Help! Old Muzzleloader Rifle I.D with detailed Pics!

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Lowsonoma21, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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    Hey all, New user, first post! I picked up an old muzzleloader rifle, not sure what caliber exactly, looks just short a .50 cal. It was handed down from a father, and now passed on to me. The previous owner did not shoot it, but recalls it being quite accurate when his father used to shoot it. I am in no rush to go out and shoot it, I want to assure it's safe. It is in great condition, aside from needing polishing, and minor blue n rust removal. I have detailed pictures of the firearm, and on the lock you can read the name. It doesnt make any sense to me what make it is, and I am having a hard time figuring it out. It seems to say "G Gout Cher". It almost looks like Cabela's traditional Hawkins Percussion Rifle. Since I am a Noob, I hope my pictures went through. Any information or suggestions on anything about the firearm please let me know. Thanks for your time

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    G'day and welcome!

    no pics as yet , sorry but looking forward to them

    photo bucket is a great way to share pic's

    www.photobucket.com its free and heaps of bandwidth with no file size limits

    this place has some limits and noticed from my own pics that unless they "fit" the rules , they dont show up

    try again and good luck

    cheers

    jack
  3. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  4. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Ok

    nice pics

    This a G Goulcher lock, English made between 1856 and 1872 (also known as the gap years, no marks)

    but the barrel and brasswork is not english

    goulcher made locks for the equivalent of hardware guns back then and many ( over 3000 ) of his lock where sent all over the US mostly imported from england like this one

    if i had to have a $5 bet i'd say philadelphia as the brass work is of the style and they where pretty unique to 3-4 philly gunsmiths the wad bay also is a give away as a addon and the wood and polish is also of the Philly style

    maybe kentucky but someone who trained with the Philly smiths

    if i had to have a guess i'd say this rifle was made late 1860's to no later than say 1875

    value?? no idea but i'd treasure it,

    good idea not shooting it if your not familiar with it, get it checked by someone who knows and get them to do a test fire ( cap without charge first then string on trigger and low powder charge)

    i'd also wager the lock was not made as a cap lock but as a flinter and fixed up as a cap by the US smith, maybe later on, maybe not hard to say without seeing it firsthand and checking for tool marks inside the lock

    either way its a nice firearm and you have done well

    i hope you keep it and care for it as it should be

    some may say its a "mongrel" without a pure pedigree but dont listen

    its rare to have one of that period thats 100%

    cheers

    jack
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  5. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    I'd say your pretty close Jack but the stock has got me a bit off kilter. Since it dont go up the barrel any futher than half, I have to say mabbe Ohio. There was a rifle builder up there around that time who made stocks like those. The brass works ar on par with other BP's that I have seen also. If this is one of his rifles it will book for 1200 if not more. Charles W Howell in Martinsferry Ohio. The only thing is I dont knoe if this is one of his or not. It looks similar to his design. I am not shure what to look for to tell you how to find out if this is one of his or not to be honest. There may be a stamp under the brass on the buttplate. Could even be on the barrel under the wood or close to the hammer.
  6. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Did howell use french hammers? i know he had a irish forge make some parts for him at one stage but dunno about french and to be honest dont have that much experience with Ohio smiths besides 2 or 3 that are famous

    take a look at the french fleur on the hammer ( another reason i think its a converted flinter ) If it is a howell i think someone else did a conversion on it

    howell was fussy about the finish and matching bits , even on his repaired english peices ( and why his stuff bring $$$$) even if he did use a french hammer he would have made it match, craftsman though and through eh

    but yes it could very well be , , i do not think the rifle is 100% as made but this means little

    its a lovely rifle and history be blown

    i'd be proud to have it, pedigree or not

    the age alone and the little i can see of the condition would make it a grand display peice for most but the fussiest of folks

    when i get home i'll try top match up the engraving to some in books i have but wont have that for a week or two as i'm south of home hunting at the moment, and trying to figure where next i'll be moving too ( long story but got a gut full of sydney and its jihadi's we keep importing as i'm right near a damn mosque...)

    Lowsonoma21

    when i get to my info i will chase this up but may i suggest in the mean time you contact a friend of mine who is a expert on these?

    whisker @ bedford.net ( remove spaces i put in to dodge the spam bots)

    send him the link to your photobucket and he'll get back to you for sure

    his name is Jim and a nice guy

    and ask about the Ohio as again i'm not that expert on that reigons smiths and i'd like to know too

    always stuff to learn eh

    cheers

    jack
  7. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    Thats why I love these old primitive firearms. There is just so many artist that made these it makes tracking the origin down on an old one frustrateing and fun. And make no mistake they were artists. To make such an item as these with the primitive tools they used is in itself art.
  8. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    I would add, do NOT 'clean' it, other than a good rub-down. There is a wonderful patina that an old piece collects, and removing it can really ugly down a piece.

