The Snider-Enfield rifle was one of the most heavily used breech-loading rifles in the British Commonwealth during the transitional era between muzzle-loading rifles and the development of smokeless powder, seeing use in India, Australia, New Zealand, and the Dominion of Canada before its eventual replacement by the Martini-Henry, though militia and, notably, the Northwest Mounted Police continued to use it for some time afterwards.

The Mark I and Mark II versions of the rifle were conversions of the muzzle-loading Enfield rifles, fitted with the breech block assembly invented by Jacob Snider, a wine merchant from Pennsylvania - thus, the Snider-Enfield rifle. The Mark III, however, was purpose-built.

The Snider-Enfield also came in three different patterns - a three-band long rifle, for infantry; a two-band, shorter rifle, issued usually to sergeants of cavalry; and a single-band cavalry carbine. Despite the longer barrel, the infantry rifle was not the most accurate - the two-bander was, presumably due to better rifling.

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