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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have about six rifles of my own , and have just inherited six more rifles all very old. I have no clue about antique rifles and have questions about all of them, but wanted to start with an ID of the muzzle loader. Is there anyone who can tell me what this is so I can start researching it?
 

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Sir , Welcome to the4 Forum
theres a few experts on these who'll be along to help

i'm more the brit side myself

but can say without better pictures of the lock and any marking this is a trade rifle a better quality one with the double set triggers and such but the small back plate was a standard that could be upgraded to a better or more ornate one and i've seen them with that star impression before as well

may i ask what the bore is like ?? and if the action functions ?
 

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It's probably circa 1850 or so, double-set triggers, half stock, poured pewter nose piece, maple stock with faux tiger stripes (burned on with a hot wire) and appears to have a tip out barrel. I think it a bit too fancy to be a trade rifle, probably a common grade hunting rifle. Unless the barrel is marked on top, you probably won't be able to identify the maker, although the plate opposite the lock is odd enough that it may be attributable to a particular gun smith. You might want to check websites like americanlongarms.com for more informed assessment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As far as the bore goes I have only looked down the barrel with my eye, no scope. As far as I can tell it is only dusty/dirty. The hammer will come down although a bit slow. It does not seem to be hitting hard enough to reliably set off a cap, but may if taken apart and cleaned. The barrel seems that it may be in better shape inside than out. Is there anything else I can tell you?
 

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As far as the bore goes I have only looked down the barrel with my eye, no scope. As far as I can tell it is only dusty/dirty. The hammer will come down although a bit slow. It does not seem to be hitting hard enough to reliably set off a cap, but may if taken apart and cleaned. The barrel seems that it may be in better shape inside than out. Is there anything else I can tell you?
A point not mentioned that applies to this gun and other muzzle-loaders included in those you mention:

It's not uncommon to find them still loaded after 150+ years, so please measure down the bore.

If kept dry, black powder does not deteriorate much, and there have been tragic accidents when someone popped a cap on greatgrandad's old gun, or applied heat to the barrel.
 

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A point not mentioned that applies to this gun and other muzzle-loaders included in those you mention:

It's not uncommon to find them still loaded after 150+ years, so please measure down the bore.

If kept dry, black powder does not deteriorate much, and there have been tragic accidents when someone popped a cap on greatgrandad's old gun, or applied heat to the barrel.
+1 on that!!! Have bought them at auctions loaded and with the stock ate up from rot! DO NOT look down the barrel till you measure To measure, take aram rod or otehr lonbg round dowl rod and drop it down teh barrel. Then mark where the rod is at in the barrel. Pull rod out, lay aloside barrel, and it should go to the butt end of barrel or very close to it. IF loaded, take it to some one in your area that is experienced in removing the load please.

Now as to what it is, more info is needed. ANY and ALL markings on the barrel, lock, or other parts. Caliber and barrel leng is helpful. One spot to look for marking is the under side of the barrel where the stock will cover them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will look for more markings and get you the barrel length. Is it ok to do a little cleaning on the outside of barrel or would that de-value it? I hesitate to do much of anything to this rifle before I know what I have.
 

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Well, it is not a musket at all and never was. As Buffalochip says, it appears to be a plain common grade sporting rifle, c.1850. Such guns were made by hundreds of small shops around the U.S. and its territories at that time and for a while afterwards. Even though muzzle loaders were theoretically obsolete after the Civil War, many traditionalists still wanted the old-time muzzle loaders.

That gun would not really have been "made". By that time, very few gunsmiths really made guns or even parts of them; they bought barrels, stocks, locks and furniture from gunsmith supply houses and assembled guns with some custom touches, as most custom "gunmakers" do today.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I can not find any markings on this barrel at all. The bottom under the wood is dry and rusty. Not flaky rust, just powdery, but still can not see where marks may have been.
Barrel is 40.5".
 

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Once you determine it is unloaded, you can drop something shiny, that will readily drop back out, down the barrel and then shine a light down the barrel to determine condition. You can clean it out with a bronze brush--I've used shotgun brushes and swabs to clean it until clean water runs out the nipple. Easier to do if you can remove the nipple, but don't risk breaking or stripping it--might soak it with wd-40 or equivalent for a couple days first. As far as cleaning the outside of the barrel, bronze wool pad is safest to use, but 0000 steel wool will work to remove loose rust. DON'T remove the patina--just rub off the loose rust and then coat it with gun oil. As Jim K. says, these were often made as "one-offs" using vendor supplied parts and whatever markings you find aren't necessarily those of the gunsmith who put it together. Nice old gun, clean it up, oil it well, and store it where it won't be messed with. I'm convinced that half the firearms I pick up with worn out locks and actions were probably dry-fired thousands of more times than they were ever actually fired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the cleaning up advise. I was thinking of removing the barrel from the stock for this. Am I right in "ASSuming" that the two screws behind the barrel above the triggers along with the pin underneath through the stock will release it?
 

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There is also a pin through the stock below the rear sight. It goes through a tab that is attached to the barrel, so you have to drive it out (probably left to right) to remove the barrel as well as unscrewing the tang screw in the rear. The screw that holds the lockplate on might go through the barrel tang, but I don't think so. Just be careful when removing the barrel and if you run into resistance, stop!

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Roger that. I will be careful. The tab on the bottom of the barrel has rusted off. Thank you all for the help.
 

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I suspect you won't have to remove the tang screw(s)--it looks like you have a hooked breech--the bottom photo shows a space where the barrel meets the tang. Once you remove the pin from the forearm and the ramrod, the barrel should just lift out. Google "hooked breech" and you'll see what I mean. Definately remove the barrel before attempting to clean it. I'd also Google "cleaning a muzzleloader barrel".
 

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I suspect you won't have to remove the tang screw(s)--it looks like you have a hooked breech--the bottom photo shows a space where the barrel meets the tang. Once you remove the pin from the forearm and the ramrod, the barrel should just lift out. Google "hooked breech" and you'll see what I mean. Definately remove the barrel before attempting to clean it. I'd also Google "cleaning a muzzleloader barrel".
Buffalochip, I doubt it's a hooked breech:

That space just looks like where the wood has drawn away from the barrel, and a hooked breech would normally have a bolster for the nipple and not a drum.

But a top view would tell.
 

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Reference muzzle loaders left loaded.

In general, rifles were very rarely left loaded, though nothing should be taken as certain. But rifles were used for hunting and usually when the hunter left the woods, he fired off the charge before heading for home.

But shotguns ALMOST ALWAYS were left loaded. In the old farm houses, the shotgun stood by the kitchen door, waiting for the squalling and screeching that signalled a fox attacking the chicken coop. The farmer grabbed the gun, reached up to the top of the kitchen cabinet for the caps and headed out to take on Mr. Fox.

When the old folks passed on, and the farm became a housing development, the old gun was kept by the family, few of whom knew anything about muzzle loaders. Several generations of kids played cowboys or soldiers with the old gun, never knowing it was loaded. Sometimes they put toy caps on the nipples and sometimes the old gun went off with results either tragic or comic, hopefully the latter.

So a good rule is to ALWAYS treat any muzzle loader, no matter how or when acquired, as loaded until you KNOW different.

Jim
 

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It appears to be a hooked breech. If so, there is no need to remove the two tang screws. Once the pin and ramrod are removed, the barrel should lift right out with the hammer pulled back. BUT be very careful not to chip the wood and don't let that hammer drop--you might ding something. Google for instructions if you aren't sure.
 
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