civil war breach loader

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by redrout, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. redrout

    redrout New Member

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    Civil War era breach loader, 26" octagon barrel, markings merwin & bray New York agts, falling block, Ballard patent Nov. 5 1861, No. 38 on top barrel. I can't tell the caliber, but looks like something between a .38 and .40 cal. Looks like hunting version. Rear sight flips up but is very small, no sling hardware. I was just wondering if I had a rare gun worth something or just an old wall hanger. I have tried 2 gun smiths with a little knowledge and the internet. Also Patent Jan. 5 1864 is written on the trigger. The barrel has no deep rust and the stock has no cracks.

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  2. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    So, what's your question? You need to post pics if you want help.
  3. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    redrout,
    Welcome to the forum.
    That would be a "Ballard Patent" rifle. Many companies made them for Charles Ballard, the patent holder. Merwin & Bray were purveyors - they sold sporting firearms and equipment made by many makers. Merwin also designed a number of fine cartridge revolvers made by Hopkins and Allen.
    Pictures of your rifle would really help ID - and get you some more info.
    If no pictures - look for any other markings - Marlin began making these in the late 1870's - check for manufacturer's marks on barrel, receiver, etc.
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Something seems in conflict as the Merwin & Bray partnership ended in 1866 and The Marlin reversible firing pin was not patented until 1875. Maybe it's an earlier gun that was later converted?
  5. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Another mystery?????
  6. redrout

    redrout New Member

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    found a falling block 26" octagon barrel fixed sights Ballard patent date nov. 5 1861 Merwin & Bray New York with No 38 on the top of barrel no deep pitting rust and stock is not cracked. I can't tell the cal. around .38 or .40 it has no sling hardware old wall hanger? I have tried the internet and 2 gun smiths with some knowledge.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If the marking does not show a manufacturer's name on it, it was probably made by R. Ball & Co., which succeeded Ball & Williams.

    Jim
  8. redrout

    redrout New Member

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    thank you for your help. I think the maker is Merwin & Bray.

    Thanks again
    red
  9. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Merwin & Bray did not make firearms, they were just sales agents, and your first post lists "agts" as part of the marking.

    Only good close-up photographs are going to allow identification of your gun.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  10. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Based on the added photos, as Jim K wrote you have a Ballard Sporting Rifle made 1865-66 by R. Ball & Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts but they were not so-marked. Caliber is probably .38 rimfire. Flayderman's Guide lists value in Good condition as $850.
  11. redrout

    redrout New Member

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    Thank for the info. What would be the best way to turn the rifle into cash?
  12. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest one of the larger auctions such as Rock Island.
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