The Jacob Double Rifle
Brig. Gen. John Jacob (CB) was an officer of the British East India Company born in 1812. Reared at the Addiscombe Military Seminary, he completed his formal education at age 16 when he was commissioned in the Bombay Artillery on his 16th birthday, subsequently sailing for India within the same week.
As a young subaltern of artillery he saw steady service on the Afghan frontier, covering himself in glory at the Battle of Meanee in 1843 which resulted in a Brevet Captain honor and his CB.
Sir John then went on to form an irregular cavalry unit which endured under his name as the 36th Jacob’s Horse (which, amalgamated in 1922 to become the 14th Prince of Wales’s Own Scinde Horse, remained until 1947 when it was allotted to the new Indian Army). He also went on to raise both the 130th Baluchis and 26th Jacob’s Mountain Battery.
He also crafted a very interesting rifle.
Jacob decided that a double barreled rifle with an elaborate sabre bayonet was just the ticket for his troops in India’s Northwest Frontier. His design fired a .52 caliber conical projectile with winged studs that could be modified for explosive impact against ammunition wagons at extreme distances (keep in mind the dum-dum round was born in the same place and time). The folding rear sight leaf was marked to an optimistic 2000 yards.
Some 900 were made by Swinburn & Son in England around 1860, though apparently few were ever issued. You see, the man who had ordered them had already expired of exhuastion. They circled the glob as military surplus for a few generations with the 1907 Bannermans’ catalog listing them as “double barrel elephant rifles.”
Jacob, known locally as Jekum Sahib Bahadur, never returned to England, fought in Perisa, and, buried in what is today Pakistan at Jacobabad (guess who it is named after), is well-remembered and even to a degree, liked.
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