Antique U.S. Burnside Model 1864, also known as the Burnside 5th Model Carbine, made circa 1863 to 1865 by the Burnside Rifle Company in Providence, Rhode Island. General Ambrose Burnside was an official in the company before the war, but was not involved in wartime development of the rifle. It employed a cone shaped metal cartridge for use in the percussion firing system. Though historical literature refers to a Model 1863, none are marked with this date and collectors have generally referred to this model as the 5th model. Approximately 43,000 carbines of this model were produced, with the serial numbers running from 1 through 43,000. There were 19,000 that featured the “Model 1864” stamped on the top of the breech, with later production reverting back to use the 1856 patent date. Standard features included an iron butt plate, a single iron barrel band, a saddle riding bar and ring on the left side, a strap hook on the bottom of the butt, a double hinged iron loading lever which also serves as a trigger guard, a hinged sight, and a chamber tapered for the unique Burnside metal cartridge with a priming hole in the bottom for percussion.
This rifle is in amazing condition, I have seen a number of these rifles over the years and this is by far the best, tremendous case colour coverage, even some remnants on the butt plate, unheard of. Bore is in mint, factory new, condition. Look at the bright fire blue on the metal.
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While the Henry Repeating Rifle had been an serious leap forward in firearms capability, it was not without problems. The biggest single weakness of the Henry was its magazine. The tube magazine was open to dirt and debris, the follower could easily come to rest on the shooter’s hand or anything used as a rest and stop the weapon from feeding, and the while system was rather prone to being damaged.
These problems would all be addressed with the addition of Nelson King’s new loading gate idea, which allowed Winchester to omit the exposed follower entirely, solving a bunch of complaints all at once. The new system was more durable, more reliable, and allowed the rifle to be loaded without the awkward manipulation required by the Henry. The King improvement also allowed the addition of a wooden handguard, which was a welcome addition – it does not take very many black powder rounds for a barrel to become uncomfortably hot to the touch.
At the same time that these improvements were being made, company politics were taking shape to end Benjamin T. Henry’s involvement with the company. Henry attempted to take over ownership of the company because he felt he was not profiting as much as he should, but he had assigned his patent rights to Oliver Winchester in exchange for his contract to manufacture the guns. As a result, Winchester was able to create a new company (the Winchester Repeating Arms Company) with full rights to the design patents and sideline Henry.
The 1866 rifle, which was formally called simply the Winchester Repeating Rifle would continue to use the .44 Henry Rimfire cartridge, but would be made in a wider variety of configurations than the Henry had been, including carbine, rifle, and musket barrel lengths. It would prove to be a very popular rifle, and opened the path to further improvement, as it put the Winchester company on excellent financial footing.
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Sweat rolled down his back as It was fairly hot for early March. In fact, it was the 8th of the month and already 1916. Seth reined in his horse Buck to paused for a moment to survey the small town ahead. He has been to Columbus, New Mexico on several occasions. He liked small towns such as Columbus as people are just more friendly and help each other in times of need. The Saguaro cactus were in full bloom bringing color and life to the desert. Seth stood in the stirrups to allow some blood to return to his butt. He just turned 66 years old but felt like he was still half of this age. Seth nudged Buck forward.
The Hoover Hotel will be a good place to stay for the night. Seth has known Willian Hoover for several years. A more honorable man cannot be found. Seth plans are to stay the night in Columbus and in the morning head out toward Lordsburg, Arizona. A hard day and half ride northwest. He had money to deposit in the Western Bank in Lordsburg.
Seth rode into town straight to the Hoover Hotel. As he dismounted from his horse, he noticed Deputy Sheriff Jack Thomas and Mayor Hoover standing near the front door. Seth stretch out his back and rubbed his backside trying to get blood to come back in this area. “These long rides are getting longer.” Seth thought.
As Seth walked up to Mayor William Hoover and Thomas, he heard Deputy Thomas say, “I sense something in the air. It is just a feeling.” Seth greeted them and asked, “What do you sense Jack?” Jack and William looked at him in a curious way. “I heard from a Mexican ranch foreman Juan Favela that he saw a large group of armed Mexicans about ten miles south of the border. He told me he believed it was Pancho Villa. Juan said he felt these armed Mexican were up to nothing but bad.”
Mayor Hoover spoke up and said, “I notice some Mexican strangers in town a couple of days ago. Also, several Mexican residents will not talk and several others have left town with their families in tow. I just don’t know what to think Seth.” “Well it all sounds strange. Did you tell Colonel Jermain about what you heard?” asked Seth. In a disgusted tone Hoover replied, “Yes, he just believes all this talk is just not reliable.”
