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Kentucky Rifle .32 Made by whom/when? ~Pictures~

ConisConis Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
Calling all experts.

This rifle was won in a poker game in the 50's. Hung on the wall for another 50 years. All I know was the previous owner (poor poker player) was from S Illinois and used it for match shooting. Still In excellent firable condition.

I can find no identification anywhere on the rifle, nor am I at all knowledgeable about these antigues.

Any insights appreciated. Maker.. vintage... aprox value?
Thanks in advance

1973.JPG
1974.JPG
1975.JPG

Comments

  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 32,920 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Well that is a good looking rifle. I do see a crack in the buttstock.
    Very unusual to see a little patch box on the cheek piece, I have never seen such a thing. I think that would be a little uncomfortable to shoot.
    You can't find ANY marking or numbers on the metal?

    Well I am of no help but maybe mongrel will be able to id this gun.

    Did you look inside the patch boxes for some markings?
    You could remove the lock and side plate and see if there are any markings on them. The lock is held on by that screw whose head you see on the side plate. You could remove it in a minute. Just cock the hammer and out it comes.
  • ConisConis Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Following your suggestions, I looked inside the patch boxes... nada. I have been over every sq inch of this rifle and found nada-zippo as far as markings. On the plate below the hammer, there is very faint engraving and what looks like "maybe" some lettering. Very pitted and faint even when studied under magnification with light at different angles.

    The crack which I think you are referring to (in top photo) is actually a an inletted piece of the stock that joins the stock ahead of the trigger assby. Not a repair. There is only a small crack down by the heel/butt plate.

    No luck removing the brass plate on the LH side. The screw came out but the plate wasn't budging. Not about to force things.

    Looked in a couple books, perused the gunbroker listings. Not coming up with much.

    Only other thing I noticed was a trigger adjust set screw ahead of the set trigger.

    The barrel is octagon.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 32,920 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Take the hammer to half cock, to clear it from the nipple.
    Remove that screw again. Grasp the hammer and wiggle it a little, and the lock will come right off.
    Then you can get another screw, or nail, or small screwdriver, and poke it through the screw hole, from the lock side, and push against the side plate, and out will pop the side plate. These things are made to be taken apart. In case the lock broke it would have to be removed for repair, also had to be removed occasionally for cleaning.
    Probably won't be any markings on the side plate but might be something on the lock.

    Two other odd things on this rifle, there is a hole in the stock about an inch behind the side plate. An inch behind that is the head of a screw. Never seen that before.
  • rgergergerge Member Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by allen griggs
    Take the hammer to half cock, to clear it from the nipple.
    Remove that screw again. Grasp the hammer and wiggle it a little, and the lock will come right off.
    Then you can get another screw, or nail, or small screwdriver, and poke it through the screw hole, from the lock side, and push against the side plate, and out will pop the side plate. These things are made to be taken apart. In case the lock broke it would have to be removed for repair, also had to be removed occasionally for cleaning.
    Probably won't be any markings on the side plate but might be something on the lock.

    Two other odd things on this rifle, there is a hole in the stock about an inch behind the side plate. An inch behind that is the head of a screw. Never seen that before.

    Look at the wrist, that might be an old fix, and your right, that is a pretty rifle.
  • rgergergerge Member Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by rgerge
    quote:Originally posted by allen griggs
    Take the hammer to half cock, to clear it from the nipple.
    Remove that screw again. Grasp the hammer and wiggle it a little, and the lock will come right off.
    Then you can get another screw, or nail, or small screwdriver, and poke it through the screw hole, from the lock side, and push against the side plate, and out will pop the side plate. These things are made to be taken apart. In case the lock broke it would have to be removed for repair, also had to be removed occasionally for cleaning.
    Probably won't be any markings on the side plate but might be something on the lock.

    Two other odd things on this rifle, there is a hole in the stock about an inch behind the side plate. An inch behind that is the head of a screw. Never seen that before.

    Look at the wrist, that might be an old fix, and your right, that is a pretty rifle. Could be the holes from an old reciever sight? no?
  • mongrel1776mongrel1776 Member Posts: 894 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The lock looks like one of Henry Leman's factory products, and if so would date to probably the 1840's, if not the 1850's. That's the same vintage I'd give the rifle. As for where it might have been made -- southern Illinois would be as good a guess as any. By the middle of the 19th century it was very, very hard to identify regional features in lower-grade guns in particular, many of which were more-or-less mass-produced in factories run by the likes of Leman, John Joseph Henry, Henry Tryon, and others. The cheekpiece box is a neat little touch, but not overly uncommon -- I've seen photos of mostly halfstock rifles from both the Midwest and the South with similar arrangements. I agree with Allen -- hard on the skin, particularly on a cold morning or if the rifle is of a larger, harder-recoiling caliber.

    No real idea as to maker, locale, or value, though. It looks to me like one of the thousands of "hardware store" guns turned out for distribution through, as the nickname indicates, small stores across the country. Lord knows how many rifles of this sort potted small game in the settled rural areas of the United States, or rode in wagons across the continent -- not everyone migrating west had a Hawken or similar plains rifle [:D]! This particular gun could just as easily have been made in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, or a dozen other states. This isn't to be critical. The guns of this period were in no way inferior to guns made earlier or later -- just hard to pin down as to precisely where and when a specific piece might have been made.

    I'd contact Dixie Gun Works, which offers an appraisal service for the owners of antique guns like this. The more detailed pictures you can provide, the more they might be able to tell you.

    Very nice rifle for its approximate age. I agree with rgerge, that it appears to have been repaired in the wrist (grip) area, but if so the photo makes it appear to be a better-quality fix than some I've seen. Most rifles of this vintage and quality are pretty used-up by the time we get to see them in this day and age -- even if it has no significant monetary value, it's a pretty thing.
  • ConisConis Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the insights so far.

    It looks like the rifle has been repaired. Whomever did it... did a decent job. A piece of the stcok looks to have been replaced, which accounts for two screws on the LH side holding the inleted piece in place. All of which demonstrates how little I know about these? I assumed this was some sort of "standard" building technique.

    It is likely a low cost production gun as has been pointed out? Was a "shooter" and still is... to be kept in retirement as a wall hanger.

    A couple more pictures. You can see just a little bit of engraving behind the hammer. enough for a clue?
    1977.JPG

    1978.JPG
  • joelHjoelH Member Posts: 42 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    A nice example of a fullstock plains rifle of the mid 19th century. Repairs to wrist and forestock look to be period of use which is hard to really know for sure because of rifles clean condition. You will find most examples of rifles with patch boxes on cheek sides to be out of West Virginia. But there are always exceptions to these generalizations. Even if you had a name stamped on the lockplate, it would be of no help whatsoever in determining the rifles actual builder. Have you removed the barrel for the possibility of finding any markings?
  • ConisConis Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I haven't come up with much other that the insights you gentlemen have taken the time to provide...

    It was pointed out to me these smaller calibre .32-.40 "squirrel rifles" became more popular as the midwest became settled and larger game was becoming scarce... Makes sense.

    Thanks again for your insights and input.
    Conis
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