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Old January 7, 2018, 08:04 PM   #1
mike.shoaff
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antique muzzleloader ID help

Hello,

I would like to know if anyone could help ID a gun I inherited.
I attached a couple pics. It is about .35 caliber and I did feel any rifling when cleaning the barrel. It is percussion gun and has no ID marks anywhere. I took off the barrel and looked underneath and all. There is engraving on the side plates that look like leaves sort of. I could supply pics of the engraving. It is a heavy octagonal barrel. It has 2 triggers that still function, to get the hammer to stay back you cock/pull the big rear trigger then the small front trigger fires. The small front trigger has an adjustment screw. It is a nice light trigger pull. It was in an old farm house in Indiana, probably my great grandfathers gun.
Any info or guesses would be great,

Thanks!!

a guncloser.jpg

whole gun.jpg
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Old January 7, 2018, 09:01 PM   #2
Irondog54
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I'm going out on a limb and saying it's a smooth rifle. The main purpose being versatility. The gun could be loaded with wad and shot for small game, and patched ball for larger game. Despite the lack of rifling, the ball load could be very accurate within 50 yards. I built a 54 cal-28 gauge flintlock smooth rifle just to fill those needs. I've taken several turkeys with my shot load, and my .530 patched ball is pretty accurate.

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Old January 8, 2018, 01:00 PM   #3
T. O'Heir
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"...did feel any rifling..." Did not? You should be able to see rifling. A percussion musket(that's what Irondog54's "smooth rifle" is. There being no such thing as a smooth rifle by the definition of 'rifle'.) would be unusual for the time period of percussion locks, but it might be. Might be a shotgun too.
"...has 2 triggers..." One of 'em a setting trigger?
"...no ID marks anywhere..." Indicates it might be home made. At one time all kinds of stuff was made by small smithies all over the U.S. That's how the Hawken boys got started. Makes it almost impossible to ID it.
The stock appears to be cracked, so don't even think about shooting it.
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Old January 8, 2018, 01:18 PM   #4
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"Smooth rifle" was a term used in the flintlock era for a smoothbore gun that had furniture and sights like a "rifle gun". Seems like an oxymoron, but that's what they called it. That's an awfully small bore for shot - are you sure there's no rifling?
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Old January 8, 2018, 07:22 PM   #5
mike.shoaff
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rifling

I took another look with a better light and I think I do see rifling.

Yes the one trigger is kind of like a set trigger. The hammer does not lock back until you pull the larger rear trigger. Then the small trigger in the front fires it.

There are some cracks in the stock. I would like to fix it up some but may not shoot it. May be a wall-hanger. I saw some guns on-line that were very similar. They had many identical parts like the trigger, butt plate, side plates etc. These guns were made by a gun maker from Bloomington IL around 1870. I think that is probably about when it was made.
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Old January 10, 2018, 03:08 PM   #6
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It wouldn't have originally been a smoothbore. I've never seen a set trigger on a smoothbore gun. Either the barrel has / had rifling, and it's just worn down, or the barrel was re-bored to get out bad pitting and such. Should move this to the Black Powder and Cowboy Action forum to get some expert help.
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Old January 10, 2018, 05:58 PM   #7
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Looks like a German set trigger in a US style stock, seen a couple on the web as made on the East Coast 1850 - 1870 as light hunting rifles.
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Old January 10, 2018, 09:13 PM   #8
mike.shoaff
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Thanks for all the input!
I believe it does have rifling.
I would like to have it repaired a bit and get an appropriate ram rod and keep it for display.
Thank you,
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Old January 11, 2018, 03:18 PM   #9
ligonierbill
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You can do the ramrod yourself. Try Track of the Wolf for hardware and get a good piece of hickory. I don't know if you are in Indiana where the gun was found. There is a smith who advertises in Muzzleblasts in Batesville, Randy Grumkemeyer (rggunsmithing.com). I have not worked with him. I have worked with Michael Lea in Columbus, OH (no website - [email protected]). He did a great job rebuilding the lock for an old gun my brother had. Have fun with it!
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Old January 14, 2018, 08:45 PM   #10
4V50 Gary
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Can you please provide a photo showing the tag
And one of the other side of the stock where the lock screws go into the stock
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Old January 15, 2018, 08:02 PM   #11
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Guns this old could have had rifling but now it might be covered in crud. Black powder is very corrosive. I had to scrub one from 1873 several times with lots of elbow grease to be able to see what was left .
To me it looks like a rifle, that at one time had rifling, the 35-36 calibers were correct for the "Long Rifle" and the double set trigger , only found on a rifle.
Smooth bores were generally larger 58 to 70 cal.
Have it looked at by an expert.
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Old January 16, 2018, 01:10 PM   #12
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My library has no books on gunsmiths of Indiana. You might want to go to Conner Prairie in Fishers, IN and see if anybody there can help. Go during their Arms Making Workshop (generally October). Either that or go to Friendship during the National Shoot (May) and show it to people there.
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Old January 16, 2018, 02:41 PM   #13
Model12Win
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Very nice hawkins gun!
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Old January 16, 2018, 06:29 PM   #14
B.L.E.
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A percussion musket(that's what Irondog54's "smooth rifle" is. )

Being smoothbore doesn't make a gun a musket. Muskets were infantry guns with bayonet lugs and they kept calling them muskets after they were rifled for MiniƩ balls. The term even stayed in use when breech loading cartridges were introduced.

Here's the 1873 Winchester Musket.


There was also a long barrel full stock .22 caliber training rifle version of the 1885 Winchester single shot known as the "Winder Musket"

Short barreled carbine style military guns were referred to as "musketoons".
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Old January 17, 2018, 10:37 PM   #15
prof marvel
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T. O'Heir wrote:
>>There being no such thing as a smooth rifle by the definition of 'rifle'.

Yes, Monsieur O'Heir there *is* a smooth rifle

Get Thee the excellent Shumway book to learn of them!

Smooth Rifle circa 1760-1770

George Shumway, in his excellent book Rifles of Colonial America, writes of the smooth rifle:

"Here is a splendid example of English gun styling applied to the building of an American longrifle. It's overall appearance is that of an English smoothbore gun of the third quarer of the 18th century, but it is a rifle complete with almost all the features that a rifle usually contains. The slender stock is shaped very much like an English smoothbore, the only modification being the inclusion of a small cheek-piece and a patchbox with a sliding wood cover. The brass funiture is fashioned in the English style."

The latest research indicates the original rifle in Shumway's book was made by John Newcomer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
------------------------------------------------------

HOWEVER, as other's have pointed out, this is actually a midwestern ( or prairie) half-stock. Most likely built after 1840 ish when heavy half-stocks were popular for target shoots and turkey shoots. I recently obtained one built by an Iowa gunsmith, mechanic, and inventor, and the only record of hisexistance is a newspaper account of a fellow winning a local 40-rod shoot and proclaiming his .40 cal rifle would snuff candles all day at 20-rods.

yhs
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Old January 18, 2018, 06:48 AM   #16
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Am I the only one who hates it when people refer to all muzzle loaders as "muskets"? I own at least a dozen muzzleloading firearms, both rifled and smoothbore, but I don't own a single musket. My smoothbores are all fowling pieces or shotguns.

I'm not sure when exactly the term "musket" fell out of use, but the Mosin Nagant with its long full stock and bayonet mount certainly fits the style of a musket. Perhaps it left the vocabulary when the rapid reloading and accuracy of breech loading rifled guns made the tactic of volley fire followed by a bayonet charge suicidal.
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