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Thread: need help identifying old gun

  1. #1
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    need help identifying old gun

    Found this old gun at a flea market yesterday. It's rough, but has some odd features that caught my eye. I'm sure it'll be worthless, but thought I'd ask some experts. I don't see any makers marks on the outside. It's smooth bore, bore measures 5/8" with a tape measure. Under the forstock, you can see what looks like a sight groove for a rear sight further up the barrell if you turned the barrell over? I'm sure it's a repro of some kind, but would be neat if it was a southern civil war gun.




  2. #2
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    that is a firearm used by former slaves to defend themselves from sex crazed farmers while traveling thru Mizzera. Good find!

    Just kidding, I sent "reaper" the link to this place. I hope someone can help ID your old gun.
    If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my child may have peace.

  3. #3
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    There wouldn't be any need to point it at me back then for being in that situation. NO thank you!

    I got a few replies at the other site. concensus over there is just a old gun, LOL. civilian barrell.

  4. #4
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    Looks like a civilian piece.

    I don't know of much of anything military that used a back action lock. The barrel is just configured wrongly for a military lock by being configured for a back action lock also.

    If your measurement holds you have .625 caliber. Standard smoothbore muskets were .69 cal. (US/French) or .75 cal. (British) and the odd caliber would have been a real pain to get rolled paper cartridges for.

    The Confederate units most noted for non-standard weapons was the Cavalry, but they mostly stuck with either the .54 or .56 cal. rifled muzzle loaders, the .69 or .75 cal. smoothbore muzzle loaders or the double barreled muzzle loading shotgun.

    The captured Yankee cartridge carbines were a novelty but were discarded as soon as their supply of cartridges were used up as they had NO re-supply of them if they could not capture more, and the Yankees had enough different kinds of carbines in use using different ammo that the next fight you got into might have the Yankee Cavalry armed with a different arm, using a different cartridge than last time.

    Don't have much more to say on it than that, at this point.

    Buckshot

  5. #5
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    Thanks buckshot, I'll get the callipers out today and measure it more precise. Someone also mentioned it being bored out and shot used in it? I wouldn't think that would be readily accessible back then.

  6. #6
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    Buckshot, I got the mic out today and did some measuring. The very edge of the hole does measure .625, however about 3/8" down inside, the bore measures .565-.568, someone mentioned the tapered out edge was probably from a gritty wooden ramrod, which makes perfect sense. Do these new measurements change your opinion? thanks.

  7. #7
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    Red Reaper,

    That is distinctly possible that a gritty wooden ramrod "swamped" the end of the bore.

    Do you see any rifling farther down in the bore where the smaller diameter is?

    Lots of times rifles were worn out (most of the old barrels were IRON, not steel) and freshened up. Freshening usually meant bored out and new rifling cut, but sometimes it was just bored out and turned into a shotgun if it was a spare gun, something passed down that was not used that much any longer.

    The thing is, metal was improving in the 1800s when the percussion cap came into being. Lots of guns were converted from flintlock to percussion. Most made as percussion never were converted to anything else as percussion caps lasted for a relatively short period of time (not the caps themselves, but the priming method) as self contained cartridges slowly killed off muzzle loaders and most muzzle loaders would cost more to convert to cartridge than a new cartridge arm would cost.

    There were LOTS of bored out rifle muskets and a bunch of old muskets that had never been rifled sold to settlers moving west. The government wanted them to be armed with something, they (settlers) didn't generally have a lot of money and there were a whole bunch of cheap Civil War era muzzle loaders that no one really wanted. Lots of .69 cal. muskets had their stocks and barrels shortened and sold to settlers as cheap shotguns. Some .58 and .577 rifle muskets were shortened and sold as rifles, many more were smoothbored and shortened and sold as shotguns. Of course the cheapest was just buy a smoothbore or rifled pure surplus arm and use it the way it came, which was also done.

    IIRC, there was an official requirement, for those emigrating west, that they have at least one acceptable firearm, which all of the surplus stuff mentioned above counted as.

    I still don't know of anything military that comes close to your firearm, so I still put it down as civilian.

    US military caliber when from .69" to .58" after a quick dally at .54" then to .458" (.45-70)with a small, experimental pause at .50 (50-70). After that, down to .308" in 1892 where it stayed till 1968 when it dropped to 0.224".

    Your rifle might have been close to .54" but it looks NOTHING like the military rifles in that caliber, take a look on Google for the Mississippi Rifle, the most common US .54 caliber rifle.

    Hope this helps a little more.

    Buckshot

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    Thanks for that lengthy explanation. I did a google search for mississippi rifle, and found some that closely resemble this one in .56 cal, and dated around 1841. None I've seen have a riveted hammer yet. and I can see that the stock on mine used to be the entire length, as there are some mount scars on the bottom of the barrel, and the end of the forestock has a hole in it, where the rod used to slide down, but only the bottom of the hole. I'll have to do some more looking tonight. thank you.

  9. #9
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    Locks are almost always marked. Lots of people made guns, but few made locks. Gunmakers bought their locks from people who specialized in it and those people marked their work.

    I'd suggest you take the lock off and look on the inside for any stamps or marks.

  10. #10
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    Looks like an assembled gun with a Belgian back-acting lock and a recycled military barrel.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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