Seth walked back to his horse and removed his saddle and possibles bags which he will need on the overnight camp out on his way to Lordsburg. He also pulled from the saddle scabbard his 1886 Winchester. Deputy Thomas noticed the large rifle, “Hey Seth keep that Winchester handy just in case.” Seth looked at him wondering if the Deputy knew more than he was willing to share. “I sure will and I have extra ammo just in case hostilities break out.” Seth quipped back.
Seth stored his gear in his upstairs room which faced the street in front. He then took his horse to the stables about 200 feet away. He paid the owner a silver dollar and six bits to rub Buck down and give him some grain, water and hay. As he returned to the hotel, he griped the Winchester 45-70 in his right hand. In the left hand he had two belts of 45-70 ammo. As he walked, he ran the scenario of an attack on Columbus through his mind. For his part, he would fight. In addition to the Winchester, he was packing a Colt .45 Single Action Army. Back in his room Seth pulled out two boxes of the .45 Long Colt ammo from his saddle bags.
Later that evening, he had dinner at the hotel and a shot of “Uncle Nearest” whisky. Being healed, he walked out onto the front porch and set in an old wooden chair. He noticed there were very few people in view. Columbus was a small town, so it would be fairly easy to observe most of it from his position. After about thirty minutes he headed upstairs to the facility and then to his room. In case hostilities broke out, before he turned in he laid out his cloths, boots, Winchester and revolver just in reach. His ammo was tucked away in his possibles bag.
Seth was a light sleeper. He guessed he developed this from his days as one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. He kind of chuckled to himself, “I was in the First Cavalry fighting in Cuba without a horse to be found.”
It felt like he had just closed his eyes when something woke him. He set straight up in bed and listened. It was a distant shot. He went to the window flinging it open. “There it was again.” he thought. Gun fire was coming from the border area where the 13th Cavalry guards the crossing.
Seth quickly dressed. He could barely tell the time on his gold pocket watch, but it was 4:20 in the morning. He strapped on his Colt and grabbed up the Winchester, ammo belts and possibles bag. As he left his room, he pounded on the doors of the other rooms and yelled, “Grab you guns boys.” Seth then ran down stairs and deposited his extra ammo and possibles bag near the front door. He stepped outside and fired off three quick rounds with the Winchester. “In this part of the States this means trouble.” Seth thought. He then took up a defensive observation position behind four large wooden full water barrels stored next to the street. He quickly reloaded his Winchester and added the sixth round in his Colt. Seth was excited but not concerned. He is confident in his ability to take care of himself.
Shortly, the gun fire started on the west side of town. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement. He looked at the same time covering this area with the big bore Winchester. It was Deputy Thomas running all out for Seth’s position. Deputy Thomas stopped and dropped behind the barrels of water gasping for air. He said excitedly, “This hotel’s walls are one and half feet thick adobe. We will need to make our stand here if their intention is this town.” Seth nodded in agreement. Within less than a minute to the south the sound of gunfire roared. “This is the sound of battle”, Seth thought. Three more men with their families arrived running inside the hotel to secure their wives and children. They came armed well healed and ready.
Seth looked at his pocket watch and saw the time was 4:30 am. Two hours to sunrise. He looked back into the open hotel door and saw the ladies tearing up bed sheets for bandages. They will be sorely needed if the hospital here does not survive. They heard some yelling and hooping coming from the west. Almost immediately there was gun fire and shouting “Viva Pancho Villa”. Seth and Thomas heard screaming woman and men shouting. Three riders were racing down the street toward the hotel. They were obviously Pancho Villa’s men. They were wearing the cross bandoleers and big sombreros. When a target presented itself they would shoot.
Seth took careful aim at a rider some 150 yards away. The Winchester roared. The 405 grain handload round hit the rider in the chest flipping him over backwards off of his horse. The remaining three rained in hard on their excited horses. Seth levered in another round and fired. Another rider was driven from his horse. The remaining two fired some quick shots in the hotel’s direction missing everyone, even the building. Deputy Thomas fired three quick shots from his Winchester 94, 44-40 knocking down one horse. The rider came to his feet visibly injured as he limped off behind a house where he was met with what sounded like a 10-gauge shotgun blast. Another citizen, with the monster shotgun in tow, ran out and across the street and out of sight.
