at the height of military technology. In comparison with the British and French muskets, which both had an accuracy of 75 to 100 yards, this weapon, in the right hands, was a great advantage over the French.
At the base of the stock was a small brass box known as the patch box. Itís primary use was the carrying of small circular leather patches, which were used to wrap round the bullet, causing it to grip the rifling and thereby increase the rifle's range when required.
Rifleman Plunkett used this method during the retreat to Corunna when General Auguste de Colbert rode up and down the French positions urging his men into battle. Lying on his back with the sling of his rifle rapped around his foot, Plunkett took careful aim and shot Colbert dead in his saddle from well over 300 yards, the ball having struck him in the head just above the left eye. As Colbert's body fell to the ground his orderly raced to aid his commander when Plunkett, having reloaded by this time, took aim once again and shot him in the head before continuing with the retreat!
Tom Plunkett takes the shot that is to make him a legend.