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Old 11th May 2015, 12:36 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO area.
Posts: 1,617
Default Caucasian Rifle - Restored

Hello. Here is another gun restoration I thought some members would like to see. This turned out to be one of my favorites in my collection. This gun presented the gunsmith and myself a couple of difficult challenges in regards to repair and sourcing. I'll post BEFORE and AFTER photos.
This is a typical Caucasian rifle. Probably made in Daghestan, early to mid 19th Century. Even had the original flint and leather wrap in the hammer jaws.
Restoration work:
LOCK: The lock was in good working condition as is. Just a little cleaning and tuning of the sear. Lock is done in the Persian style and signed by the maker.
BARREL: This was a very nice surprise. The breech plug was removed and inspected along with the breech threads for fit and integrity to each other. The inside of the barrel had only very light rust, with very small amount of corrosion at the rear of the breach. The big surprise was after cleaning how good the bore was. The 8 groove rifling was clean and sharp, with no kinks or chatter. Cleaning patches ran up and down easily. The barrel mics out right at .50 caliber. So while the breech plug was out, I ran a .490 patched lead ball down the bore. Went down nice and smooth three times. So the gunsmith and one other, gave it his blessing for shooting. WOW! What a bonus. Because I would never consider installing a new liner in this gun.
STOCK: This was the biggest challenge. The ivory butt cap was missing. One of the ivory inlays next to the barrel tang was missing. One of the ivory inlays (died green) on the left side of the stock was broken in half, with one half missing. There was a splice (not a break) in the forearm (probably to accommodate a shorter barrel) back in the period that must have come loose. And someone tried to re-glue it with epoxy leaving an obvious white ring. AND! They glued the original ramrod AND the forearm back together. DARN! Took the gunsmith a whole day to get it apart.
So. They fore arm was properly glued back together and colored - without the ramrod. LOL. Didn't turn out quite as good as I hoped, but it's OK. Much better than it was. Next, I located a big chunk of genuine walrus ivory about the diameter of the butt stock. (Walrus ivory is what was commonly used on these guns) Turned out the diameter was "just" large enough for the butt cap, with no margin for error. Two new, long hand made nails were made and the cap attached and aged to better match. Another inlay was made for the barrel tang area and aged to match. And a new inlay was made, and dyed green to replace the broken one on the side of the stock. Took a few times to try and get the shade of green to match the others. Not perfect, but pretty close.
HARDWARE: Only one iron band was with the gun. The others missing. So new barrel bands had to be made. I've never seen brass used on Caucasian guns. Just Iron or Silver. I've never been able to locate iron sheet thin enough to make barrel bands. And I could not locate low-grade silver thin enough. So I had to opt for genuine sterling silver. $$
As long as we had gone this far, I had the gunsmith make a pair of authentic looking iron sling rings for the stock.
So, this gun took more work and expense than I first anticipated. But overall, I'm happy the way it turned out. And that the barrel is good for shooting is a big plus. I have not shot it yet, but will take it to the range this Summer. Anyway, picture heavy, so hope you enjoy. Rick.
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