View Full Version : Need help with info on old muzzle loading rifle?

October 31, 2009, 09:04 PM
I was recently given an old (and I assume) muzzle loading rifle (and please correct me if I'm wrong). She had purchased it to hang in her log cabin but gave to me recently. I know little if anything about it. Only markings on it are 'made in Belgium' 1835 and the a stamp of ELG inside a circle. No manufacture or serial #. The overall gun length is 66 inches with a barrel length of 50 inches. The inner width of the barrel appears to be 3/4 inch. Anyone have any info or suggestions on how to identify and approximate value. I am not interested in shooting it but would like to know some info on it.

October 31, 2009, 09:22 PM
sorry for the quality!

October 31, 2009, 10:26 PM
Your photos are way too fuzzy to really determine anything. The proof marks are Belgium and from what I could see, it looks like a reproduction of a an Indian trade musket. Of course that modern sling doesn't help matters any. But with out clearer pictures, that's my 2 cents.

November 1, 2009, 03:05 PM
Is her a reason you thnk it is a reproduction. My mother purchased it about 10 years ago in kentucky. The sling was on it at the time. Is the 1835 stamp the actual year it was made or has someone stamped it to make it seem older. Any idea on value. Adding some more pics

November 1, 2009, 03:57 PM
We need close up, in focus pics of the markings.

November 1, 2009, 05:26 PM
Here are some more pics. Pic 1 is of the right hand side of the barrel. I found some more numbers while trying to polish it up. They are 327 then about a half inch of space and then 17. Pic 2 is of the top of the barrel where the made in belgium and 1835 appear. And pic 3 is of the left hand side of the barrel where the circle with the elg* appear. I hope these pics help. clear pics are kinda hard to get with the condition of the barrel. It has a brown film which is partly rust.

November 1, 2009, 05:29 PM
You need to borrow a better camera. But ill give you 10 buxs for it now:rolleyes::rolleyes:

November 1, 2009, 05:49 PM
Might be some sort of Belgian trade musket. Not something that was used in the US and might have been imported in the 20th century. Can't say that I have seen a gun like yours but the 1835 mark might be spurious and might not. Especially if it looks like it were stamped with a modern looking number set, not the more stylised stamps of the old days. The font of the lettering style and numbers on the barrel might be totally wrong for the early 19th century. The Belgian proofs are probably real. Do not look for it to be particularly valuable. Belgium cranked out tons of cheap trade guns for trade in places like Africa, the middle east, wherever there was a third world type of demand for cheap plentiful arms. Not to call it worthless, it would look great hanging on the wall, but historical interest that generates value might be minimal. IDEA How close are you to Friendship Indiana? cause you could take it down to the NMLRA sometime, like at the spring or fall national shoots, and someone ought to be able to tell you something from looking right at it instead of pictures. And you might have fun there.

James K
November 1, 2009, 11:03 PM
I think the picture problem is not the condition of the gun, but that the camera appears to be hand held. That is OK for the "Aunt Millie" picture, but bad for close-up shots of markings and the like.

From what I can tell, I agree that it looks like a modern gun. I can't call it a "reproduction" because there were none quite like it in the old days. Those guns are still made in Belgium, Spain, and other places for sale in souvenir and gift shops. They usually sell for some reasonable price as novelties, but sometimes a seller will decide to pass one off as a valuable antique, with the result that an unwary buyer finds himself with what amounts to a toy gun and a large balance on his credit card.


November 2, 2009, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the info all. I will have to check out one of the shoots sometime in friendship as we live only about 4 hours from there. I'm pretty sure my parents didn't overpay as my dad (god rest his soul) was a very shrewd bargainer and they only gave 150 total for it and an italian carcano. Does anyone know the best way to kinda restore the barrel. What kind of scrub pad would be best to use to polish with oil to get the rust part of the brown film off. Thanks for the info again.

November 3, 2009, 07:57 PM
Well, the proof on the barrel was used in Belgium from 1811 to 1892, so that tells you it was made between those two dates.

As far as "cleaning" it, anything you do to try to clean it will shave a lot off the value, although, I agree with Tom2 in that it doesn't have much value to begin with. As stated, the gunmakers in Liege cranked out all types of guns by the tens of thousands.

The proofs appear to be authentic, but I can't tell enough about the other markings from the blurry photos.

November 3, 2009, 09:44 PM
After finally getting the wife to use our digital camera (anything more than a phone cam is to advanced for me) we were able to get a decently clear shot of the top stamp. The 1835 looks like individual punch stamps. The made in belgium almost look like a machine stamp. Any ideas? The made in belgium is not as deep as the 1835 either.

November 3, 2009, 10:02 PM
Hope these help to.

November 4, 2009, 02:46 AM
I would say 1835 is a serial number. Marking export products for country of origin only became common after WWI, and only required after WWII. I have seen many, many Belgian-made shotguns and rifles made during the late 1800s-early 1900s that have no marks on them save the proofs to tell you where the gun originated. Flintlocks were more common in America than Europe, but in Europe were more common on military weapons, which this one does not appear to be. The roll-mark for country of origin and the crude number stamp makes me think this is a post-1960s firearm for the American market.

November 4, 2009, 11:18 AM
Just heard from a guy who looked at the rifle and he is a collector of revolutionary and civil war relics. He thinks that from what he knows and has read that the rifle does appear to be a copy of a 1774 french flintlock musket. Sais was probably time correct to 1835 made by belgian manufacturer leige. Said the elg if the stamp for standard quality from nearly all of the 19th century. Also said the made in belgium stamp probably came later around turn of the 20th century at which time was probably imported to the states. Said possible a 60 cal musket. And approximate value between 250 and 500. Does this sound close to everyone else.

November 4, 2009, 11:37 AM
It looked more french than it did Belgian to me... Likely a Belgian copy like he said...

November 4, 2009, 12:16 PM
As clear as the stampings are, I would give that piece no more than 20 years old. Not very old by todays standards. I have a Browning thats over 50 years old and the stamps arn't that crisp.

November 4, 2009, 12:35 PM
The roll-mark for country of origin and the crude number stamp makes me think this is a post-1960s firearm for the American market.

Nope, that style of Liege proof was only used between 1811 and 1892.

November 4, 2009, 12:56 PM
I'm kinda inclined to rely on my collector source as (although I am no expert) I do realize the the depth of stamps isn't necessarily a good gauge on age, as I also have a double barrel Eclipse gun co shotgun that I can personally date to the lat 1800's that the markings are clean and crisp as can be. It also has the elg stamp but they appear in a circle with a crown on it which I have been told is belgian fro same period only their proof for their superior products. But thanks everyone for their input. Would appreciate anymore input anyone has.

November 4, 2009, 03:33 PM
Your pictures are so out of focus that is is very hard to tell what you have. One thing that gives it away is the picture if the proof mark, not the mark but the screw holding the side plate, it is sharp and very defined. If this was a very old gun the screw head would be rounded off.
A place to look is inside or the bottom of the screw slots, if you can see milling marks from modern machinery, this is a reproduction. And it is a very good chance it is.
One other place to look is inside of the lock, how it is made will tell you more than anything.

Last you need to find a good blackpowder shop in your area, chances are the smith can tell you more.

I don't mean people at the local sport shop, most of the time they don't know which end the bullet comes out of!!

Last better pictures, in focus will be a great help.

November 5, 2009, 02:31 AM
. It also has the elg stamp but they appear in a circle with a crown on it which I have been told is belgian fro same period only their proof for their superior products.

That proof was from 1893 on.