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Thread: Ballard Offhand Rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Ballard Offhand Rifle

    Picked up this 1st Generation Ballard #6 Offhand Rifle at the Colorado show this weekend. One of the most rare models offered by Marlin as it was only offered for a couple years 1878-1880 until they changed them to a pistol gripped stock.
    I've got a later pistol grip #6 Rigby, but been hoping to find a 1st model for probably 30 years, and when I found them the price was crazy high! This one has the Abalone crescent moon, and cut for a rear dovetail to accept a full length scope; so not 100% original and I could afford it.
    I picked up a nice Stevens Ideal 6x scope with dovetail bases at the same show, so put it on today.
    Buttplate is a rare silver plated, not nickel, so I polished off the tarnish on it too! Caliber is .40-65 Ballard Everlasting, and not sure yet what I'll use to form brass? If anyone has built cases for this unusual cartridge, let me know!





    Buffalo engraved:


    Buck and doe:


    Abalone crescent moon:


    Heavily tarnished German style buttplate:

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Absolute beauty!

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Some help on making brass for the .40-65 Ballard Everlasting. In the Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversion, it says to make from .45 basic, trim case to 2.4". Anneal and form in form die.

    TGM

  4. #4
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGM View Post
    Some help on making brass for the .40-65 Ballard Everlasting. In the Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversion, it says to make from .45 basic, trim case to 2.4". Anneal and form in form die.

    TGM
    Thanks!
    I have 4 or 5 Ballard rifles in the later .40-63 Everlasting cartridge, and was told the .40-65 EL. was much different than the .40-63 EL. I make the .40-63 from .405 Hornady cases that I shorten about .1" in length. I just dropped a loaded cartridge for one of them in this rifle and it seemed to fit like a glove.
    COTW states the .40-63 EL is a .555" rim, and .40-65 EL is a .600" rim. About the same difference in base diameter also. Same OAL for both at 2.38" long. So I'll chamber cast the barrel, and measure it up for sure, and get enough casting to measure groove diameter also.
    COTW states both cartridges use a .403" bullet, which I already found to be wrong in the .40-63EL. Mine all measure .409"-.411" groove. Betting the .40-65EL is also up around .410" too.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Nice find, Vall. Good bore?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnoahhh View Post
    Nice find, Vall. Good bore?
    Yes! Looks like new!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Congrats on the fine rifle, you are one lucky guy.

  8. #8
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    GARD72977's Avatar
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    Very nice! That scope goes great with the rifle.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Oh my goodness!!!! Stunning is the word that comes to mind, absolutely stunning!
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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    NRA Benefactor 2008

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

    I think TGM is spot on for brass forming.

    My dad has a Hepburn replica in .40-70 SBN, which I believe was the exact same round as the .40-65BE aside for brass thickness or some other semantic point. I'm pretty sure TGM's process was what he used (hard to keep track of all the wacky stuff retired guys get into...)
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Good morning Vall. Long time no “see”. Way to pop back in with a real winner! Finding the rifle and scope at the same show was a real coup.

    I’ve been wanting to ask you an only marginally related question. Knowing that many Ballards were converted as late as the 1950s into rimfire position rifles, I’m wondering whether you’ve ever spread your collection to include such an abomination, and if yes whether photos are available.

    I got a block form Charlie Dell here in VA, a receiver and tang from Martin Rettig in CA, and a takeoff position rifle bull barrel from Jim Borton in Ohio. I originally planned to build a rim fire bench rifle for Schuetzen matches, but now I’m thinking of going off in another direction.

    Any and all pix would be appreciated, not just from marlinman93, but if anyone else has such images.

    TIA ~ Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

    I think TGM is spot on for brass forming.

