Or should I leave it rest

likemhotlikemhot Member Posts: 2,789 ✭✭✭
This old shooter currently resides by my dad's fireplace, I have no info on it other than it was given to him over 50 years ago. All parties that would have any knowledge are long since deceased and dad has had a stroke.

It is stamped on the right side in front of the hammer E. WHITNEY. There are no other markings that I can find and I have looked everywhere, including taking it apart as far as I trust myself, without doing damage. I have very little knowledge of period black powder firearms.

It looks to be military, bayonet lug on the right front muzzle, and yes it is in rough condition.

Any help on the history of this piece would be appreciated, also is this gun worth trying to get back in working condition. I have mentioned it to several re-enacters at my gun club and they are certain it is worth the effort.

Or should I leave it rest



















  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1
    I would get the barrel magnafluxed to look for cracks. If it is okay, then I would clean it and try to shoot it.
  • oldgunneroldgunner Member Posts: 2,466 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You might also want to make sure the nipple is well threaded and not loose. She's a pretty simple old musket, and should be fine to shoot if the barrel and nipple are both ok.

    I hope you follow up and let us know how it goes.
  • ahanksterahankster Member Posts: 253 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would look carefully into what collector value it might have before screwing around with it and cleaning it up.

    Whitney, the same one as the Cotten Gin, also made guns. He made them pre and post civil war. Made a very nice lever action rifle, some colt style pistols and other guns. Some have significant collector value. Yours may be one. I would have it appraised by someone very knowledgeable in pre and civil war period guns. I suspect yours is a Whitney made just before or during the civil war and may have some value.

    Try searching "whitney" on GB, there are several listed similar to yours.

  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1
    oh yeah that's right, we just can't pass up an opportunity to get MONEY
  • ahanksterahankster Member Posts: 253 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Nobody said anything about MAKING money.

    However, common sense says that if you have a relic that may have some serious collector interrest, one would do the research and be fully aware of what value the item might hold.

    To just "fix it up" and shoot it without doing the research would be foolish.

    Having a relic and valuable piece of history in the original condition might be far more desirable to keep and hold for one's family and heritage than just shooting it. If it does hold some historical value, they buy something else to "just shoot", if the value (nobody said money here, value can mean any number of things) is such that it is worth it to you to fix up and shoot, then by all means that is what you should do.
    The operative term here is value. Could be money, if that is all you are interrested in, could mean other things too.
  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1
    sorry, but I agree with old gunner.

    I don't disagree with trying to find out its history.

    But the idea behind NOT EVEN CLEANING IT has to do with monetary value and people who like to buy things in those conditions.

    I would definitely treat the rust and check the insides for it.
    That stock needs to be looked over well. I looks like it might be cracked, but the marks could be mere scratches.

    If its cracked, you may not want to shoot it, as it might come apart at your shoulder.

    I would definitely shoot it. It IS a piece of history and that would be a real thrill for me in the same circumstances.

    Unless... of course... someone thinks that firing a weapon "ruins" it somehow. I can't imaginae anyone with a brain thinking that.
    We aren't talking about gold plated "stare at" pieces here. We're talking about something made when durability had a real meaning as a word.

    anyway... Nice Gun Likemhot!
  • dcinffxvadcinffxva Member Posts: 2,830 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    It would appear that you have what is considered an Enfield-type rifle-musket. They were made between 1859-1862. It's a little difficult to tell from the photo's, but my guess is that it is a type IV. The value on yours (ballpark without being able to look at it in person) would be around $800-$1,000.

    Since it is in rough condition, I wouldn't advise trying to turn it into a shooter. There are plenty of civil war pieces out there that are in shootable condition you could pick up.

    The advice about NOT cleaning it up was sound advice. The minute someone cleans them up, and makes them look like new, the value plummets. If you decide to, I would then estimate the value to drop to the $400-$500 range.

    You should be able to locate an original hammer screw for it though.
  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1

    As you can see opinions vary about old firearms.

    As far as shooting it, I was thinking that magnafluxing would tell the tale. I am thinking that you wouldn't consider selling your father's old gun. I would say that this is good, But as you can clearly see there are people who are so hypnotised over the value of a thing, they can't get off the money kick no matter what.

    If you sell it, NO amount of money can compensate you for the sentimental value of a family object.

    Also be aware that if yopu decide to sell it that you will have to deal with all the subjective opinions of specious experts while they pick at this and pick at that until you want to puke. But they always get you where they want you.
  • dcinffxvadcinffxva Member Posts: 2,830 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Likemhot, Amsptcds,

    I agree with not getting rid of family heirlooms. The reason I mentioned the values is because of the question in the original post

    "is this gun worth trying to get back in working condition"

    and I think most everyone would agree that it is worth more in it's present condition than restored condition.

    If it is worth more to you to restore it, and have a shootable heirloom, then by all means go for it. Personally, I think that restoring a vintage piece such as this is a bad move.

    I can't see spending money to make something less valuable than it already is. It's like pulling a '53 Corvette out of a barn, finding it untouched, with the original paint, and taking it to MAACO for the $299 special. On the other hand, I have bought ones that others have "restored", and those are the ones I shoot.

