Antique Long Rifle Restoration Help

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by cspaldi, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. cspaldi

    cspaldi New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Hello, this is my first post at this site and I would appreciate some advice. I was just given a "family heirloom" rifle in rough shape and am interested in having restoration work done. We are unsure of the age, but my grandfather says his grandfather remembered it from when he was a boy, putting the date at least prior to about 1865 and likely earlier based upon other family history. It is an approximately 60 inch long percussion rifle of a smaller caliber, which may have been converted from a flintlock because the side plate on the lock side is of a different metal than the brass side plate of the other side. That branch of the family has lived in North Carolina from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, so the rifle could have been made in North Carolina. No obvious maker's marks, but surface rust could be covering any. In addition to needing metal and wood refinishing, it needs a new hammer made and fitted and a new brass patchbox cover (and maybe latch) made and fitted. The goal is not to make a shooter, but to preserve a piece of family history. I would appreciate the names of any gun restoration outfits I should contact about this work. I am located in central Virginia, but am willing to ship. Thanks
  2. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Active Member

  3. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    You might want to check with Dixie Gun Works first...they can give an appraisal, and probably some idea on the gunsmith who made it.

    And just in case it is a very valuable collectors item, it might be worth more left untouched than restored.

    You can contact them at
  4. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2005

    Some pictures would be of help.

    What you have could be of historical value in addition to your appreciation of 'family value'...... No real reason not to restore it to 'shooting condition', if it doesn't appreciably alter its present conditon/configuration.

    FWIW, a lot of MLs in your part of the world had slow twists and shallow rifling for round ball. It was expected, with the soft steel used, a gun would be returned to the smith for 'rerifling' if it was shot a lot. Most of these were in the .32 - .45 calibers. >MW
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Oh yeah, and one other thing, make sure you check to see if it's unloaded...a LOT of these long stored heirlooms are found to be loaded.

    Put the ramrod down the barrel and see how far it goes in...if it would go in all the way if you let it it's probably unloaded.

    I also "bounce" mine off the breech plug, but it goes completely in, and comes back out, if the barrels are fouled at all with dust or grime you might lose the ramrod!:eek:

    But if it's LOADED the ramrod will NOT go all the way in, but will extend out about an inch or two...if that happens, mark or hold the ramrod right at the muzzle, then withdraw it and lay it on the barrel, if the end is about the same distance from the breechplug, you'd better invest in a ball puller and a patch worm....
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