Help needed to identify a mid XIX century muzzle loading, rifled gun

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    Aldo Antonicelli

      The Italian Navy’s “Technical Naval Museum” of La Spezia holds a number of XIX century muzzle loading naval guns, partly smoothbore and partly rifled.
      They are missing any identification, but I have been able to identify all but one of them.
      This particular gun (fig 1) is a rifled smooth bore of a very simple shape. The characteristic shape of the breech suggest that it is a French gun, or a gun based on a French pattern.
      Probably due to heavy paint, on both trunnion’s faces there is only a faint trace of marks: on the left one, it is barely discernible a letter F. Impressed on the muzzle upper face there is a letter R and the number 1851, which I guess are the foundry mark and the date of casting. On the lower face are impressed, very crudely, the letters F. W. followed by a misaligned and smaller letter D.
      Over the forward end of the first reinforce there is the mark drawn in fig 4.
      The gun’s length, from the muzzle to the rear end of the first reinforce, breech and cascabel excluded, is 2.78 m.; the length of the firs reinforce is 1.38 m; the length of the breech and cascabel is 0.23 m. The bore length is 2.09 m.
      The diameters are: breech 0,46 m; forward end of the first reinforce 0,44 m; muzzle astragal 0.33 m.; swell of the muzzle 0,41. The diameter of the bore is 165 mm; the bore is rifled with two grooves each 3 cm wide.
      I have not located any drawing or dimensions of rifled guns similar to this one. My guess is that it may be one of the very first rifled muzzle loading guns experimented with by the French navy in 1855, whose calibre was 165 mm, had just only two grooves and were not very successful.
      Please, may any member help me to identify this interesting gun?

      Best Regards, Aldo Antonicelli

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