Author Topic: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York  (Read 996 times)

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« on: November 25, 2018, 06:38:21 PM »
I realize that this is the ALR, and I am thankful that Dennis allows us to post on English Sporting Rifles as well.   So, thank you Dennis for allowing some wiggle room for those of us that have other interest as well.

I seem to of found myself buying this rifle recently.  I have not taken delivery of it yet, hopefully my check clears and they ship it this week. 

Some of you might of heard of Cletus Klein,  this rifle is from his collection.    Cletus passed away this summer and his collection is being sold off.   My understanding is that Cletus was from TX and was a serious collector of fine guns.  Several years ago when I bought my Rigby the bidding at the end was between Cletus and myself.   I was at my last bid for the Rigby, thankfully Cletus did not bid again and I won that auction.   I was told that Cletus spent $200,000 to $300,000 at that auction buying guns.

I am hoping I can get this rifle worked up so that I can still go deer hunting with it this year. 

I told my wife that this is her Christmas present.  Her comment was simply "at least it is not a vacuum cleaner"


This is part of the information on this rifle.

.53 caliber, 30'' barrels with bright excellent bores.  The locks feature sliding safeties and show lovely scroll engraving with makers name appearing on each lock. The tang is also fully engraved with beautiful scroll appearing on the triggerguard, buttplate tang and tailpipe. The round patchbox is engraved with a large recumbent cat, likely a leopard. The barrels are engraved on top rib ''WILKINSON & SON GUN MAKERS TO HER MAJESTY PALL MALL LONDON'' with platinum blow out plugs on either side of breech. The rifle is sighted with a simple bead front and three folding leaf express rear mounted in top rib with dovetail taking the second letter ''N'' in ''LONDON''. The original brass tipped ramrod is present and the toeline of stock shows a plain monogram plate. The condition is wonderful with the barrels retaining 90% evenly thinning restored brown finish with some very light pitting visible in some areas. The locks and tang are a wonderful even gray patina and are very smooth and free of pitting. The triggerguard with checkered pistolgrip spur, patchbox and buttplate all retain 95% nice quality old restored blue finish. The stock is of a fabulous piece of English walnut and has coarsely checkered wrist and forend and a wonderful round cheekrest. The checkered steel shotgun buttplate has an engraved tang and shows an old restored blue finish. The condition of the stock is excellent as beautifully refinished and the rifle points beautifully with a 14 1/4'' length of pull. The rifle comes in a period mahogany case which has likely been relined and rates very good with an American Flask and Cap Company Indian and buffalo flask which rates excellent with much original lacquer. The locks are very crisp and this rifle would be a joy to shoot. 


Fleener







My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline OLUT

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 98
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 06:55:30 PM »
A very nice gun.... I had a chance to  check it out at the auction preview here in New Hampshire

Offline Pukka Bundook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1305
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 08:04:57 PM »
Very elegant, Fleener.

If you get hold of Wilkinsons, they may well be able to tell you when the fitted the barrels.
Thomas Horsley was our "local' gunmaker, or at least one of them.  He did very fine work.  I don't think I ever saw a plain -Jane by him. It was all good stuff.
Hew did some beautiful bar-in wood sidelocks, and some actions we don't mention here, but all of the highest quality.

Congratulations on such a fine rifle!
Lovely pattern to the tubes as well.
When you get it, I'd like to see the lock -work, and mortise.
Locks either Joseph Brazier or Stanton I'd guess, .. (maybe Grainger)

This type of rifle was very popular for deer.

R.

Offline vanu

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 03:00:04 AM »
Check with Mr. Milner at:

http://www.armsresearch.co.uk/

They have the Wilkinson factory records and can provide a copy of the original entry if available.

Bruce

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 03:15:25 AM »
Bruce

thank you for that, I appreciate the help.  I will send an email.



Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 03:27:52 AM »
Based on the info from that web site and with the serial number for the barrels it would of been made 1860's give or take.

Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline vanu

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 03:41:53 AM »
Glad to help!

Hope you get some good information from them, my experience was excellent, noted who stocked the duelers and who worked the barrels and who the purchaser was...and the date the pair was sent out...good contextual data.

