Antique Muzzleloader 1800's

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Widegren, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. Widegren

    Widegren New Member

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    I have recently purchused a black powder antique muzzleloader. The person whom I bought this from is an Civil War dealer and could not tell me much about the gun except it was passed down and sat in some closet for as long as they could remember. I wanted to learn more about the gun so I took it to a local gunsmith and had it looked over. The gunsmith could not find a makers mark even after removing the barrel and plate. He thinks the stock is made from maple or walnut. It is a .45 caliber percussion heavy barrel half stock with mock tigerstrip and decoration to the butt stock but no patch box. The lock has some simple engravings on it with the initials R. H, R. B or R. E, the rest is rubbed off over the years. The ramrod has been replaced and the rear sight looks to be a dovetailed. The hammer has been brazed with brass. There is a skull and crossbone inlay under the stock above the trigger. It appers to be brass as well. It is a 50" musket with a 34" barrel. When the barrel was removed there was no makers mark found. The barrel is rifled. All and all the gun is in good condition, the hammer will cock and the double set trigger makes it a hair trigger. The nipple and barrel have a little rusting. I am interested in finding out more information on the skull and crossbone and the gun itself.

    Attached Files:

  2. dcriner

    dcriner Member

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    Probably a fake.
  3. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    i nthink its a resto a mix of repairs replacement parts ( the trigger guard with a casting like that on that nice wood?? )

    i'd say it was once a flintlock then was converted but beyond that hard to say

    the Skull and crossbones plate can be bought online at a few places ,

    check out biker type shops and similar

    my first thought on it is a kit rifle due to the trigger guard but , have no idea after staring at it for 20 mins
  4. hrf

    hrf Active Member

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    I doubt it was converted from flint as looks like a typical mid-19th century half stock. But the skull & crossbones emblem is crudely inletted and almost certainly it and the odd decoration on right side of stock were added by some subsequent owner.
  5. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    The stock is short even for a halfstock. The barrel is pinned where most halfstock barrels are keyed. The nosecap looks modern and the decorations are fairly recent. If it is original it's a cut down fullstock IMHO. It's not a kit, even a kit wouldn't have mismatched pieces. I don't think any reputable CW dealer would have looked at it twice.
  6. hrf

    hrf Active Member

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    Hawg, the barrel has an under rib so it's not a cutdown fullstock. And the pewter nosecap is not unusual on mid 1800s guns. But a bare bones economy grade at any rate, that lost value when the tacky decorations were added.
  7. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    hrf & Hawg just about said it all. It's the 'bubba' remains of what was once a 'plains rifle' of mid 1800s. Considering the proportions of fore-end and locations of ramrod pipes, probably of original length. Never a flintlock.
  8. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    The marking on the lock is the letters R. B. on a scroll. I've never found any information on this lock maker, but he was quite prolific. The pinning is typical of guns of this era--mid 18th century. I have two rifles and a fowler with half stocks that are pinned--not at all unusual.

    I suspect it is quite heavy and if the rifling is good, it is probably a good shooter. Yes, the decorations hurt it a bit, but they may be period, so don't sweat that too much. The screw holding the triggerguard on is definately modern. I'd find a period screw and replace it. The stock is maple with what appears to be a wash stain to immitation tiger-stripe, or curly, maple. This gun is probably from Western Pennsylvania or Ohio origin, about 1850-1870 or so. The butt plate appears to be of two pieces--the tip of the upper horn appears to be a different color, and was cast separately and applied. It appears to be a decent gun.
  9. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Pinned vs keyed barrel --- A common barrel is usually pinned. A barrel with patent breech is usually keyed. The so-called 'patent' breech has a sort of hook breech plug that fits into a fitting with the tang and screw that stays in the stock. The purpose is so the barrel may be easily and quickly removed/installed for cleaning or to reduce in length for storage. Better quality mid 1800s rifles and pistol will have the patent breech.
  10. jjmitchell60

    jjmitchell60 Active Member

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    More pictures of back of lock, area around nipple with hammer cocked, close ups of nose cap (which pewter was used alot even back in teh 1700s), length of stock, and close up of how the under lug is attached would be of great help. By what is shown, what has been said it dead on. the skull and cross bones IMHO is not that old. The tacks were probably added not that long ago. One thing that lends me to believe put together out of different parts guns is teh mixing of brass and pewter. I have seen pewter used with iron furnoiture a lot but not with brass. Usually if a brass buttplate, then brass nose cap.
  11. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    The shape of the nose cap looks more like off of a TC Hawken than an original plains rifle.
  12. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    It is not unusual at all for gunsmiths to mix pewter caps with brass hardware. Looking over my shoulder, I have 3 of that configuration in my gun case--a squirrel rifle, boy's fowler and a chunk/pickett rifle--all from the mid 1800s. I agree with Hawg that the nose cap resembles that of a TC Hawken--I also have one of those (albeit brass) leaning against the wall.

    However, whether or not the pewter nose cap is poured or attached with screws will tell the tale. If it is poured, I suspect it is original. The chunk/pickett riflle I have has the same lock with matching engraving and it is probably circa 1850. Also, if the nose cap came off another rifle, it was attached prior to the stain being applied or the stripping would have been obliterated as the wood was worked down to match the cap. If the forestock was shortened, the rib would likely show a demarkation line. Also, the thimbles are properly spaced for a forestock of that length.

    More pictures please.
  13. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    The rib could have been added later.
  14. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    The skull and crossbones medallion looks like one of the GRATEFUL DEAD's emblems. Perhaps Garcia got the idea from an 19th Century source.??...
  15. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    Left and right profiles of nosecap are asymetric (just noticed). We've apparently lost interest of orginal poster... Oh well...
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The skull and crossbones plate looks like it is, or was made from, a belt buckle.

    The lockplate is not a conversion, but the hammer looks like it has been broken off and repaired by welding at some point. The trigger guard looks like it cracked lengthwise. It does not appear to be of the same quality as the rest of the gun.

    Jim
  17. hrf

    hrf Active Member

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    Jim, the appearance of the front trigger guard tang looks more like casting flaws not polished out than a crack to me, and it's also roughly inletted. It may be a replacement from Dixie Gun Works or similar source.
  18. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Maybe, but either way it would not be something a competent gunsmith of the mid-1800's would turn out. The darned trouble with guns like that is that they first look good, but then you find some little thing that doesn't seem right, then you look deeper and find.... I could go on, but I think you know what I mean.

    A good example is the "Colt" Single Action in "Colt Revolver Question / ID", a nearby thread. It looks beautiful until... well, take a look.

    Jim
  19. Widegren

    Widegren New Member

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    Sorry for the delay, I have not had a chance to grab the camera with christmas just around the corrner. I have attached a few more pictures to take a look at. Thanks again for the help and advice.
    Happy Holidays!

    Attached Files:

  20. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    Nose cap is poured, stock does not appear to be shortened. Beautiful plum patina on barrel, no evidence of it having been cradled in a longer forearm. Lock maker is RB in a scroll--no idea who he is, but I have its twin:
    http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=74322&highlight=chunk.

    Hammer was broken and brazed. Stock may have had a clear finish added. It appears to be original except for the trigger guard and those damn tack and skull and cross bones. Probably 1850-1880. Probably western PA or Ohio origin. How much does it weigh? If 12 lbs or more, it is probably an old chunk. If it hadn't been messed with, would probably be worth about a grand.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
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