    I saw a museum quality Burnside transformed into a 'shooter' by a steel brush and emory cloth. Since it was not my firearm, I could do little more than cry inside as a century of wonderful 'browning' was removed.

    A firearm has only ONE original finish. . . .
  9. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    mrkirker,

    Good advice eh!

    PS what is that rifle in your sig ??
  10. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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    Excellent info! What makes you think that it was a flint before? because all firearms made in that time were flint, and

    converted for convinience or faster/reliable shooting? All I have done so far is apply oil to the finish and barrel to keep

    the moisture off and shine it up. It makes sense that the barrel and brass work is not the same as the lock, as they

    differ in appearance. I would like to polish all of the metals and the barrel, but will continue researching before I do

    anything. It amazes me that the gun is that old, I really didnt expect that, I thought it would be a remake for sure,

    considering I got the gun for free! As you said -MR Kirker- do not "clean" it, I did not do anything to the metals, only

    oiled the entire gun to reduce corrosion, even though there was very little. I hope this wasn't a bad move. Big Ugly - I

    have more patients in the world for this gun, so its not too frustrating, its enjoyable! I can see it being imported to the

    states, and the brass work does look different. Still unsure of the caliber, to my knowledge its under .50. If i had to

    guess I'd call it .37. The barrel is 27'' 3/4. When the wad inlay is open, you can see where the whole saw mark is, where

    the drill grabbed and the outer ring of the saw. MrKirker - I most defiantly will not take a wired brush to the barrel!!! In

    fact that is the last thing I would do. Although before knowing all of this, I was considering applying some blue&rust

    remover, how do you feel about that? It sure sounds like you know your locks/gunsmiths Jack! I appreciate the email

    you sent me, I will be sure to message him. Have fun on your hunting trip and thanks for helping me on your free time! Cheers

    Thanks for all of your help guys





    (I double spaced hoping it will be easier to read)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  11. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    partly this but also the screw head for the cap and the shroud for the cap

    these dont match and the recess for them is not a match either but would be the correct siz/shape for a flinter

    also the engraving on the lock itsself is a style that went out before percussion caps , even though its called a hasty ( quickly done oto orniment the lock) just before they went to caplocks the process of stamping came in

    this is not stamped but done by hand

    polishing i'd get expert advise on and dont recommend it as the hasty marks can be polished out as can the name

    there are far better knowledgable folks than myself on this issue and a antique rstoration site or another member may be a better bet

    i make reproductions here from modern metals but dont touch my original locks other than to wax buff them (parrafin oil wax on cloth) and a dry cloth to remove excess

    i have a 1729 baker rifle which i shoot regularly at displays ( charge and wad but no ball) and his is how i treat it as this is what i was taught but again thers better knowledge for the real ones out there i'm sure

    happy to help

    i'm only new here myself but this is what the "family" of shooters should be about, helping those who ask , when we can

    as theres enough out there who would see our sport/hobby extinct like the dinosaurs they think we are

    and what you have is history, but the philistines of "progressive society" cant understand that,

    welcome to the forums

    hope to see you here often

    good shooting and good luck with that very nice rifle

    cheers

    jack
  12. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    The lock is original and was never a flintlock. Goulcher made thousands of these locks for export and they were used by many many gunsmiths in the 1800's. There are no extra holes in the lockplate where the spring for the frizzen would have been attached. Also the priming pan for a flintlock would have covered some of the engraving. :eek: The drum looks period correct.

    Is there a name on the barrel. Without a name there is no way of knowing who made it. The rifle is in the style of Ohio or Indiana gunsmiths.

    Is the barrel muzzle coned. This allows a patched ball to be started easily. I would expect the rifle to be 40 cal or less so the muzzle may be coned. The sight may be a replacement also. They look to high. The front sight is usually a "barley corn" style with a tiny silver blade.

    I believe the rifle has been cleaned. The patina is not "right". If you run your fingers across the curls on the stock you should feel a ripple effect. Is the butt plate proud of the wood? Wood shrinks with age.

    With out handling the gun I can't tell for sure. If you handed the rifle to me at the national muzzle loading shoot in Friendship this is what I would have told you.

    It is a fine looking piece. Unbreech it and slug the bore to find the caliber. If the bore is good shoot it and enjoy. :)
  13. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    i'll shut up
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  14. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    Hey Jack
    You don't have to shut up. Remember you said the forum was great for an exchange of ideas and knowledge. I don't know where you are But if you are close enough drive up to Friendship Indiana. Google NMLRA and look at the videos they have. There is a week long shoot the second week of June and again the second week in Sept.

    Well something bothered me about that gun. The OP is vague about where the gun is from. Something about somebodies father had it. I went back to the pics and blew them up. I now believe it's a modern gun not an antique.

    The reasons for this is:

    1. The barrel is to short and the sights are modern. The rear sight looks like a flip up.

    2. I dug out a repro Goulcher lock I have. It looks like the one in the pics. They are made by R. E. Davis and Co. You can by them at Friendship.

