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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone educate me on this 1871 BSA percussion musket, it’s for sale not too far from me and I’d like to know more about it, my research on it turns up nothing, any ideas as to its value? I thought by 1871 that any percussion rifles left that BSA had made were converted to center fire, such as the Snyder conversions. Since it does not have barrel bands is it not a former military weapon? Possibly a shotgun?
 

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With the absence of any other name, I suspect that is a lock bought from BSA and not a BSA gun. Birmingham Small Arms made a BUNCH of guns and parts and many companies bought parts for their own guns.
BSA also made 'trade guns' to arm various private armies or companies. (Most of the brit gun companies did). When 'lock, stock and barrel' defined a gun, the lock was the part most often to break by defect. A BSA marked lock would have more value than many others on the market at the time.
That's a neat old gun. Is it rifled or smooth bore? Does it fit the description of a British military gun of the time? It it could be tied to a purchase by the Army during the Civil War, the value would increase with documentation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With the absence of any other name, I suspect that is a lock bought from BSA and not a BSA gun. Birmingham Small Arms made a BUNCH of guns and parts and many companies bought parts for their own guns.
BSA also made 'trade guns' to arm various private armies or companies. (Most of the brit gun companies did). When 'lock, stock and barrel' defined a gun, the lock was the part most often to break by defect. A BSA marked lock would have more value than many others on the market at the time.
That's a neat old gun. Is it rifled or smooth bore? Does it fit the description of a British military gun of the time? It it could be tied to a purchase by the Army during the Civil War, the value would increase with documentation.
I don’t know if it has a rifled barrel or if it’s smooth bore, I sent the owner a message to let me know when he gets off work, his bottom dollar is $450, the War Between the States as we Southerners refer to it ended in 1865 so with this 1871 lock plate it didn’t see service in that war. Every war surplus long arm I’ve ever seen from the WBTS or earlier all had barrel bands. This relic does not, the owner told me he’s had it about 10 years, got it in a trade from a senior citizen that had it hung over his fire place, that’s all the owner could tell me about it
 

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I don’t know if it has a rifled barrel or if it’s smooth bore, I sent the owner a message to let me know when he gets off work, his bottom dollar is $450, the War Between the States as we Southerners refer to it ended in 1865 so with this 1871 lock plate it didn’t see service in that war. Every war surplus long arm I’ve ever seen from the WBTS or earlier all had barrel bands. This relic does not, the owner told me he’s had it about 10 years, got it in a trade from a senior citizen that had it hung over his fire place, that’s all the owner could tell me about it
"The War of Northern Aggression" was my grandad's name and he was passionate about it. I transposed the beginning of BSA in '61 and know some were sold to both sides about that time.
I have a very early BSA catalog packed away and will attempt to locate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"The War of Northern Aggression" was my grandad's name and he was passionate about it. I transposed the beginning of BSA in '61 and know some were sold to both sides about that time.
I have a very early BSA catalog packed away and will attempt to locate it.
Thanks, I’d just like to know why a percussion firearm was made in 1871 , unless do you think the lock plate was stamped incorrectly and it’s made before 1871, can you give me a fair value on this gun? I’ve got several firearms from the WBTS but if this one is insignificant I’ll pass on it.
 

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I have no idea of a fair value except what I'd pay if I had a fireplace that needed a decoration. Percussion rifles and shotguns were made well into the 1900s, especially in Belgium and Spain.
The lock could have been an off the shelf part, or part of a BSA gun, or a replacement lock for another gun, or combinations of any. Without really good condition and historical context, it's decoration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ive found some pics of a Brunswick rifle, this gun looks very much like a Brunswick
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Owner sent me a pic with light down barrel, he said he sees no rifling so it’s a smooth bore
Well I bought the gun, got it for $200. Picked it up last night and thought this bad boy was big, much bigger than a 58 cal, just measured it with my caliper, WOW this gun is an 80 caliber, didn’t know that 80’s were made, have I got a rare bird?
 

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Sounds like that would be 10 gauge or so?
 

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Many ML shotguns are not made to gauge but to handiness. Barrel makers didn't throw away mistakes!
IT would be interesting to figure out how that barrel was made. You can do it by running a magnet down the bore with iron filings on white paper next to it. The filings will jump to both sides of a wrap or fold joint. 'Damascus' was much more expensive and only used in very high quality guns. 'Twist' is next, then 'spiral wrap' and then a simple length-wise fold was the cheapest made barrels. GENERALLY speaking of early guns. Is the joint welded or brazed is good question, then. ;)
 

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I did a little searching and one source suggested the following:

10 gauge = 0.775"
9 gauge = 0.803"
8 gauge = 0.835

and so on. So maybe it's a 8, maybe a 9, maybe whatever the barrel maker had the tools to make. With a muzzle loader and loose wads/shot, the tolerances that we expect manufacturers to hold to, today, are kinda meaningless. With a round ball, it just needs to be smaller than the bore. For a military gun, an oversized bore cut down on problems with fouling, in heat of battle. For a small gunsmith making his own guns, he could probably supply a mould for a round ball that more or less fit. Maybe with a little patching / wadding to improve whatever accuracy would be expected from a smoothbore. I've never messed with roundballs and shotguns. Minute of deer at 50 yards? I don't know.

It's a neat find but figuring out where it was born, may be lost in the sands of time.
 
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