i bought a J. Harder over/under that says 44 on the top barrel and 12 on the bottom. on top of the barrel it says " J. Harder LockHaven Pa. Pat'd Jun 9, 1885" and on the bottom the serial number looks to be 65. what i would like to know is the year the gun was made and the caliber of the top barrel (i think its a 44 but not sure). i would also like to get some sort f an idea of the value of the gun also. i have a extensive gun collection but cant find any info on this gun. thanks in advance for the help.
Google finds a past listing of another one except different rifle caliber:
"This is a very rare rifle made by Pennsylvania gunsmith, JACOB HARDER. Jacob Harder was active in Athens, Pa. and later Lock Haven, Pa. ca. 1844 - 1890. He made percussion, Pennsylvania rifles, pistols, and cased dueling pistols. The rifle is marked on top of the barrel,"J. Harder LockHaven Pa. Pat'd Jun 9, 1885." This very unusual rifle is an over-under with a .38/55 rifle barrel on top and a 12 gauge shotgun barrel underneath. The barrels are 32" long. The number "91" is stamped on the bottom of the barrels just in front of the hinge. The right side of the barrels is stamped, ".38" over "12." The overall length of the rifle is 49". This rifle was most likely a buffalo hunter's foraging rifle because of the powerful .38/55 rifle cartridge. Except for a small area of light pitting roughness to the sides of the barrels at the muzzle end, the metal surfaces are mostly smooth blueish brown patina. Both bores show some pitting and roughness but rifling is very visable. The rifle barrel trigger is adjustable. It has a silver-blade front sight. The very nice stock has a few minor dings but no cracks or chips. As you can see, the overall style of this rifle is very similar to the earlier, traditional, Pennsylvania rifles."
Flayderman doesn't list him so apparently rare. There were a lot of .44s so you'll probably need a chamber cast to identify what cartridge.
From another source: "In 1880 Jacob's listed in Lock Haven as a gunsmith born ca 1841 New York, his son Frank as a clerk in gun store. Jacob apparently died before 1900 so the patent date indicates these guns were made 1880s-90s. In 1900 Jacob's not listed but son Frank's listed as a gunsmith.
According to Frank Sellers' American Gunsmiths" book, Jacob Harder worked in Athens, PA from 1838 to 1860 and then at Lock Haven from 1860 to 1888. He made multi barrel percussion rifles and then after receiving a patent in 1885 for a breechloading design, made breechloaders. Sellers got some of this information from the December 1944 issue of Muzzle Blasts."
If he died or retired in 1888, that narrows manufacture to 1885-88, unless the sons continued to make some in Jacob's name.
i paid $400.00 for it at an auction. i also bought a LC Smith sxs 12 gauge hammerless ideal grade and a winchester model 1887 lever action and also a 32 cal. single shot with no markings on it what so ever (next gun i was going to ask about ). santa came early
i tell you what. ill go and take some pictures of the .32 right now and start a new thread. ill also take the J harder in to the gun smith tomorrow and have him tell me what its chambered for. thanks for the help.
i took the gun to the gunsmith yesterday and picked it up today. its chambered for a 44-40 and the gun smith told me it was a very rare cal. for the gun. he said there were probably less then 1000 made. he said the gun was in excellent condition and to have it insured for $3000. thank for all the help and info you guys gave me on this forum.