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Berdan’s US Sharpshooter bench rest rifle

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by Twlunt, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    DD2E4752-C8E9-4E05-8382-043361909998.jpeg D816DA71-A3C6-4B69-85BC-BCABCF8F814C.jpeg 27EBA0C1-8AC7-4EEE-AD6F-D15F94443CFD.jpeg 2E4F87D9-0CED-48B2-874D-9817B92CA7AE.jpeg I am lucky enough to live in a house built by my great great grandfather, Ira Lunt. He served in 2nd Regiment Company D US Sharpshooters out of Maine. Here is his target/bench Rifle he used. My question is if anyone knows anything about this specific weapon. One pic shows the stamp of where the barrel was cast and the name M. W. Long. I assume this is Malcolm Long the gunsmith. But I can’t find out much about him or his weapons. Was hoping I’d come across a CW gun expert. I’d also love to get it appraised.
     
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  3. Jimklag

    Jimklag Major Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Hello and welcome, @Twlunt . Be sure to stop by at the Railroads and Steam Locomotives forum. railroadsmiley.gif
     
  4. 1867crete

    1867crete Corporal

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    Very impressive Welcome! I am very interested to learn more about your rifle!!
     
  5. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Congrats, a treasure for sure
     
  6. mofederal

    mofederal 1st Lieutenant

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    Hello and welcome to the talk forum from Southeast Missouri on the muddy banks of the Mississippi River. A very nice target rifle to have in your possession.
     
  7. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Very Nice. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    Thanks all! I’m really hoping someone on this forum will have some knowledge about the smith that made the gun.
    I don’t know the level of knowledge of the room so I apologize if I offend anyone. When the Union developed the US Sharpshooter regiment, many of the volunteers had the option to bring their own weapon. This is a Bench Rest or Target Rifle designed for accurate long shots. His regiment would hide in the trees (that’s why they wore green uniforms) and snipe officers off their horses and any other long range shot needed. This Rifle was his own, not issued.
    Beyond that I don’t know a lot.
     
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  9. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Sergeant Major

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    @Twlunt - O. Huse was part of a gun building family in Manchester, NH. One of the others was Richard Huse. It is quite possible that O. Huse made the barrel, but on rifles like these the larger signature is usually the gun builder. With the diminutive signature being that of another gunsmith who worked on the arm at a later date. Such an example is Nelson Lewis, who is documented as having made Sharp Shooting Rifles for use in the Civil War. At one time he had a brief partnership with George Ferris, which ended with animosity on both sides. After that, whenever George Ferris worked on one of Nelson Lewis' rifles he added his name stamp to the barrel. This caused Nelson Lewis to fly into a rage every time he saw one of the double stamped rifles, which caused no small amount of delight on the part of George Ferris!

    Some additional information which you may not have yet: Malcom W. Long was born 1834 and died in 1912. He worked in Bangor ME from 1855 - 1871. He then relocated to Augusta ME, and was there from 1871 - 1879. While in Augusta he was in a partnership for awhile, and worked as Grove & Long from 1871 to 1875, breaking away on his own again from 1876 - 1879. He relocated once more to Harrisburg PA in 1880, and worked there until his death in 1912.

    Your rifle is an outstanding example of the privately owned arms that went to war with Berdan's Sharp Shooters! Do you happen to have any of the other parts that went with it, such as the false muzzle, bullet mould, swage, etc.?

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of your family's Civil War history with us!
    J.
     
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  10. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    Wow! Thank you so much! That was very useful! Yes there’s a wood box full of that stuff. I’ll upload pics. I can identify 2 molds but most of the items I can’t identify. If you could assist I’d be very grateful.
     
  11. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Sergeant Major

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    First row of photos - The two photos on the right end are the "False Muzzle", which was used in the loading process. Your rifle is what is known as a "Pickett Rifle", which used a "Sugar Loaf" shaped bullet with a round patch. The countersunk area on the muzzle of the barrel is for the round patch to be set on, then the bullet was gently pushed up into the false muzzle. The false muzzle was then set down over top the round part of the barrel. The plunger was then pushed down into the barrel, thereby starting the bullet and patch uniformly every time.

    Second row of photos - The first two photos are a Winchester loading tool for the "38 WCF" cartridge, and the following two photos are the matching Winchester "38WCF" mould. This cartridge is known today at the "38-40". Non of this belongs to the set. The last photo is a powder flask, which may, or may not, belong to the set.

