Author Topic: Help identifying old rifle  (Read 1289 times)

Offline Robviden

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Help identifying old rifle
« on: May 05, 2019, 02:41:27 AM »
Greetings all, new member here. I recently received  this old percussion rifle from my grandfather and was hoping to find out any information about it. It is quite small and has no markings aside from tally marks, appears to be between.34 and .36 caliber. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!












Online Tanselman

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 04:09:06 AM »
You have an interesting, and perhaps unique, rifle. The iron breech/receiver seems well made, so I am surprised the maker didn't mark it in some manner. The long, adjustable rear sight may possibly hide a maker's mark somewhere underneath. It's shape at first glance almost looks like a New England underhammer gun, but this is obviously not an underhammer, and the curly maple butt stock suggests it was made farther west where Kentucky style rifles were made. In the mid-nineteenth century a great number of firearms advancements and patents were taking place, and many individual gunsmiths "tried their hand" at coming up with a new or better style rifle. Many were not patented, but gave the local gunsmith bragging rights about how advanced or "improved' his products were compared to his neighboring gunsmith's. This may well be a one-off effort by an accomplished gunsmith, probably drawing on other advancements he had seen or read about, and perhaps putting his own twist on it as well. Without a maker's mark, it's hard to date or locate accurately.

I think the small brass compartment under the cheek on the backside suggests it may be from West Virginia, where most rifles with second compartments under the cheek and opposite the patchbox were made. The patchbox is also a great addition for this type "advanced" muzzle loading rifle. Its separated strip-type side leaves suggest a mid-century date, at least to my eye. Very neat rifle you are lucky to own. Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 03:26:56 AM by Tanselman »

Offline Robviden

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 05:02:12 AM »
Thanks for the insight Shelby! I had the choice between this rifle, a small scaled down Brown Bess looking smoothbore, and a rough miniature fowling gun. This looked fascinating so I picked it while my brother and cousin got the others.

Online Tanselman

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2019, 06:40:49 AM »
Good choice.  Shelby

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2019, 04:52:12 PM »
It kind of reminds me of the J. Tarpley breechloaders built in the Carolinas during the Civil War. It might be an earlier muzzleloading version.

  Hungry Horse

Offline vanu

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2019, 08:43:22 PM »
I kinda agree with Hungry Horse, but I was leaning more towards a reused/influenced Perry pistol...

regardless of attribution, a very cool piece.

Bruce

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2019, 05:59:01 PM »
Well, the receiver or lock is sure almost a rectangle, looks nice, very distinctive.
With that 5-grove rifling, I am wondering if the projectiles were cast as pentagonal.
Thanks for the info about the cheek-side "patch box".  Never have noticed one before.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Metalshaper

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2019, 07:30:01 PM »
I would like to see the insides of that ation? always interested in the mechanicals!

Respect Always
Metalshaper/Jonathan

Offline Robviden

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 05:01:35 AM »
Here are some pics of inside the action. Hope you find them interesting




Offline Nordnecker

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2019, 02:01:41 PM »
What a neat little gun!

Offline Dan'l 1946

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2019, 04:40:41 PM »
   Is that receiver iron or heavily patinated brass? Could be the lighting I guess. The mechanism is much more complicated than I expected. I was thinking it would be similar to the Mowery action. Really an interesting piece. Thank you for sharing it.
                                                                     Dan

Offline Metalshaper

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2019, 05:53:36 PM »
I agree with Dan'l.. a lot different inside than expected? could I trouble you for a pic of the parts attached to the right hand  plate?

I appreciate al the help!

Respect Always
Metalshaper/Jonathan

Offline Robviden

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2019, 04:19:18 AM »
The receiver is iron. And here is a picture of the right sideplate of the receiver


Offline Metalshaper

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Re: Help identifying old rifle
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2019, 10:35:19 PM »
Rob,

 So I assume, looking at the pics, the mainspring is not connected to< or affecting > the tumbler?? think you might be missing a stirrup or link of some sort?
Interesting way they went about configuring this rifle! no more complicated than the Old Wesson LR rifles though :P

I Appreciate you helping me understand this unique rifle!!

Respect Always
Jonathan/metalshaper