Bruce

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2018, 04:11:51 AM »
I was able to get good data on my Rigby from Rigby.   From that I was able to track the original owner to matches he shot in.  I dont know if he used that rifle, but a very good chance.  Most people I suspect would not of owned more than one rifle like that.  The Rigby owner was part of the Irish Eight that shot in the first Echo Shield match that the Irish were invited to, led by Rigby.  He also was part of the group of Irishmen that came to the USA for the Creedmoor Centennial Match in 1876. 

Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline Hudnut

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 135
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2018, 05:11:11 AM »
I have a James Wilkinson and Son flintlock single barrel shotgun.  Was able to obtain a copy of the page where the gun was entered from Mr. Milner. 



Offline Feltwad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 629
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2018, 09:38:34 AM »
I was able to get good data on my Rigby from Rigby.   From that I was able to track the original owner to matches he shot in.  I dont know if he used that rifle, but a very good chance.  Most people I suspect would not of owned more than one rifle like that.  The Rigby owner was part of the Irish Eight that shot in the first Echo Shield match that the Irish were invited to, led by Rigby.  He also was part of the group of Irishmen that came to the USA for the Creedmoor Centennial Match in 1876. 

Fleener
I have in my collection of photos one of the Irish team when they won the Elcho Shield in 1886  maybe the gun is on . Has the guns in the photo are breech loaders it would be wrong of me to enter it on a muzzle loading forum
Feltwad

Offline Huntschool

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 08:32:41 AM »
Just wondering..... any idea how the barrels are regulated ??????

Thanks
Bruce A. Hering
Program Coordinator/Lead Instructor (retired)
Shotgun Team Coach
Southeastern Illinois College
AMM 761

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2018, 03:30:58 PM »
no idea on the regulation, I doubt ole Cletus ever shot it and I have no idea on how long it was in his collection.  Hopefully it is not too difficult to work up a load in it.  I did not buy it to be a gun safe queen.

I had the auction house run a jag and patch down the barrel, they said it looked like half a turn over the length of the barrel.

Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline Pukka Bundook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1305
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2018, 06:51:05 PM »
Hudnut,

That is a beautifully filed lock!!

Offline Bob Roller

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5028
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2018, 11:59:30 PM »
Very elegant, Fleener.

If you get hold of Wilkinsons, they may well be able to tell you when the fitted the barrels.
Thomas Horsley was our "local' gunmaker, or at least one of them.  He did very fine work.  I don't think I ever saw a plain -Jane by him. It was all good stuff.
Hew did some beautiful bar-in wood sidelocks, and some actions we don't mention here, but all of the highest quality.

Congratulations on such a fine rifle!
Lovely pattern to the tubes as well.
When you get it, I'd like to see the lock -work, and mortise.
Locks either Joseph Brazier or Stanton I'd guess, .. (maybe Grainger)

This type of rifle was very popular for deer.

R.

I have a copy of the Double Gun Journal from I think,Fall of 1998 that shows
a "5 Pin Brazier"lock from a Horsley Double that started as a muzzle loader.
That superb lock is a rebounder now and I have thought about trying to copy
it for a muzzle loading rifle.

Bob Roller

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2018, 01:13:59 AM »
The rifle arrived today in fine shape.

No disappointments that I can see.

Any idea on the lock maker?  Notice that the hammer and the locks are both serial numbered.  When you look inside of the lock mortise, you can see that the serial numbers on the triggers as well.  Even the patch box is serial numbered to the rifle.

The leaf sights are marked 100, 200 and 300 yards.    Looks like the rate of twist for the barrel is around 1 in 70.  I was able to get a .530 round ball with a .015 patch started without too much trouble.  When I take it to the range I will see if a .535 balls fits as well.  I did not want to get into to much trouble today without any powder down the barrels to get the balls out. 

The rate of twist makes me think round ball rifle, but the leaf sights make me think conical.  Any thoughts? 

When I pulled the tubes, the bottom of the area in tube threads is not shouldered like a heavy  concial gun could be.  More open like a round ball rifle going into the barrel.

It is a nice sleek, light rifle.

