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View Full Version : Long gun questions pardon our dumbness!!! help please??


ancientoaks
August 29, 2007, 08:39 AM
we have the bug...but are SOOO uniformed..you all helped with guns we inherited so now would appreciate help with one we have come across and loved...
a 'Kentucky type' long gun (we do not know the difference between a flintlock and a percussion, SORRY!)...barrel measured from the firing pin mech (sorry again for lack of correct terms) is 42 1/2" long. Octogon full stock style...
overall length is 61 /12" ......wood on the stock (where you rest it against your shoulder) is a lovely well striped tiger maple, very dark and untouched..and continues on under the barrel about half way then there is another kind of wood (looks like walnut) that is attached with a kind of dovetail joint and from then on it is a bit narrower as it travels all the way down the barrel..there is a ramrod with a tip of some sort and someone has taped it to the barrel so it won't get lost....no cracks or repairs noticed..with the exception at the mechanism site, something is gone on top leaving the wood exposed and weak just above and to the side of the hammer....no ornamentation AT ALL on this gun..very elegant in design, the butt has a lovely curve to it that fits my shoulder well.and the angle of it from the barrel is 'just right' to my eye....and there is a raised carved cheek rest but plain, no design to it.....and the stock has just a brass buttplate...no patch box....the firing mech is a dark metal no engraving, no signature, no number...the hammer looks like a tiny bit is broken off the end and does not hold a cock..the trigger guard is lovely, curved, long and elegant...there are two triggers, the near one is tightly curved and just fits MY finger, my husband would have trouble putting his into it..the far side one is straight down...the bore is quite small and we could not see well down it (didn't have a light)..the gun is SOOOOO heavy I cannot imagine lugging it about today...but when raised the two sights seem to still agree..there is a rear sight, still in good shape, and a small front sight that seems quite worn...no rust, very little pitting on the metal, is a lovely smooth purply brownish color....it feels good in your hands...
can someone tell us what this is? percussion? age flintlock? value?
we can buy for $400 and thought to just display it in our new/antique house...thanks!

SDC
August 29, 2007, 01:51 PM
A picture would definitely help, but even that might not do much. A flintlock will have a two-piece "hammer" that clamps together to hold a piece of flint, as in the below picture, while a percussion firearm of the type you describe will usually only have a hammer with a cup-shaped indent in the nose that fits over a matching nipple screwed into the barrel (the nipple is where you would place the percussion cap, after you loaded the powder, patch/wad, and ball/shot from the mzzle). You've described a "set-trigger" on this rifle, which allows for a very light trigger-pull; to use this, the shooter would cock the rifle, then squeeze the set trigger to ALMOST fire it, leaving the other triggerready to fire with only an extremely light trigger-pull. These rifles are still being made today, in kit form, and along the same lines you've described, like so: http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php?cPath=22_162_192 If it's an original, in good working order (which would require an appraisal), $400 would likely be a very good price, as some of the modern custom reproductions that Dixie sells go for $2000 or more: http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php?cPath=21_24_64 In other words, without actually SEEING it, and being able to possibly disassemble it to look for markings, there's no way of knowing who made it, how old it is, or anything else about it. However, if all you want is a display piece, you could always order a couple of the kits, and make yourself one :-)


Flintlock:
http://www.coon-n-crockett.org/flintlck.gif

Scorch
August 29, 2007, 02:07 PM
about half way then there is another kind of wood (looks like walnut) that is attached with a kind of dovetail joint and from then on it is a bit narrower as it travels all the way down the barrel..there is a ramrod with a tip of some sort and someone has taped it to the barrel so it won't get lost....no cracks or repairs noticed..Sounds like the stock was damaged and repaired at some point, or it was a two-piece stock. The ramrod likely had a thimble or a guide spring of some sort to hold it in place.
very elegant in design, the butt has a lovely curve to it that fits my shoulder well.and the angle of it from the barrel is 'just right' to my eye....and there is a raised carved cheek rest but plain, no design to it.....Yes, the old "Kentucky rifle" can be quite elegant and is a natural pointer.
with the exception at the mechanism site, something is gone on top leaving the wood exposed and weak just above and to the side of the hammerSounds like the tang is missing. Have you had the barrel out of the wood? A lot of old rifles had the breech plug and tang as one piece, newer rifles have a breech plug with a hook that connects to the tang. This allows you to easily remove the barrel for cleaning. Do not fire it without the tang. The barrel will come out of the stock. Suddenly.
It sounds like a percussion rifle, age is difficult to estimate due to the fact that muzzleloading rifles are still built by smiths and hobbyists, parts are generally available, and factory muzzleloaders are sold assembled and in kits. no rust, very little pitting on the metal, is a lovely smooth purply brownish colorThe fact that is is "purply brownish" makes it sound like a modern built muzzleloader, treated with Birchwood Casey's Plum Brown, a very common modern treatment for muzzleloader metal parts. You can achieve a similar color using perchlorate, but it degenerates to a brown patina in a few years.

$400 sounds high, but if you feel it meets your needs for a wall-hanger feel free to buy it. I would be inclined to not offer more than about $100.

James K
August 29, 2007, 02:13 PM
FIRST, get a ramrod or cleaning rod long enough to reach the rear end of the barrel, and insert it into the barrel. Remove it and measure the distance it went into the barrel. If it went all the way to the bottom (breech) and seemed to hit steel, fine. If it did not and seemed to hit lead or something else, THE GUN MAY BE LOADED. Get back to us for help if it is.

The two triggers are actually a set trigger. Once the hammer is cocked, it can be released to fire the gun either by pulling the front trigger in a long pull or by pulling the rear "trigger" first to engage the set mechanism. Then a mere touch of the front trigger fires the gun.

If the gun is original (there have been many copies and reproductions) and is in anywhere near as good a condition as described, it is worth many times $400. Even if the hammer is broken, it can probably be repaired.

Also, please advise any markings on the lockplate (where the hammer pivots) and on the top of the barrel.

Now, assuming the gun is original, DO NOT clean, polish, or restore anything! DO NOT try to have the gun repaired by the average gunsmith! DO NOT polish the brass; DO NOT try to remove the barrel from the stock, or to remove the lockplate.

Many old guns have been converted from $5000 collectors items to $200 junk by attempts to restore them.

Jim