A friend of mine has asked for my assistance to identify a cap and ball rifle/carbine that he acquired many years ago. He could only guess that this may be a French Boar rifle. It is .69 caliber with a rifled bore. It has a bayonet lug as shown at the third picture down and the bottom picture. The French origin is based on the maker’s mark which is on the barrel at 6:00 and just a couple inches from the breech plug. It appears to be either H FONTAIN or B FONTAIN with a serial number of 252 on the 6th picture down. There is another mark which was thought to be a proof mark but under magnification appears to be a forging flaw of sorts.
This rifle is in the white and has very intricate engraving all over the lock work, trigger guard and barrel wedge and end cap. The stock is obviously walnut with fine checkering on the wrist and forearm of the stock. Although not shown, an end cap on the stock which is also engraved in the same manner. The barrel is a octagonal up to the end of the forearm and then turns round. The rear sight flips up and has an optimistic range of 1000 meters or yards. No bayonet was received with this rifle and may also point to its origin.
Is this the work of a custom gun maker or something else? I have looked on the internet to see if any info could be found but I have come up empty handed. If anyone might speculate on where this was made and what it might be valued at, please post your thoughts. Thanks.
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March 16, 2006, 11:48 PM
Not really going to be too much help, but will add some ideas. .69 was a pretty popular caliber, military and civilian...but the bayo. atachment wasn't. Have seen them on some sporting arms, and some seem to have been there from the start...otehrs were placed there as a way of converring civilian arms to military use....yours seems more like the first.
Does seem to be a built to order gun...adn that may being together several nationalities into one fire arm. The barrel form one maker, the lock from another, etc.
On a guess, there may be clues inside that lock; it's a nice bit of work fitting that lock to the raised stock pannel...good blend. Lock has a definate English look about it, and on a guess, may find an English maker's name on the inside of the lock plate. Even without a name, may be marks that will give a clue...if nothing else, the style of the internal parts is often a clue to at least the lock's nationality.
March 17, 2006, 01:42 AM
Could be one of those numerous pre-Civil War German militia units that favored a jager style rifle. It has the bayonet bar of one of those jagers. I checked through Thomas Rentschler's Rifles and Blades of the German-American Militia and the Civil War and found rifles with similar characteristics. The bayonet bar is unique and the bayonet likely a sword type (as opposed to spike) bayonet.
March 17, 2006, 05:08 AM
Certainly a beautiful looking piece. Would be nice to see a full picture of it against a person.
I will hawk it around the club here and see if anyone has any ideas for you B.
March 17, 2006, 08:33 AM
It IS a handsome arm, no idea who made it but workmanship seems first rate. Wonder if its looking for a new home?
March 17, 2006, 07:35 PM
Early on in the Civil War (War of Nothern Aggression to us down here) many private weapons were adapted to miliatry use...so barrels got lopped off, new sights insalled, and bayo. mounts sweated to the barrel. Cna check the thinbles and the pipe (the place where the ram-rod enters the stock) as weill as the channel in the stock...on a guess, if it's a conversion, the metal ram rod was retro fitted to replace a larger diameter wooden one. Could cange the pipes and thimbles, but the stock channel would proably still be ove sized.
As supply got better in the South, and the wore ran on and on, was enough military arms and ammo that this kind of conversion wasn't needed...mostly it was in teh start, were the volenteeers had to bring their own.
March 18, 2006, 12:36 PM
...I would say this gun to be worth some big bucks..just what i think???
March 18, 2006, 01:06 PM
I'd be interested to find out the heritage, too.
But please take some JB Bore Paste or RemClean and a nylon brush, and remove the rust spot inside the bore near the muzzle. Then pull the breech plug, check the rest of the bore, clean, and oil it well once cleaned. That rust can't be good for preserving such a nice piece of history. :(
March 18, 2006, 01:54 PM
Will take for this arm, have taken a liking to it! :)
March 18, 2006, 06:08 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I will get an overall pic, stupid me I forgot all about it, too busy with the details. To all who want to buy it, I do not believe it is for sale. I do know everything has a price though:D .
March 22, 2006, 10:32 PM
As promised here are the overall pictures. Length is 44" (111.76cm) so this should give an idea of how long it is.
March 22, 2006, 10:42 PM
The thing that bothers me about this gun being an ante-bellum German militia gun is the trigger guard is so plain and, well, American. German jagers generally had elaborate trigger guards that could include an a hand grip (think of the trigger guard on many American long rifles) and a hook or so somewhere for a finger rest. The half-stock is somewhat unusual but has been known for some German jagers. Sorry, but I can't add more insights.
March 24, 2006, 08:17 AM
As promised I have had my pal Alain look at the pics and he phoned today to say he will have some ideas on Sunday.
Initial thoughts are that it is Belgian made for a French company but with English influence ( English stock and probably lock. If you can remove the lock plate it will almost certainly have stampings to help ID it ) as a hunting rifle. The bayonet fixing is thought to be for a cutlas type bayonet for finishing off wounded game ( You only get one chance with a ball! )
Patched bullit but the ramrod end could indicate if it was for ball or other.
Will post more on Sunday night including some sites that may be of help[.
Thats all for now folks!
March 24, 2006, 09:17 AM
I forgot to add that the owner removed the lock and there were no markings. Thanks again for the info...
March 24, 2006, 01:50 PM
Umm! Don't suppose you could get a pic of the inside of the lock could you :rolleyes: Might help.
March 31, 2006, 09:15 AM
I'm out of town right now so I will try to get a picture inside the lock when i return on April 10th.
March 31, 2006, 09:30 AM
I still WANT it! HANDSOME rifle!
March 31, 2006, 10:13 AM
Get a pic of the top of the buttplate too please.
March 31, 2006, 12:31 PM
I still WANT it! HANDSOME rifle!
Steady there my man, STEADY!
March 31, 2006, 12:40 PM
Its an addiction without any support groups!
May 6, 2006, 01:03 PM
:) Better late than never. Here's the lock and buttplate pics...