Pre 1840 Tryon Rifle. Curious about its age and worth

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Curious, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Curious

    Curious New Member

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    I bought this old old rifle at an auction in the 70s and havent paid much attention to it until recently. It is very heavy and long and the wood, ramrod, and brass runs all the way to the end of the barrel. I found faded letters and numbers on the inside of the compartment door in the stock. I could clearly make out TRYO and I think 186. After googling for hours, I found out about the Tryon rifle company out of Philadelphia. That made it easier to identify the N at the end of the TRYO, but it appears there were a few more letters. The oldest Tryon I could find pictures of was an 1841 model. This rifle is much much older looking than that. I would appreciate if someone could help me figure out the age and worth of this beautiful rifle? Ive included some pictures of the rifle but here is a link to my photobucket picture album of more pics. Just copy and paste this into your web address bar.

    http://s1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc366/tholmes222/

    If anybody needs more information or pictures just let me know. Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Tryon made contract guns for the U.S. and also pistols, but they were also a supplier of locks and other parts to the gun trade (sort of like Brownells). That patchbox was made by them, but I think it is unlikely they made that rifle.

    Jim
  3. Curious

    Curious New Member

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    Why do you think its unlikely they made the whole rifle? And if so, any idea how I can find out more about it?
  4. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    It might be by them, the problem with old percussion and flints are that the basic design was the same on all of em. So there was a lot of so called gun makers during the time that made guns from some other manufactures parts. SO with that beeing said what you need to look at is the other parts on the gun and the style of the stock. For instance on the inside of the hammer plate there is usually a stamp of some sorts. But on this one there is no screws to take it apart, it looks like nails holding together, so if you take the hammer plate off then you might not get it back on. Also on the butt plate there maybe a stamp either under it on on the back. Since that butt plate is brass if there was an external stamp it is gonna be long since rubbed off. If the but plate can be removed without any damage and you are sure you can reattach it then look under it to see if there is a stamp there too. However, if it was mine I would leave the thing alone and know that you have an old percussion rifle that may be a Tryon,
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The reason I don't think someone like Tryon made the gun is that Tryon had a factory (not large, but big enough to make contract muskets for the army). A lot of that gun just looks too much like small shop work to be their product.

    Also, I have never seen a hammer on an American lock held on by that type of split thread nut instead of by a screw. It has sort of an improvised look that I don't think a Tryon gun would have. As to the patchbox, to my eye it is much better made and looks more "professional" than the lock, as does the buttplate. I am sure others will comment, so realize that these are my opinions only.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  6. BullShoot

    BullShoot New Member

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    Big Ugly, you said, ''For instance on the inside of the hammer plate there is usually a stamp of some sorts. But on this one there is no screws to take it apart, it looks like nails holding together...'' Based on personal observations I would have said ''sometimes'' rather than ''usually'' Normally there was no reason on a civilian firearm to mark the interior of the lockplate.

    As far as there being no screws to take it apart, I am sure it must have slipped your mind that the bolts holding the lockplate are throughbolts beginning on the other side of the stock and ending screwed into the holes on the lockpalte - looking vaguely as 'nails' I suppose.

    BullShoot
  7. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    Alright, variouse manufacturers of parts Usually stamp the company name on the inside of the parts as seen with the Tryon on the inside of the patch box. Most of the manufacturers of the buttplates done the same thing. Now, this still holds true with some reproduction manufacturers and metalsmiths today. For those traditionalist manufacturers. Now, these names you find on these parts are the makers of the parts not the makers of the firearms. When looking at an old flint or percussion especially one that was not used militarily you will most always find mismatched parts on them. Namely becouse the guns almost always wound up bein a long way from where they were manufactured, something broke, you held on to the broken piece till you can take it someplace to get it repaired or you traded it offt for one that wasnt broken. Dont any of you yayhoos read history books. Now Tryon made parts, also Tryon made rifles but they made more parts then rifles. As said before, when you are dealing with flints and percussion rifles you have use more common since then knowledge. Contrary to popular belife due to folks making mistakes on these guns when giveing out information there has been a lot of left behind and or sold for little or nothing or classifified as fakes becouse they had mismatched parts or. Most of the real old flinters and percussions were bastard guns due to this fact.

