Author Topic: Relic iron mounted rifle  (Read 2458 times)

Offline rich pierce

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Relic iron mounted rifle
« on: July 21, 2018, 07:10:42 PM »
Estate sale find this morning.  They had the wrong barrel in it but I found the right one.  Looks like it was not made by a professional builder but who knows?  It also looks like some restoration was underway but I could not find the breechplug.  Interesting that the barrel was finished in the white, as the bottom flats are not browned.






















It is a heavy swamped barrel 46 and 3/4” long and about .32 caliber.  1 and 1/16” at the breech, 1 and 1/32” at the muzzle, and just under 15/16” at the “waist” which occupies most of the barrel.  The rifling is decent and breech threads are in great shape.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2018, 07:57:06 PM by rich pierce »
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline trentOH

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2018, 08:14:11 PM »
Will you be able to restore it to it's former glory? If you do, take lots of pictures along the way please!

 It would be a heavy rifle for toting around, but still a neat piece to bring back to life.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2018, 08:43:55 PM »
Will you be able to restore it to it's former glory? If you do, take lots of pictures along the way please!

 It would be a heavy rifle for toting around, but still a neat piece to bring back to life.

I’d really have to get in touch with my inner hillbilly to restore and tote this one.  If there was a lock I’d consider it.
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Offline mountainman70

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2018, 02:41:58 AM »
Inner Hillbilly my eye !!! Bring your ol St louie self up here to my part of the world,3rd one,of course, and I show you how to get in touch with yo inner Mtn William, called squeezins !! You are welcome here anytime,even manage a long rifle shoot.
Nice find, just never know what is lurking around waiting to be found. Have a goodun,Rich. Dave 8) 8)


ps, I might have an old lock that might fit, square tail,percussion. Post the measurements and maybe some of us Junkers might have one.  8) 8)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 02:45:31 AM by mountainman70 »

Offline David R.

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2018, 03:25:08 PM »
I think there is a certain charm to these strictly utilitarian pieces. They were built as tools by folks who were practical by necessity.
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Offline Brent English

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 07:46:42 PM »
$42 !! hope you didn't have to bargain them down too much ! ;D  Great study piece/relic.  I'd leave it just the way it is.  I have a couple of NW Trade Guns in the same condition and they are neat just the way they are.  Great find.  Did you also buy the barrel that was in it when you first looked at it?
Done right is better than done fast.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2018, 08:24:55 PM »
I let the other barrel go.  It looked like an 1863 Springfield barrel, quite a bit shorter than the stock.
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Offline bgf

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 10:36:00 PM »
This one was worth the full $42 just in intellectual stimulation, especially since it was your money :)!

Do you have a picture of the cheek side of buttstock?

Been looking at it for days and don't quite have a grip yet on even an educated guess.  The buttplate is a rather sophisticated design and looks well made, just not finely finished.  The trigger guard goes with it perfectly, but appears to have been finished to some degree, though fitted first to another stock.  The tang style seems fairly compatible with both period wise.  The stock work is a mixed bag, but doesn't look like somebody built his first stock.

One thing I've often wondered is if we have a true conception of what the average level of finish detail really was back in the day.  Mostly the rifles that have made it down to us are by best builders or belonged to famous usually wealthy people.  They were spared from scrap drives and junk bins for a reason.  It seems at least possible that average rifles in the hands of average people  were at least sometimes more like this one or some of the interesting oddballs in RCA...

So, amateur restock or hastily built functional rifle built for a price and sold to someone moving west in a hurry...or something else.

Sorry to ramble, but I like your relic :).

Offline Tanselman

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 11:06:37 PM »
This gun could easily come from the hill country region of southeastern Kentucky, where similar rifles were made [example: John Shell of Leslie Co.], rather rough in appearance but functional and affordable in an economically depressed "dirt poor" region where barter often replaced money. The long barrel with some swamping, long two-screw tang, and particularly the iron rear pipe with the small nails attaching its flange, all are details that can be found on rural southeastern Kentucky guns. The decent work on the ramrod pipes and guard is better done than that of the butt plate. I would hazard a guess, without handling the rifle, that it was made as a partial "poor boy" without a butt plate, and sometime later was "improved" by the addition of a rather crudely formed iron butt plate. The butt plate's top extension seems to almost sit on top of the original comb, and if inlet, the inletting is very slight. We may never know where this rifle came from, but southeastern Kentucky is a good place to start looking. Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 05:22:22 AM by Tanselman »

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 04:19:53 AM »
Good info.  With the color differences on the stock I am not sure whether the buttstock is shaped now as it was when built.  Here are some more pictures.   

Detail of weld at heel up the buttplate


Detail of the bow of the guard.  The rear of the bow was apparently brazed on to the main guard forging.


Triangular sideplate/ lock screw escutcheon


Top of the buttplate return which is completely flat


“Cheekpiece” side of the rifle is the same as the lock side.  No cheekpiece and no lock panel.  Sort of what one might see with a back action lock.

