Old family heirloom question


November 27, 2012, 11:25 AM
Hello, I'm new and was directed here by a friend. I have an old gun handed down my mother's family. I know very little about it and was trying to put a date with it

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DoubleDeuce 1
November 27, 2012, 11:39 AM
That looks interesting. Are there any markings of the rifle at all? I'd get out the good old magnifying glass and give it a real going over. I think it is safe to say your rifle is made after 1830.

Do you have anymore photos?:cool:

November 27, 2012, 02:12 PM
The barrel is 42" and I looked at parts of it under a microscope. Couldn't find and markings. It came from the family that was in northwest NC.

November 27, 2012, 02:23 PM
Few more pics.

November 27, 2012, 02:33 PM
I think it looks like an ol' Hawken rifle. :)

November 27, 2012, 02:36 PM
Thanks! That gives me a direction to look into.

November 27, 2012, 04:17 PM
should be some marks under the barrel by the breech but I don't know if you want to take it apart.Looks like it's been together a long time.

November 27, 2012, 04:27 PM
It looks like someone has varnished the stock at some time long ago.

I wouldn't try cleaning any of the grime off it until I had it looked at by a professional appraiser.

I would oil the metal parts to slow or stop further rusting.

November 27, 2012, 04:28 PM
My guess is Southern mountain rifle. Some times called a "hog rifle"

Jim, West PA
November 27, 2012, 10:43 PM
That is without a doubt the most beautiful rifle i have ever had the pleasure to see.http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=171525&d=1347382091

If that thing could talk, i'd ask a hunnert questions 'bout it's maker.
That muzzle suggests to me that the barrel was hand forged.
A couple screws are way wrong but the rest looks to be there.
It is not rusty. It has an honest patina.


November 27, 2012, 11:08 PM
Based on the extreme drop to the stock I'd bet that the origin is likely Va. or W.va..........lockwork and triggers don't fit the Tenn. style commonly, but there was an awful lot of variation and copying. I'd suggest you contact the NMLRA, they've some real experts on board that can reliably steer you.

November 28, 2012, 12:44 AM
There is a chart of rifling types in Ned Roberts's book, "The Muzzleloading Cap Lock Rifle". The 7 land and groove pattern with the lands very wide in comparison to the grooves is called a "Kentucky" type of rifling. It's either "average" or "narrow" style; according to the chart the "narrow" style is defined by the width of the base of the land being noticeably wider than the top of the land...can't tell for sure from the photo provided.

I am not an expert on these, just happened to remember there was a chart in a book.

I agree that it should be appraised before doing anything else.

What caliber is it?

November 28, 2012, 12:51 AM
Jim, where the heck is everybody getting all these smileys? Haha!

Jim, West PA
November 28, 2012, 01:03 AM
I git 'em from other forums and save 'em to my pictures.
After i use 'em once here as 'pics', i then go to User Options/Atatchments and then copy thier URL and the use the "insert image" function to use 'm more'n once.

November 28, 2012, 09:24 AM
I did not see the 7 little dents in the muzzle around the circumference of the bore opening when I looked at it earlier. Those are probably there to help align a "false muzzle", a separate piece of the barrel that was used to start the bullet squarely into the rifling.

By any chance did you find something that looks like a short piece of barrel with 7 little projections matching those dents? If so, keep it!

November 28, 2012, 09:43 AM
No, but I have the hand sewn leather pouch and what appears to be a true horn, powder horn.

November 28, 2012, 09:14 PM
I think the dimples surrounding the muzzle are just decorative; they look too shallow to keep a false muzzle in place very well. I've also seen federal eagles, stars, and caliber/gauge markings on rifle muzzles.

Jim Watson
November 28, 2012, 09:20 PM
We had a guy here who was expert in Carolina rifles and could probably have told you a good deal about yours even lacking makers marks. Unfortunately he is since deceased. His wife paid off the mortgage out of his gun collection because he had listed who would buy what and for how much in his inventory.

4v50 Gary
November 28, 2012, 09:59 PM
Very crescent shaped buttplate suggests its post-Federal period (past 1792). However, since it has a percussion lock, I'd push it to 1840 minimum.

Long tangs were characteristic of the Southern Rifle as is the lack of a sideplate. Another characteristic is the lack of relief carving or other decorative things (inlay, engraving). This was clearly a working gun meant to be carried in the field.

November 29, 2012, 09:34 AM
Well that part of the family were farmers in Avery Co. This was probably my gg-grandfathers and my g-grandfather got it then my grandfather was the only son. My grandfather died when I was 3.

November 29, 2012, 10:12 AM
Really awesome family heirloom!

November 29, 2012, 03:11 PM
Here are some close up photos.

November 29, 2012, 03:34 PM
Wonderful! Whatever you do, DON'T try to clean it up or "fix" anything on it!!! Leave it exactly as it is! Maybe blow it off with compressed air, but I'm not sure I'd even oil anything until I had it appraised.

And you should get a small wooden dowel rod, gently slide it down the barrel until it stops, mark the rod at the muzzle, and then compare the dowel rod to the outside of the rifle, with the mark at the muzzle. So you can detemine if it's loaded or not. It's very possible there may still be a powder charge and ball in that thing after all these years.

If you line up the mark on the rod with the end of the mzzle, then see where the other end is at, that'll give you an idea how deep the barrel is. If the dowel rod goes past to the flash hole, I'd wager it's safe. But if it stops very far away from the flash hole, I'd handle it very carefully! There's a lot of other guys here way smarter than me about this, I just thought I'd mention this as a warning.

December 1, 2012, 03:07 PM
+1 on the above. Heed this warning!
If the stick comes up short, have someone knowledgable unload it for you.

I bought an 1815 musket recently that turned out to be loaded with pieces of hand forged nails. Steel shot is not a new invention.

I also know a family that had an old percussion pistol that at least three generations of small boys (and their friends, don't ask) have used to snap caps with. In the mid -80's it suddenly went BOOM!
Luckely no one was hurt except for powder burns.
It was probably loaded around the turn of the last centuary.

The condition is beautiful, get it appraised as is and if you want to preserve it you could ask a museum that exhibits guns what to do.

4v50 Gary
December 1, 2012, 10:01 PM
Ryden - you kept those nails, didn't you?

December 2, 2012, 10:18 AM
Another place to look,would be www.trackofthewolf.com ,they deal in authentic muzzleloaders every day,and my be able to help identify your piece.

December 2, 2012, 01:33 PM
Ryden - you kept those nails, didn't you?
Nah, couldn't be bothered
They might still be around somewhere in the shop, dunno, but it wasn't really anything worth saving. I did try to set fire to the powder though and it burnt, very badly due to soaking in penetrating oil, but it still burnt.

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