    Now Bullshoot. most of your firearms manufacturers of the period placed a stamp of some sorts some where on the parts they made. Military rifles were almost always stamped but even military arms were sometimes bastardized for parts, and not everyone got the same rifle or a rifle from the smae manufacturer, especially during the revolutionary war and the war of 1812. And those poor souls that fought for the south usually wound up supplying their own rifles until one was issued to them. Hell boolshoot even the french supplied arms to the Confederates during the war however, there was French rifles issued to Union soldiers too mainly from supplyships that were taken. What do you think they done with those arms, Burn them? No they issued them out.

    What does all this have to do with this rifle? Alot. Why? Simple, the damn thing has parts on it that are almost 200 years old, but not all the parts are right. SO when apraising an old flinter or percussion you have to apraise the period of the rifle by what is on it.

    Tell you what, some of you fellers need to sit back and rethink on what you know. You are smart on some things but illiterate on others. You know it is possible for one to put together a period correct and valuable flint or percussion just from parts? I know a feller that makes it his hobby. Take it easy on some of these fellers here who are asking questions about their primitive firearms. Each period correct firearm you inspect is a learnig experience.

    Now as i said before, this rifle may or may not be a Tryon, what you do know is that it has at least on Tryon part. When placeing a value on this firearm you need to place it it period correct parts. So is this rifle an original Tryon? Who knows. Is it period correct? yes. Value: if the rifle can be found to have other Tryon parts on it then you can safley say it was, value on a period correct firearm like this is subject to the buyer. Especially right now, it could go for little or a lot pending on the function or hardware. Now, in order to get a true value on the rifle you need to find a real expert, and those are far and few.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  8. Curious

    Curious New Member

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    I havent tried to take any of the parts off the gun to check for more words, but I did find some more markings on the very end of the barrel. It has little stars/crosses on every side of the octogon. Is this significant to any makers or time periods? Posting a picture...

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  9. Curious

    Curious New Member

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    All of these markings are clearer than they appear in the pictures. Dont know why I cant get a clear picture of them.
  10. BullShoot

    BullShoot New Member

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    Big Ugly, you said, the following....
    ''manufacturers of parts Usually stamp the company name'' Not true. For non-military firearms made in the 19th century and earlier - some did, many did not.

    ''When looking at an old flint or percussion especially one that was not used militarily you will most always find mismatched parts on them.'' What a gross generalization that is - and in my collecting experience, 'most always' not true.

    ''the damn thing has parts on it that are almost 200 years old, but not all the parts are right'' Which parts are not right? It appears to be all original to me. I think you are the only one to suggest it is a mixture of non-original parts. Why do you think that?

    May I suggest YOU explain the reason the markings on the muzzle?

    Sorry, Big Ugly, I lost confidence in your ability to speak on flintlock or percussion firearms when you revealed you didn't even understand how a side lockplate was attached to the stock. That is pretty basic. See posts 4 and 6 above.

    BullShoot
  11. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    BullShoot, never mind, PM sent
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I have no reason to think the parts of that gun are not mostly original. The wood around the lockplate shows signs that the lockplate was removed and replaced many times, and probably repaired, again perhaps many times, but it seem to fit the wood and is probably original. The protruding screw ends are not nails, they are the result of the wood being compressed allowing the lockplate screws to come further through the plate than they originally did. The drum also looks as if it has been removed many times until the end is worn or broken, probably from a wrench.

    The flat, plain hammer may be a replacement, though. It shows none of the grace I would expect in a rifle of that period, and the odd hammer nut shows that something was done to that lockplate.

    As for the end of the barrel, such markings are often seen. They are usually even more elaborate and are simply a bit of decoration. I think the rifle would probably date to around 1850. As always, I am interested in others' ideas.

    Jim
  13. BullShoot

    BullShoot New Member

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    Big Ugly, never mind, PM answered.

