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Author Topic: "BRUNKER OTTAWA" rifle & "O P SECOR PEORIA" shotgun  (Read 3156 times)
astute observer
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« on: October 15, 2011, 02:29:27 AM »

I just bought two more Illinois-made guns. The first is a heavy percussion rifle with barrel stamped "BRUNKER OTTAWA", which was made by Henry P Brunker, who worked in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, from 1848-1871. I bought it on an internet auction.  It is my 21st rifle by Brunker, who was Illinois' most prolific maker. His rifles were of excellent quality, and this one is in very nice condition.

The second one came as the result of an e-mail from a friend in St. Louis (within an hour of winning the Brunker rifle on the auction). It was for sale in a gun shop in St. Louis. My friend sent a detailed set of photos. It is a 14 gauge percussion, double-barreled shotgun, made by Oliver P Secor, in Peoria, Illinois. It is signed "O P SECOR PEORIA" on the rib between the barrels. My friend commented that it was perhaps the highest quality percussion shotgun he had ever seen. The photos also revealed that it is in pristine condition, other than being a little dirty. A few phone calls later, I sent a check to St. Louis.  The Secor shotgun is being brought here this weekend by my daughter-in-law's sister & husband, who just happen to live near the gunshop, and were coming here this weekend anyway. Oliver P Secor was a gunmaker of considerable skill. At a time when other gunsmiths were fetching $12 to $20 for a new rifle, Secor got $55. For a shotgun such as this one, he got the incredible sum of $250...in 1860! Such was his reputation. I already have two other Secor double shotguns, a 12 gauge, and an 8 gauge. The 8 gauge is cased, in a hinged, velvet lined, wooden case, with all accessories. I suspect that all of his shotguns were originally cased. I also have a fine "English-style" sporting rifle made by O P Secor. He made relatively few guns, compared to most of his contemporaries (8 guns in the year 1860), and primarily catered to wealthy customers. I am fortunate indeed, to own four of them 150 years later.

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DE
Queen of Questions
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 03:24:49 AM »

He's got to be up there, smiling away...I'm sure he just made the guns..for the time.....never thinking that someone in the distant future would be admiring and owning one.




...nice fall background Jal!

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Puter Doc
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 05:00:42 AM »

The history behind these firearms is always fascinating to me.

Thanks DE the background just seemed appropriate for a gun and outdoorsman type forum.

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chikadee
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 01:06:57 PM »

I love hearing about your purchases.  You treasure these stories of our history.  And I always like hearing you tell the stories.

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astute observer
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 03:34:37 AM »

I look at these pieces of America's past and often find myself thinking, "if only it could talk".  With enough research, they begin to do just that.  The Secor shotgun is exactly as I had believed. A peek beneath the old grease and dirt reveals that it has gold "blowout plugs" in the breeches, and a gold inlay in the top of the wrist of the stock. These are features found on only the very finest guns of that era.

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astute observer
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 04:13:27 AM »

After just telling you about buying my 21st "BRUNKER OTTAWA" rifle, I am now the owner of my 22nd Brunker rifle. This is the rifle I mentioned purchasing on my birthday, November 27th.  This one has lots of unique details, and is in really fine condition.  It is the third one I have seen stamped "BRUNKER OTTAWA WARRANTED", with a Masonic compass & square in the center of his name stamp.  Henry Brunker was a 32nd degree Mason.  I believe he only marked rifles this way if they were made for another Mason.

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DE
Queen of Questions
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 09:34:39 AM »

What a nice present to give yourself..on your birthday!  smile

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astute observer
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 04:46:32 AM »

A friend of mine tells me that he thinks I might hold the record for having that many guns by a single local maker.  Brunker worked about 30 - 35 miles from where I live. I have seen over 60 of his guns over the years, a tremendous number considering that they were made one-at-a-time, by hand, all of them over 140 years ago.

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DE
Queen of Questions
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 09:54:53 AM »

Does he still have family there? ..I was wondering if his *grandkids* took as much interest in what their grandpa did..as you do.

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astute observer
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011, 11:30:15 PM »

No, he has no family left in the area, and there may not be any direct descendants anywhere.

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