View Full Version : Found new toy maybe

04-18-2007, 05:59 PM
Found a new toy but not sure if I want to get it. It's on my list of guns I have to have before I die. It's an original 1800's era ML. 36 cal squirrel gun for $300 or he said he would take $275 cash total. It has a couple pieces missing, no big deal just a bolt to hold the lock in place and a couple stock pins. I has some minor pitting but for the age not bad shape and it is in good enough shape to fire. It weights a ton and the front sight is filed down to almost nothing and is so far out I can hardly see it. You don't see to many of these ol girls around any more, at least not around here and in this good of shape When you do someone usually want's a small fortune for it if it is! My biggest deall is I don't want to get something I'm going to shoot once and hang on the wall. I won't want to shoot it all the time either but it would be nice to shoot it a couple times a year or so.:-?

04-18-2007, 08:40 PM

Sounds like it might be a pretty good deal. I assume it is percussion and not flint. Does the lock appear complete and functional? Check the bore with the ramrod or a 1/4" dowel, mark at the muzzle and lay the rod alongside to see how it matches up with the nipple drum - to be sure it is not loaded (that can lead to surprises - don't ask how I know...) Even if you have to have the barrel "freshed out" you could still come out ahead. Can you get a photo and post it here?


04-18-2007, 09:52 PM

It is a purcussion. I don't care for Flintlocks to much. Nothing against them but you have to relly get into them to work them good. I converted one old CVA to flint just for fun and it does look good. The barrel has no marking as to give me a clue who made it but what I could see of the bore looked real good. The lock appeared to work ok although I dodn't dry fire it. I don't think he would have liked that. The lock spring could be a little week and need replaced but that is no big deal either. I'll take another look and try the ramrod thing. I like surprizes but not that kind! I haven't learned how to post a photo yet but I guessI could figure it out.

04-18-2007, 10:33 PM

It looked very similar to this only it had a full length stock, the rust wasn't as bad and there was no writing to indicate who mad it. Also I noticed ther was 6 small inditations on the crown even with the rifling. They were small like you would make with a small punch before you drill metal so your bit wouldn't run off. I assume they were markes made by the tool used to cut the rifling.



04-18-2007, 11:36 PM

I'm no expert - though I have owned and used a number of flintlocks and percussers over the last 50+ years - but it sounds like a good deal to me at $275. I think those punchmarks are decorative; I have seen them on photos of other 18th- and 19th-Century arms. Keep us posted;and borrow a digitable camera and get us a photo or two, if possible. We've got some folks here that are a lot more knowledgeable than I am.


04-20-2007, 03:19 PM

I picked it up. The more I thought about it the more I thought I shouldn't pass on the deal. No markings on the barrel unless ther are some on the underside but there is a dovetail cut right behind the rear site with a little brass wedge in it. Looks like it is marked J. B. Swinford and PAXTO but it is worn and hard to read. I am guessing on the "P" in PAXTO but the AXTO is clear. The shop owner was just guessing but he thought it was from about 1850 or so, maybe earlier. He also said they quit doing that style of rifling around 1840. It almost looks six sided rather than cut. Any ideas? I'll see about making a picture of it. Also it turns out it is a 32 rather than a 36 like I thought!

04-20-2007, 03:59 PM

You're about at the limit of my knowledge / skill here, at least without actually handling the rifle. But there are a lot of folks here who can help. Probably the most important thing - after being absolutely SURE it is unloaded - is to lift the barrel out of the stock and check around the breech-plug for any signs of leakage or corrosion. It would probably be advisable to pull the breech-plug, but that takes specialized tools and a lot of care. Some of you real BP / ML experts, please chime in here!


04-20-2007, 05:20 PM
Post as many clear, detailed pictures of locks, metalworking, barrel crowns and such.

04-20-2007, 05:21 PM
I know next to nothing but found this:

"Henry Eicholtz Leman (1812-1887), worked at George W. Tryon's gun factory in Philadelphia from 1831-1834. Leman relocated to Lancaster Pennsylvania where he established a forge and boring mill in Upper Leacock Township on the east bank of the Conestoga Creek where he made over 250 rifles in his first year of business. In 1850 he withdrew from his boring mill and started a new gun factory at E. Walnut and Cherry street where he mass produced a substantial number of, what were then considered second-rate, rifles under the trade name "Conestoga Rifle Works", thus keeping his name off products he deemed to be inferior."

Books with examples and pics:

"1. The pensylvania Kentuckey Rifle Author Henry j. Kauffman
library of congress card # 59-14376 by stackpole books Harrisburg
Leman, henry page 24 plate 23 pg40 and 120 plate # 228,
229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 237
NOTE: these are all percussion guns on page 24 it refers to special order
flints primarily on trade guns---none shown

2. The kentuckey rifle Author John G. W. Dillen library of
congress card# 74-3685 Published by George Schumway publisher r. d. 7
York Pa 17402

NOTE: several lemans are refered to in this book this is what makes for
confusion for a lot of people---they are listed as follows--

Leman ---- page-50 (flint rifle), page 51, page 77(type of rifleing),
page 124 (target and loads), page 155(half stock indian trade guns),
Page 187 (description of types of lemans)(warns of rifles made from
leman parts)
Leman H.F.---page 77 (shows rifleing type)
Leman and Lescher--- page 49 (historical background)
Leman Peter ---page 27, 43 (the swiss) (worked in the 17oo's probably
Henrys father---

3. Kentuckey patch boxes and barrel marks author Roy f.
chandler--library of congress number 70-176268

pages 244, 245, 246 (shows patch box other than on the indian trade
trade rifles)(or half stocks.