Seth saw manyVilla men on foot firing at people running toward the desert or trying to make it to the Hoover Hotel. Many of the people were gunned down falling in the street. Gun fire then was concentrated toward the hotel causing wood splinters and chunks of abode flying driving Seth and Thomas back inside. Once inside they broke out the windows to be able to shoot and to minimize flying glass from bullets shot at them. Three men went upstairs to man the upper windows doing the same. Wave after wave of Villa’s men charged the hotel from all sides. Seth kind of admired them for their bravery. Each time they were driven back leaving their “camarada soldados” behind. Seth could hear the Calvary’s French Hotchkiss machine gun firing to the south across the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad tracks where the military camp is located.
At day break the attack ceased. Many of the wooden homes were engulfed in fire. Bodies of Villa’s men and citizens of Columbus were to be found everywhere. Mrs. Milton James and her unborn child lay dead some 50 yards away. The local garrison survived the raid suffering nine deaths. Seventeen civilians lost their lives including four unarmed people who were murdered prior to the raid.
The Winchester Model 1886 is a lever-action repeating rifle designed by John Browning. The idea was to have a lever-action rifle which could handle the more powerful cartridges of the era. The original intent was for the 1886 was to handle the U.S. Military 45-70 ammo. Later, the 1886 was chambered in 45-90 WCF, 40-65. 40-82 WCF and .50-110 WCF.
This 1886 started out life as a standard, 45-70, carbine, unfortunately, the person that owned it prior to me attempted to fire it using a 45-70 cartridge loaded with shotgun powder and blew the rifle apart as well as part of his arm. the barrel mag and receiver split like a banana, but the lower tang was n tact, fortunately that is where the serial number is. Most of the internal parts were damaged, some were savcd but mostly not. This was an extensive rebuild, the fact that it was so far gone I decided that it was to be my Buffalo Carbine. Brian Frank engraved the rifle in a traditional Winchester pattern with modifications to suit the new design of rifle. The pics can tell the rest of the story.
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A Schuetzen is a type of rifle used in European long-range competition. Its German root is from the word Schütze which can be translated as “shooter.” The earliest usage was to denote units of marksmen or sharpshooters back in the days of muzzleloading firearms. Some sources claim that it was once used to describe archers or more specifically crossbowmen. These rifles are typically heavy and can weigh upwards of 15 pounds. Shooting with these rifles is mostly done standing using a palm rest and butt stock prongs to help the shooter balance the rifle so the weight aids in stability.
The butt stock is so customized that the shooter for whom it was built is likely the only one who can fire the rifle accurately. When Schuetzen became a competitive sport in Germany, many gun makers built these rifles to specifically fit an individual shooter. This means if you come across one in the wild, there is a good chance that it will not fit you with regard to grip, length of pull, cheek rest configuration or even how the butt plate fits your shoulder. Front sights are typically hooded, and a large rear diopter sight is used to act as a sunshade, blinder and to aid in precision shooting. Schuetzen Matches are shot at 200 yards with a specialized target. In some cases, the competitors go to great lengths in their quest for accuracy, such as pushing the lead bullet into the lands and grooves, for precise engagement. Then the case filled with powder and topped with a wad is loaded into the chamber behind it. Sometimes the case is primed and charged with either loose powder or premeasured paper packets that are dropped in the case mouth. The bullet is then simply inserted inside the mouth of the case prior to chambering. Fixed ammunition can be used, but the prior methods are believed to offer greater accuracy. Reloading the same case is usually performed on the bench, although many modern practitioners seem to use lots of their hand loaded ammunition these days.
This particular Schuetzen does not identify a maker and is chambered in 32-40. Like many Schuetzen rifles of the period, it sports a set of double set triggers. In this case, the rear trigger must be set to allow the front trigger to fire. Weight is best measured in ounces. I honestly believe if one were to breathe to heavy on this trigger that it would fall.
Still, for a student of firearms history, this represents an era that is a bit forgotten by most, yet important with regard to the development of modern marksmanship in a number of ways.
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Sharps rifles are a series of large-bore, single-shot, falling block, breech loading rifles, beginning with a design by Christian Sharps in 1848, and ceasing production in 1881. They were renowned for long-range accuracy. By 1874 the rifle was available in a variety of calibers, and it was one of the few designs successfully to be adapted to metallic cartridge use. The Sharps rifles became icons of the American Old West due to their appearances in many Western-genre films and books. Perhaps as a result, several rifle companies offer reproductions of the Sharps rifle.
