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Double Rifles, Single Shots & Combinations >> Paradox and Bore Guns

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Promo
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Reged: 02/10/19
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Loc: Austria
A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling
      #332951 - 03/10/19 07:54 PM

While I occasionally have visited this forum over the last few years, I never felt the necessity of registration. This changed when recently I obtained a (thought back then) single break-barrel shotgun by A. Mulacz of Vienna. At this point I might also mention that while I do have a hunting permit and from time to time go hunting plus being an avid gun collector, my main interest are with governmental (military and police) sniper rifles.

Having taken the Mulacz rifle home I inspected it in detail and couldn't find answer to most of my questions. Prior to the purchase I was not aware of this gunsmith, so when checking the name I found out that there are two Anton Mulacz which are father and son. While the father was active from 1860 to 1893, the son continued the business starting in 1893 at the same address (Alserstraße 38 in Vienna). Mulacz was a K.K. Hof-Büchsenmacher.

The first thing that kept me unsure of the item was the fact that while the rifle was a shotgun and smoothbored it nevertheless not only featured front- and rearsight, but in fact also a foldable peep sight with a dovetailed part that even could be changed. On top of this the rifle features double set trigger ("Deutscher Stecherabzug"), which is nothing you would expect on a shotgun. But when checking the barrel in detail for the caliber I noticed that there is very minor rifling at the muzzle which is barely (if at all) visible if you check it from the chamber. And I need to admit that this was the first time I've ever seen a Paradox rifling in person. This then explained why it has a rear sight at all, as well as the double set trigger.

The second thing to find out more was the firing proof. It can be deciphered by the 9573.02 as the firing proof number (9573), as well as the .02 being the year (1902) which also allows to date the rifle to the young Anton Mulacz. I on the other hand could not find an explanation to the 18°8 stamp on bottom of the barrel block, as well as the 8 (which at my best guess is an internal assembly number) on bottom of the barrel. Any identification to these would be highly appreciated.

Generally the rifle is a truly amazing piece of art. Aside of the barrel all metal was color case hardened with a beautiful floral engraving. Even buttplate and screws usually hidden inside below the barrel are color case hardened, as well as engraved. An interesting fact is that "A. Mulacz" is twice engraved to the rifle - not only atop the barrel, but also on the right side plate behind the hammer. The serial number is hidden on bottom behind the side lever and only visible in open position. The best thing is that this rifle is unaltered since it was made, and this in an amazing condition. I really wonder how it could had survived two World Wars in such good condition. The only minor issue I could find was the stock on the left side becoming a bit lighter where the cheek would rest, to my guess due to the shooters sweat. But this isn't really an issue since it can be easily "repaired" by a bit of oil.

Finally I nevertheless have one issue left with this rifle for which I hope to get the help of more knowledgeable persons here: what is the caliber of this gun?

Comparing it with other shotguns and trying to see what fits it turned out that a 12 gauge shell would fit the chamber quite precisely. On the other hand the muzzle of this rifle is way too large in comparison with other shotguns of mine. I measured an internal muzzle diameter of 18.96mm with a 10/89 shotgun, 17.85mm with a 12/76 shotgun, 16.06mm with a 16/67 shotgun and 15.88mm with a 20/76 shotgun. This particular rifle has 18.76mm muzzle diameter! Additionally it has such a large material thickness at the muzzle that it puts my 10/89 shotgun to shame, but at the same time weighting less than 3kg.

Attached is a set of pictures of the rifle which I have done myself. Only the last picture illustrating the muzzle diameters in comparison was a quick and dirty picture I did with a mobile phone - please excuse the quality of it.



































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tinkerModerator
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #332952 - 03/10/19 10:03 PM

Nice looking rifle.

Can you post photos of the chamber, the bore, and the bore at the muzzle?

Detailed photos of the sights would also be nice.

Have you measured the bore and groove of the muzzle?
That doesn't look like typical paradox choke rifling.
I'm interested to see more.

Thanks, and welcome to Nitro Express!


Cheers
Tinker

--------------------
--Self-Appointed Colonel, DRSS--



"It IS a dangerous game, and so named for a reason, and you can't play from the keyboard. " --Some Old Texan...


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: tinker]
      #332953 - 03/10/19 10:38 PM

No idea if this is relevant, but perhaps this 'shotgun' was meant principally for ball only, and has little or no choking? A reason for a the large muzzle aperture? Compared to a normal 12 g or 10 g gun meant for shot?

I am guessing it might have been meant for and used in Eastern Europe where sometimes I believe shotguns were the most that many could own (?).

