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CJF
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Loc: United States
John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun
      #331286 - 17/08/19 03:04 PM

Hello All - I've just come to own my first double rifle, a John Dickson hammer gun, proofed as a 39 bore, so presumably 500 bpe, but haven't yet cast the chambers. Jones under-lever.

Serial is 3717, and this came out of a collection that stopped adding new pieces by 1965. Condition is rather nice, with 80% engraving coverage that's still quite crisp. Barrels may have been re-blacked.

I'll try posting an image using Google for hosting. I'd be grateful if you could tell me if this worked for you (I loved photobucket but haven't signed up for their new fee schedule.)

Here's a link: [image]https://photos.app.goo.gl/t3rezegG6wZdPdrNA[/image]

Auction is at: https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/john-dickson-son-rifle-double-barrel-1920s-jmd-ccf4a28a1e


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Daryl_S
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331287 - 17/08/19 03:55 PM

Hello CJF - butt plate's a little worm eaten, but nice overall.
Welcome.

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


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


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Daryl_S]
      #331303 - 17/08/19 10:24 PM

The horn butt plate has definitely seen better days. I was surprised to see the two screws retaining it were both nicely engraved, and what the worms didn't eat, showed little wear.

Here are a few pictures I took last night

Right side of the action: [image]https://photos.app.goo.gl/CAs1ZRzPjigQ7KeW8[/image]

Rear sight, showing 100, 200 and 300 yard leaves. I really the engraving: [image]https://photos.app.goo.gl/c2isrUhsjFv9GATTA[/image]

Another link of the rear sight, using Photobucket (decided to pay them for that privilege)

[image][/image]

Edited by CJF (17/08/19 11:21 PM)


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331305 - 17/08/19 11:17 PM

Another showing the breech face

[image][/image]


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331306 - 17/08/19 11:19 PM

One of the right hand side of the action, showing the safeties

[image][/image]


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3DogMike
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331307 - 17/08/19 11:21 PM

That is very nice, good score. Aside from the buttplate, how is the condition of the bores?

Auction house description is (to me) quite funny & ignorant claiming a "1920's" rifle, with a "plastic" buttplate, and requiring an FFL?
This one is surely 1870's to maybe mid 1880's........prominent fences, non-rebounding locks, stalking safeties are a dead giveaway. Probably a horn buttplate, no "plastic" on a high end rifle back in 1880.

Dickson records are still in existence.

Prepare to have some fun.
- Mike

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


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: 3DogMike]
      #331311 - 18/08/19 01:40 AM

Mike - the left barrel was great. The right looked to have either dirt or pitting near the chambers. Muzzle end of both bores were nice. Haven't run a patch thru either yet.

Picture of muzzles and breech below. BTW, are these photos annoyingly big?

[image][/image]

[image][/image]


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: 3DogMike]
      #331313 - 18/08/19 02:22 AM

Quote:

...Auction house description is (to me) quite funny & ignorant claiming a "1920's" rifle, with a "plastic" buttplate, and requiring an FFL?
This one is surely 1870's to maybe mid 1880's........prominent fences, non-rebounding locks, stalking safeties are a dead giveaway. Probably a horn buttplate, no "plastic" on a high end rifle back in 1880...




I couldn't agree more, Mike, about the auction house's description. I'm wondering if 1920 is when the piece was added to the collection. I will be reaching out to Dickson for their records. Thanks.

The auction house' site gave this as background to where this collection came from.

Welcome to our JM Davis Firearms Sale

The JM Davis Firearms Museum in Claremore Oklahoma is the largest firearms museum in the world! In celebration of fifty years of existence, we’ve been asked by the JM Davis Foundation to auction the antique guns and firearms that were a part of JM Davis’ private collection, occupying a store room for over fifty years. Proceeds from the sale directly benefit the long term curation and maintenance of the collection.

Working with the Museum staff, Foundation, and Commission that governs the Museum, we mutually decided to hold the auction at the Museum itself. This is an important decision because it will potentially bring hundreds of enthusiasts and collectors to Claremore to see the museum and have a chance at buying one of JM Davis’ personal collectibles.