4. The plains rifle autho Charles e. Hanson library of congress#
59-14379 ISBN #0-88227-015-015X
pages 8, 10, 73,75,76,100

shows lemon worked for tyron and apprenticed under malcomb fordney gives
a historical perspective comparing to other plains rifles---

5. the trade rifle sketch book Author charles e.hanson pages 38
thru 41---gives the basic contours and outlines of the leman trade guns.

6. Thoughts of the kentuckey rifle in it's golden age Author Joe
kindig jr library of congress # 61-23719 sbn # 87387-033-6

pages 23, 131"

04-20-2007, 06:28 PM
I took some pictures and just need the wife to show me how to get them on the computer and figure out how to upload them. There is very little brass on this gun. Mostly steel and the crown is flat. it has a patch box but it looks like it was added at some later date. The powder drum is not round, it is six sided and uneven like someone filed it for decorative or something. I think it may have been converted from a earlier flintlock. Under the patchbox and the lock it looks to be hand carved and the barrel channel is round like it was drilled out. The stock has the curly maple look but it was burned into the stock and I can tell the wood is very old.

04-20-2007, 11:13 PM





My gun!

04-20-2007, 11:53 PM


04-21-2007, 12:46 AM

A very handsome, classic rifle from the mid-1800's; nice stock, double-set triggers and even a ramrod! Even if it ends up a "wallhanger", you've still got your $275 worth; but has the potential to be quite a lot more. Just seek out good advice and take it slow, if you want to try to shoot it.

(Good photos, too!)


MT Gianni
04-21-2007, 01:47 AM
Wow, the stories it could tell. Gianni

04-21-2007, 07:58 AM
mooman: You stole it!! Sweet old gun, from what I see in the pictures it should be shootable. I believe the lock and hammer have been changed at one time, and I'm suspicious of the set triggers (this is a "hardware store gun" most would have plain trigger) make a sweet shooter!!!!!!!
Things to check;
Pull the lock and check the internals, clean it, make sure screws are tight, not stripped. Make sure the halfcock notch is not worn to the slipping point.
Same for the trigger, if you don't pull it off , make sure it holds cock and does not creep off.
From the bore picture looks like it is in reasonable condition, run a rod down to check for a load, or paper etc. Clean it with soapy water, see what comes out. You can cleanup some of the roughness with a tight patch and 0000 steel wool.
Go slow with the inside of the barrel, these are soft barrels and cut quick. Do not try to polish the bore, if you get it clean enough to load, you may be surprised how well it shoots.
Change the nipple, old nipples are almost always shot or rusted out, look at the flash passage, make sure it's clear.
Load it, tie it down and fire it with a string, then look for any leakage around the drum or the breech plug. No sign of leakage, you're good to go!!!!
DO NOT change anything of the outside finish, the wear , dirt and finish are as they should be.
Problems? questions, parts, PM me I may be able to help, Nick

04-21-2007, 11:44 AM
Arkansas Rat, Floodgate and all,

Yes, I plan on shooting it. The only thing I think I need to shoot is the Lock bolt is missing but that will be no problem plus I want to get a new ramrod like a super rod or something. I don't use wooden ramrods, have heard horror stories about them but I always keep the original and I don't want to break this one, it is very old.

I will take it apart and clean it up. The finnish I will leave alone except for oiling. It has a good natural rust finish. I want to replace the nipple although it looks good enough to use but I am concerned about it being rusted in. The bore looks to be in very good shape, even better than the picture. I checked it with the rod, no obstructions, in fact I had a hard time getting it back out because I put it in too far.

I was thinking of getting a new ball mould. I have a .308 but it seems a little small but 36 is deffinately too big. I will measure it and probubly shoot it first to see. I might even run a ball down with a loose patch to get an idea how big the bore is.

It has had some work done to it over the years but that could be expected for a gun that old. The stock has a few fill places where changes were made. I suspect this is not the original barrel although it is old. There is sever pitting in the lock from lack of proper cleaning and the barrelshould be the same but is not. The tang doesn't go down as far as it used to. There is wood filler to fill in the rest and there are lots of small holes in the stock for the barrel pins that are out of place or not useable. I might fill them in with brass pins for looks.

This pawn shop had a Dixie rifle also for $195 that I am fighting myself from getting. I may still though. It's a flinter and I haven't done so well with flint but this gun is so light and balanced perfect. It is a 32 also with about a 40" barrel. He would probubly take $175 for it and I considered changing over to cap.

Thanks again for everyones help!


04-21-2007, 06:49 PM
If you're serious about wanting to find out about your new-to-you gun, go find the 'MLI' group at Yahoo (Muzzle Loading International), and sign up. Tell them that Bog Irish sent you along. Post some pix there on the website, and ask away. If them guys (and gals) can't tell you about it off the top of their head, they'll find out!

We have members in at least three different countries, and some of them do know their stuff!

04-21-2007, 07:41 PM
Thanks Nicholst55

I will do that. I got the gun for it's history. I am sort of a amature gun colletor, mostly old military stuff.