Can I fire this?

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by justinjtm, Jul 12, 2019.

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  1. Jul 12, 2019 #1

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

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    On a whim I purchased this at auction as it was made locally in the NY Hudson Valley in the 1840's. I have never fired one of these and want to take the proper steps to make sure it is safe to fire. I'm looking for some advice on what to do.

    Cheers,

    Justin 72814641_4_x.jpg 72814641_1_x.jpg 72814641_3_x.jpg
     
  2. Jul 12, 2019 #2

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    You should take your rifle to a knowledgeable muzzle loader gunsmith to examine. I just can't make that determination from your photos. It does appear to be a nice looking rifle though. You need to run an endoscope down the barrel to see the condition of the breech.

    You can tell us if the barrel is pitted or smooth. Does the lock function? but don't dry fire it to tell us. Any drag on the hammer?
     
  3. Jul 12, 2019 #3

    bang

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    bang

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    Looks ok from pixs. How does the bore look?
    Have you checked to make sure the barrel is clear? Put the ramrod down the barrel. Mark it at end of barrel. Compare the distance to the outside of the barrel. It should go all the way to right at the nipple on a cleared barrel. If the nipple is clear you will be able to blow air through it.
    What caliber is it?
    Do you know rate of twist if it is rifled? Once you insure barrel is clear and if it's rifled using a cleaning rod and a patch tight enough to catch the riflings so it turns the rod push it all the way down the barrel. Mark the rod. Pull the rod out allowing it to turn watch the rod and see how much rotation takes place till the patch leaves the barrel. Then get back here with the information and barrel length. From pix I think it will be 1:66 possibly 1:60. But post info so we can get best figure.
    When you looked at it on site or at auction did they say shootable or wall hanger?
    Will help to remove barrel and do coin test. This will help to insure barrel has no cracks. Coin test consists of hanging barrel and tapping lightly with metal every few inches to make sure it produces a ring. The ring will be different tone along the length but a ring none the less. A clank noise will indicate a void of some kind.
     
  4. Jul 12, 2019 #4

    bang

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    bang

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    By the way. Are there any manufacture markings on the barrel? If so get good pixs and post so we can get good ID if possible.
     
  5. Jul 12, 2019 #5

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure I guess is my answer to all questions. I live in Albany NY and this came up locally and was built 20 miles away and I loved the loom and the hammer underneath. It came originally from an estate. My brother in law who is a police officer and range instructor said he believed the mechanics were sound and he thought it would fire but he said he would do more research. I suppose maybe I'll bring it to a local gun shop. I was just looking for any advice before I do. I have attached a couple images of the barrel.

    Cheers,

    Justin
     

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  6. Jul 12, 2019 #6

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

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    Sorry, It was made by A.C . Stevens
     
  7. Jul 12, 2019 #7

    52Bore

    52Bore

    52Bore

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    NMLRA Charter Clubs listed in Muzzle Blast magazine- here are NewYork.
    If any are close, contact them for possible assistance.
    70A99FA6-8970-49BB-9A74-92336363726E.jpeg
     
  8. Jul 12, 2019 #8

    Sinner

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    put a percussion cap on it, hold the muzzle close to a leaf or blade of grass, and pull the trigger. Did the leaf/grass blade move? That will only show that the lock works and the bore is clear. If everything is tight, and the bore is clear, either take it to someone to verify everything is tight and in working order, or start at a lower powder charge and see how it does. You should also run a well-lubed, tight fitting patch and see if you feel any loose spots, catching, etc. I AM NOT A GUNSMITH....
     
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  9. Jul 12, 2019 #9

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

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    Yes!!! Saratoga is 30 minutes away
     
  10. Jul 12, 2019 #10

    Txlongshot58

    Txlongshot58

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    Nice looking Rifle
     
  11. Jul 12, 2019 #11

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

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    If it were mine I would give it to my mother-in-law to test fire. What ever the outcome, I win!
     
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  12. Jul 12, 2019 #12

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    That's like the official definition of mixed feelings - watching your mother-in-law going over a cliff in your new Ferrari.
     
  13. Jul 13, 2019 #13

    wcubed

    wcubed

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    Howdy, neighbor! I'm also in Albany County.

    I can't help you with determining if it is safe to fire, but after a knowledgeable gunsmith has looked at it, I'd love to see it in action.

    How much do you intend to fire it? Do you have black powder? If you don't, I can give you some for test purposes.

    Bill
     
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  14. Jul 13, 2019 #14

    justinjtm

    justinjtm

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    Thanks Bill. I. Going to have it checked out by a local gunsmith and actually just want to fire it a couple times is all if safe to do so. I would be happy to take you up on your offer after I get it looked at. Maybe you would like to join me. Cheers,. Justin
     
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  15. Jul 13, 2019 #15

    wcubed

    wcubed

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    I do not have any caps, so you will need a few of those. I only have a 200ish year old flintlock "coach gun" so far, that I have fired with a very light load. Let me know when you are ready!

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Jul 13, 2019 #16

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    How's is the law where you are regarding short-barrelled shotguns? Here in yUK any smoothbore with barrel less than 24" comes under a different category of firearm.
     
  17. Jul 13, 2019 #17

    wcubed

    wcubed

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    Antiques are excluded, and no permits are required.

    It's a little more complicated than that when it comes to antique handguns, but that does not apply in this situation.

    Btw, the barrel measures 15 3/8" long.
     
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  18. Jul 13, 2019 #18

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    Thanks for the response - not sure why my text had been struck through though............................

    Here in yUK you can't shoot any antique unless it is on your Firearms Certificate. :(

    Here little BP cannons with barrels less than 24" long are classed in the same category as a modern .50cal BMG rifle...

    Makes complete sense, of course - the evening news on TV is filled with reports of corner stores being held up by crews of midgets with 1/3rd scale Napoleon cannons.
     
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  19. Jul 14, 2019 #19

    Dibbuk

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    This is just my opinion: Before putting a cap on it, take the ramrod, and drop it down the barrel. Mark with your thumb how far the rod is down the barrel. Now pull the ramrod out and lay it alongside the barrel. If the end of the ramrod is not next to the nipple, there may still be a load inside.
     
  20. Jul 15, 2019 #20

    Kansas Jake

    Kansas Jake

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    Dibbuk makes a good point. The caveat to the is if it has some type of patent breech. I’m not familiar with underhammers but if there is a patent type breech then the ramrod won’t go all the way to the nipple.
     

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