Looks nice and unusual. Looking forward to hopefully some expert comments. BTW Welcome. I approved your application and a half hour later a post.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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Promo
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: NitroX]
      #332959 - 03/10/19 11:58 PM

Hello Tinker,

first of all, thanks for the welcome! It is very tough to take pictures of chamber and inside of the bore. I've made two quick trials with my mobile phone which are shown in the picture below. Note the paradox rifling seems to be deeper at the top, whereas they are virtually none-existant at bottom (you can also feel it when you put your finger into the bore). It looks as it wasn't a rifling but more a kind of cuts done to the barrel at the muzzle.

I can of course provide better pictures of the sights, if you would let me know what in particular you want to see.

Re dimensions: the chamber has a diameter of 22.52mm (including the rim) whereas the diameter without the rim is 21.13mm and the cutout for the rim is 1.53mm deep. There is no real "headspace", since it doesn't have a clear cut at the front of the chamber. Therefore it is very tough to provide chamber dimensions.
Worth mentioning in this context: the rim of a modern 10/89 cartridge is too large for the chamber in this rifle.


Hello John,

yes, I've been waiting to get additional information on my rifle. And when you finally approved my account I was in front of the computer doing something else. So it was to the right point of time as well. I don't think it would had been made for Eastern Europe since the rifle obviously never had left the country.





Edited by Promo (04/10/19 12:01 AM)


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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #332965 - 04/10/19 03:12 AM

The rifling is very shallow, obviously.
I wonder if it was bored out at some time to shoot shot better?
The muzzle is rough, not smooth & shiny like the rest of the bore.
18.76 is .7386", which is loose 12 bore (.730").
If that is the bore measurement, and not the grooves, then the grooves might dictate this as an 11 bore, which is .75",
ie: .19.050mm, groove to groove - AND meant for a brass case with an 11 bore ball. I would measure the bore ahead of the chamber and behind the rifling at the muzzle, if possible. Interior expanding ball and a mic will work at the breech end. slugging up a pure lead ball behind the rifling and pushing it back to the breech for measuring would work for the bore measure.

What a beautiful gun in absolutely lovely shape.

BTW - nominally, a 10 bore is .775", but a full choked 10 bore with 40 points of choke, has a muzzle measurement of .735" or even tighter for some European guns.

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


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


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93x64mm
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #332974 - 04/10/19 05:53 AM

WOW.....that some 'cannon' you have there matey.....very nice piece of kit, the engraving is superb!

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4seventy
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #332980 - 04/10/19 08:18 AM

Promo, welcome to the forums!
What a lovely gun you have, showing very nice quality and condition!

The following measurements might be of interest.
They are from a Westley Richards 12 Bore 'Explora' Cartridge.

Bullet diameter 18.6 mm
Neck diameter 20.0 mm
Head diameter 20.4 mm
Rim diameter 22.2 mm


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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: 4seventy]
      #332982 - 04/10/19 10:09 AM

And looks as if the muzzle-boring was off centre, deeper on the bottom 1/2 of the bore, than on the top 1/2. I thought at first this lack of visual rifling might have been due to the focus not showing the lack of rifling on the bottom 1/2 of the muzzle, but the bottom 1/2 does appear to be in focus and there are no grooves showing.
The rifling from 1/2 way up, to the top, appears close to 1/3 of the grooves missing.
Please advise if this is the case, or not. We can only go by what we see.

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


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


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Promo
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #332995 - 04/10/19 06:21 PM

Daryl,
it is extremely tough to take pictures of the muzzle that are sharp in depth and show as much details as possible. I had to use very limited light to be able to make anything of the muzzle threading visible, therefore it also looks as if the muzzle part is dark and pitted - which it isn't. It looks as if the cuts were made into the choke at the muzzle, and as you had noticed they are shallow and in fact deeper at the top and nearly invisible at the bottom. I had originally thought I had mentioned this in my starting post, but obviously I forgot - sorry. But to get back, basically you can't measure any real difference in the cuts nor outside of them. It is also very tough to tell how long the cuts are exactly since there is no real starting point.

4seventy,
it therefore looks as if the dimensions you had named would be quite close to the dimensions I had measured. But would the bullet have a smaller diameter than the rifle muzzle diameter?

I have hardly ever seen such a beautifully made rifle. The color case hardening is exceptional, as well as a simple but nevertheless beautiful engraving. The extreme light weight is another big plus of this rifle. There had not been a single day since purchase where I have not taken it into my hand. It is just satisfying to handle and look at it.


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fuhrmann
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #332996 - 04/10/19 06:42 PM

Promo

thanks for showing us this interesting gun, and in high-quality pictures, too!
Really interesting, a paradox gun with all the details of a good rifle: set trigger, diopter.