    The bottom line is what you want to do, and what price you are willing to pay for it.

    If you chose to take it apart, this will help. Since it isn't a Springfield, there will be some minor differences, but not much.

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Eli Whitney made a lot of guns. He got credit for introducing machine made interchangeable parts but never really made it work in the modern sense.

    This looks like an "Enfield Type Rifle" Type IV no 5J-039.6 in Flayderman's book. Flayderman says there were a lot of parts and equipment left after Robbins & Lawrence went broke after failing to fulfil a British order for Enfield rifles and rifle-muskets; and Whitney used some of them.
    Not a common gun, but I don't have anything current on dollar values of rough examples.
  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1
    I think I sort of agree with you also. If it was going to cost a fortune to restore some piece that might still not function properly, I would tend to leave it be also.

    I pretty much was musing that if it were mine and I could determine that it would still be a shooter, that I would do it.
    Ya probably wouldn't have to do a restoration job, necessarily, to shoot it. A good coat of oil to loosen up the surface rust would also reveal deeper problems if there were any.

    Just somehow along the way here, my suggestion of magnafluxing the barrel to see it it might be suitable for shooting turned into "restoration" in some people's minds, "destruction of value" in others, and who knows what in still others.

    Semi-diappointing to me is that with most people "Value" comes first with functionality being way down on the list. When pressed they lie about it next and try to steer the conversation to function but always end back up on value cuz they can't get it out of their mind.

    I'm not saying they are wrong when discussing value, ambiguous and subjective as it is, but it seems to be their primary motivation.

    sorta "pukey"

    The owners original question is primarily "can I shoot it or leave it be?"

    He doesn't wanna sell or restore it. hehehe... its funny
  • awindsawinds Member Posts: 1,139 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Look at the gun. If it could talk, the stories would be awesome.
    It has family history. Just put it in a safe place of reverence, and enjoy it's site(pun) for the rest of time.
  • ahanksterahankster Member Posts: 253 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is only one poster here talking about money, amsptcds.
    The rest are talking about value.
    The gun needs some TLC. Could it be made into a shooter, probably so, the question would be how much it would cost. Is it worth much monetarily. Not in my mind. Even if it was in superb shape it would probably only bring a grand or two. Is it worth spending the time and money to fix it so he can shoot it, only he can tell. You wanted to magnaflux the barrel, that costs money, getting a smith to fix the hammer and make sure everything is in good shape costs too. Just putting a light coat of oil and shooting it doesn't really make sense at all.
    When dealing with antiques a person should start from a position of common sense and know exactly what they have on their hands. Since you are all wrapped up over money, what if he had it appraised and it was a one of a kind worth a huge sum? Then do ya still want to "put a light coat of oil on it and shoot it". At that point you would not only have a family heirlom and unique piece of history, but an investment for your families future. Only a moron would take a gun like that out and screw with it before they knew what it was worth monetarily, historically, to members of your family, etc.
    But, if the monetary value is only a grand or two, heck then restore it and shoot it all the time.
  • amsptcdsamsptcds Member Posts: 679
    edited November -1
    you certainly can't get off the knob about money can you. Attempting to flip it onto me only shows your blindness, and dishonesty when it comes to your own train of thought.
    Its called, properly, conceptual inertia.

    Since you claim that there is more to "value" than money, I would agree, but probably not for the same reasons as you.

    Since you want "value" itself to be such a subjective thing, I would say that there is nothing objective to "value" and so there is no real value at all, except in your mind. (or mine or anyone else's.. relatively speaking... I didn't mean JUST your's... pardon me for not being clear)

    be that as it may be, I can see that you are entitled to your own opinion.

    I really agree with all the posts about its historical "value" as we all seem to relate to it. But each of us reacts in our own ways, it is more sentimental than analytic.
    But I simply stated what I would do and no one has to like it. Its only a thought and a suggestion, but you seem to think it is the end of the world or something, and I certainly hit on your money nerve, by making mention that it seems that way too many people mention value, and i did mean it in a way that equates to money. Reread some posts. That IS what some are talking about.
    I think its sad.
    But then it never seems to take much to start a spit spat around gunbroker, beyond simply stating an opinion. pretty thin skinned.

    And all that simply detracts/distracts from the object itself, a pretty neat old gun. I'm pretty sure we can agree on that.
  • ahanksterahankster Member Posts: 253 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You didn't just state an opinion, you got the thread off topic by trying to insult people that have legitimate opinions.

    "oh yeah that's right, we just can't pass up an opportunity to get MONEY"

    We can clearly see who has the money issues. Nobody flipped anything on you, as the quote above shows, you flipped yourself. Also clearly seen by the quote above, you did not "I simply stated what I would do.." You just wanted to try to start an argument about money.

    There are many considerations to take when talking about shooting or restoring an antique firearm. Money is just one of them and only a person of very limited mental capabilities steps out, oils an antique up and fires away without looking into all aspects of the firearm.

    It is a very neat old gun and it needs to be treated appropriately and held very dear by his family, no matter what the monetary value is.
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