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Old April 23, 2013, 09:58 AM   #26
Do not so gently
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

If there is a takedown screw I haven't found it. Here are a few more close up photos.
photo (27).jpg

photo (28).jpg

photo (29).jpg
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Old April 23, 2013, 11:21 AM   #27
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This is fascinating. Your picture 22 is very telling. The breech block comes straight down and the hammer is cocked when the lever is lowered. This is classic Winchester (Browning) 1885 operation. It is quite unlike the Stevens. The receiver appears to be two pieces, which is odd. The barrel fits into one piece which is then somehow attached to the lower part of the receiver. This is a big clue if you are looking to find old, obscure rifles that might be related, but nothing comes to my mind.

I have two suggestions, one of which is exciting. How Browning worked when he developed a design is well known. He often hand-made a series of prototypes in his shop until he got one that he thought was the best he could do. Could this piece be such a prototype? Having no marks would be consistent with the idea. The receiver configuration is quite similar to the 78/85, but looking a little more like a lo-wall than a hi-wall. The trigger angle looks identical, which indicates to me that the internal action geometry is very similar. The lever looks close to what you see on real 78/85s. Being a .45-70 shows it was done after 1873. Browning began work on his single shot design a couple of years before his patent in 1878, If this were true. the gun is a priceless treasure, but I don't know if it could be verified.

The other possibility is that it is someone's attempt at a copy of the 1878/1885 Browning/Winchester, which is interesting, but not exciting. This is perhaps more likely.

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Old April 23, 2013, 12:09 PM   #28
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It just doesn't strike me as having much, if anything, to do with a Browning design...
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Old April 23, 2013, 12:35 PM   #29
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At first glance, it looked a little like a Hopkins & Allen large action, but not quite.
My guess is that it's a "home-made" (i.e. gunsmith produced) rifle; maybe from parts, maybe from scratch.
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Old April 23, 2013, 12:42 PM   #30
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Yes, it does look like the H&A. I'd thought about that one, but had rejected it fairly early on.

I was mulling this over in bed last night, sort of 3/4ths asleep, and had one of those "bolt out of the blue" moments...

My mind flashed "It's a Burgess!"

Then the rational part of my mind flashed "It's not a Burgess. That was a repeating rifle. Dumbass."

And then I rolled over and went to sleep.
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Old April 23, 2013, 12:49 PM   #31
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Mike Irwin is spending waay too much time thinking about this.
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Old April 23, 2013, 01:25 PM   #32
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

Wow, thanks for all the support guys. I'm going to try and get some details on where and how the rifle was found.
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Old April 23, 2013, 01:48 PM   #33
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Please do.
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Old April 23, 2013, 01:55 PM   #34
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and I shall continue to think about it!
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Old April 23, 2013, 02:13 PM   #35
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I was just funnin wicha Mike.
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Old April 23, 2013, 03:28 PM   #36
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Can you get a rough idea of the bore/ groove diameter of the barrel....nice find !
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Old April 24, 2013, 09:59 AM   #37
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

The chamber measures .50 inches but the bore is too corroded to get an accurate reading. It looks like its in the .45 inches range but I can't be sure.
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Old April 25, 2013, 09:57 AM   #38
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That receiver ring has me baffled and wondering just how strong that action might be. If there are only screws or a few pins holding the receiver/barrel top to the base, there is not a lot of metal to shear.

The whole thing looks home made.
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Old April 27, 2013, 02:16 PM   #39
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Quote:
and I shall continue to think about it!
Certainly can't argue with your dedication.

My money's on Mike.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:56 AM   #40
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At this point, I've exhausted all of my limited resources, and I've got nothing.

I continue to think, though, that I have seen one of these before.
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Old April 30, 2013, 12:37 PM   #41
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

I had a local antique collector take a look at it last week and He owned one that had the same lever profile. His was chambered in 45-70. He's going to bring me some material he's got on these rifles. A side note: I contacted tortuga trading inc. last week to gather some information and I haven't heard back. Are there any other appraisers online I should contact? Post if you know of any. Thanks again for all the support. I'll post as this develops.
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Old May 1, 2013, 09:28 AM   #42
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I contacted tortuga trading inc. last week to gather some information and I haven't heard back.
Cool. Maybe they'll pretend to sell it at an auction and put you on TV!
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Old May 1, 2013, 11:52 AM   #43
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It could be a gunsmith one-off or a model made to prove an idea. If the latter, it would not have been meant for any extensive firing and the two piece receiver might have been made one piece in the projected production gun.

Jim
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Old May 4, 2013, 10:35 AM   #44
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It appears that the mainspring is anchored to the underside of the upper tang. Although Browning's patent of 1878 also drops the breechblock and cocks the hammer when the lever is dropped, it has the mainspring in a different place. The Hopkins and Allen falling block, which resembles the OP's rifle, also has the mainspring elsewhere. So Browning and H&A are out, as others have opined.

The late Frank de Haas's book, "Single Shot Rifles and Actions," has meticulous descriptions of 55 different single shot rifles with excellent drawings of the actions. The Remington No. 2 and No. 4 both have the mainspring anchored to the underside of the upper tang, but they, of course, are rolling blocks and are out. I find no rifle with a falling block and this kind of mainspring mounting in the de Haas book. I would agree with those who think it is a one-off, probably done by a minor or amateur gunsmith. This person probably used a barrel from another gun, and filled existing dovetails with brass when he affixed the barrel to this receiver.

The de Haas book, by the way, appeared in 1969 and is an excellent reference for SS rifles, probably the best. I got mine used at a gun show some years back. It is a good idea to be on the lookout for one if you are interested in this kind of ordnance.
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Old May 4, 2013, 06:48 PM   #45
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Unknown Falling Block Rifle

Thank you guys for all the time you've put into this. I appreciate the info as well. I'm leaning the same way, I figure this is a 'one of a kind' gunsmith project rifle. I probably won't be able to trace it's origin, but I'll post if I catch something. Thanks again.
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