    Third row of photos - The first two photos are the actual bullet mould for the target rifle. This is a classic design for those moulds. The third photo appears to be an alternate rear sight for the rifle. This would go with the dovetailed hooded front sight in the rifle box, top row, third photo. Photo number 4 is the "swage" for the bullet. This is used after the bullet is cast by lightly oiling the bullet and driving it into the swage to give each bullet the exact same size and shape. I have some of these in my collection and am scared to death to drive a cast bullet into them! It is done all the time by some of our modern slug gun shooters. Photo five is another powder flask, again which may, or may not, belong to the rifle. This flask is of a later period than the one discussed earlier.

    I hope this has helped in filling some of the gaps!
    J.
     
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  12. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    Perrrrrrfect! Yes I’ve wanted to know all of those things! So I was told the false muzzle was still on the gun as it sits (I’ll repost the pic) but you’re saying the plunger device is actually the false muzzle. The reason I ask is I was told the scope blocker device was attached to the false muzzle to stop you from firing the rifle with the false muzzle still on. So if that’s not the false muzzle what is the part that blocks the scop for?
    Also you mentioned Winchester. I also have this gun and I don’t know a lot about it other than it’s been in the family forever. Would those other molds be for that? 82D03D66-1264-414A-8757-14CF13930F3B.jpeg A8E376EF-28A9-41D5-ADB9-9260D81DDCDA.jpeg 8BD23243-3AF4-4D7E-96C2-94BEE15F7B78.jpeg
     
  13. gary

    gary Captain

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    The part that blocks the scope sight is to alert the user that the false muzzle is still attached to the muzzle and to remove it before firing. Any pictures of your relatives and do you have his pension and service record?
     
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  14. Michael W.

    Michael W. First Sergeant

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    WOW, TWO fantastic guns!!! I am curious about non-issued weapons being used by Berdan's Sharpshooters. I was not aware that members were allowed to bring their own personal weapons into the unit. Since there were 2,000 Sharps Rifles issued to the 1st and 2nd US Sharpshooters, were they later replaced during the war? Are there any knowledgeable members on this subject who could elaborate?
     
  15. gary

    gary Captain

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    Good book for general information on the Winchester Model 73 is George Madis' The Winchester Handbook. See pages 27-46. Is the barrel octagon? May we see the dustcover on the other side of the receiver?
     
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  16. gary

    gary Captain

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    Michael - if you read Stevens' book on the Berdan's Sharp Shooters, 1 USSS Co. D and E were armed with personally owned target telescope rifles. Other members at times in the 2 USSS also carried target telescope rifles. Wyman White's (Wyman White's Civil War Diary) book is easily the best book by a member of the USSS.

    Some of the Berdan's Sharps rifles were issued to the First and Second Andrew Sharp Shooters. I think some whent to the Bucktails too and Berdan tried to get them back.
     
  17. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Sergeant Major

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    @Twlunt - Regarding your Model 1873 Winchester, you will find the caliber engraved on the bottom of the brass cartridge lifter. It will most likely say "38WCF". If so, the tools I identified previously belong to this rifle. I must say, a M-1873 Winchester with a tang sight like yours is not common and indicates that whoever owned it was quite interested in accurate shooting! It would be logical that this rifle belonged to the same relative who owned the target rifle.

    As for the "sight blocker" for the false muzzle, yes it should have one. In the first set of photos I see something that appears to be a disc on a rod inserted into the front of the scope tube. Can you clarify anything about that?
    J.
     
  18. gary

    gary Captain

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    Madis' book does state that extra was paid for the special feature of a tang sight. I bet it belonged to Ira Lunt himself. He would have been around when Winchester made it.
     
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  19. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    Man guys I can’t thank you enough for sharing your talents and expertise with me. I’ve learned a great deal. I agree that the Winchester is likely his. He had a son but he died in his twenties plus the molds were in his box with the other stuff. Here are pics of the serial number and the brass plate that does say .38 cal.
    As for the muzzle. This is a close up showing the false muzzle still on the rifle and the scope cover is visible. I have no experience cleaning a gun like this so I haven’t done anything to it yet but I’m happy to take advise. Gary has been very helpful already with suggestions. The false muzzle seems to be stuck on the muzzle. Any recommendations to safely taking it off?
     
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  20. gary

    gary Captain

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    Per Madis, made in 1888.

    Check your emails.
     
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  21. Twlunt

    Twlunt Private

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    Not to get off topic but here is a close up of the Winchester sight. Any way to know if this was added on after? Or came this way
    I know it’s filthy. It’s been in a closet for 100 years. I’m going to treat it better I promise. :smile: D035DBED-73FF-4B46-99D7-375E04AC1C05.jpeg E8675CAA-FF1E-44ED-80C1-21CC5895BAD3.jpeg A3C3FA44-1F22-488B-BB7F-CC9A4413FD8D.jpeg
     
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