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Old 11th May 2015, 12:36 AM   #1
rickystl
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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.
BEFORE PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:39 AM   #2
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MORE BEFORE PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:42 AM   #3
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AFTER PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:44 AM   #4
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MORE AFTER PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:46 AM   #5
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AND MORE AFTER PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:49 AM   #6
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STILL MORE AFTER PHOTOS:
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:52 AM   #7
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AND THE LAST, MAYBE
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Old 11th May 2015, 07:08 AM   #8
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AMAZING RESTORATION,GOOD SKILLS
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Old 11th May 2015, 09:17 AM   #9
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Absolutely beautiful, I love the green walrus ivory.
One comment (just my own opinion):the ring and the barrel bands look "too fresh", you don't want to give them an old patina?
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Old 11th May 2015, 09:57 AM   #10
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Very nice indeed.
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Old 16th May 2015, 05:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Absolutely beautiful, I love the green walrus ivory.
One comment (just my own opinion):the ring and the barrel bands look "too fresh", you don't want to give them an old patina?

Hi Kubur.
Yes, you're right. These pics were taken right after the gun was completed. The barrel bands are genuine sterling silver and will naturally age. Especially while just handling the gun while shooting with genuine black powder.
The sling rings will will get a treatment of cold bluing, then buffed back to a more desirable patina. I still have to make the sling. LOL.
Rick.
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Old 16th May 2015, 06:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
Very nice indeed.

Thanks David. This one took a lot of work to complete. These long guns are usually hard to come by. More so than the pistols. There are typically a couple for sale at the Baltimore Show each year, but expensive. So I am lucky to have found this one at a reasonable price for restoration.
Just for fun, here is a pic of the gun shown with both original and replica accessories. LOL. And a couple more pics. Thanks again for looking. Rick.
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Old 16th May 2015, 06:42 PM   #13
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Hi Rick,
Nice restoration as usual. I'm not sure about the sling rings. I thought the leather sling was attached as per this photograph of my rifle. I did research this method of attachment as my rifle came with the sling in situ and I wasn't sure if it was correct but my findings did reinforce that this was in actual fact the correct method but of course that's not to say that the rings are historically incorrect. Re the barrel bands, mine are brass if I remember correctly, stuff been in storage for the past year and a bit. Electroplating copper sheet with silver for your barrel bands would have been a bit cheaper than sterling silver but that's just my Caledonian thrift. Again a real nice display.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 17th May 2015, 10:42 AM   #14
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Hi Rick,
It seems that I have the little brother...
Best,
Kubur
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Old 18th May 2015, 01:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Rick,
Nice restoration as usual. I'm not sure about the sling rings. I thought the leather sling was attached as per this photograph of my rifle. I did research this method of attachment as my rifle came with the sling in situ and I wasn't sure if it was correct but my findings did reinforce that this was in actual fact the correct method but of course that's not to say that the rings are historically incorrect. Re the barrel bands, mine are brass if I remember correctly, stuff been in storage for the past year and a bit. Electroplating copper sheet with silver for your barrel bands would have been a bit cheaper than sterling silver but that's just my Caledonian thrift. Again a real nice display.
My Regards,
Norman.

