can anyone identity this rifle?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder & Musket' started by andrewfs, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    About two weeks ago, a friend gave me this gun. It has an octagon barrel, barrel is between 34 and 35 inches long. It is a muzzle loader and the only Identifying marks on it are the initials S.T.S stamped into the top of the barrel.
    I am pretty sure it is a Plains Rifle, but the lady who gave it to me said it came from VA and was used in the civil war..Any one know who may have made it and what its approximate value is? Thanks
     

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  2. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    more information

    The rifle was made in St Louis about 1860 maybe later, it was owned by Stephen Stutler from West VA and he used it for hunting. The lady I got it from told me she had it appraised a while back in Denver and the appraiser told her somewhere between 1000 and 1500 bucks. It was german made and considered semi fancy..
     

  3. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    It's a nice piece either way.
     
  4. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    So is it an actual Civil War used piece or just a hunting rifle?
     
  5. caniswalensis

    caniswalensis New Member

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    A lot of hunting rifles were pressed into service during the civil war, so it is possible that this rifle was both things.
     
  6. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    I understand this, but if it can't be proven to have been used during the war, that hurts value. That is all.
     
  7. caniswalensis

    caniswalensis New Member

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    Sure, I wasn't impuning your knowledge, just chiming in.
     
  8. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    I seriously doubt it saw war use. Hunting rifles and even shotguns were pressed into service by Southern volunteers during the first year but were quickly discarded in favor of larger caliber Springfields or Enfields with readily available ammunition. The stock has been cut down as the cheek piece is wrong for a half stock rifle. You don't show a pic of the lock but I'd just about bet it was originally a flintlock converted to percussion. Possibly a Leman trade rifle.
     
  9. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    Therein you have possibly the best voice on the BP guns on this site. The other, imo, is RL. But, if Hawg says something about your BP weapon, you can just about take it to the bank.

    How's about a pic of the hammer side and the barrel markings just to confirm the suspicions.

    Great chime in, Hawg. :D When are you gonna become a supporting member?


    skullcrusher
     
  10. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Skullcrusher, don't give me that much credit. I'm not the know all, end all of bp weapons. :D I imagine RL would agree with me for once. He and I don't always see eye to eye. Supporting member? I dunno. Not really much traffic in the areas that interest me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  11. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

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    Well, it is your decision. There is a thread in the Club House where you can get a chance at a free 1 year membership. I'm just sayin' not spammin'. I think you have more to offer than you think. Nonetheless, keep up the good posts in the areas that do interest you. I loved the Hawken build, personally. :D

    Later,

    skullcrusher
     
  12. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    other side of the rifle

    If needed, I can take more pictures, I have to agree that is may have been a flintlock and has been converted. The appraiser in Denver told the previous owner it was made between 1835 and 1860 probably in St Louis because of the german art work on it. Anyway, you cannot read any writing on the barrel except the Stamped letters S.T.S.There is writing of some kind right above the stock but it is worn off for the most part. Here is a picture of the lock etc.
     

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  13. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    more info

    The lady who actually gave the gun to me has answered a few questions, I think the gun was used in the civil war and have asked her about that.she hasnt answered me yet on that. behind the hammer on the stock is a place where it looks like a piece is missing. filled in with something, not sure what. The piece of metal between the hammer and the nipple is double thickness, kind of a U shape cut out, I am not sure what its purpose it but as it was with the gun when I got it, I am keeping it with it.

    Since writing this I have found more pertinent information about Stephen Stutler*by the way the lady who gave me the gun is a direct descendant of him* He was her great great great great Uncle as far as she can tell.
    Stephen Stutler (First_Last)
    Regiment Name 15 West Virginia Infantry
    Side Union
    Company D
    Soldier's Rank_In 5 Corpl.
    Soldier's Rank_Out Pvt.
    Alternate Name
    Notes
    Film Number M507 roll 12
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  14. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    IMO it was converted using a percussion lock from another rifle. The tang or breech appears to be damaged and I would like to see more pics of that area from different angles.
    I would also like to hear RL's take on it.
    As for war use I still seriously doubt it. I did some quick online research on the unit and he is listed in the rolls. The unit also saw the elephant a few times. More modern guns with Government ammo access were readily available if not through issue then from battlefield pick ups. I honestly do not see any C.W. soldier carrying a rifle of this type throughout the war or a company commander allowing it. Especially not in U.S. service.
     
