gunsmiths that are willing to work with 160 year old rifles are pretty hard to find. I would say the first rifle probably has a pretty good chance of being still fired while the second is one that I would personally leave as a mantle piece. the prices vary greatly depending on condition and the difference between firing and non firing are very great. an easy way to tell is to remove the ramrod and drop it down the barrel, place a piece of masking tape as close to the muzzle as you can and then remove the ramrod and hold it over the barrel with the tape sitting in it's respective location just in front of the muzzle. if there is a gap(probably an inch and a half to 2 inches depending on rifle) between the tip of the ram rod and the nipple(part the hammer strikes) then there is probably a bullet in the chamber that needs removed and the bore will need to be cleaned and inspected as black powder is extremely corrosive. if it sits just in front of the drum and nipple or directly touching then the bore is clear. and just needs inspected to ensure no significant rust is present.
EDIT: if you do intend to fire it after it has been deemed safe to do so, I would recommend foregoing the normal charge of 80 grains of black powder for a lighter charge of 50 or so and clean within a few hours of shooting with hot water and soap, do not use petroleum based solvents, oils and cleaners as this creates problems with black powder rifles. a product called 'bore butter' is a good investment as it acts as both a bullet lube and a metal protectant during long storage periods.
all guns lost in a tragic smelting accident.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
Last edited by tahunua001; January 6, 2013 at 01:15 AM.