Hi Norman.
OHHHH.....that's a beautiful rifle!!! And appears in really nice shape.
I'm sure you are right about the attachment of the leather sling. In fact, next time you have it out of storage, if you get a chance, would you take a couple more pics of how that leather was attached? I've never really known myself. But I'm not too bashful to try and take advantage of another collector's research. LOL. I can have a leather sling made and artificially aged, and attached the same way, if I knew how it's tied/knotted.
The sling ring assemblies are mostly something out of my imagination. LOL
however, I've seen a couple of Ottoman Tufuk Rifles with a similar attachment. They are easily removable by taking off the smaller ring on the other end. In fact, I can use them on my Ottoman rifle as well. The sling rings were just more of my experimentation and playing. LOL
Brass barrel bands. Every rifle and pistol I've seen had either iron or silver barrel bands. Doesn't mean brass was not used. I've just never seen any. I'm still being surprised all the time. Thanks for your post and the sling information. Most helpful. Rick.
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Old 18th May 2015, 01:14 AM   #16
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Hi Kubur.
That is a very nice pistol!! And looks like it still has all of it's leather covered stock. And BRASS barrel bands. Nice collector piece for sure.
The one I own in the background of the photo above, was restored to firing condition, and posted here on the Forum maybe 3+ years ago. What's unusual about that pistol is the stock is one piece of horn. Not wood/leather. Thanks for posting.
Rick.
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Old 1st October 2019, 04:49 PM   #17
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Hi Rick,
Here are some photos of the sling arrangement. I have checked through all the contemporary photos I could find and this seems to be the correct way of attaching a sling. My rifle came with the sling in this configuration.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 1st October 2019, 04:59 PM   #18
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Hi Rick,
As you can see from this image the tail is slightly narrower at one point and then pushed through a slot and rotated to prevent it slipping out.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 1st October 2019, 08:43 PM   #19
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Another very nice addition to your collection. Well done.
Stu
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Old 1st October 2019, 10:46 PM   #20
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Default slings and barrel bands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Rick,
Nice restoration as usual. I'm not sure about the sling rings. I thought the leather sling was attached as per this photograph of my rifle. I did research this method of attachment as my rifle came with the sling in situ and I wasn't sure if it was correct but my findings did reinforce that this was in actual fact the correct method but of course that's not to say that the rings are historically incorrect. Re the barrel bands, mine are brass if I remember correctly, stuff been in storage for the past year and a bit. Electroplating copper sheet with silver for your barrel bands would have been a bit cheaper than sterling silver but that's just my Caledonian thrift. Again a real nice display.
My Regards,
Norman.


Norman, the leather is correct. As an historical aside, the Russians became so enamored of this method of attaching a sling that they adopted it on their Model 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles and carbines, and it remained in use as long as the rifle was current-issue which is until the end of World War II. Other nations which adopted the same lineup of rifles and made their own versions also kept the same sling system.

I've collected a number of Caucasian guns over the years, and have found that most of them have silver capucines. On some of the top grade guns, these sleeves were ornamented in niello just like the dagger and saber fittings.
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Old 1st October 2019, 10:48 PM   #21
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Rick, excellent work on the stock. I especially like the ivory reconstruction, was great that your guy was able to secure walrus tusk in the appropriate dimensions.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 03:34 AM   #22
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Great work!

What kind of glue/cement did you use on the wood?
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Old 2nd October 2019, 05:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
The sling ring assemblies are mostly something out of my imagination. LOL
however, I've seen a couple of Ottoman Tufuk Rifles with a similar attachment.

Brass barrel bands. Every rifle and pistol I've seen had either iron or silver barrel bands. Doesn't mean brass was not used. I've just never seen any. I'm still being surprised all the time. Thanks for your post and the sling information. Most helpful. Rick.


Hey Rick, the ring attachment is not so imaginary. I've seen these fairly frequently on some types of Balkan guns as well -- you have quite a few of those and have no doubt encountered them.

I agree with you on barrel bands, in regards to the Caucasus (and by the way, also Iran since there was quite a bit of overlap in firearms design). Quite a wide use of silver even on guns without a great deal of deco otherwise. The niello bands on the best pieces is a really nice touch.

For some reason brass was more freely used in the Ottoman area, especially the Balkans, on pieces of mid-range quality.
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Old 8th October 2019, 07:03 PM   #24
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WOW !!! It's been four years since my original Post. Where has the time gone ?

Norman: Thanks so much for the close up photos of the sling attachment. What a simple, clever method. I will remember this.

Battara: Since I did not do the restoration myself, I'm not sure what glue was used to reconnect the two fore end pieces. But I'm fairly sure it was some form of epoxy. I think we determined the two-piece forearm was originally made that way (ala Indian Torador) and came unglued with age.

Philip: Thanks for your comments. I have a spare metal rod that has to be used with those custom sling rings as a wood rod won't clear the channel. But using the method per Norman's rifle, the wood will work fine.
I've seen this flat plate and ring attachment used on other Ottoman/Balkan guns. But they are easy to remove and use the original style method above.

Thanks again Norman. Much appreciated.

Rick
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Old 8th October 2019, 07:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
WOW !!! It's been four years since my original Post. Where has the time gone ?

Norman: Thanks so much for the close up photos of the sling attachment. What a simple, clever method. I will remember this.

Thanks again Norman. Much appreciated.

Rick



Hi Rick,
I must apologise for the ridiculous length of time it has taken me to take these photos and post them. Much of my stuff has been in storage for some time and this rifle was among them. I'm glad the images were useful.
My Regards,
Norman.
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