Fleener


















My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline Curtis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1386
  • Missouri
    • NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2018, 08:55:01 AM »
That is one FINE GUN Snapper!  Eye candy for sure...  I'm suddenly jealous!  ;D

Curtis
Curtis Allinson

NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar and Workshop at WKU~ http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5232
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2018, 12:53:21 AM »
That is a fine gun, Fleener. I suspect, with the propensity of English gun makers running fast twists, I would expect it is indeed, meant for round balls
and a decent powder charge.
What is it's weight?
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline burnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 827
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2018, 03:21:00 AM »
That lock inlet says alot the gun.
Beautiful.

Kevin
PEACE is that glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.  Thomas Jefferson

Offline snapper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2018, 03:42:42 AM »
I dont have a scale, but it is a light rifle.

I took it out today for the first time and .535 balls with .015 patch loaded quite just the way I like them  Not loose, but fairly tight.

The barrels shot fairly consistently from shot to shot, but way high and not at the same point.  In my short time to the range today, needless to say I did not find the load that the rifle was regulated to shoot.  More range time is needed.


Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline heelerau

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2018, 01:19:39 PM »
Art, another lovely English rifle, looking forward to more range reports !!

Cheers

Gordon
Keep yor  hoss well shod an' yor powdah dry !

Offline Bob Roller

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5028
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2018, 04:53:33 PM »
Just last week I made a similar mechanism for a Carson style Hawken lock.
Not HC but certainly a stronger and better assembly than the locks these guns had
when new.No idea as to the maker of Fleener's double but the Wolverhampton lock
filers had page after page of them listed.These are not HARD to make but suck up a
lot of time that can't be overlooked.I also made these "3 pin" locks for Helmut Mohr's
Schuetzen rifles.

Bob Roller
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 11:59:37 PM by Bob Roller »

Offline heelerau

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2018, 11:57:06 PM »
James Forsyth The Sporting Rifle and its Projectiles, available from ABE Books. It mentions these rifles having both ball and conical moulds. The English gunmakers were still figuring out what might be best for dangerous game.  I gather that ball generally seemed more accurate and had more hitting power. Explosive bullets were tried with varying degrees of success. If you don't have this book do get it.  I am betting that a stiff charge as it is a pretty slow twist, will be fun getting it to regulate. I gather no moulds came with this rifle.

Cheers

Gordon ps are the bores mint?
Keep yor  hoss well shod an' yor powdah dry !

Offline Pukka Bundook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1305
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2018, 03:46:54 AM »
Gordon,

Time will tell, but as this is a "small bore"  (.54) I think it may have been regulated for a light charge for deer.
Generally, one for heavier game would be made heavy enough to soak up recoil.    (See Greener)
It might shoot V well with 2 1/2 drams....     (Or maybe not!)

Am I remembering correctly, that if left barrel shoots left and right shoots right, , that the charge is too high?  I think this is right.
It may have a75 or even 100 yard zero, where both shoot to same point.   Before that  left will go a bit left and so on.

Agreed, it Will be a grand experiment getting it shooting to POA!

Offline Dennis Daigger

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2018, 04:30:06 AM »
Your Horsley is beautiful.  I watched most of the Klein guns on the Amoskeag auction as it was going with interest.  Not only was the condition of nearly all of them extraordinary but the variety was vast.  I favor Continental guns and most of them were beautiful, I especially liked the Schilling Jaeger.  http://www.amoskeagauction.com/120/detail.php?id=37
The quality of this generation of guns is probably in the league of the best of gunmaking ever.  I bid on two guns but got neither.

For someone looking for top quality vintage guns that they could hunt confidently with, Klein amassed a collection to choose from.  The Damascus barrels of most of them is a huge added bonus.  Simply beautiful and you have a hunting and shooting treasure in the Horsley.
Dennis

Offline Bob Roller

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5028
Re: British Percussion Double Rifle by Thomas Horsley of York
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2018, 06:29:57 PM »
I have a James Wilkinson and Son flintlock single barrel shotgun.  Was able to obtain a copy of the page where the gun was entered from Mr. Milner. 



That lock on the Wilkinson shotgun is a beauty. Is anyone making any parts like this,
external that could be made into a lock by an experienced lock maker?A feeble mind
wants to know.

Bob Roller