Author Topic: Any thoughts on this rifle?  (Read 746 times)

Offline Mike Kozak

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Any thoughts on this rifle?
« on: January 30, 2020, 06:52:16 PM »
Rifle belongs to a friend of mine.
He has had it for around 70 years, given to him by a neighbor after he helped him dig a garden.
This was in California, PA.
It is a .36 with a 42 5/16" long barrel that is 15/16" across the flats.
The mainspring is broken and the bore is in pretty bad shape along with some cracks in the stock under the lock.
Has what looks like "by R.E. Thomas engraved on back of lock plate.
Most likely not safe to shoot but would like to get him some info on it.
Any help would be appreciated.

Offline tooguns

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 07:15:56 PM »
Interesting to say the least! Hand forged southern trigger guard, others here can tell where it's from. The brass very narrow butt plate from an Ohio Rifle? was possibly added later. Possibly a restock using available parts and pieces. Very interesting rifle, thanks for sharing!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 07:20:44 PM by tooguns »
It is best to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove any and all doubt....

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 07:36:05 PM »
Looks like 6 inches of drop!  Neat old gun. I'm no expert, thanks for sharing.
Hold to the Wind

Offline delivered

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 10:14:11 PM »
What would a gun like this be worth?
I have 13 like this I will be trying to sell for a friends widow this weekend!
"Ruining the future for liberals, one child at a time."

Offline Levy

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 10:22:20 PM »
I agree that the butt plate is a replacement on an existing stock.  the lock is an old Dixie Gun Works percussion lock well aged except for the internals.  The markings on the inside were done with an electric pencil.  James Levy 
James Levy

Offline Tanselman

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 10:54:30 PM »
The rifle has had quite a bit of work done to it, which makes it more difficult to know exactly what it was like originally. The rifle looks like it was probably from southeastern KY hill country, or Tennessee, and I would lean toward Tennessee. The butt plate is a later/modern replacement, probably of an original iron butt plate that rusted out. I would speculate that the toe plate is also a replacement, originally being iron but swapped when the butt plate was swapped. Note both the butt plate and the toe plate now have rounded ends at the toe of the gun...suggesting modern parts where the restorer wasn't fully aware of what the original butt plate and toe plate looked like where they joined...perhaps from too much rust from sitting on the ground for a number of years. The rifle has a flat...not rounded... bottom on its butt, so both the toe plate and butt plate probably had flat ends where they met at the toe. Often these rifles had primary mounts in iron, i.e. butt plate, toe plate and guard, and smaller mounts such as ramrod pipes in either iron or brass, depending on what was most readily available at the time of manufacture.

The side facings are pointed toward the front, which suggests a "southern" rifle. The lock appears to be a later replacement, based on the poor fit/gap above the rear end of the lock, and the uneven strip of wood below the lock plate which gets thinner toward the front...the wood margin would be relatively the same width around the lock plate on the original lock. The side lug and percussion nipple, and brass plate between top of lock and the tang, all appear modern.

In the picture of the tang, there appears to be a "shadow" running from the back of the tang toward the comb...this could be a stain in the wood, but might also be an old mortise of a longer, TN style tang that was filled in with wood putty. The photo is slightly too fuzzy to tell for sure, but it seems to show the gun originally had a longer tang, which would strengthen the argument for being a TN rifle. The late style "inverted T" side plate also suggests a TN origin...but it was also used in a few other areas as well on later percussion half-stocked rifles.

If there are any maker's marks left on the rifle, they would be on the top barrel flat several inches behind the rear sight. If there are any traces of a name, or initials, we might be able to figure it out if you post a clear photo of what's left. Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 02:18:02 AM by Tanselman »

Offline shortbarrel

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 01:20:31 AM »
Had many rifles like this one in my collection over the years. The rifle has been worked over many times.Hope you find someone that can help you, but I don't think you will. Just another Long Rifle to cherish.

Offline Mike Kozak

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Re: Any thoughts on this rifle?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2020, 02:14:37 AM »
Tanselman thanks for the replies on the rifle.
Yes the longer tang inlet was filled in at some time, also a filler piece was added in front of the butt plate at the comb.
I have attached a few pics of a mark on the top flat of the barrel.
This mark is about 4 inches behind the rear sight and the same mark about 4 inches in front of the rear sight.
There is quite a bit of what looks like glue or bedding compound in the lock mortise as the stock was cracked under the lock at some time.

Levy I think you are correct about the lock being a Dixie lock.
The internals are just too clean to be original.
The mainspring that broke had a poor finish on the inside surface that probably led to it failing.