Sharps' initial rifle was Patented September 12, 1848 and manufactured by A. S. Nippes at Mill Creek, (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania, in 1850.
The second model used the Maynard tape primer, and surviving examples are marked Edward Maynard - Patentee 1845. In 1851 the second model was brought to the Robbins & Lawrence Company of Windsor, Vermont where the Model 1851 was developed for mass production. Rollin White of the R&L Co. invented the knife-edge breech block and self-cocking device for the "box-lock" Model 1851. This is referred to as the "First Contract", which was for 10,000 Model 1851 carbines - of which approximately 1,650 were produced by R&L in Windsor. In 1851 the "Second Contract" was made for 15,000 rifles and the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was organized as a holding company with $1,000 in capital and with John C. Palmer as president, Christian Sharps as engineer, and Richard S. Lawrence as master armorer and superintendent of manufacturing. Sharps was to be paid a royalty of $1 per firearm and the factory was built on R&L's property in Hartford, Connecticut. The Model 1851 was replaced in production by the Model 1853. Christian Sharps left the company in 1855 to form his own manufacturing company called "C. Sharps & Company" in Philadelphia; Richard S. Lawrence continued as the chief armorer until 1872 and developed the various Sharp models and their improvements that made the rifle famous. In 1874, the company was reorganized and renamed "The Sharps Rifle Company" and it remained in Hartford until 1876, whereupon it relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Sharps rifle would play a prominent role in the Bleeding Kansas conflict during the 1850s, particularly in the hands of anti-slavery forces. The Sharps rifles supplied to anti-slavery factions earned the name Beecher's Bibles, after the famed abolitionist Henry Beecher.
The military Sharps rifle was used during and after the American Civil War in multiple variations. Along with being able to use a standard percussion cap the Sharps had a fairly unusual pellet primer feed. This was a device which held a stack of pelleted primers and flipped one over the nipple each time the trigger was pulled and the hammer fell—making it much easier to fire a Sharps from horseback than a gun employing individually loaded percussion caps. The Sharps Rifle was used in the Civil War by multiple Union units, most famously by the U.S Army marksman known popularly as "Berdan's Sharpshooters" in honor of their leader Hiram Berdan. The Sharps made a superior sniper weapon of greater accuracy than the more commonly issued muzzle loading rifled muskets. This was due mainly to the higher rate of fire of the breech Loading mechanism and superior quality of manufacture, as well as the ease of which it could be reloaded from a kneeling or prone position.
At this time however, many officers were distrustful of breech-loading weapons on the grounds that they would encourage men to waste ammunition. In addition, the Sharps rifle was expensive to manufacture (three times the cost of a muzzle-loading Springfield Rifle) and so only 11,000 of the Model 1859s were produced. Most were unissued or given to sharpshooters, but the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (which still carried the old-fashioned designation of a "rifle regiment") carried them until being mustered out in 1864.
The carbine version was very popular with the cavalry of both the Union and Confederate armies and was issued in much larger numbers than other carbines of the war and was top in production in front of the Spencer or Burnside Carbines. The falling-block action lent itself to conversion to the new metallic cartridges developed in the late 1860s, and many of these converted carbines in .50-70 Government were used during the Indian Wars in the decades immediately following the Civil War. Some Civil War, issue carbines had an unusual feature: a hand-cranked grinder in the stock. Although long thought to be a coffee mill, experimentation with some of the few survivors suggests the grinder is ill-suited for coffee. The modern consensus is that its true purpose was for grinding corn or wheat, or more appropriately for grinding charcoal needed in the production of black powder.
Unlike the Sharps rifle, the carbine was very popular and almost 90,000 were produced. By 1863, it was the most common weapon carried by Union cavalry regiments, although in 1864 many were replaced by 7 shot Spencer Carbines. Some Sharps clones were produced by the Confederates in Richmond. Quality was generally poorer and they normally used brass fittings instead of iron.
This particular example has multiple patent stampings with the earliest being 1852, I believe, indicating that it started life as an 1852 percussion carbine and based on the subsequent stampings, converted to centre fire likely around 1859. Sharps rifles have had a very interesting and somewhat confusing history, so if my deductions are incorrect please feel free to let me know so I can change the information. As with all of the pieces I have dealt with in the Connor collection, this rifle is in amazing original condition, with clear stamps, vivid case colour, good deep rich blueing and an amazingly near perfect bore.
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