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Old 11-03-2002, 11:32 AM
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colmurph colmurph is offline
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Default Any of you guys collect Civil War weapons?

I'm into Civil War guns and have around 30 different pistols, carbines and rifled muskets. Looking for some information on the loading of my latest acquisition, an 1819 Harpers Ferry Hall Breechloader that was converted to percussion prior to the war. Has .52 cal. Polygroove Rifling. I'm wondering if the bullet was patched or not, conical or round ball.
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Old 11-03-2002, 12:33 PM
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Tamaroa Tamaroa is offline
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Murph, just an edumacated guess but I'd go with round ball. I am familiar with .54 cal, .577 cal,.58 cal and .69 cal minies. Never heard of a .52 caliber minie. .52 cal. is a really odd size.

Bill
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Old 11-18-2002, 12:30 PM
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Finally went with a .553 round ball which is a snug fit in the receiver and squeezes down to .52 in the rifling. Shoots great but there is some gas leakage (which they were notorious for) between the block and the barrel. As far as .52 being an odd-ball cal. there were a lot of carbines in this caliber during the civil war. There were .50 cal, .52, .54, .58, .69 long weapons in common usage and at the start of the war before there were enough colts to go around, the most often found pistol was the .52 cal. Johnson mod. 1836 converted from flint to percussion and the 1842 Aston which was originally percussion. Supplying the Army must have been a nightmare from the Ordinance Dept. standpoint, with all the different calibers and different sizes of percussion caps.
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Old 11-18-2002, 02:30 PM
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Cool Murph

I'm not a collector, just holding on to things. My mother's grandfather was in the Army - Civil War. After the war he met a brother-in-law who had been in the navy. Old John Frank Hitchcock had a pair of colt .44's. His brother-in-law a man named Browne had a pair of .36 revolvers. Over a jug they decided to swap a pistol. Thus, I have one .44 and one .36 which I am supposed to pass on to a grandson. Also have the bullet makers and a bunch of the caps. However the last time either weapon was fired was the summer of 1961. Don't think they'll get fired again.

Stay healthy,
Andy
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Old 11-19-2002, 06:12 AM
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Default Union Cavalry sword

I have a Union officers cavalry sword, don't know the unit. I was given it by a client who has a mailorder antique weapon business for services rendered, I only had to hit him twice--lol. He has a gorgeous house in Marin I did the kitchen on.. He said it was worth $150.00(1988) he travels worldwide collecting.
its a saber, 48" overall, fairly utilitarian,not fancy, must have been for a tall man.
Makes you wonder how much blood was spilled on it.
I have letters from one of my ancestors who was in the 5th Ohio inf, fought in TN and GA. My dad ,doing some genealogy just traced us to a North Carolina cavalry sgt.
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Old 11-19-2002, 09:52 AM
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Andy, if your colts have decent bores and any of the original finish left.........the .44 (Colt Army) is worth about $4,000.00 and the .36 (Colt Navy) is worth about the same. Look for a cartouche on the bottom of both sides of the grip on the .44 and on the left bottom grip on the .36. If they are present on both, it indicates government issue and is worth about a 50% premium. They're safe to shoot with black powder. Just make sure they are thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water, rinsed and dried and oiled. Black powder residue contains sulphur which turns to sulphuric acid when it gets damp......very corrosive. If your caps are original and in an Ely's Tin (they probably wouldn't work anyway) don't use them. The tin if original is worth about $150.00
Original bullet molds are worth about $200.00 and $300.00 if marked Colt's Pat.
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Old 11-19-2002, 10:03 AM
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exlrrp, your cavalry sword is probably worth around $350.00 now. More if the blade and scabbard are in good shape.
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Old 11-19-2002, 11:27 AM
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Question Murph

All I can find is "Address Sam Colt - New York City" and serial numbers on the .36, numbers in 4 places.
The .44 has stamped into it. "Colt Patent" and serial numbers.
On both weapons the serial numbers are just forward of the trigger guard and on the bottom heal of the gun. The .36 also has it's numbers on the cylinder. The .44 also has the letter "H" just behind the trigger guard. I'd expect that to be for Hartford, which is where Colt's company was located.

The dollar value is interesting but I'm under obligation to pass the weapons along within the family and tell the history of the weapons.

The Civil War pistols, Grandpa's Mouser from WWI, Dad's sword from Italy in WWII, and my SKS-56 are all part of family lore.

Stay healthy - thanks for the info,
Andy
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Old 11-19-2002, 03:22 PM
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Default Colts

Both Colts should have safety pins protruding from between the nipples. Both should have the last 4 or 5 digets of the serial number in an oblong box on the cylinder. Both cylinders were originally roll engraved. The Army had a battle scene and the Navy had a Naval Battle scene. The H on the Navy is a sub-inspectors mark. Each major piece should have a C, H or some other letter. The cartouche on the wooden grips is for the overall armory inspector. The fact that the Navy has inspectors marks indicates that it was a Govt. issue weapon. The Army, on the other hand, may have been a civilian sale that was carried into battle. Many other pistols were adopted by civil war soldiers such as the Mod. 2 "Army" Smith & Wesson .32 rim fire which was never purchased by either Govt. but was carried by soldiers on both sides. Judging by the condition you describe, I would put the Army mod. at around $2000.00 but the Navy would have to be valued at around $5,000.00 as it is Martially marked. Go to a gun show and pick up a case for each. Cases are pretty expensive by themselves but when you put the components together you end up with a unit worth 3 times as much as the sum of the parts.
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Old 11-20-2002, 12:04 AM
Andy Andy is offline
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Wink Col Murph

I live in god damn Massachusetts. We don't have gun shows, they are illegal. Can't anyone realize that ex-LURP lives in an almost sane world, I don't. Both weapons are in good condition. I cleaned them both again today, oiled them and wrapped them in 100% cotten, just like grandpa told me.
Murph, a friend of mine has a .57 cal. muskett that was used by Union Cav. any idea what one of them would be worth? I don't have the numbers but it is surely pre-civil war.

Stay healthy,
Andy
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