Author Topic: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction  (Read 28766 times)

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2012, 05:26:47 PM »
Gary I should elaborate on that request to elaborate:  what I am indicating is, has the name on the lock been *positively* identified as an individual that would absolutely preclude the 1756 date, or is the opinion that the piece is later than 1750s manufacture due to something else i.e. a particular stylistic trait or ???

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mkeen

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2012, 08:04:08 PM »

Has anyone ever determined the "why" of making a brass barreled "rifle"?

A good question. Does anyone have an answer?

Martin

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2012, 09:44:36 PM »
Quote
A good question. Does anyone have an answer?

Martin
I have no clue, but surely folks back then were much like folks today. Why do folks today use brass lock plates versus steel, ash/hackberry( ;D) versus maple/walnut/cherry. Because they have it or want to see how it looks or how others view it.

Another thought was the common use of brass/bronze for cannon during that period, guess a few just had to try them on a sporting rifle.
Dennis
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Offline Ben I. Voss

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2012, 09:56:24 PM »
From what I read somewhere in period writing, it was thought that brass was more homogenous or cleaner, and a better barrel could be made of it than the somewhat crude iron of the day. FWIW    Ben

                                               

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2012, 12:25:55 AM »
brass/ and brass bronze alloys could be cast and had been for centuries with a well developed knowledge base in the cannon and bell founding business.  At relatively lower pressure BP loads it was perhaps considered "safer" that a welded up iron barrel with its built-in potential flaws.  One sees brass barreled pistols and blunderbusses with some frequency, especially in marine-origin contexts.  I'd sort of expect to see more brass barreled waterfowling pieces

I would think that brass barrels might be more common, though of course brass was relatively easy to recycle; and when Iron barrel technology advanced, particularly with rifled barrels perhaps they gt melted down.

How many more brass barreled long guns are known?

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2012, 01:23:53 AM »
...How many more brass barreled long guns are known?

If memory serves, DeWitt Bailey's book on rifles mentions at least one brass barreled rifle in the hands of an Indian. I believe there is also an order from Sir William Johnson, of Indian trader and statesman fame, for a brass barrel rifle to be made in PA.

Core casting a rifle barrel would be extremely challenging for a "gunsmith" I sand core, even one formed around a steel inner core, would be very difficult to keep centered in the mold. Canon were also core cast and it was done by pouring them standing on end with the base of the core suspended by an iron device shaped like a kid's Jackrock.

Wallace and I have talked about the technology a lot and come to the conclusion that the expertise of a full blown foundry might have been involved.

Gary
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Offline jdm

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2012, 02:21:28 AM »
Back in the early 90's I  saw two at the Princeton Illinois show. Vince Nolt owned one at that time. It is pictured in Henry Kaufman's book . Can't recall what page. Vince was telling me how rare they were. When I mentioned they were getting more common all the time as there was another one at the show. That stopped  the conversation as he raced off to look.  With those two plus this one that makes three I know of  JIM
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Offline Fullstock longrifle

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2012, 02:52:28 AM »
Other than Wallace's rifle, I've only seen two others, both from the 1830/40 period.

Frank

Offline lexington1

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2012, 02:54:34 AM »
English brass barreled pistols and blunderbuss barrels weren't really uncommon. Maybe this is an English barrel? I know that the barrel was lengthend when it was restored. Was the original section rifled? I don't recall ever seeing a rifled brass barrel, although that doesn't mean anything   ;)

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2012, 02:58:01 AM »
David Deshler's (alleged) rifle, possibly made by Peter Neihart (my current thinking) is also a brass barrel, albeit much more heavily damaged.  It is *at least* of the same period and considerably bigger.
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Offline smshea

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2012, 02:58:43 AM »
There was a long gun(perhaps not a rifle) with a brass barrel floating around at the Last KRA show in Carlisle before it went west. I don't remember much about it but I'm sure it was not as early as what is being discussed here. Whoever was showing it to me did not own it as I recall.

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2012, 03:10:43 AM »
Gary would really appreciate an elaboration of your thoughts!
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Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2012, 06:13:51 AM »
If the barrel was shortened and the fore stock missing, how does anyone even know how long the original barrel was?

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2012, 06:19:35 AM »
Which gun?
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Offline Curt J

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2012, 07:04:59 AM »
Take a real good look at the Old Barn Auction catalog for the auction coming up on April 20 & 21.  There is a brass barreled rifle on the auction, although a much later one.  It is item #424, and is a percussion fullstock with 25 silver inlays and the name "PATTERSON" on the barrel.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:08:10 AM by Curt J »

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2012, 11:49:15 PM »
RE my question above... The rifle described in the long auction catalog entry... where Mr. Kindig was unconcerned that the color of the brass match as he was not going to pretend the barrel had not been stretched... actually a point of view that I applaud but it would seem to me that doing nothing may well have been even better.

