Author Topic: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?  (Read 1457 times)

Offline BrentD

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To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« on: April 17, 2019, 03:40:11 PM »
I am considering buying and restoring an old 1/2 stock, Hawken-like rifle.   It is a large caliber, western rifle made in the 1840s that would likely have been used in the fur trade.  The maker (who I will not mention here for a couple of reasons) is not especially famous, but still well known and made many types of firearms.

If I were to buy this rifle, I would want to restore it to hunting condition.  The wood looks serviceable and probably needing just a light rubdown with linseed oil.  The metal work looks to be generally in good shape. However, the bore is rotted out.  Restoration to shooting and hunting condition but not significantly disturbing the exterior patina would require at least a liner. 

Does anyone even make a .54 or .58 caliber liner? I can't find one on a quick search.

Alternatively, it could be rebored to a larger caliber.  Perhaps a .62 though I would rather keep it a .58 if I could.  I am not sure who I would have rebore, if I went that route. 

but more to the point, were this an original Hawken, I am not sure I would still want to restore it in at all, as they have a certain amount of historical cache to their name.  but it isn't a Hawken.

I guess the question is at what  point does a rifle basically die and its history stops?  I'm generally not someone who thinks all the history an old rifle can ever have is the history it has already got.  I'd like to think I could add some more to it.  But this rifle is somewhat on the fence here and I would be interested to hear about what others think.

I put this in the collecting forum, and I suppose I might get another answer in a different forum.   If you are a collector (I would not consider myself a collector per se), do you shoot your rifles? Is it important that they are shootable?

And does anyone know where to get a .58 caliber liner?

Online sqrldog

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 03:43:30 PM »
Bobby Hoyt will put a liner in for you. He can also recut it to larger cal.

Offline Seth I.

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 05:13:20 PM »
Assuming it is a relatively run of the mill half stock rifle, it probably doesn't have a lot of collector value, so I'd say if you want to keep its shooting life going, I can't really see the harm in having it tastefully relined. As you said, that just may extend its life rather than it ending up rotting away unappreciated.
*All opinions expressed here are mine alone and are NOT meant to represent those of any other entity unless otherwise expressly stated.*
". . .some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them." D.H. Lawrence, "Things Men Have Made"

Offline redheart

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 07:09:51 PM »
Bobby Hoyt will put a liner in for you. He can also recut it to larger cal.
Like Sqrldog says, it would sure be great to recut it to a larger size if you can safely do so.

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 07:40:12 PM »
My curiosity button got pushed when you mentioned you had a couple of reasons not to identify the maker of your rifle.  That being said, Brent, I'm sure that you know that there were a lot of unknown gunsmiths that didn't become famous or well-known until interest in their guns "flared" from collector research.

Other factors including Hollywood movies depicting historic figures using a certain gunsmith's guns like J\Johnson with Hawken rifles and even a couple mentioning Dickard or Dickert.  You just never know what the future will bring when it comes to what may be a treasured collectable!     
Joel Hall

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 08:07:05 PM »
Joel, he is not unknown.  I suspect many here would know of him.  But he is not famous like the Hawkens.

It appears that no one routinely makes a .54 or .58 liner, so rebooting may be the only option.  I know of Hoyt.  Are there others?

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 08:57:03 PM »
If you're not willing to share the maker, which could highly affect the advice you receive about relining the barrel, then how do you expect to
get a straight answer.  I can't imagine why this is something you aren't willing to disclose. 
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 09:06:57 PM »
Shreckmeister, I understand your point and I realize the way it can compromise answers, but right now, I prefer not to say any more. 

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 09:30:50 PM »
I'm sure you have a valid reason.  Thanks for your reply.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 09:44:54 PM »
If you want to buy the rifle primarily so that you can bring an iconic piece of history back into the light, and employ it in its intended role, then buy it, have it lined or re-bored and be happy.

If you want to buy the rifle primarily so you can add it to a fur trade collection, or a collection of St. Louis rifles, then that is what to do.

If you want to buy the rifle primarily so that you can make money on an investment, then that is the thing to do.

I am of the first purpose type.  I bought a little rook rifle a long time ago that has a broken hammer and a rotten bore.  It was a .38 cal and was loaded with fine shiny powder and a short slug.  I bored the rifle out with a 9/16" bit welded to a long rod in a lathe, turned down a brand new Green Mt. .36 cal barrel, and glued it in with epoxy.  I filed out a new hammer and that rifle is still killing rabbits these past forty years.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 09:53:20 PM »
DTS, I am definitely of the first category.  Most exceptionally not of the last - which I think would likely be a very poor mechanism for profit making.

