|Breech loaders are a lot faster reloading than muzzle loaders. Perhaps equally important, loading a chamber enabled better contact between the bullet and the rifled barrel. This gave higher air-speed, better rotation and much better accuracy.
Fergurson and Hall came out with their flintlock breech loaders decades before 1842, but Norway was probably the first country in the World to introduce breech loaders full scale in the army and the navy. There seems to have been made a total of some 40 000 kammerladere (chamber loaders) in the years from 1842 to 1870.
| A "new" M1855 was made with the rear sights moved and fixed with a ring to the barrel. Kongsberg made some 4000 of these, numbers being added on the numbers from M1849. The old M1842, M1846 and M1849 also had their rear sights changed according to this and an army version of the Kammerlader with the original rear sight from before 1855 is extremely difficult (virtually impossible) to find.
The M1849/55 kammerlader is one of the three most common kammerladere to be found for collectors.
|Kammerlader – the first Norwegian breech loaders|
|M1842 - there were only ordered 500 of these in total - all for the army, 100 produced at Liege and 400 at Kongsberg. The M1842 is easely identified by the very narrow grip with a ridge on the hammer.
Allthough 500 rifles were ordered, it seems probable that only some 300 of them ever were produced as the army's M1842. I have a hunch that about 200 of these rifles first were completed and assembled in the mid and late 1840's, but as a shortened version for the navy.
There is no logic in producing an outdated model for the navy years after revised army models had been put in to production. The highest serial number I've found so far on an early navy kammerlader with the M1840 hammer is # 99, but there were two series of these - the navy M1845 and M1849.
Next army model out was the M1846 with some minor alterations to the mechanism and a wider hammer grip. Appr. 3000 of the M1846 was made at Kongsberg, numbered 1-3000. 1500 were made at A. Francotte in Liege and another 1500 at Crause in Hertzberg – all three series with serial numbers starting from 1! Both the M1842 and the M1846 originally had the same rear sight as shown on the right.
M1842 and M1846 with M1855 rear sight are easely identified as they have two screws holding the square plate behind the breech chamber in place. Narrow hammer with a ridge, it is a M1842. Wider hammer with a flat handle, it is a M1846.
M1849 is again slightly modified in the mechanism with ao an even wider hammer and got a new rear sight, this also placed behind the breech block. The stock was curved from the trigger guard to the but. Kongsberg made some 6500 of this one, Liege and Hertzberg 2000 each - and again all three producers started their serial numbers from 1.
On M1849's converted to the new rear sight, there is tapped in a little steel plate on the left hand side of the square plate behind the breech chamber. The workmanship is very good and the easiest way of seeing this is often that the serial number is slightly on the right hand side of the plate.
|Original Army Models|
|The original rear sight|
|M1842 & M1846|
| In 1859 there was a new and shorter version with only two brass bands holding the barrel – following on the M1855 number series. There were made less than 1300 of this, but it still is the most common of all the Kammerladere as very many the M1855-versions were shortened down some 16 cm as well - called the M1855/59. The spring holding the first barrel band was turned 180 degrees on the converted ones and a new piece of wood was fitted in where the spring had been. The M1859 got a sword bayonet.
In 1860 Kongsberg started making a long kammerlader with socket bayonet again - the M1860 lang is almost identical to the M1855, but lighter with a 11,77 mm calibre. There were made close to 9 000 of this model.
There was also a shorter version of this, the M1860 kort is simular the M1859, for a sword bayonet. There were produced some 3000 of this model. The bayonet is virtually the same as for the Norwegian Remington, and fit the Remington, but not the other way round. The short M1860 as it is a lot harder to find than its "big brother", and a lot harder than one would believe as the production run still was fairly high for being a Norwegian military rifle.
The cartridge converted long M1860/67 is the third of the most common kammerladere to be found.
|Both the two last mentioned were also made in civilian versions with iron bands instead of brass. I've never been too interested in mass produced civilian arms and don't really know how many were made. An educated guess is that the bayonet numbers follow the rifles and that whatever "hole" there is in the bayonet number range, this is the amount of civilian guns made. An uneducated guess would probably be some 5 000. More information on this on the next page.|
|There were also made several models of kammerlader percussion carbines - the M1857, the M1862, and a M1865 cavalry version of the M1862 without bayonet. After 1868 the carbines (M1869 cavalry & M1869 artilley) were produced for use of cartridge with Lunds design.|
|M1860 - Lang|
|M1862 - Artillerikarabin|