Author Topic: "iron belle"  (Read 1209 times)

Offline Mark Elliott

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"iron belle"
« on: October 05, 2019, 03:06:16 AM »
Dick Gadler asked me to post the following photos of his southern "iron belle".   The barrel is 44 !/2 inches long and is about a .48 caliber. The piece is stocked in cherry wood. Unusual features are the rear sight, the trigger guard, the doll head tang and the Blue Grass marked lock. I have no other information on it than this. The rear pipe is a tad unusual too, though we see it on other rifles.  Dick will answer any questions he can about the rifle.






























Offline Joey R

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 04:26:45 AM »
That "Bluegrass" marked lock is interesting. Bluegrass was a line of fine tools and hardware years ago in Louisville Kentucky.
Joey

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 07:01:18 AM »
 :o :o :o.. thanx for posting, Mark,... she is a different hog rifle for sure,... I believe Jos. Whitson used that little "tit" feature on the "lolli-pop" of his breechplug tang,...I cannot enlarge the photos for detail,... is the loop on the grip-rail solid,...???.... I'm kinda feeling North Carolina,.... but you never know,... CCF,...

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 03:43:37 PM »
:o :o :o.. thanx for posting, Mark,... she is a different hog rifle for sure,... I believe Jos. Whitson used that little "tit" feature on the "lolli-pop" of his breechplug tang,...I cannot enlarge the photos for detail,... is the loop on the grip-rail solid,...???.... I'm kinda feeling North Carolina,.... but you never know,... CCF,...

With those rounded returns on the TG and that side plate I would think E. TN. Looks like the normal curl on the rear of the grip rail looks solid to me or does it just appear that way, either way it doesn't look like a NC TG.

Isn't that a E TN style entry pipe?
Dennis
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Offline scottmc

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 07:58:06 PM »
And could it have been flint originally??  Look at the not h cut out for the hammer above the lock mortise.  I agree Dennis...a lot of E. TENN. traits on it.  Even the toe plate.
Remember Paoli!

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2019, 09:53:29 PM »
The 'curl' on the trigger guard is solid. Never gave much thought to whether it might have been a flinter, but the appearance of a 'shoulder' in the wood above the lock is an illusion. In hand there is none. An East TN origin makes a lot of sense and it looks to me like a 'smoke house' gun made out in the back shed by a mountaineer. The barrel is not filed quite true, either. The front sight leans to the right.
Dick   

Offline WadePatton

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 01:21:11 AM »
The tang appears to veer off too.

Solid hunk in the guard baffles me. Maybe the maker made other things and that was a "stylistic feature" to tie them together. The lock pin washer alignment is unlike those I've reviewed lately--they tend to aligned to the panel, rather than canted.

The shallow crescent  is the most NC'ish I see. The bbl past the nose cap just looks out of place to my young eye save on a round bbl'd and lugged military gun.

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Offline Tanselman

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 07:27:16 AM »
While I cannot identify this rifle, there were rifles similar to this made in Southeastern Kentucky's Cumberland Plateau region, particularly near the TN border. A couple of details, such as the more standard length of the iron butt plate return, cheek with flattened bottom edge, extended square shank on the percussion side lug, and "reasonable sized side facings' when TN side facings often left more room in front of, and behind, the lock create the possibility of a KY gun. You even see a few "inverted T" lock washers on KY guns from the Southeastern area, but they are smaller, less pronounced than on TN rifles. Even the tang style was used in some KY guns from that area. Pleasant Wilson of Clay County made rifles somewhat similar in architecture, graduated pipe spacing, somewhat similar tang, etc. with iron mountings...although this is not a P. Wilson rifle.

The gun appears to have graduated ramrod pipe spacing, becoming longer toward the muzzle, also seen on some KY guns from the area. From what I can see, I think the barrel may have originally been longer and was shortened at the muzzle end, destroying the original front sight and nose cap...which may also have been cast pewter...and throwing off the original pipe spacing.  The rear pipe looks somewhat more TN in construction...but even there it isn't quite a "standard" TN rear pipe. Nice rifle, interesting, and without any barrel mark will probably be debated for some time to come. I'm not saying it is a KY gun...but it could be.  Shelby Gallien

Offline scottmc

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 03:39:55 PM »
Dick, one more question....is the sideplate brass or steel?  Tough to tell with the lighting.  Thank you for sharing the pictures with us!  I check this site daily to see if discussion of a new "iron belle" pops up.😁
Remember Paoli!

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2019, 08:59:53 PM »
Scott, the side plate such as it is appears to be made of iron. A couple of the RR pipes seem to be brass, but eveything has a strong patina and I can't really tell. However, I do believe that the item you asked about is iron.
Dick

Offline scottmc

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2019, 11:05:02 PM »
Ok.  Thanks!
Remember Paoli!

Offline Tanselman

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2019, 05:56:42 AM »
Interesting to hear the ramrod pipes may be brass. That was another characteristic of Southeastern Kentucky rifles...large parts made of iron, but pipes usually brass. I always thought the backwoods gunsmiths from that area, based on what I've seen, were less skilled in casting brass, but could forge iron well, and of course forming the sheet-brass thimbles was easy.  Shelby

Offline gibster

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2019, 12:28:00 AM »
On the Contemporary Makers Blog today, they show a rifle from the Atlanta History Center with what looks like the same guard. The tang is different but can't tell much else about it. But the guard is hard to miss. It's the third rifle down and looks like it is attributed to Briggs Garland, Dial, Fannin County, GA. Would seem odd that two different makers made and used this same style guard with the solid round piece at the back of the grip rail. Thoughts?

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: "iron belle"
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2019, 01:23:25 AM »
Thanks Gibster, that got by me completely: the two guards look like they could be twins.
I have no way to account for the similarity, and have taken Shelby's assessment of SE Kentucky as being correct. Well, there are at least two T Gs like that in the world. Perhaps something will be turned up to explain it all. Thank you, again.
Dick