The goods in the sale have been under lock and key for 50-59 years. The Museum holds approximately 14,000 antique guns and firearms, representing virtually every aspect of this part of world history. These items represent an entire genre of inventions, from hunting to target shooting competitions to weaponry, virtually from the earliest inventions such as cross bows to early flint-lock guns and rifles.

We welcome all of you to come visit the Museum and chat with fellow collectors and enthusiasts. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The JM Davis Museum is a wonderful historical representation of antique weaponry. The 40,000 square feet of displays show off the wide variety of firearms and their incremental development through time. There are also displays of some of the most famous weapons owned by criminals and lawmen, and also the macabre…

And also:
Introduction to the J.M. Davis Private Collection Firearm and Artifact Auction

J.M. Davis ran the Mason Hotel in Claremore, Oklahoma, for his entire career, from 1917 onward. From the age of seven in 1901 until 1965, he was an inveterate collector of all firearms, as well as artifacts reflecting history in Oklahoma and the Mississippi Valley region. To preserve his collection in perpetuity, he created the 40,000-square-foot J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore, which is today managed by the State of Oklahoma. It is the largest firearms Museum in North America.

The museum is a must-see for any weapons collector, displaying an incredible amount and variety of weaponry and famous felon, outlaw, and law enforcement personality items from history.

Proceeds of this sale directly benefit the long-term care and maintenance of the Collection. None of the items in this sale are out of the current museum exhibit displays. Nearly all of the items have been stored away, out of public view, since at least 1965 (54 years!), long before the modern era when most of the well-written and researched reference and table-top books on antique firearms were published. As an example, none of these weapons were known to R. Larry Wilson, a prolific firearms writer and author of approximately 60 books on antique firearms, who as a young man and budding firearms scholar, worked for Colt about the time this part of the collection went into storage.

The sale hosts more than 2200, antique to modern (probably none more recent than 1965) firearms, swords, crossbows and knives. In addition, there is a large section of Americana, featuring Native American stone and pottery items, primarily from Oklahoma and the Mississippi Valley. Items of cultural significance that are not in the sale are designated for, or already transferred to, the Oklahoma State Museum.

Davis was also a button, badge, medal and pinback collector, and there are more than a thousand items in this category, mostly in like-kind groups.

The two-day preview prior to the sale is a must for any serious collector.


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Kdgj
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331315 - 18/08/19 03:45 AM

CJF,

Dickson will send your serial number request to Donald Dallas. For a fee, he'll email you a copy of the ledger page. The gun was sold on 4 Nov 1882.

Ken


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Kdgj]
      #331316 - 18/08/19 04:33 AM

Thank you Ken for the date. All I knew was pre-1887.

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93x64mm
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331325 - 18/08/19 07:40 AM

You have a most impressive double there CJF!
The engraving is certainly the highlight of this wonderful arm.
Better get those bores & chambers checked over as Capt Curl or Huvius will be itching to give you some reloading info if you haven't got it already!
Can't wait to see what you grand old lady will do.


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Daryl_S
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: 93x64mm]
      #331328 - 18/08/19 07:52 AM

STILL kicking myself now for not buying that 'spare' Purdey .500BPE from Curly last August. Just couldn't justify the $$.

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


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


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TH44
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Daryl_S]
      #331341 - 18/08/19 09:11 AM

Very nice indeed, the Rose and Scroll engraving is my favourite

Plus one for 3dogMike, everything shouts early, those percussion style fences are excellent

As well as the fences, safeties and non-rebounding locks, the finger rest instead of a pistol grip is a giveaway for an early rifle

CJF - the pics are ok, they save my old eyesight from the need to enlarge (Control/Command and +) [Thanks Daryl]

You have an excellent addition to your armoury, in a good Indian calibre .500BPE

Good luck if/when you shoot it

TH44


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CptCurlAdministrator
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Daryl_S]
      #331343 - 18/08/19 09:58 AM

Quote:

STILL kicking myself now for not buying that 'spare' Purdey .500BPE from Curly last August. Just couldn't justify the $$.





Still can be had. . .

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



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Iowa_303s
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CptCurl]
      #331345 - 18/08/19 12:16 PM

Very nice!
Let us know how you get on with it.

--------------------
Matt

formerly known as Iowa_303

"Once your reputation is ruined you can live your life quite freely."

