Sunday, October 30, 2016

Browning-Winchester Prototype





Likely one of a kind, Browning prototype bottom feed  musket. Similar in design to the Model 1895. 
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 action has a fixed magazine and stripper slots in the top. The thick, high breechblock is striker feed. The lever contains the trigger assembly. The receiver has a bolt with double extractors and a follower. There is no safety. When the action is opened, the breechblock rises and slides backwards. When closing the action, the breechblock rises and slides forwards, locking into place via a spring loaded detent. Part of the lever supports the back of the breechblock. The breechblock has a cocking indicator. The action is similar to that found in Browning's patent 619132, which was applied for on February 21, 1898 and issued on February 7, 1899. Browning had several lever action rifle patents purchased by Winchester with many of the patents not being used in production firearms. There are two barrel bands with the front band having a bayonet lug like a Krag rifle. 







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Sunday, October 23, 2016

A. B. Smith Belted Ball Rifle










This original Abias Butler Smith flintlock long rifle has a most unusual feature: it is designed for a belted ball.

Belted balls are believed to have been first experimented with around 1725 in Spain but were not widely used until they were used in the Brunswick rifles designed by George Lovell in 1836. 
Belted rifling was never widely used in the U.S., and the system in general was made obsolete in the 1850s by the introduction of the Minie ball which was more accurate and easier to load. This rifling would have been an extreme rarity in the U.S. and ammunition would have been hard nearly impossible to come by without a mold specifically made for this rifle. 




The barrel is signed "A. B. Smith" in script. Abias Butler Smith (b. 1818- d. 1900) Tax records list him as a gunsmith in Clinton, Allegheny County (1838-66).

The lock plate is marked "M. MASLIN/ PARTRIDGE WARRANTED" and is engraved with scrollwork and a bird scene. Michael M. Maslin was a lockmaker located in Baltimore (circa 1822-1833) and in Philadelphia (1833-1847). The use of a Maslin flintlock and belted rifling suggest the rifle was manufactured in the late 1830s or perhaps very early 1840s. 

The rifle is pictured on page 157 of "The Kentucky Rifle" by John G. W. Dillin and on page 60 of "The Longrifles of Western Pennsylvania: Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties" by Richard F. Rosenberger & Charles Kaufmann  In the latter, the authors note "this is the only American longrifle of its type known" and was produced after the percussion system was widely available, but the fact that it is pictured in the earlier book indicates that it was almost certainly produced as a flintlock and not later enhanced. 







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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nimschke Engraved U.S. Arms Co. No. 32 Pocket Revolver














This fantastic U.S. Arms Co. pocket revolver was engraved by L.D. Nimschke and was was exhibited at the Exposition Universalle d'Paris, 1878. 
The revolver descended in the Nimschke family for nearly 125 years before it was first sold at auction in 2003. 
As a master firearms engraver of the 19th century, Nimschke is said to have engraved over 5,000 firearms from 1850 to 1904. Today the work of this world renowned master engraver is on display at museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This revolver sold at auction a second time for over $25,000 in 2015.









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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rare Prewar Baby Nambu






A rare late production Baby Nambu pistol that was manufactured by the Tokyo Gas and Electric (TG&E) factory in Tokyo. These TG&E Baby Nambu pistols are seldom seen in that they were produced in very limited numbers and are highly sought by the Japanese collectors. These pistols were produced from 1909 to approximately 1923, and it is estimated that only about 550 pistols were ever produced by TG&E; fewer than fifty are known to date.
The Baby Nambu was never officially approved as a standard officer's sidearm; instead, they were privately purchased by high ranking Japanese Army and Naval officers.  
These little pistols have a high quality rust blue finish with straw colored small parts and the bolt retaining an overall bright finish. The grips are finely checkered hardwood. 




