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Author Topic: "Joseph Butler - Chicago" rifle  (Read 1338 times)
astute observer
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« on: April 22, 2011, 05:52:41 PM »

About six weeks ago, at our Prairie State Longrifle Show, I bought a most unusual rifle. It is not a muzzle-loader, but was made by a gunmaker who certainly made primarily muzzle-loading firearms.  Joseph Butler, who was born in England, came to Chicago in 1857, and was the son-in-law of James Golcher, a famous gunmaker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The rifle is a single shot, with a "falling-block" action, that seems to be completely unknown in the collecting world.  It is apparently of Butler's own design, perhaps a prototype of a rifle he intended to make many more of, but for some reason never did.  It is very well made and quite handsome, with a heavy octagon barrel, and is in nearly unfired condition, with well over 90% original finish. It is chambered for the .45-70 Gov't. cartridge, which dates it to 1873 or later, but before 1887, when Butler ceased to be in business.  But.....when I bought it, the hammer was missing.  I'm actually glad that it was missing, because if it had not been, I would never have had the opportunity to buy it. It took me about two evenings of drawing and cutting out cardboard templates, then about five hours of machine and hand work, but I now have a hammer that looks original to the gun and also functions like it is.  I think it must be very close to what the original had to have been like.   grinning-smiley-003

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chikadee
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 07:06:08 PM »

And because of your talents, you could FINISH this gun.........seems like a match made in heaven.
Good job.  I can almost picture the gun when you describe it.  Thanks for talking so I understand.

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DE
Queen of Questions
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 10:00:38 AM »

Ditto to what Chik said...and such pride, in the workmanship you do!

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astute observer
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2011, 03:30:41 AM »

I have to admit, I loved the challenge!  I almost had to get inside Joseph Butler's head to figure out how he made the original hammer. I almost feel like I knew him now.  I have pondered over why the hammer was missing, and have concluded that the stirrup that connects the hammer to the mainspring must have broken, it being considerably more fragile than the hammer itself.  Someone must have removed both parts, intending to repair it, but never did. Once the parts were out of the gun, they became seperated and eventually lost.

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