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