    3. The ramrod ferrells are soldered to the barrel. It should have an rib under the barrel for the ferrells.

    4. There is no barrel key to hold the wood to the barrel. It should be half way between the front of the lock and the poured nosecap.

    5. It has a single trigger. All the original halfstocks I have seen have double set triggers.

    New parts can be "aged" with little problem. The gun is just to clean to be 150 years old.

    My opinion yours may vary

    Shoot safe
    Doug
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  15. zkovach

    zkovach Active Member

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    good rubdown and no refinishing. i suggest if you want a gun to shoot buy a 200.00 muzzleloader and save that baby. It will be worth some money in years to come if not already. Nice hand me down.
  16. Keystone

    Keystone New Member

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    That is a NICE rifle you have there. I like it.
  17. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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    Haha, well I can see where your coming from that the barrel is modern, but jack already said that. You're right the sights definitely are modern, the one closest to the hammer actually flips up. The muzzle does not "cone" in either, it is perfectly flat. The percussion cap is almost brass, at least looks like it is, and doesnt match the rest of the lock so it does look like it has been converted. I don't know what you mean about the Ferrells, is that the metal looping designed to hold the rod? Well they were obviously sodded, or tacked on, as were the sights. I know what you mean about the key, it had me scratching my head. As I looked closer on the gun as to where it should be, I found a nail/pin which potentially could be holding it in place, or its just coinsidence. I will post more pics on this, and the barrel, and every angle I can! I dont know if the fact that it has 1 trigger determines on its age, but thats just my thinking. I know where you're coming from though. To me, it makes no sense to have a single shot with 2 triggers? Unless there's a reason I can't think of. Thanks for the info Doug.

    @ Z Kovach - Basically I have given her a "rub down" just with regular oil though. There is still residue from the blackpowder on the barrel, and other miscelanious marks. Should I worry about getting them off, or don't bother? I have some rust remover that might be good for it? Im not sure. I would like to take the barrel off and give it a good clean, but i'm skeptical about taking it appart. I want to shine that brass up real nice aswell. I went to take the hammer off, and the screw felt unusually loose, so I wanted to compare it with the Cap, and it was just as loose. Both the screws came of in a matter of seconds, only to find out they were BOTH snapped in half! Thats right! Some retard had already tried to remove them, and didn't prep the rusty screws before. Now I think I'm in some trouble.... Maybe thats why the guy gave it to me for free.

    @ Keystone - Thanks brother


    The top screw infront of the hammer seems to be holding in the trigger, and other parts. I'm worried about damaging or loosing the main spring. Youll understand what I mean by looking at the new pictures I uploaded. Thanks for the reply's
  18. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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  19. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    Well as far as your question on two triggers goes. It's a double set trigger. When you cock the hammer, you then pull the back trigger. This "sets" the front trigger and it's a "hair trigger. It's adjusted for a very light pull.

    Your new pics shows a lot of corrosion around the nipple. I think that is what you are calling a percussion cap. A percussion cap fits on the nipple and makes the gun discharge.

    I doubt if the previous owner cleaned the gun and the barrel will be to far gone to save. Powder residue is very hygroscopic and draws moister.

    To take the gun apart, Cock the hammer and remove the screw that holds the lock on. The lock will not fall apart when you remove it. Everything is screwed together on the lock. Remove the screw from the tang. You are correct about it screwing into the trigger assembly. Remove the nail from the stock with a pin punch ( I called it a barrel key). The barrel will then lift out of the stock.

    I would like to see a pic of the inside of the lock. I could tell you if it's an original or a Davis repro.

    To take the barrel apart, Unscrew the drum from the barrel. The drum holds the nipple. Just take them out together. Then unscrew the tang form the back of the barrel. Use padded jaws in a vice to do that. Soak the barrel in some kind of anti-seize fluid first. Liquid wrench, Kroil, etc.

    You will then be able to tel if the barrel is OK.

    Doug
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  20. Lowsonoma21

    Lowsonoma21 New Member

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    Awesome thanks for the guide. I know have the barrel detached, trigger and firing pin out, sturup off, and now the hammer is at half cocked on the stock. The percussion cap tray thing or the nipple is still on the barrel because someone has already snapped the crew in half it seems, unless if it is really corroded and does not want to come off, but it does seem as if the screw snapped ill try and get pics. Same goes with the screw on the hammer. It seems to be the same case, either its snapped, which I am 99% it is, or its stuck on. I dont know what I'm going to do from here. Should I at least put the trigger, pin, and screw back so i can un-cock the hammer? Or does it matter? In regards to the spring, I dont know if its too much stress to keep it like that for a while right. The barrel looks corroded, or as if it has glue, or laquer residue on it. Its surely in need for a clean. The ram rod I have now doesnt go far enough so I have to go get one, and I need the right size brush. Or should I not use the wired brush inside of the bore, You mentioned before not to use it on the barrels finish of coarse, but what about inside?

    Thanks for the help man I appreciate it.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
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