Mystery gun, Civil war?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by shuttrbg22, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    Hello Gents (and ladies?)

    I recently was handed down this gun and would love to know what era it is from. The gun is 55" long overall with a 40" barrel at 3/4" wide (smooth bore). It has the word "Baker" engraved but it im sure it's not one of the famous Baker rifles . Any info you can provide would be great

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Firstly , Welcome !

    The baker being a flintlock and rather stubby compared to other rifles of the period would rules this out as a Baker

    BUT! many of the bakers that where around at the time where disposed of as parts or spares ,( i got mine from the nepalese government when they finally sold there stock of bakers in 2004) now what you may not realise is that many where re-fabricated by some german folks in Mexico and these ended up in the battle at the Alamo along with numerous brown bess and similar rifles of the period

    The lock plate looks like is could be ( not saying it is as the pic is poor) a baker plate with a percussion cap modification , but the stock is another thing , of all the baker variants is not even close to a baker stock that i could find ( maybe someone knows better as i'm relatively new on bakers)

    some ( many ) guns of the period where mixed and matched to match supplies as per the budget of the time ( read as no budget) and resemble nothing like what came out of the armoury

    I suspect this is one

    there are some baker rifles that are marked in a similar style to yours but these where called colonial guns and not British issue but made for friendly or colonial governments of the British Empire and do not have the British armoury proofing marks so that just makes it even harder to sort out what it is exactly

    i hope one of the others here can help more than this

    but in short Bakers where flintlocks, had chunkier stocks, and fittings for a 24" bayonet with the exception of the marine carbine version that had a cutlass styled bayonet of many differing sizes of which many of the older long blades have dings in the back of the blade near the tip due to the rising muzzle end bringing the bayonet into the path of the ball ( no foolin!)

    cheers
  3. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    Hmm, Howbout a Tower Musket? Looks close
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    No, I don't think it was a Tower Musket, Lock is wrong. What it looks like is an old Fowling piece or hunting rifle. Used in the Civil War, maybe, there is no way of telling, it certainly was not any type of issue piece. However at the beginning the Southern troops were ill armed and many brought weapons from home, old shotguns and rifles. When they were issued weapons or able to pick up a dropped Yankee rifle they usually just discarded what ever they had been using ( no UPS back then to ship it home and they weren't about to carry two rifles ). To be honest I don't think any one could say it was or wasn't used in the Civil War. I personally think it was unlikely, but who know? It certainly was not well taken care of and the value would be minimal.
  5. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    You know how it goes, the family story doesn't always line up with the facts. The ancestor this supposedly came from fought out of New York. Someone decided to shellac the whole piece and it is in pretty bad shape. If you think it isn't valuable then I will feel better about stripping off the sticky stuff it's covered in. The "baker" engraving got me excited but the 40 inch barrel rules that out.
  6. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    Starting cleaning off the shellac and took some better pictures.
  7. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Ok , i wish you had not had taken off the shellac

    but nice to see the pic's

    IT is a baker lock a fowler to be precise

    its the right side lock from a double barrel fowling peice with a percussion modification

    Initially the lock came from a gentlemans shot gun of the period ( civialian sales, not military ) , not high quality , more likely a game keepers level gun , better than a poor mans gun ( if allowed it is the UK )

    but was added to a Rifle barrel and stock

    this happened at short notice to get guns into action and seen in the early days of the conflicts your nation has seen

    so your family history may be correct

    just the gun was made of parts and maybe later modified to use percussion caps

    what ever the facts , its been around some

    here is a pic of a baker single fowler from about 50 years later than yours

    it too was a flintlock but had a baker conversion done about 1860 -1870

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  8. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    I emailed a mate here your pic , he dates the lock to Whitechapel roads works period of 1804-1823, but wont guess on the rest , it was a flintlock when first made , but what was done when by whom? we dont know
  9. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    That makes sense, the lock and barrel are silver colored and the rest of the metal parts are brass colored. It looks like it was converted. The shellac was very sticky and the gun was covored in hair, lint, fur etc. I was compelled to remove it.
  10. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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  11. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    Ok so here are the possible guns as gathered from various sources:

    A converted Brown Bess
    A Baker lock on an unknown gun
    A New England Militia Rifle
    A worthless old stick
    A combination of 3 of the above

    I guess without any more markings I may never know.

    One thing is obvious, the lock does not match the rest of the gun but seems to match the barrel.
  12. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    from what i understand in the UK that lock alone would be worth a few dollars ( quite a few) it's from a period where Mr baker left his master and first set up shop for himself

    before his famous rifle, before big contracts , and before his famous stamped branding

    while the rifle may not be of interest theres only a limited number of lock plates of this time still about ,

    I only know this from my interest to flintlocks , i'm a rank amatuer and very unsure at percussion rifles

    but if this is a family rifle , keep it as such , its definitely a heirloom if nothing else
    the things it has seen , if it could only talk... i think such things are too precious to trade

    if you do sell it make enquiries to the UK and stick a picture in a collectors magazine

    marked best offer , then take 2-3 months collecting the offers

    spend the $20 and time to do so , i think you'll find it worth it

    now a quick question ..

    does it matter if you can never fully identify everything ?
    the rifle is typical of the period , arms rushed into service, modified from all over to serve a purpose, to keep folks safe? protect from indians or whatever ?

    i like these mongrel rifles as they often have way more character than the famous mass produced rifle of the period

    when it comes to tradition , we know it was not defined but created from need
    i think your rifle shows this better than most
  13. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    Just a thought--very carefully remove the lock and sideplate (and lube it while you have it apart). Are there other/extra screw holes? If it is a Brown Bess, the orignial brass side plate opposite the lock sat on top of the wood. The current side plate is inset and large enough to cover old holes. Also, what is the calibre? .75" ? This might further narrow it down. Originally, it also had a sling swivel attached to the trigger guard (now missing), which indicates military origin.
  14. shuttrbg22

    shuttrbg22 New Member

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    I'll look at that later, it is a .75 caliber if that helps.
  15. flintlock

    flintlock Well-Known Member

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    It looks as if the stock was thinned out behind the barrel tang. The butt plate and trigger guard look similar to those of a second pattern Brown Bess. And the "Bess" was approx. 75 caliber. Some one, at some time, replaced a lock, and did a conversion to percussion. A nice family hierloom.
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