    Sorry you don't care for me but I gotta speak the truth.

    BullShoot
  14. Curious

    Curious New Member

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    Around 1850 huh. That's a bummer considering I thought it was possibly War of 1812 or soon after. I've seen some guns from around the civil war era and this one is just so less advanced. The thing is 5 ft tall and is way heavier than the 1841 Tryon. But of course I don't know much about these things.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  15. grcsat

    grcsat Member

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    These are my thoughts of your rifle, don't know if I'm right or not but something to think about.

    This rifle has all the ear marks of Henry E. Leman born in Lancaster Pennsylvania, March 8, 1812. He was employed by George W. Tryon at Philadelphia from 1831 to 1834. Leman returned to Lancaster in 1834 and established the Conestoga Rifle Works.

    . As is typical for his rifles, the stock is plain Maple with faux striping to simulate curl. The barrel is a usualy 48-inches long . The length of pull is about 13 inches.Also as a former employee of Tryon it is well within reason that Leman would certanly have used parts that he had favored while employed at Tryon.

    Both Leman and Tryon are both known for putting on a slight taper to thier octigon barrels. It is also known that Leman perfered to use the Tryon brass buttplate along with the brass kick plate.
    In my opion This rifle could be either one of the two. As far as I know ALL Leman rifles are stamped with either Leman or Lancaster on the barrel just a head of the tang.

    Just something to think about.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It could not have been as early as 1812 because it is percussion, and is not a conversion.

    As was brought out in a previous thread, that general type of rifle was made even after the Civil War for those who valued tradition or who were concerned about the availability of factory ammunition.

    In general, flint and percussion rifles underwent a transition from the rather plain flint rifles made by German immigrants in the old country style to more and more elaborate pieces, with carved wood and engraving, plus a profusion of silver inlays, then again evolved (some would say "declined") into plain pieces in the 1840-1860 period. One reason was that those going west wanted a plain, durable, rifle, not a work of folk art. (The term "plain rifle" became associated with the trans-Mississippi and became "plains rifle", a term used today for a type of the later percussion rifles, some made in the St. Louis area.)

    After the war, factories making cartridge rifles supplanted the small-shop gunsmith and only a very few continued to make percussion rifles in the old way.

    Jim
  17. grcsat

    grcsat Member

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    "It could not have been as early as 1812 because it is percussion, and is not a conversion. "

    I was refering to Henry E. Leman born 1812, not the rifle. lol

    The rifle itself I would guess at 1840s (date )
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  18. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    In my humble opinion. The gun is an original percussion (not converted from flintlock), probably made in the 1840s to 1850s. Looks to be about .45 cal. Markings on locks or patchboxes are of little help because many if not most guns of this type were made with locks and hardware purchased from a vendor--or cannabolized from other guns. By carefully removing the barrel, you may discover the barrel maker, but I wouldn't attemp this unless you know what you are doing. The screws holding the lock on protrude a bit further than they should through the lock, but they may have been replaced or, most likely, the wood has shrunk a bit and the screws now protrude when tightened. It is is fair;y good condition for a gun of this age. I'd put the value at about $800. Whatever you do, don't attempt to clean it up--it should look its age. A little wax on the wood, some oil on the metal, and a little lube on the inside of the lock is all it needs.
  19. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    Buffalo, easy on your post. You might get castrated. Actually you and I are on the same mind as of the rifle. But, I would venture to say the price may not be that high, These guns dont go fr what they used to. I was lookin through some of my books here and I have found a possible match on the lock but I will not post that. As far as value I was thinking 4 mabbe 5 hundred.

    I love rifles like this, I dont love the disagreement but I love the rifle. For me if the rifle was in my or my fathers hands would be to try and locate the diffrent manufacturers of all the odd parts, it kinda gives you the history of the rifle.
  20. BullShoot

    BullShoot New Member

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    Buffalochip, I agree - definitely originally a percussion, not a conversion. Your price sounds high though.

    BullShoot
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The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum HELP, EXPERTS, PLEASE!!! Need help with identification - 1840's? who? where? value?< Mar 30, 2010

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