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2012, 12:23:33 AM »
I'm not sure if the barrel has been 'stretched' or if a big chunk had blown out of it and it was replaced.  Gary could probably tell us the answer to that one if he ever comes back and answers my question (  8) 8) now now I'm saying that with a smile).  If it was actually stretched, it's certainly possible to use extant points of reference such as underlugs, forestock length etc. to reach a [usually] close approximation of how long it may originally have been.  I'm sure regardless of Kindig's comments, Wallace probably put a lot of thought into it. 
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Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2012, 01:32:10 AM »
I've poured small pistol barrels in petrobond.  I made a wood pattern w/ protruding pins on either end of the pattern.  After removing the pattern I used a core consisting of an iron rod coated with clay which had been baked and was also heated pretty hot prior to being put in the mold.  They came out pretty well although I never used one simply for liability reasons.  But it was pretty easily done in my charcoal forge with a moderate size crucible.

I would think a brass rifle length barrel would definitely be a full-time foundry project.
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2012, 01:53:34 AM »
I think the sampling we have is so small, provenance is so scarce, and early gunsmiths in the colonies probably varied so much in their backgrounds and styles that it is hazardous to rank the "early-ness" of any stack of early rifles.  An "early" rifle that is out of the ordinary is more likely to be considered "quite early", when it might just have been a later oddity that nobody used as a template for subsequent builds.

Most of us who are particularly crazy for early pieces have our tentative dates for each of the "early ones".  For me the Musician's rifle's provenance wins me over to the scratched date, though the 2 piece hinged box kind of makes me a little queasy about that.  There are some early rifles tentatively dated to the 1760's that I don't "get" because they look like evolved longrifles, not "roots" guns.

The BBR looks like an anomaly but the cheekpiece design is similar to that of Tom Curran's bench copy of an unidentified plain rifle tentatively dating to the Revolutionary War period.  That suggests the BBR was not an evolutionary dead end, or that it had some cousins or nieces or something.  I find it easier to study and think about if I forget it has a brass barrel.
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Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2012, 02:54:59 AM »
Just as a side note with all the discussion of the BBR, let's not forget that it has a sister made by the same guy that George stuck in at the end of RCA Vol. II.  Everyone always overlooks that one.
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2012, 03:35:16 AM »
Thanks for the reminder about that one.  :)
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Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2012, 04:42:35 AM »
I'm not sure if the barrel has been 'stretched' or if a big chunk had blown out of it and it was replaced.  Gary could probably tell us the answer to that one if he ever comes back and answers my question (  8) 8) now now I'm saying that with a smile).  ...
Eric,
Sorry. I've been way to busy recently to keep up with this thread.

The barrel wasn't stretched in the conventional sense of adding length at one end or the other of a cut off barrel. The barrel had been bored out smooth and was so thin that it actually broke at the point where the front sling swivel was dovetailed into the bottom of the barrel. That could have been a relatively easy repair but someone (prior to it showing up in Florida) had attempted to repair it by brazing. They apparently got the edges of the break way too hot and ended up leaving a massively damaged section, with chunks missing, near the smallest point in the tapered and flared barrel. The only solution to save the appearance and length was to replace a section of barrel. How much was missing was based, as you said, on the even spacing of the underlugs --- probably accurate to within a quarter inch or less.

Wallace is on a road trip but he told me today that he will respond to some of the questions on this thread in person when he gets home. Meanwhile look at his old (2003 -2005) Muzzle Blast articles on this and the "muscian's rifle."
Gary
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Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2012, 04:59:07 PM »
Thanks for that Gary! 
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mkeen

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2012, 04:59:49 PM »
On early brass barreled rifles. The 1751 inventory of Martin Mylin Jr. listed a Prass Riffel valued at 6.0.0. He also had some casting mowles valued at 0.8.0. As a price comparison the 1766 inventory of Philip LeFevre lists 7 new rifles valued at 2.12.6 apiece. Philip lived a little less than two miles from Martin Mylin's home.

Martin

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2012, 06:49:00 AM »
On early brass barreled rifles. The 1751 inventory of Martin Mylin Jr. listed a Prass Riffel valued at 6.0.0. He also had some casting mowles valued at 0.8.0. As a price comparison the 1766 inventory of Philip LeFevre lists 7 new rifles valued at 2.12.6 apiece. Philip lived a little less than two miles from Martin Mylin's home.

Martin

But were all the values in the same currency?
There were Colonial Pounds and British pounds and figuring what was what can be difficult, I have read.

Dan
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