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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 03:21:22 PM »
I've been wanting to comment on this gun. I would think the diamond shape that carries all the way back on the buttstock might be an identifying feature, but I don't know enough about these to say were that feature was common. I have seen this feature before but can't remember any details about it.
 The architecture is actually very good on this gun, very shootable and attractive in profile.
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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 05:09:54 PM »
I agree with Tanselman that the butt plate is a late addition. Probably built without one.
Dennis
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Offline bgf

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 09:15:35 PM »
Just for the sake of argument, I'm leaning towards a restock.

it looks to me like the buttplate from an older, wider butted gun was crudely fit to a later, narrower stock, possibly one that was roughed out for a back action lock.  One clue is that on the off side, there is a nice tapered edge on the lower portion of the buttplate, and wood was obviously removed in that location, whereas everywhere else, the plate has a sharp edge where it was cut down to fit the wood... Likewise, the top of the return was filed flat to match the top of the comb.  The return was originally much wider and either rounded or facetted.  The fitting and inletting of the mangled plate are obviously not best quality.

I think the guard originally went with the buttplate (and barrel/tang, triggers, and lock).  The poor fit and the unneeded straight cut on the curl of the return makes me think it was originally on another stock with much less drop, where the cut might have pressed up against the trigger plate and the guard would have fit the triggers much better.  Further, there appears to be a crease on the bottom strap, probably from bending?  The front return is being pulled away from its inlet, also, as if the fit was forced.

The brass triangle side plate likely was an expedient replacement for a nicer iron one that probably didn't work without real panels. 

The entry pipe skirt is crudely and unevenly trimmed, so if it went with the other pieces, I suspect it was bobbed.

The nosecap could have been reused, but the fit isn't perfect.

I think the original rifle was late Flint period possibly, maybe had a nice side plate and patchbox.

Just my thoughts, and open to corrections, as I'm good at missing the obvious :).

Offline JTR

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 10:19:32 PM »
I tend to agree with bgf, as too many things don't seem to fit well for an original construction.

But I also have a wonderful clunker with many of the same attributes as this one, don't know if mine is a restock or not, so I guess never say never...

John
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2018, 08:09:01 AM »
Well it’s restored to shooting shape. New breech and drum, new lock, barrel freshed, new rammer. Poured some .350 balls, made a skinny short starter (may not be needed), and whittled a jag out of hickory. I know we don’t normally restore old rifles to shooting shape and actually shoot them but this one may qualify for an exception. Will post some pix tomorrow.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline mountainman70

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2018, 05:39:37 PM »
Good to hear,Rich. I was wondering the other day how you were . happy New Year a comin. Best regards, dave F 8) 8)

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2018, 01:23:57 AM »
Dave, I think it’s going to be a shooter!

Here are some pix of it restored to functional shape.











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Offline Will Payne

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2018, 01:46:09 AM »
That gun looks nice
🕯
Will

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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2018, 02:17:40 AM »
Rich,
Curious about the lock, did you find an original or make a contempoary one fit?
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2018, 02:37:45 AM »
Dennis, I sought and bought an original square-tailed lock but it was too small and is now dedicated to another restoration a friend is working on. So this is a lock I made. I fabricated the plate to fit the mortise and used some internals from an L&R flintlock I picked up here for parts.

I was going to tell Acer I happened on an original lock from some outfit known as Pierce and Curran. You can just make that out on the lockplate in the right light.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2018, 03:29:04 AM »
some outfit known as Pierce and Curran.

 ;)  looks good
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline davebozell

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2018, 04:08:29 AM »
I like that you left the price tag in place.  It's an important part of its history.  Kind of like Minnie Pearl's hat!

Offline JTR

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2018, 07:13:13 AM »
The lock work is outstanding, and 'fits' the gun perfectly!

Is this the barrel you freshed out? If so we need to see a test target to see just how accurate you made it  :D

And if its good, you can use it for an advertisement for your barrel freshing service!

And I agree, leave the price tag on.
John
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2018, 07:40:15 AM »
John, let me start by saying I’m known to be a lousy shot.  In the club I belong to, I finish in the lower third always.  My string measures in 10-shot bench matches are calculated in feet, not inches.  I dunno what happened. I used to be a good shot in my 20’s. I think taking 30 years off from shooting and getting old has something to do with it.

That being said, with my first try today it shot as well as my .45 flinter with a GRRW barrel.  It appears to need 40-45 grains of 3F and a thick patch when using a .350 ball.  A few targets from today, no swabbing between shots because I had no jag for a .36:








It was blowing pretty good now and then on the range. I always have trouble with vertical. That 3 shot group at 100 yards is pretty good for me. This is from a barrel that was so bad a patched ball could not be pounded through it when I started freshing it. The patches literally shredded to threads until I got 0.020” cut.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 07:46:52 AM by rich pierce »
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Nordnecker

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Re: Relic iron mounted rifle
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2018, 03:38:26 PM »
I salute you for your efforts. Good show, ol' boy.