"Enkelkinder über alles"


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Iowa_303s]
      #331353 - 18/08/19 07:35 PM

Thank you so much for the nice feedback.

Here are few more shots of the engraving:

[image][/image]

[image][/image]


The rifle weighs 9 lbs even on our home digital scale


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rigbymauser
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331356 - 18/08/19 07:58 PM

This is one of these threads where I again want another vintage doublerifle added to the collection...actually I want this all the time..:-)

Thanks for sharing this lovely John Dickson. Love to hear how it shoots.

I can never become too tired of seeing these old time capsules.


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Huvius
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: rigbymauser]
      #331360 - 19/08/19 12:45 AM

That is a beautiful rifle!
Congratulations on taking the plunge!
If you don't have cerrosafe or a good way to make a chamber cast, you could simply use a small dowel or popsickle stick with a nice square end to feel down the chamber and mark the length.
It will surely be a 3" 500 but nice to confirm before loading.
The components and a good selection of bullets are all very accessible here so it will be no problem getting her to sing.
Couldn't think of a better first double rifle.

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


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Huvius]
      #331591 - 23/08/19 10:58 AM

Thank you Huvius and everyone else who has helped out.

I did try checking chamber length and I'm pretty sure it's 3" and not 3.25". but while I'm waiting on Cerrosafe to arrive for a chamber cast, can anyone point me towards a primer on reloading for the 500 bpe? And possibly a source for brass and the most common bullet molds used?


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3DogMike
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: CJF]
      #331592 - 23/08/19 11:21 AM

Right now either Sinclair (Brownell’s affiliate) or Buffalo Arms has Hornady .500 3” brass for about $70 - $74 for a box of 20
“If” your rifle is a 3 1/4”, which is unlikely, then your single choice is Bertram brass from Buffalo at about $107/20
A budget alternative is to find once fired .470 brass and neck up to .500 then trim to length....same basic case.

I would wait on the bullet mould until you can slug the bores.....tho a soft alloy paper patch bullet and BP can easily deal with a lot of different bore diameters. It helps to already be familiar with paper patching tho.......

Graf’s has 1 set of .500 NE dies left in stock.

Unless the bore is severely undersized you can just order some 350 grain .510” cast bullets lubed with SPG and try ~136 grains of Swiss 1 1/2 or Olde Eynsford black powder (card wad and grease cookie required), or for NfB smokeless try 400-450grain .510” and appropriate charge of H4198 with Dacron, kapok, or backer rod filler & load it up.
Woodleigh makes 440grain .510” jacketed bullets especially for BP Express rifles.


As Huvius mentioned a simple 1/2” dowell, plastic tube, or even rolled paper, maybe wrapped in tape to a bit bigger diameter, can easily be slipped into the chamber to nail down the case length.


Oh yes, the best source for learning reloading in’s and outs for BP Express rifles would be Graeme Wrights book “Shooting the British Double Rifle”. If there are no more copies available in the ‘States (do a Google/Amazon search) then I think John “NitroX” here may be able to get you one for a reasonable price.

- Mike

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


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Kdgj
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: 3DogMike]
      #331640 - 25/08/19 02:56 AM

If you can't find Graeme Wright's book, there are good Double Gun Journal articles by Ross Seyfried and Sherman Bell on NfB loads. If you need the Volume and Issues, let me know.

Ken

Edited by Kdgj (25/08/19 11:51 PM)


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3DogMike
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Kdgj]
      #331643 - 25/08/19 08:18 AM

Ah, found it: Link to Seyfried article on loading .500BPE
http://forums.nitroexpress.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=317618&an=0&page=0#Post317618

......As Curl mentions, DO NOT be tempted to try “Trail Boss” in a vintage Black Powder Express rifle.
I use 1/2” foam backer rod with H4198 and have had no problems in MY rifles.
- Mike

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


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Kdgj
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: 3DogMike]
      #331681 - 26/08/19 01:13 AM

Mike,

Thanks for posting the link. A great article by Ross.

Ken


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CJF
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Re: John Dickson 500 BPE hammer gun [Re: Kdgj]
      #332074 - 09/09/19 12:25 AM

Yes, thank you for posting the link. I've been having fun pouring through 20 years of Double Gun Journals looking at hammer doubles. I was very lucky with this purchase.

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