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Double Rifles, Single Shots & Combinations >> Double Rifles

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Postman
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Reged: 25/09/13
Posts: 648
Loc: Canada
Longevity of old double rifles
      #325088 - 24/02/19 01:54 AM

What kind of service life was expected of the old damascus barreled double rifles before they shot loose?

For example, I have an Alex Henry double in 450-400 2 3/8” in very good condition with tight lockup and no discernable rifling wear, throat erosion or barrel pitting (I have a borescope)........I expect mine saw some occasional field carry based on the very light handling marks in the lumber, but it would appear this thing was a closet queen for the large majority of it’s 140+ year life, and rarely shot.

Of note, the lockup is a Jones underlever with no extra engineering trickery like side clips, Greener or Kersten crossbolts, or rising bites.

Back in the day, when these rifles were new, how many rounds would typically be shot before the rifle shot loose and/or needed restoration/repair given proper owner provided care and cleaning?

Edited by Postman (24/02/19 01:56 AM)


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Huvius
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Reged: 04/11/07
Posts: 2870
Loc: Colorado
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: Postman]
      #325090 - 24/02/19 02:24 AM

I don’t think that a black powder Jones underlever was ever expected to shoot loose.
One thing that a Jones lockup provides is a positive block to the barrels moving forward. Thus, the resistance is shared by the hinge pin and the massive screw grip in the action bar.
Most later “bites” (think Purdey came up with this) in the barrel lump engage the rear of the lump offering nothing more than holding the action closed while the forward forces are borne entirely on the hinge and whatever additional bite was incorporated - doll’s head, Greener, Webley screw grip, etc.
Therefore, if the third bite wasn’t fit perfectly, the hinge did all of the work and over time could be worn out - battered.
I think the Bissell rising bite may have a sort of self adjusting aspect to take up any wear - would have to take a look.

My thought is that a Jones would loosen, not through the actual shooting, but through the thousands of openings and closings that could wear on the mechanism.
It is interesting to note that the Jones lockup is, in principle, very similar to the front lugs on a Mauser bolt action. A 90deg rotation drawing the action closed with what is really just an interrupted thread. The thread in each case being the lever lugs on the Jones and the front bolt lugs on the Mauser.

--------------------
He who lives in the past is doomed to enjoy it.


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Daryl_S
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Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 18832
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: Huvius]
      #325093 - 24/02/19 03:15 AM

Hell of a design & "futuristic" but logical improvement on the Lefaucheau action!

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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rigbymauser
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Reged: 15/05/05
Posts: 1618
Loc: Denmark
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: Daryl_S]
      #325097 - 24/02/19 05:01 AM

https://www.vintageguns.co.uk/articles/462-2/henry-joness-screw-grip/

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93x64mm
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Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1480
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: rigbymauser]
      #325100 - 24/02/19 08:47 AM

Quote:

https://www.vintageguns.co.uk/articles/462-2/henry-joness-screw-grip/




Great set of links there RM!
Will make some very interesting reading!!!!
Cheers


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3DogMike
.333 member


Reged: 29/01/15
Posts: 251
Loc: Colorado USA
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: 93x64mm]
      #325108 - 24/02/19 02:10 PM

My guess is that any of the black powder era centerfire double rifles (damascus or fluid steel) would have been expected to outlast the original owner and probably his heirs.
Not to say that those rifles that were then used extensively with early Cordite Nitro for Black (or mistakenly actual full Cordite loads) in the hot climates would not have suffered.

I have only seen one “Jones Screw Grip” that was at all off face and that was a .577 Snider.
- Mike

--------------------
“On the Western Slope of Colorado, USA"
&
"Will Rogers never met a fighter pilot"
- Anon


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rigbymauser
.400 member


Reged: 15/05/05
Posts: 1618
Loc: Denmark
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: 3DogMike]
      #325118 - 24/02/19 07:38 PM

The only guns with Jones underlever I have encountered that was off-face was cheap Belgium guns. They also had a loose underlever. These guns however were cheap trade guns.

My 3 guns with Jones underlever respectivly from Rigby, H&H and Mantons are have all tight lock up.
I would state guns kept in good condition from the blackpowder era that keep shooting lead bullets and blackpowder(or light smokeless loads) will even today out last their new owners.

Edited by rigbymauser (24/02/19 07:39 PM)


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MikeRowe
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Reged: 23/11/11
Posts: 407
Loc: Arkansas, USA
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: rigbymauser]
      #325139 - 25/02/19 10:12 AM

I have seen more than one Jones under lever rifle off face. They will lock up tight, and feel tight, but will lock up on a .001" feeler gauge.

The feeler gauge will always tell the story. The face is the locking surface that the barrels lock against, so it must be tight.


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Dutch44
.275 member


Reged: 23/02/06
Posts: 79
Loc: Missouri
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: MikeRowe]
      #325586 - 08/03/19 02:03 PM

My Rigby 450-400 hammer double has a small raised rib on the trigger guard that acts like a lock for the Jones under lever. The under lever rises slightly over the rib when opened and closed. A really elegant touch to a really elegant rifle.

My Manton 12 bore single under lever is tight as the day it was made and on face (circa 1870).


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kkeller
.224 member


Reged: 18/05/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Michigan Tip 'O The Mitt
Re: Longevity of old double rifles [Re: Dutch44]
      #325874 - 15/03/19 12:28 PM

My Pryce 500bpe has a well worn exterior. The checkering is almost gone and the metal finish all silver.
But, it has a really nice bore and the Jones lock-up is tight and on-face. It doesn't appear to have any looseness or signs that would ever happen without some kind of abuse.

--------------------
KKeller
I have become comfortably numb.


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