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Thread: Ballard sight.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Ballard sight.

    This is a pretty strange "tang sight". It's made to mount on the tang area of a Ballard rifle, and accepts a modified Lyman receiver sight. It was on a Ballard #4 Perfection in .32-40 I once owned. I think I'll put it back on another of the same model and caliber that I own.





    The receiver sight is milled with two receiver slots, and a large thumb knob to secure the sight. The back of the mount is milled with two rails that have positive stops to return the sight to zero when removed and reinstalled.



    Craftsmanship is very nice, and the base appears to be a nicely finished casting that is blued. Spacing is the standard Ballard 1.125" holes. The Lyman has 125 minutes of elevation, which should be good for most mid range work.
    Wonder who made them, and how many might have been made?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    It may be the only one.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Wonder if that's a one off one of the old riflesmiths or home hobbyists came up with back in the day? Some of the radiouses appear to be hand cut or filed. On a production part a cutter and set would have been used. But it is an interesting and usable looking set up. Thanks for showing it.

  4. #4
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    Scharfschuetze's Avatar
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    Quite interesting. Old aperture sights really interest me and good shooting can be done with them.

    I note that the old Lyman knobs are the 4 MOA per rotation variety. I'm not sure when Lymen went to the current 3 MOA revolution thread, but it was more than a day ago.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  5. #5
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Wonder if that's a one off one of the old riflesmiths or home hobbyists came up with back in the day? Some of the radiouses appear to be hand cut or filed. On a production part a cutter and set would have been used. But it is an interesting and usable looking set up. Thanks for showing it.
    There are areas on the base that are obviously milled, and some might even be touched with a hand file, but if so a very skilled person with a file. But the bottom side of the base is lost likely a casting, or somehow hollow ground, as the 4 corners are the only part that would contact the receiver on a Ballard. A very good design idea, as it allows for any inconsistencies between base and receiver but having 4 very tiny contact points.
    I see no signs of "hand" cuts, or "file" cuts, but most definitely milling machine cuts. The front and back edges of the base showing casting grainy surface that was not fully polished off, so I'm pretty sure it started as a casting.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    M.M., I can always count on you to show me something neat! That right there is a fun bit of target rifle history.

    One of the things that draws me to Ballards is that is was such a good target mechanism that the basic late 1850's action concept outlived its original sighting systems and remained desirable well into the age of Unertl scopes and click-adjustable peeps. If you can imagine improving a Japanese katana made in 1600 with a Hogue rubber handle. . .yeah, it's a little like that. Between a totally original unaltered Marlin and one of these multi-generational hybrids that guys like Pope or Ackley may have worked on, it's hard for me to say which is cooler. I understand the muzzle loading Whitworths had a following that might have led to something similar, if the convenience of self-contained brass rounds hadn't ended the romance. . .
    WWJMBD?

    Buried in molds until covered with mold.

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    missionary5155's Avatar
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    Good morning
    What a find ! Some fine old "craftsman" decided he did not want that big ol' elevation knob sticking out there in the air on his Ballard to snag on stuff. Happily this sight did not end up in some private "museum' where it would be forever forgotten.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

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    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I think you're right Bigslug. The Ballard rifles were often converted and reworked into specialized competition rifles, and my guess is this was used on one of the custom built target rifles done after bolt guns became popular in the 20's and 30's.
    Someone competed with a Ballard in benchrest, or prone matches that required iron sights, and wanted a great sight that was easier and sturdier than the typical tang sight. I think the gun may also have been used with a scope, so the sight was made to be quickly removed, but also reinstalled without affecting the zero on the sight setting.
    If I come across another Ballard that's been modified and looks like this type of competition rifle, I'll likely install this sight on it. I held it in place on various Ballard rifles I own, and it just didn't fit the era of this sight on mine. But I'm sure one will eventually pop up that needs a sight of this style some day!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Hmmm. . .a No.4 Ballard in a classic 200 yard target cartridge, with an early Lyman 57 sight. . .

    Seems to me like you need a Merit iris disc screwed in place of the fixed aperture and a spirit level globe in the front. This concept intrigues me greatly. Vernier scales make my brain hurt - gimme micrometer clicks every time; period correct or no.
    WWJMBD?

    Buried in molds until covered with mold.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Hmmm. . .a No.4 Ballard in a classic 200 yard target cartridge, with an early Lyman 57 sight. . .

    Seems to me like you need a Merit iris disc screwed in place of the fixed aperture and a spirit level globe in the front. This concept intrigues me greatly. Vernier scales make my brain hurt - gimme micrometer clicks every time; period correct or no.
    I do have a spare Hadley that fits this sight, and would use that if it goes on one of my Ballard rifles. Probably don't need a spirit level at such short distances as 200 yds., and likely it will run out of elevation around 450 yds. in most old calibers. But a spirit level would certainly be a big help in accuracy past 200 yds.!
    Almost all my old single shot Ballard and Remington rifles have vernier sights, so I'm comfortable with them. What confuses me is when I get to a modern vernier repro sight, as they use different markings than the old 1800's sight makers used. I usually have to ask somebody what their sight markings equal, and hope they actually know their sight well enough!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check