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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Winchester M-1883 Revolver


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“This Winchester Prototype Revolver is just an example of a super rare "One of A Kind" Winchester M1883 revolver. Around 1874/1875, Winchester once again began development work on new revolvers, intended for both commercial and military contracts. Enter two of the most inventive and least known designers at this time Stephen Wood and William Mason. Both had worked in the firearms industry for several different companies for over 10-15 years, and had developed significant patents for both rifles and pistols. Stephen Wood worked for Winchester earlier on and actually held the patent for the solid frame on revolvers along with a rapid ejection design. William Mason was an independent contractor making Springfield type rifle-muskets during the Civil War and worked at both Remington Arms and Colt (1872-1882) before being hired by the Winchester Company. While at Colt, Mason was issued several patent related to the commercially successful 1873 Peacemaker revolver. So when Winchester hired Mason one of his tasks was to developed a revolver that was almost identical to the Colt Single Action revolver, albeit the design would have allowed Winchester to produce a competing revolver at a much lower cost than Colt, which had the possibility to beat out Colt.

Supposedly a 1884 meeting between Winchester and Colt, where Winchester showed Colt the new Winchester designed revolver and shortly after that both companies agreed to non-compete with each other, however they reserved the right to design and produced prototypes for patent work development. This "gentleman's agreement" has since been maintained with each company staying out of the other's respective sector of the firearms market.”  

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Springfield Model 1869 Pistol


















This is one of those firearms with a lot of speculation and little firm documentation that I can find. For sure they came from the Springfield Armory around 1869 but from there you will have to draw your own conclusions. The following are some excerpts I have run across.



























"Right after the Civil War Springfield Armory made eight (8) single shot 50/70 trapdoor pistols for US Cavalry officers for use in the Indian Wars. These guns were originally cavalry carbines that the factory modified the stocks, barrel, sights, etc and turned them into pistols.”

“Brainchild of Commanding General of the Army William Tecumseh Sherman 1869”.

From James Julia Auctions;
“EXTREMELY RARE MODEL 1869 SPRINGFIELD BREECH LOADING PISTOL. Cal. 50-70. Extraordinarily rare with less than 50 having been produced at Springfield Armory in 1869. These pistols were produced at the direction of the Ordnance Board to develop a large war pistol for the Cavalry. Springfield Armory built these pistols on Model 1868 Trapdoor actions with 9″ tapered rnd bbls and barleycorn shaped front sights. They utilized standard breech blocks which were stamped with a small “69” and standard “1863” dated lockplates & hammers. A standard 2-pc carbine trigger guard was utilized with a bent tang and brass butt cap with integral brass back strap. The sgl bbl band is secured with a bottom mounted spring keeper. Pistol is mounted in a nicely figured 1-pc walnut stock with curved smooth grip and raised side panels. This exact pistol, identified by SN is pictured as the bottom plate on p. 257 of The Wm. M. Locke Collection book”.





From the Springfield museum



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Monday, October 3, 2016

Frank Wesson #2 Rifle








Frank Wesson is best known for the 3000 or more carbines that were used by the military during the Civil War. Over 2000 Wesson rifles were sold to militia in the states of Kentucky and Illinois. A number of the .44 caliber rimfire carbines were purchased by individuals and state governments during the Civil War. Many of these weapons were sold through a company called Kittredge & Co, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who have their name stamped on the barrel of these weapons.


After the War, Wesson turned his attention to the sporting market and the #2 model was one of his offerings and offered as a custom, made to order rifle.
Exact manufacture dates for the Frank Wesson #2 rifles have been lost to time, but experts believe that Wesson manufactured under lever falling block rifles from the early or mid-1870s through the 1880s with total production of the No. 2 standing at less than 100. (Others have suggested that Wesson manufactured less than 75 No. 2s. A very rare single action rifle.


This rifle is listed by serial number in James Grant's book "Moore Single Shot Rifles," pages 64-65 and pictured and described in Grant's book on pages 60-61. This is a very interesting variation of the No. 2 in that the rifle has a factory engraving, pistol grip stock and left handed action. According to Grant, this rifle was the only Wesson under lever falling block rifle with a left handed action found.


Blue barrel and case hardened hammer and breechblock with the remaining metal surfaces nickel plated, including the grip cap and buttplate. The barrel is chambered for the 40-70 Wesson case. The rifle is equipped with a wind gauge/spirit level front sight and a tang Vernier peep sight. There are correctly no provisions for a rear sight on the barrel or on the frame. Mounted with a nicely figured and checkered forearm and pistol grip stock with a checkered shotgun style buttplate.





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