I only need to find out how I can restore the interior of that barrel.  That is the trick. 

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 10:26:36 PM »
Well this is kind of a convoluted thread if you ask me.  Especially with no pictures and no clear idea of condition or value.

That being said.  Bob Hoyt is "the man" when it comes to lining barrels like this and nobody does it better.  He can probably reline it to pretty much any caliber you want, and as a 'user' rifle, it will likely be a smoother and more accurate bore than reboring an old barrel of unknown material or old material to a larger caliber.

Also, given the age of the wood, I would pay quite a bit of attention to the fitment of the breech to the wood, and also the condition of the wood at the breech as well as the wrist.  I would probably run an acraglassed or epoxied rod down inside the wrist if possible and also possibly acraglass the breech area.  All depends on wood condition but keep in mind the wood will be in the 150 yr. old + range and quite bluntly wood with that kind of age may need some reinforcing help considering you appear to want to use hunting loads in a 54 caliber + size.
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Offline JTR

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 10:49:23 PM »
I don't understand the no name thing your doing, but to each his own.

Please do understand that if the gun does have some collector value, whether you appreciate it or not, putting a liner in the barrel will all but completely destroy any collector interest and/or value.

Good luck with whatever you do,,,
John Robbins

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2019, 10:57:00 PM »
If you want to maintain the collector value , another option would be to send it to B. Hoyt and have him make an identical replacement barrel.  No safety issues, and you can use the gun for hunting with appropriate loads .

Offline WadePatton

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2019, 12:46:59 AM »
Nothing against having Mr. Hoyt work it over, but also maybe Rich Pierce could fresh it up for you by recutting the rifling.
Hold to the Wind

Offline vanu

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2019, 10:42:08 PM »
Following on Wade Patton's comment, it is also very likely that if you contacted Rich Pierce to fresh the barrel, he could help place this arm in proper historic perspective, which will assist you in your decision making as to how best to proceed.

Bruce

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2019, 12:30:42 PM »
After obtaining some additional photos of the rifle in question and thinking on it a bit, I have decided not to pursue it further.  Where I had been worried about the metal work originally and the bore interior in particular, it turns out that the wood was rougher than I thought and would need a level of repair that is a bit more than I am prepared to commit to. 

The rifle is and Albright, 58 caliber.  I did not post the name of the maker originally for two reasons.  First, it is on Gunbroker with a buy it now price. I did not want to be scooped on buying if I chose to go that route.

Equally important, however, is  wanted your opinions about restoring rifles that have some significant history to them for the purposes of putting them back in service.  That issue was one that I felt would be better answered when not focused on a particular maker.  TJ Albright, as many of you here will know, was a fairly well known maker of rifles in St. Louis in the 1840s.  He wasn't as famous as Dimick or the Hawkens, but he worked with them and in contemporary time.  A large caliber rifle from that time period and shop would be wonderful to own, but not this one.

I do appreciate everyone's comments and patience while I worked this out.

If you want to see the rifle  yourself, it is at

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/806854754


Offline rich pierce

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2019, 02:59:30 PM »
All makes sense to me. Wish it was earlier. Looks like a good buffalo gun.
St. Louis, Missouri

Online Taylorz1

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2019, 07:23:34 AM »
That gun has been on GB for over a year. When I looked at it I thought the wood had been taken down and the barrel didnt look right to me. If I had a chance at an Albright that needed a reline or a rebore to be shootable I would do it and not feel bad for a second.

Offline Longknife

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2019, 07:47:11 PM »
Well Brent, looks like you sold it for him!!!!!!!!
Ed Hamberg

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2019, 07:51:18 PM »
Well Brent, looks like you sold it for him!!!!!!!!

Well, good for him and the buyer. I wish it would have worked for me.

Offline mountainman70

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2019, 04:12:30 AM »
I was wondering why it was there so long,no one snatched it up. Glad someone did. Neat old St louis rifle. Dave 8) 8)

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2019, 04:15:00 AM »
I hope the new owner loves it, but I'm still looking - in case anyone sees anything interesting, don't hesitate to give me a shout.  Western plains rifles don't seem to grow on trees.  :( 

Offline vanu

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2019, 10:59:10 PM »
Rock Island Auction has a very similar Albright in their upcoming sale.

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/76/3199/tj-albright-halfstock-percussion-rifle

Bruce

Offline BrentD

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Re: To Restore or not Restore; that is the ?
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2019, 11:49:47 PM »
Yes, I have seen that and am watching it rather closely.  It has some notable differences with the first one and I'm hoping to get some more information on it for comparison.  (and some other RIA pieces).