General jacob's exotic rifle


Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2
Sep 28, 2011

Brigadier General John Jacob... Today one can visit his tomb and former residence in a city in Pakistan named after him, Jacobabad. He is still revered as the man who tamed the Northwest Frontier, and his monuments are carefully maintained by the government as historical sites. But what made him so special? Called by Major-General Sir Charles Napier, "the Seidlitz of the Scinde Army," Jacob was contradictory in the extreme. He could at once be charming, bellicose, brash and boorish. A stammer, which made him appear somewhat shy in no way, affected his opinion of himself, and he was one of India's most able administrators.

He was considered fearless on the battlefield but was also addicted to romantic poetry. Firearms had interested him from an early age, and though his knowledge of ballistics was somewhat lacking, his mechanical skill and élan for the subject, coupled with a substantial income, allowed him to engage in this enthusiasm with gusto.

Jacob was born in 1812, the son of a Somerset vicar. At age 14 he enrolled in the Honourable East India Company's academy at Addiscombe, and graduated some two years later with a second lieutenancy in the Bombay Artillery.

During the First Afghan War (1839-42) he was attached to the Scinde Irregular Horse, where his natural leadership and easy manner with the native troopers under his command drew the attention of the authorities. In late 1841 he was offered the command of the regiment, which he accepted gladfully.

The Scinde Irregular Horse was a sillidar regiment. This meant the native Indian cavalrymen (sowars) received more pay then their counterparts in the regulars, but they were required to supply and maintain their own equipment and horses. The East India Company provided only firearms and ammunition. Everything else, including fodder, rations and medical care were the responsibility of the troopers.
His regiment figured heavily in the conquest of the Scinde in 1843, and was constantly involved in skirmishes with border tribesmen. Jacob's star ascended and his renown spread throughout Northern India. He greatly improved the living conditions of the people in the area in which he was stationed, and because of this, the town of Khangur was officially renamed Jacobabad in his honor in 1851.

In the early 1850s Jacob took it on his own to prescribe the firearms carried by the Scinde Irregular Horse, influencing the adoption a double-barreled carbine and pistol that were manufactured by Swinburn & Son, beginning Jacob's relationship with the company that was to figure prominently in some of his later endeavors.

During his campaigns, Jacob also worked on ways to improve the military service rifles of the period. From the late 1830s rifle units of the East India Company were equipped with older Baker-style flintlock rifles and percussion Brunswicks. The Brunswick system involved a bore cut with two deep spiraled grooves into which a mechanically fitting .620 caliber pre-patched "belted" ball was loaded. The girdle of the bullet, which was marked with a black line on the patch to aid in loading, corresponded to the width and depth of the grooves, and when the gun was fired a spin was imparted to the projectile. Brunswicks could keep most of their shots in a two-foot circle at 200 yards.


Regular Member
Mar 7, 2012
Seriously a big fan of guns and rifles and this one here look amazing. Especially when it comes to ancient weapons i really enjoy reading about them. Just read the whole article and while reading was imagining that time and the use of these weapons. Simply marvelous.

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