  15. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    more pictures and thanks

    I have learned several things from you. I Have never owned such a gun before and really had never seen one up close until this one. I appreciate all of your expertise and here are 3 more pictures I just took, let me know anything more you can tell from them. Thanks in advance

    Andy
     

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  16. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    more pictures and thanks

    This made a double post, my fault and I can't see anyplace to remove the second one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  17. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    OK, I see it now. It's a fixed tang and not a hooked breech and there's wood missing. I knew you said there was wood missing behind the hammer, just didn't realize it went all the way to the breech
     
  18. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Looking carefully at the pics there are a few things that raise flags to me. The patch box seems to be a later addition. The crack in the stock runs directly from the butt to the last steel screw in the patch box. I doubt that crack developed over time, and think it likely that whoever installed the patch box did not predrill the hole before inserting a screw. Also, the screws appear to be steel, and not brass, which was more commonly used for fastening accoutrements to wood. I also noticed that none of the brass furniture is inlaid into the wood, as most German craftsmen of the period would have done, leading me to believe that the gun is not of German manufacture. Secondly, after copying the picture of the barrel and lightening it up, it is apparent that the rifling is of the Whitworth type, hexagonal grooved rifling. The problem is that it is NOT hexagonal - it is 7 sided, which I am unfamiliar with. Whitworth invented the hexagonal rifling and a similarly shaped projectile in the 1830's. Also, as Hawg stated, the lock appears to be a flintlock conversion, and this may be the reason for the funky-looking area at the breech. In one picture it is apparent that the bolster is not in proper rotational alignment because the nipple is not square to the fall of the hammer. In fact, the tang seems to be out of alignment with the top barrel flat, possibly indicating that the conversion was done by cutting off the original tang/breech plug. I believe the barrel was drilled to accept a nipple bolster, and the original lock was either altered by removing the old flint cock and replacing it with a percussion hammer, or a new lock was installed. It is possible that this piece saw service in the CW, as the War Department DID alter 3250 flintlock muskets and rifles in this manner. The following is a quote from Philip B. Sharpe's "The Rifle in America" - Mixed Civil War Rifles " When war breaks out, a great many problems arise. Among the chief items of importance is the demand for firearms. Naturally, the United States experienced this during the Civil War, and accordingly all kinds of old muskets seviceable and otherwise, were called into service and instructions given to various armories to restore them to some sort of shooting condition as quickly as possible. All kinds of spare parts for obsolete models were assembled together to form "freak" but shootable arms. In addition, a great many private contractors were supplied with spare parts with instructions to manufacture additional equipment and to assemble them into guns."
    Most of these guns however were in the .54 to .69cal range, and the gun in question seems to be in the .40 cal range, judging from the picture of the bore, so I am at a loss for the history of this gun!
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  19. andrewfs

    andrewfs New Member

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    thanks guys

    well, I am finally able to access the thread and am thankful for the responses I have gotten. I plan on keeping the rifle and passing it on to my son(Army) The lady who had it told me it was appraised in Denver and she was told anything from 1000 to 1500 for it. What do you men think of that? Or is it a case of whatever anyone would pay for it? I am planning on insuring it separately and am thinking insurance value of 2500? Would that be too much? too little? any ideas?
    Oh before I forget, I live way out in the boonies in East TX, am closer to Shreveport LA than any other large place. Anyone know any appraisers around there?

    Again, many thanks

    Andy
     
  20. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Closest one I know of is Rafe Eledge in Savannah Tn. Rafe is a C.W. expert and appraiser for Antiques Roadshow. If he can't tell you anything about your rifle he can most likely put you in touch with someone who can. Maybe somebody closer to you. He will be in Vicksburg with the Roadshow Oct.10 & 11. One of the other experts there might be able to help you.


    731-438-3541
    Rafael@shilohrelics.com
    Rafael & Lori Eledge
    230 Guinn Street
    Savannah, Tennessee 38372