View Full Version : Here's another mystery

Kirk Keller
July 29, 2002, 10:47 AM
Who am I?

I have no serial number. I am a 22 caliber rifle made by C.J. Hamilton & Sons. I have two dates, October 30, 1900 for the Patent and October 13, 1907 as a possible date of manufacture. I have a rolled split barrel. I am a single shot break action. The barrel is very short, the whole gun is between 25" to 28" originally. The reason I say originally is because when the gun was found (in the wall of a derelict house), the stock was broken. A replacement stock was made and attached, but likely not the same length as the original.



Harley Nolden
July 29, 2002, 11:52 AM
The only thing I have is Hamilton Arms, which was a registered trade name of the Wiebusch and Hilger Co of New York.


Kirk Keller
July 29, 2002, 12:41 PM
Here's what I've uncovered...

The Company:

In 1882, Clarence Hamilton, being a businessman and owner of a small building in Plymouth, Mi. got together with investors and started the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company. The iron windmill business went nowhere, lasting only a few years. Before the plant and business fully closed, Clarence went in partnership with a friend who had invented an all-metal air rifle. At that time only wooden air rifles existed.

In 1895 the Iron Windmill plant was producing more air rifles then Windmills. While manufacturing air rifles, Clarence had ideas of manufacturing low cost boys’ rifles and began to design inexpensive methods of manufacturing rifle barrels and rifles. At that time, .22 cal. rifles were referred to as Boys’ rifles because of their size. In 1898, Clarence sold his portion of the air rifle business (later know as the Daisy air rifle company) and the Iron Windmill company. The two companies moved out and the Hamilton Rifle Company of Plymouth, Michigan was born. At the same time Clarence's son, Coello completed tool and die training. Two years later Clarence died and Coello took over the business.

From 1898-1945 the Hamilton’s invented and manufactured good quality affordable .22 cal. rifles. There were 14 different models, retail cost averaging $2.00-$ 5.00 per rifle. Other rifle companies where charging $10.00 and up per rifle. In addition to the rifles low selling price, good marketing and advertising made the Hamilton Rifle Company the most popular and successful boys’ rifle company of its time.

Retail Company’s who sold products such as magazines, costume Jewelry, etc. door to door would use the Hamilton rifle as a promotion, offering a free rifle to those who made their quota. Feed Companies promoting their products would randomly place a rifle in feed sacks. If you where lucky enough to buy the right sack, you got a free rifle.

In the early 1900s, boys who were short on money would unsuccessfully try to repair the worn or broken firing pins and/or locking mechanism themselves, instead of taking them to a gun smith. Due to this practice and other factors, an estimated 99.9% of the million Hamilton rifles produced are in Rifle Heaven, which makes the existing good condition rifles very good collectable items.

During WW II (1942) the company stopped rifle production and made parts for the war effort. In 1945, after the war, boys’ rifles lost their popularity and the company closed its doors.

The Rifle:

The rifle is a Boys rifle called "The Hamilton Rifle Model 27". It's chambered for .22 short or long, but not long rifle. The second date is indeed the date of manufacture.

The Model 27 was the most popular of all Hamilton rifles. It is called a tip –up model. To load, the hammer is first put to half cock, the small bolt, is turned upwards, and the barrel will then tip-up. Early model barrels were brass lined and later were made with steel liners. The barrel lengths vary from 14 7/8”to 16”. The frame is made of stamped steel and then blued. The stock is a flat board type with slightly rounded edges. Birch was used and stained to a walnut finish.

Mechanism Type: Barrel opens like a double barrel shotgun

Weight: 2 1/2 lbs.

Caliber: .22 short and long

Length: 31”

Barrel length: 14 7/8”-16”

Mfd. Date’s: 1905-?

App. Mfd.: 500,000

July 29, 2002, 01:45 PM
Thank you KMKeller.


July 30, 2002, 12:03 PM
Vedy interesting! I also read of a Quackenbush rifle that was in the same price range back in that era... Thanks!

James K
July 30, 2002, 08:24 PM
As far as I know, Hamilton is no more, but Quackenbush is very much still in existence. They don't make guns any more, but one of their products is the common nutcracker, many of which have the HMQ trademark. Check them out at www.hmq.com for a history of the company and their current work.


Mike Irwin
July 30, 2002, 09:30 PM

Is your Hamilton rifled or not?

A lot of these guns were made with unrifled barrels!

Kirk Keller
July 30, 2002, 10:11 PM
The rifle belongs to a friend of mine back home in NM. I haven't personally seen it, but I believe it to be the later version of the 27. It has a steel barrel versus the bronze barrel with a steel liner and I do know if it is rifled.

August 1, 2002, 09:22 PM
I remember seeing an add when I was a kid (long time ago) in an old catalog that my mother kept by her chair for many years, don't know why. I think it was a wards.
The add was for a goose gun that fired either 7 or 9 , 22lr barrels at once. Does anybody recognize this gun?:confused:

August 1, 2002, 09:24 PM
sorry meant to start a new thread .:o

June 18, 2006, 04:05 PM
I just aquired a Hamilton model 47, bolt action .22 rifle single shot, it appears to have a brass insert in the barrel.
Manufacturing pat. date Oct30-1900- 1910.
The tape holding the broken stock together may be worth more than the gun.:D

July 24, 2007, 11:51 AM
It is in great shape, I have the sleeved barrell though, with near perfect rifling, the only problem with mine is the locking mechanism is a little wore, but I do believe I can rework it. That will make it a complete and firing weapon. These are nice little rifles.

James K
July 24, 2007, 04:14 PM
One of the products often sold by boys hoping to obtain a rifle was Cloverleaf Salve. The association was so common that the little guns were sometimes called "Cloverleaf" guns.

The term in old documents confuses collectors who associate the word with the Colt four-shot House Pistol. That gun, in turn, is often called the "Jim Fisk Model" because Mr. Fisk managed to get himself shot with one, in a dispute over the affections of one Evelyn Nesbitt, "the girl in the red velvet swing."