The Firearms Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got this from Grandpa years ago, finally decided to get some opinions on it.

Grandpa was a gunsmith, and favored blackpowder. This gun is not a passdown through our family, but rather something he aquired in his ventures through the years, but it and my .50cal hawken that I built with him years ago are all I have from his legacy now so I doubt I ever part with it.

Its a .36 cal, the unusual 7 sided polygon appearing bore is actually more round than it appears with the naked eye, I find it very interesting.

Everything on it appears original to the builder regarding lock, trigger, trigger guard, buttplate, and pewter forend. Only part than I consider not original is the inlaid brass plate oppoiste the lock - it was added by who I would presume to be a previous owner to cover a botched crack repair in that area, complete with some ugly visible epoxy, and very poor inlaying to boot. This saddens me, and I feel as the rifle itself had its feelings hurt...

The barrel is pinned, the trigger guard is pinned not screwed, the under rib is pegged and swaged to the barrel rather than soldered, and the forend cap is poured pewter.

The double set triggers work great, the hammer can be cocked whether the trigger is set or not, it has no halfcock only fullcock, and can only be fired by setting trigger first then touching it off, the front trigger will not fire the hammer unless it is set.

No identifying marks anywhere at all, not even under the barrel or backside of lockplate. The barrel has enough browned over corrosion at the breech end that its possible it had marks but are long gone. The lockplate has some visible scrollwork left behind the hammer, as well as tiny dots that appear to have surrounded the entire outer edge of the lock plate at one time. The area in front of the hammer is corroded enough that any markings there are long gone. The scrollwork and outlining dots are not showing up on camera, maybe I can try to do a chalk rub or something somtime to transfer it to paper.

The drum does not fit properly in the lockplate, but there are no tell tail holes in the lockplate to indicate a flint conversion. There is an extra hole in front of the mainspring screw hole, perhaps from a spring replacement at some point. In spite of this poor fit, the inlaying of the lockplate as well as the breech tang area sure make it appear as both are original, but I'll take opinions on all of the above from everybody as I think this rifle is a great conversation piece.

Thanks in advance!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,099 Posts
Your rifle is an attribute to Grandpa's good judgment in hanging on to it. My guestmate is it dates from as early as 1840s, seeing its curly maple stock and lines somewhat retro to earlier times. I don;t have an explanation about the gap behind the drum but it doesn't bother me either. Couple of possibilities come to mind such as lock replacement which a near-fit lock could easily be fitted without evidence of misfit or wood work. Another might be a person had a good lock that he took to the gunmaker to use in building him a rifle - at a major overall saving. I don't bother with unanswerable issues that are just a part of a guns history.

What appears to be erosion on the hammer and wood missing just in front of the drum indicates a lot of firing. The missing wood if un-cleaned would have had a white-ish ash surface as it eroded away from deposits of percussion caps being thrust at it by firing.

It's a rifle I like a lot. Back in the 1950s-60s I built several rifles shot them some, freshed out old rusty barrels, etc., at a time when few parts were available - not so much that they were scarce but poor communication about who had or wanted what. My little books I wrote, Modern Kentucky Rifle & Lock, Stock & Barrel (I sold about 50K copies) are still seen sometimes on popular auction sites and/or old book sellers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thats a really great response, thankyou so much. I don't have a lot of exposure to true antique blackpowder rifles, as most of my experience is with modern replicas which I am very versed with. But I have done alot of homework on the styles and manufacturing of the 19th century as of late, and I was hoping to get a response exactly like the one you just gave.

1840's...man that's a long time ago. 170 years. Think about all the game it must have taken. I've had others tell me its from around the turn of the 20th century, but the methods of assebmly just seem too old to me. And others tell me 1850-1870, and the lock is from a flint.. I do not agree with either of those. And the stock, it is ancient. I mean the pics arent capable of revealing how the grain feels in your hands. You can feel the patterns in the grain, every single bit of it. Its very very old!

I wanna hang it on the wall on a pair of deer feet, but afraid it otta stay in the safe instead. Just can't decide. Something that old and weathered and beautiful should be seen and admired..
I'll sniff around for your book!
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top