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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old muzzleloader that has been passed down through the family. I don't know much about it and anybody that did is no longer alive. It is a percussion type rifle with no visible markings except for a "W" on the barrel.

It is in very bad condition and some parts like the trigger guard and front sight are missing. I would like to know what this rifle is called, how old it is, and if it possible to put it back into working condition. I have taken a few pictures of it in hopes that someone here might be able to shed some light on this rifle.







 

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Very interesting piece there -
The half stock and heavy barrel say "hawkin"
But the curved butt and deeply shaped but-plate say "pennsylvania".
The metal clad grip area says "Ethan allen"

OK, so much for the amateur assessment -

How about it, one of you pro's?

(I moved this here where it is more likely to get a response - )

And - WELCOME to TFF!
 

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It's called a "half-stock percussion rifle" and the maker will likely remain unknown as many such guns were assembled by local gunsmiths mid 19th century.

I'd just buy an appropriate trigger guard and ramrod from Dixie Gun Works and not try to restore it further. It's in nice "over the fireplace" condition and the wrapped and nailed repair to stock wrist (pretty common on these) adds character.

You should find a rod long enough to measure down the bore, as it's not unusual to find these still loaded...
 

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Like hrf stated, Dixiegunworks has the missing parts you need. If you can accurately trace or otherwise transfer the contoured inletting of the trigger guard on to a piece of paper, you can mail it to them and they may be able to match something up, or at least come close. The newer parts, particularly the brass, will clash with the patina of the rifle, so you may want to let them weather a bit outside. FYI--the pronounced swell under the stock is called a "perch belly."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. So you think that getting this rifle back into firing condition is not feasible or worth doing? Also, it is rumored that one of my ancestors carried this gun through the Civil War. Is that likely to be true?
 

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Feasible, yes, a knowledgeable and experienced restorer could put it back to firing condition. Worth it? Hardly. Altho replacing the trigger guard is probably worth the effort to make it complete as a wall-hanger, the pitted condition of the metal and even more-so the tacky looking repair of the stock at the pistol grip area negates any serious interest by a collector or restorer - unless someone is looking for a challenge --- which brings us back to 'feasible?'.

About Civil War; it's probably true that there would be a rumor about its being used in the War. A lot of old guns have a romantic rumor. Likely actually used thru the War, no.
 

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I have a muzzie from the same era, and as for shooting it, you may have considerable trouble finding any caps that will fit the large nipple used on those. I've been looking for several years and there just ain't any. So you would have to remove the original nipple (likely need to be drilled out), and retap it for a modern #11 or #12 nipple to fit modern caps, which is a dicey proposition at best. I decided against doing that since it would significantly lower the collector value.

It's the one on top of the display here. Made by Bown & Son, Pittsburg.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a muzzie from the same era, and as for shooting it, you may have considerable trouble finding any caps that will fit the large nipple used on those. I've been looking for several years and there just ain't any. So you would have to remove the original nipple (likely need to be drilled out), and retap it for a modern #11 or #12 nipple to fit modern caps, which is a dicey proposition at best. I decided against doing that since it would significantly lower the collector value.

It's the one on top of the display here. Made by Bown & Son, Pittsburg.

That is a beautiful display you have. The rifle at the top is virtually identical to the one I have. Do you think they may be from the same maker? Do you know the approximate year they were made? I'm not all that worried about getting the gun in firing condition. It is a family heirloom that I want to hand down to my grandson. I would like to replace the missing parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Feasible, yes, a knowledgeable and experienced restorer could put it back to firing condition. Worth it? Hardly. Altho replacing the trigger guard is probably worth the effort to make it complete as a wall-hanger, the pitted condition of the metal and even more-so the tacky looking repair of the stock at the pistol grip area negates any serious interest by a collector or restorer - unless someone is looking for a challenge --- which brings us back to 'feasible?'.

About Civil War; it's probably true that there would be a rumor about its being used in the War. A lot of old guns have a romantic rumor. Likely actually used thru the War, no.
I see your point. Getting it in firing condition is not all that important anyway. I have no interest in the value of the gun. I just want to replace the missing parts while leaving the rest in its present condition.

About the civil war story. I have convincing evidence that one of the owners of this gun was in the confederate army during the war but I have a hard time believing that he would carry a gun this heavy.
 

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That is a beautiful display you have. The rifle at the top is virtually identical to the one I have. Do you think they may be from the same maker? Do you know the approximate year they were made? I'm not all that worried about getting the gun in firing condition. It is a family heirloom that I want to hand down to my grandson. I would like to replace the missing parts.
I noticed that, which is why I posted it. If yours was made by Bown & Son, it will be marked on the barrel as such. This was made 1861. I acquired it from the descendants of the original owner, who resided in Starkville, MS before and during the Civil War, and his descendants still live in the same house. As was mentioned, many guns of this era were made along the same lines or put together from parts of other guns, but never marked by the maker. If you take it apart you may find some mark that will further id it.

Btw, all those old muzzie's weighed a ton. Often they would be braced with a forked stick to support them when shooting, but realize those folks back then were used to hard work so it didn't bother them much to haul it around. :)

You may be able to get some better info at http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/fusionbb.php .
 

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Confederate soldiers carried a wide variety of firearms at the beginning of the war, from Brown Bess's used during the revolution to squirrel rifles. After the first battle they were involved in these rifles were tossed in favor of a Springfield or Enfield.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I contacted Dixie Gun Works and sent them photos but they said they could not supply parts for this rifle. Is there another place I might try?
 

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I contacted Dixie Gun Works and sent them photos but they said they could not supply parts for this rifle. Is there another place I might try?
Did you send them photos or a tracing of the triggerguard area--i.e., the underside of the gun with a ruler beside it? They have dozens of triggerguards and likely have one that is close. A bit oversize so it can be filed to fit would probably be the best bet. You do need to make sure it is big enough to accomodate your sett (or double) trigger. Please post a pic of the bottom of the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you send them photos or a tracing of the triggerguard area--i.e., the underside of the gun with a ruler beside it? They have dozens of triggerguards and likely have one that is close. A bit oversize so it can be filed to fit would probably be the best bet. You do need to make sure it is big enough to accomodate your sett (or double) trigger. Please post a pic of the bottom of the gun.
What they told me was...

"I am sorry but this looks like a custom made rifle that someone made special. I do not know of any parts we would have to work since we cannot really identify this."

They didn't ask for any further photos or information.
 

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You may have a better outcome if you were to Google the site for Track of the Wolf. You may find, unless there has been a change, that this company has a wide range of gun-smithing services. Some years back I had an original barrel that he been re-bored and re-rifled in the past by an unknown workman fitted with new drum and breech plug by TOW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You may have a better outcome if you were to Google the site for Track of the Wolf. You may find, unless there has been a change, that this company has a wide range of gun-smithing services. Some years back I had an original barrel that he been re-bored and re-rifled in the past by an unknown workman fitted with new drum and breech plug by TOW.
Thanks. I have contacted Track of the Wolf, sent them some photos, and awaiting a reply.
 
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