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Old April 21, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
Do not so gently
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

Hello everyone, I've got an old rifle I'm trying to find some information about. The steel on this rifle is so badly pitted there's no legible stamping to read, but it's got a 38.5 inch octagon barrel that seems to be chambered in 45-70, not sure though. Fixed iron sights, an inline hammer and a shell ejector. Something that stood out to me was that it has a swivel stop for the lever. Take a look at the photos and tell me what you think. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.
photo (17).jpg

photo (18).jpg

photo (20).jpg

Last edited by Do not so gently; April 21, 2013 at 06:52 PM.
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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Looks like a Winchester 1886 High Wall to me.
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Old April 21, 2013, 09:41 PM   #3
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Where did you find that?
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Old April 21, 2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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Well that's NOT a Winchester M1885 High or Lo wall.
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Old April 21, 2013, 10:45 PM   #5
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Not a Winchester... I think.

Maybe a Marlin?

Can you tell that I am guessing?
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Old April 21, 2013, 10:50 PM   #6
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Not a Winchester and wouldn't be a high wall if it was. It looks like a Stevens that had the lever rebent and a homemade latch installed.
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Old April 22, 2013, 09:13 AM   #7
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I don't think it's a Stevens.

The lever and block aren't right, nor is the screw layout.

It's not a Bullard, I don't think it's any flavor of Ballard...

The sweep of the lever looks more Ballard to me, but not much else does...

I feel as if I've seen it before, but I just can't pin it down.
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Old April 22, 2013, 09:54 AM   #8
Do not so gently
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A friend of mine found it in South Dakota.
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Old April 22, 2013, 09:55 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
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Is there anything visible on the barrel flats at all?
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Old April 22, 2013, 10:03 AM   #10
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It's not a Meacham, it's not a Cole....

This should be fairly simple.
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Old April 22, 2013, 11:00 AM   #11
Do not so gently
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

Here's a few more photos, the swivel stop was installed professionally by the looks of it. May have been added later by a smith. Another thing I noticed was a couple of brass colored soldering spots along the bottom of the barrel, maybe brass housing for a cleaning rod. Also, there seems to be a letter 'B' stamped on the top of the barrel close to the chamber, it's not clean or straight so I doubt it's factory. I appreciate all the support on this, let me know what you guys think.

photo (22).jpg

photo (23).jpg

photo (24).jpg

Last edited by Do not so gently; April 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM.
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Old April 22, 2013, 11:19 AM   #12
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I suspect that it's not chambered for the .45-70. You'll probably have to do a chamber cast to get a good idea what the cartridge is, but generally you'll only find period low wall rifles chambered for pistol cartridges and the small .22/.25 (primarily rimfire) rifle cartridges.

I'm not getting much in the way of real work done this afternoon because I'm thinking about this so darned much.
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Old April 22, 2013, 11:45 AM   #13
Do not so gently
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

Whatever it is chambered is big bore. I've got a 45-70 and the brass rim is an identical fit. The entire round won't chamber all the way though because the bore is so corroded.
photo (26).jpg

photo (25).jpg
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:09 PM   #14
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The rim is a good fit, but there were a lot of other cartridges that had similar dimensions, including some handgun and rimfire rounds.

The only way to be truly sure would be to try to clean up the chamber.

Determining if it's rim or centerfire would also be helpful.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:10 PM   #15
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Holy crap.

I think I may have just found it.

Stand by...

Crap. Nope.

Thought for a second it might be a Ballard 1 1/2 Hunter's Rifle.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:15 PM   #16
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I'm absolutely stumped, and I don't have many good resources on early single shot rifles.

De Haas' books would probably be the ticket to figuring out what this thing is, but I don't have them.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:20 PM   #17
Do not so gently
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

It is centerfire.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:31 PM   #18
Jim Watson
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I have three of Frank DeHaas' books on single shots and do not see this one in any of them.

Do not pay too much attention to the shape of the lever, I think it is a blacksmith replacement, see the braze at its base in picture 89009.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:31 PM   #19
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I'm going to throw a link to this thread into the Black Powder section.

Some of the regulars there might not have seen this.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:31 PM   #20
Do not so gently
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Appreciate it.
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Old April 22, 2013, 12:35 PM   #21
Mike Irwin
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I did see that, Jim, but I KNOW that I have seen this configuration before -- the shape of the hammer and the block, the number and location of screws/pins, the overall shape of the body of the action, and the track on the block tail that is shown when the action is open (later picture).
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Old April 22, 2013, 09:14 PM   #22
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Once we figure out what it is, please share more about where/how it was found.
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Old April 23, 2013, 12:19 AM   #23
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It looks like a one of a kind gunsmith made with leanings to Stevens rifles,never seen one quite like it but it also seems to mimic Frank de Haas's style.
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Old April 23, 2013, 12:45 AM   #24
big al hunter
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Quote:
It looks like a one of a kind gunsmith made with leanings to Stevens rifles,
I'm leaning that way as well. The brass on the bottom of the barrel looks like a muzzle loader rod holder used to be there. My bet is that it is a converted muzzle loader, by an unknown smith. It makes sense that it was cheaper to convert a muzzle loader than it was to have a barrel made. Not unlike sporterizing an old Arisaka or Mauser.

Don't give up on finding a maker yet. Even if it is a conversion it is a unique piece of history and I think it is worth investigating further. Thanks for sharing your pictures.
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Old April 23, 2013, 09:04 AM   #25
Jim Watson
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I looked real hard at the cam track in the bottom of the breechblock and that was my main focus when leafing through DeHaas. Nada.

It looks almost like the "receiver ring" is a separate part from the action body. Is there a takedown screw somewhere under there?
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