Gunshow Treasure!


November 1, 2006, 08:51 PM
I bought a halfstock caplock at a gunshow last weekend and it looked like an early CVA gun but I wasn't sure. The only identifying marks found on the 1 inch octagon barrel are "cal. .45", "THE PLAINSMAN" and "359" on both the underside of the barrel and tang.
Notice how the breech plug has an extended pin that inserts to mate with the tang.
The barrel's rate of twist is 1 in 66" with deep groove rifling, and it's 32" length makes it weigh over 8.5 lbs. It also has a larger than average size drum and clean out screw. There are no proof marks on it. The nipple has a slightly golden color to it (but it's definitely not brass) and the hammer has a brown lustre.
I thought it was a CVA because of the grey [aluminum] nosecap and Plainsman is the name of a CVA model. Maybe this was an American made barrel like other early CVA models with Douglas barrels?
But then I was informed that this was a Dixie Plainsman rifle that was listed in a 1970 dixie catalog at $129.95 with a cherry stock.
I still don't know who made the barrel, but it does appear to have an American threaded nipple.
I took it for a quick tryout with the winds gusting, and alternated shooting it with my son at 50 yards. It was very pleasant and accurate to shoot with loads of 45-50 grains of Pyrodex RS, trying both .445 & .440 balls and .010 patches. It had strong ignition and preferred the looser load on this day, but I didn't have enough time to try out more patches/powders. Seemed to group quite well despite the wind gusts and fiddling with the sights, and the heavy barrel and long sighting radius made it forgiving to shoot offhand.
It's an oldie but goodie! :D

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November 1, 2006, 09:22 PM
Good find. Is that a Lyman sight on it? I'm not sure but it's possible the nose cap is pewter, not aluminum.

November 1, 2006, 09:36 PM
Yes, that's a Lyman adjustable rear peep sight.
I wasn't sure about the nosecap either, but when I briskly rub my finger on it, a tiny amount of black residue is transferred that resembles that black "aluminum residue". I don't know of any other way to tell.
It's well fitted to the stock and their adjoinment is very smooth.

November 2, 2006, 05:21 AM
Hi Arctic...

I'm almost certain Lyman mad a rifle model called "The Plainsman" back then also. :confused: It may have been called "THe Plains Rifle", but then it may have been "The Plainsman" and later changed to "The Plains Rifle".:confused:

No matter what - you got a very nice looking piece that seems like a good shooter! :)

November 2, 2006, 01:02 PM
The guys on say that it's a Douglas barrel and that they supplied them to Dixie. That's what I call good news! :D

November 2, 2006, 02:06 PM
So wha'd ya give for her? Good look'n piece but tease us about how the guy wanted $25 and you swindled 'em down to $8 with the story of wife sick, kids need shoes, dog's die'n.....

Did I mention how sick my dog is. Sure wish he had a new front stuffer to cheer 'em up....

November 2, 2006, 05:09 PM
The Douglas barrel alone makes that quite a nice find. It's a good looking gun all around too. I'd suspect the end cap might be pewter too. It was commonly used. Actually, I don't think I've ever encountered an aluminum one. I hope it's a great shooter that you'll treasure! :)

November 3, 2006, 01:56 PM
m-d, I don't want to admit how much I paid for it, just like I hate to admit how many guns that I've overpaid for or that ended up being a ripoff! :rolleyes:
The seller was from Longmeadow, MA and had it tagged for $75. While I was "hemming and hawing" about whether to buy the gun, my 19 year old son started saying how he was going to buy it if I didn't, and was about to take money out of his own pocket until I stopped him. So then I offered to buy 2 guns and the seller offered me a discount on them. ;)
Besides having to dicker with my son about how to "negotiate" with a seller, another memorable fact about this particular gunshow was that despite the great deal, I still came home nearly broke afterwards! :D

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