    My dad has a Hepburn replica in .40-70 SBN, which I believe was the exact same round as the .40-65BE aside for brass thickness or some other semantic point. I'm pretty sure TGM's process was what he used (hard to keep track of all the wacky stuff retired guys get into...)
    The .40-65 Ballard Everlasting is not a bottleneck, it's a straight taper cartridge. I saw a note in Cartridges of the World stating the later .40-63 Everlasting, and .40-70 Ballard, plus .40-70SS can be fired in a .40-65 EL chamber, but not the other way around. They also stated the .40-63 EL case might split due to different base size, and their thicker case walls.
    So using the new Hornady .405 Win. brass may work since it's not thick like the Everlasting cases were. Chamber cast in the next day or two, and that should reveal how close the chamber is to my fire formed .405 brass. I've got a great supply of .405 Hornady brass, so using that would sure make it easier!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Good morning Vall. Long time no “see”. Way to pop back in with a real winner! Finding the rifle and scope at the same show was a real coup.

    I’ve been wanting to ask you an only marginally related question. Knowing that many Ballards were converted as late as the 1950s into rimfire position rifles, I’m wondering whether you’ve ever spread your collection to include such an abomination, and if yes whether photos are available.

    I got a block form Charlie Dell here in VA, a receiver and tang from Martin Rettig in CA, and a takeoff position rifle bull barrel from Jim Borton in Ohio. I originally planned to build a rim fire bench rifle for Schuetzen matches, but now I’m thinking of going off in another direction.

    Any and all pix would be appreciated, not just from marlinman93, but if anyone else has such images.

    TIA ~ Froggie
    Charlie, I have a number of Ballard rifles that are in .22rf that were built on forged actions, but reworked to shoot .22RF ammo. None of them are position rifles though. All are schuetzen rifles, and done by various makers back in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
    One is a Ballard #6 Schuetzen fitted with a Winchester 1885 barrel in .22 Short by Zettler Bros. Their method of converting to .22 Short is the most exquisite of all I own. They simply turned the barrel threads off center to position the CF firing pin so it strikes the edge of the rim! An ingenious method that could allow a multiple barrel setup and use the same action and firing pin for all barrels.
    I have a AW Peterson that was done by simply reworking the breech block and firing pin to convert to .22LR. Also a Pope barreled Ballard that's in an unusual .22 WCF, so uses the CF firing pin, and not need to rework the blocks.
    No position guns, so not sure if pics will help you?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    That is a looker ! Another old rifle I wish could tell it’s life story. Congratulations !

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Very nice.
    Jealous I am!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Very nice!
    NRA Endowment member
    NRA Life Member

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Can you describe the characteristics of a "position rifle" please? Are you using the name position to describe a rifle used in 3-position matches and the like?
    Thanks!
    Sorry if this is a little off topic.
    Chill Wills

  18. #18
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    If I can attempt to recall correctly, I believe the type rifle Charlie is speaking of is a 3 position .22 match rifle. Meant to be used in smallbore competition, and the 3 positions were offhand, prone, and kneeling. Very specific type guns especially made for 3 position. Most modern versions are Anschutz, and similar guns, but back in the 40's and 50's a number of old 1800's single shot rifles were converted to position rifles.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Here's another somewhat OT item I got at the show. Not far off topic, as it's the 1874 Creedmoor Match image drawn by A.B. Frost, and printed in all the major newspapers at the time. The seller has copied the drawing on heavy cloth backed vinyl, so they're impervious to almost anything, and very durable. I'm going to frame it, and hang it on my gun room wall.
    The picture looks rippled because they're rolled up, but once framed the ripples will be gone. Can't see it in my photo copy, but the artist drew in thousands of tiny spectators in the background as this match drew about 10,000 people to watch!


  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    It’s your thread, Vall. AFAIC, you can take it anywhere you want, subject to moderators’ whims.

    You are absolutely correct in the interpretation of my question… I’m trying to find pictures of rifles adapted for the sport of target shooting 22s in offhand (standing), kneeling or sitting (depending on era), and prone. The shape of the stock had to work in all three disparate positions. The various positions used in Creedmoor style shooting are also interesting, but as you surmised, not the “position” I had in mind.

    I know that you knew that Vall, but I thought I’d better explain myself to everyone before your thread went further into the weeds. Congratulations again on your latest find!

    Best regards,
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

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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