Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Colt Thuer Conversion Model 1860 Army revolver, manufactured 1869-72.

In order to use the metallic cartridge without infringing on the Rollin White patent, Colt engineer F. Alexander Thuer devised a cylinder capped at the back that could be loaded from the front end. Existing Colt production revolvers were converted to accommodate the new design. The advantage to the Thuer conversion was that it could fire percussion and metallic cartridge ammunition simply by exchanging the cylinders.
This conversion did not last very long, although some sources say as many as 5,000 were made, this figure is in doubt my most collectors.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Charles Roth Marked Swivel Breech Percussion Combination Gun

Charles Roth was born in Germany and was active in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, by around 1840 after arriving in the U.S in 1837.

Both barrels are .50 caliber and have traditional sights. One barrel is smoothbore, and the other is rifled. Both are stamped "CHAs ROTH" and "WILKES BARRE" on the top flat between the rear sight and breech. 

The lock is unmarked. The barrel release is on the left, and it is equipped with double set triggers, a slender maple stock, two ramrods, a "C.S." inscribed German silver cheekpiece inlay (most likely the initials of an unknown original owner),

Roth is reported in the March 28, 1902, "Wilkes-Barre Record" as having locked up his gunshop and joined the home guards upon learning of Lee's invasion in 1862. He returned to his shop after the war and left it in the hands of his son when he retired in 1887.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A one of a kind Smith & Wesson

Embellished Model Number 3 American Single Action Revolver in 44 Rimfire.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A one of a kind half-stock percussion plains rifle by Robinson of Philadelphia.

William Robinson is listed as having worked at 90 S. Second St., above Walnut, in Philadephia, from 1840-1845.
The pictures speak for his artistic ability. The rifle has a .54 caliber rifled bore, medium to heavy weight octagon barrel, half stock with double keys. The rifle measures approx. 52-1/2” overall with 34-1/2” barrel. 
The barrel measures approx. 1-1/16” across the flats of the muzzle.

 The belly of the stock shows engraved heel plate with three cap boxes engraved en suite.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Prototype Browning Lever Action

This Browning designed prototype lever action centerfire rifle has front and rear locking lugs, a design reminiscent of no other Winchester rifle of the late 19th century.

Winchester's partnership with John Browning began in 1883 and lasted 16 years. Browning's legacy at Winchester is marked by the company's most notable late 19th century firearms such as the Model 1885 single shot rifle, Model 1887 lever action shotgun, Model 1897 slide action shotgun and lever action Models 1886, 1892, 1894 and 1895.

Speaking to Browning's success, firearms historian and author R.L. Wilson stated, "No other gun inventor or designer can rival John Browning's string of achievements. He owned 128 gun patents covering eighty different firearms; he sold approximately forty gun designs to Winchester."

Of course, not every Browning patent Winchester purchased made it to the factory production line. The trail leading to even the most successful designs is often steeped in documented and undocumented trials and errors.

This 30 caliber Browning prototype carbine is fitted with a pinned blade front sight and a ladder rear sight marked "1873" and graduated from 2-9. There are no external markings on the rifle. The upper tang is drilled and tapped. The rifle was left in the white. Mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock. There is a single barrel band and a carbine buttplate. The receiver has an exposed hammer and a bolt, which slides back when the action is opened. When closing the action the bolt slides forward to lock. A true one of a kind prototype showcasing Browning's partnership with Winchester.

The action is similar to that found in Browning's patent 492459. Patent 492459 is for a .30 caliber lever action rifle, which was applied for on March 22, 1892, and issued on February 28, 1893. Browning had several lever action rifle patents purchased by Winchester and patent 492459 is one of those patents but was not used in a production Winchester firearm. In fact, Winchester purchased many Browning patents that were not used in production firearms.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The first U.S. martial pistol, the North & Cheney Model 1799.

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans fielded a mix of British, French, German, Dutch and home-grown pistols, which created an inventory of different styles and calibers of varying degrees of serviceability. In the late 1700's the United States decided to standardize its military arms.  
The US government issued two different contracts to Simeon North of Berlin, Connecticut, to manufacture the first U.S.martial pistol, the Model 1799 North & Cheney. North would build a total of 2000 pistols between 1799 and 1802. 

It was the first official model of pistol adopted by the United States. It is also the first of the numerous U.S. contract pistols manufactured by Simeon North.
As you will note the pistol closely resembles the French M.1799 flintlock pistol but has several distinctive features including a one-inch longer barrel, rounded breech assembly and extra barrel screw on the lower front edge of the frame. It has a distinctive brass frame with no fore stock, frizzen spring with rear facing apex, side mounted iron button head ramrod and one-piece walnut handle. 
The round, iron, smoothbore barrel does not have front or rear sights. The pistol has a convex, reinforced, hammer and an integral brass pan with no fence. The back strap is iron and the buttcap and trigger guard are brass. 

Collectors estimate that only about 20 Model 1799 pistols still exist today; surviving examples are of great historical significance and are among the rarest U.S. martial arms. (the last auction price I saw was in the high five figures)

First contract pistols are marked as pictured below.

The second contract markings consist of only: "NORTH & CHENEY BERLIN" and lack the initials in front of each name as seen on the next two pictures.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

There were several experimental Springfield Model 1903 semi-automatic rifles and here is one example.

A prototype and possibly one of a kind semi-automatic rifle built on a Model 1903 Springfield Action. 
It is illustrated and briefly described on pages 6 and 7 of "The Gas Trap Garand" by Billy Pyle. The caption describes this rifle as an "enigmatic M1903 conversion, inventor unknown. This rifle, which has a fixed barrel and no gas system, appears to be primer-actuated." 
The rifle has a standard Model 1903 barrel, rear sight, upper and lower barrel bands, buttplate and front sight. The barrel and receiver have standard Model 1903 Springfield markings; the barrel is dated "1-10". 
The bolt, receiver, trigger guard and stock have been extensively modified. The receiver has been extended by approximately six-inches to accommodate the modified bolt. A seven inch section of walnut has been added between the original Model 1903 buttstock and forearm to fit the extended receiver. The trigger guard finial has been extended several inches. The stock and most of the rifle components are early Springfield Model 1903 pieces ca. 1910. However the rifle has a post-WWI course checkered buttplate and flat faced rear sight windage knob which, as the Billy Pile description suggests, may indicate that the actual modification took place in the 1920s using a pre-WWI Model 1903 rifle. The bolt is polished bright and the receiver, trigger guard and other furniture has a professional commercial blue finish. The early style "S" stock has been refinished and has traces of the original circled "P" proofmark on the wrist and a small "S" on the forearm tip. The stock modifications are professionally done and are barely visible on initial inspection. The added section matches the butt and forearm very closely in grain and finish. This is a rare and unique rifle that appears to have been modified in the early 1920s as one of the first attempts to design a semi-automatic rifle to replace the bolt action Model 1903 Rifle.