Leman Lancaster Side Load Cartridge Rifle


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popinky
August 13, 2009, 01:12 PM
Can help me verify the following, and tell me the approximate date of build?

I have a Lemnan Lancaster rifle that I can find very little info on. It has no serial numbers marked anywhere. I have found that Henry Leman was against any breech loaded rifle, but Paul Leman instructed his staff to experiment with the new metalic cartriges.
- Is there any information to tell me that this was one of those experimental rifles?
- What would be the approximate year (post civil war most likely)?
- What caliber or cartridges would likely have been used?

Thanks

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Jim K
August 13, 2009, 04:24 PM
Not much to go on, but here are some thoughts. The best way to determine the cartridge would be to make a chamber cast and compare it with the specs of CF cartridges of that era. H.E. Leman was in business up to around 1876, so that rifle was probably made between the Civil War era and that date, a time when fixed metallic center-fire cartridge rifles were supplanting both muzzle loaders and rim-fire cartridge rifles. The scale is not clear enough to guess at caliber, but several .44 cartridges, including the .44-40, were popular with experimenters at the time.

FWIW, it has the look of a genuine "model shop" experimental rifle, not something made up in recent times, but not a production gun.

It is not immediately clear from the photos how the breech opens and closes and locks up, and I am curious on that point.

Jim

popinky
August 13, 2009, 10:00 PM
Thanks, yes, we'll cast the chamber to see for sure, but .44 caliber was my guess.

The breech opens by sliding the checked pad rearward (third photo, left side under the locking tang).

The ejector is interesting to note, it moves slowly outward as the breech is swung left, then snaps back to down-position when breech hits about 80-degrees (full open).

Jim K
August 15, 2009, 11:03 PM
It looks like the only thing holding the breech closed is that little pin shown in Picture 5 below the firing pin. Not what I would call a solid lockup even if the strain is rearward, not to the side. Again, something not out of line with an experimental. It also looks like the stock and trigger guard may have been "recycled", again something not unusual in experimentals.

Jim

popinky
August 15, 2009, 11:26 PM
There is a second locking pin that drops into the hole in the barreled action base shown in the 4th photo. I think the rearward pressure is shared between the lockup and the swivel point of the bolt.

Also, caliber is not .44, looks to be closer to .38 short. My gunsmith has the gun to verify.

popinky
August 22, 2009, 10:42 PM
You were absolutely correct, the chanber cast to .44-40 WIN.

Jim K
August 23, 2009, 01:13 AM
Nice to know the caliber, but that really doesn't help much with the history of the gun. But it is interesting and might be worth some more research, including letters to known Leman experts, or whoever had that information about the disagreement on future products.

Jim

popinky
August 28, 2009, 11:32 PM
Finally shot the Leman - 2 inch group at 50 yards, resting on a corn crate. Need to tap the front sight over a touch, but real pleased.

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