Ballard Restoration Attempt


February 15, 2013, 06:45 PM
Well, I have done a few simple restorations in my life. Nothing too complicated. Mostly clean stuff up, replace a few broken parts, tune up the woodwork, etc...

I picked up a Ballard Model 3 I believe from my aunt and uncle. I paid 75$ all said and done. It is in pretty poor condition. The nickel plating has rust spots all over it and the bore is full of gunk. I have run some patches through the bore and it is starting to break up all the stuff in there. Its going to be a while until it resembles something respectable.

This is a pretty cool rifle, it needs a couple parts replaced, no biggie there. The woodwork is in great shape, no splits or major damage. So I don't expect to do much on that front.

Being nickel plated, I think that kind of limits my options for the surface. I don't have any illusions of this being a museum piece, but it would be pretty neat to have it in shooting condition, even if I never shoot it. Here are my questions...

1. Is it more valuable to have nickel plating that is all tarnished and corroded, or would it be worth having it re-plated (if you can even do that) or blued.

2. I have read that some people have the barrel re-sleeved to a round that is more common than its original chamber. Who does this? How much does it cost? Does it destroy its value?

3. Is it even worth all of this?

Thanks! I have posted a link to my thread in rifle country, it has a bunch of pics.

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February 15, 2013, 07:55 PM
1. A Ballard #3 would typically be found in Gallery Rifle configuration, in either color case-hardended or blued finish.
A nickel plated one would be unusual.

I'm not sure having one re-nickled would be worth the cost.

2. Re-lining is an option, and a good one f you want a shooter that you can buy ammo for when you get done.
Redmans is one of the best in this field.

The big question is, what caliber is it now?
Is it a big obsolete RF, or small obsolete CF?
And how much more it would cost to convert the breech-block from one to another and re-line it to a caliber you can get ammo for.

3. No, probably not.

Were it mine?
I would clean it as best you can, and leave well enough alone.

Any collector value would be there, and you wouldn't be sinking good money into a project that you could never recover the cost of.


February 15, 2013, 08:07 PM
Thanks for the input. It would be kind of fun to shoot, but in the end, it may not be worth the cost. As far as I can tell it looks like a 25 caliber of some type. I have not cast the chamber yet, but just diameter wise, it seems to come out 25 caliber.

Interesting about the #3. I guess I need to find out a little more about it.

February 15, 2013, 08:36 PM
You first need to determine if it is a .25 rim-fire, or a .25 center-fire.

The firing pin location in the breach block will be a real good clue!!
If it is centered with the bore, it is a .25 CF.
If it sets off to the edge of the bore, it is a .25 RF.

Converting a .25 RF to a re-lined .22 RF might be doable at only the cost of re-lining.

Converting a .25 CF to .22 RF adds a few more $100 bills to the gunsmith bill.


February 16, 2013, 08:10 AM
Well by the looks of it, I would say its center fire judging by the location of the firing pin. This model however, has the reversible firing pin which can allow you to switch from rimfire 25 to centerfire 25. I was looking at the mark on the front of the block where the bottom of the cartridge sits and it has a nice outline of the cartridge. I reload 25-20 and it looks pretty close to that. I still need to cast the chamber.

As of now, I am thinking its 25-xx centerfire.

February 17, 2013, 07:11 AM
I have a Ballard #3 that was original set up for the 32 Long cartridge. Reversible firing pin so I could use either RF or CF. Neat rifle. I was not able to easily find 32 Long ammo so I shipped it to V. M. Starr and had it lied and chambered for the 22 WCF cartridge (because that one is so common!) Lining is a good option and there are a reasonable number of gunsmiths that offer that service. Ballards are decent shooters but on the weak side of things. Brophy wrote a book on them, perhap your library has or can get a copy.

February 18, 2013, 12:44 AM
For $75, just have fun and make it what you want it to be. Budget accordingly.

February 18, 2013, 10:31 AM
I have just been working on cleaning as much of the crap out of the bore as possible to see what I am working with. I think I have it pretty well as good as it is going to get. Might just be a wall hanger, but would be fun to shoot.

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