My guess is this is a 12 gauge made for use with brass shells: outside dimensions same as a regular 12 gauge, but case walls much thinner than of a paper hull, necessitating a larger ball (or bullet) and a larger bore
see this excerpt of a 1904 DWM catalog with case dimensions

Regards
fuhrmann



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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333030 - 05/10/19 03:21 AM

Quote:


ie: .19.050mm, groove to groove - AND meant for a brass case with an 11 bore ball. I would measure the bore ahead of the chamber and behind the rifling at the muzzle, if possible. Interior expanding ball and a mic will work at the breech end. slugging up a pure lead ball behind the rifling and pushing it back to the breech for measuring would work for the bore measure.
What a beautiful gun in absolutely lovely shape.





I think more measurements are needed to ascertain what projectile will work best. Still appears altered and I suspect round ball will likely work best.
Cloth-patched round balls in brass cases is a viable option as well. They have worked very well for me and others. Nice thing about the denim cloth patch, is with a BP lube, keeps the fouling soft, good accuracy and easy cleanup afterwards.

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


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


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Promo
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333035 - 05/10/19 05:54 AM

Tinker,
I finally got to take the pictures of the sights you had asked for. And since it is such beautiful, I took another picture of the buttplate as well as the sideplate which has the additional signature of Anton Mulacz on it.

What if the 18°8 at the firing proof would indicate the caliber, meaning 18,8mm? This would very closely fit to the diameter the muzzle has.

Fuhrmann,
many thanks for this PDF file. Since it anyway fits quite precisely to the 12 gauge shell, I suppose it must be something very close. It might even be listed in your document.

Would anyone dare to make a guess on which market value this gun has? It is very tough to get reliable opinions since not only there are hardly any references to find, but additionally the few to be found are distinctively different from this one.

















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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #333037 - 05/10/19 09:16 AM

Certainly is a beautiful gun! Too bad about the less than skillful attempt at adjusting the open sights. Similar marks front and back.
The combination of steel and horn in the trigger guard is also special!~

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


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


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333050 - 05/10/19 02:08 PM

Promo,

You believe the gun never left Austria. What would have been its purpose? What game would it have been designed to hunt?

I can probably guess of course!

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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fuhrmann
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333056 - 05/10/19 07:12 PM

Daryl
soory, I missed your previous post, pointing at a 12 ga brass case!


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fuhrmann
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: fuhrmann]
      #333057 - 05/10/19 07:41 PM

Promo,

sorry, no speculations on value.
One way to get a decent estimate is to have the gun valued at an auction house: Dorotheum or Springer in Vienna, Hermann in Munich, Holt´s in London.
Or search for similar pieces (difficult in this case) in current auctions and see for what price they sell.
Some observations I have made:
German and Austrian guns of that period are worth more in the US than in Germany!
In the UK, British guns are always valued higher than continental guns - even if quality is comparable.

Another thought: you might try to contact Felix Neuberger at the Double Gun forum http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=9&page=1
He is an expert on Vienna gunmakers and may be able to tell you more on Anton Mulacz.


John,

this gun is built as a stalking rifle, just as it was the Austrian fashion of the time around 1900, maybe a bit old-fashioned using the Jones underlever and the horn grip.
Funny thing is the choice of caliber, 12 gauge Lancaster cartridge, really outdated and obsolete by 1900. The light weight of the gun (3 kg) may point to a light BP load, limiting practical range to 60 or 80 m.
Still, a heavy ball makes sense for hunting large game, red deer, wild boar, maybe brown bear in the eastern provinces.

fuhrmann


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tinkerModerator
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: fuhrmann]
      #333063 - 06/10/19 01:16 AM

Looking at the photos, it does look like the rifling at the muzzle is not present for 360 degrees of the bore.

--------------------
--Self-Appointed Colonel, DRSS--



"It IS a dangerous game, and so named for a reason, and you can't play from the keyboard. " --Some Old Texan...


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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: tinker]
      #333064 - 06/10/19 03:51 AM

Looks like a great boar rifle to me. You might be quite surprised at the accuracy with round ball.
In looking at the pictures, the gun looks like a 4 or 4 1/2 kilo gun at least.

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


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


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Promo
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333116 - 07/10/19 06:38 PM

Daryl,
The rifle has 2.950 Gram so less than 3kg. Barrel length is 66,5cm, so quite long.

Nitrox,
Since I am only a part time hunter myself and not an expert on vintage hunting methods and equipment I could only speculate on the purpose of it. Therefore I leave this to those who have greater knowledge with this than I do. The reason why I am so confident that it never left Austrian possession is however the origin it has - it came from a quite large and advanced collection which was sold in one package due to death of the original owner. He lived in Vienna and knowing how long he had it leaves very little time span for the rifle having been abroad. Therefore it is quite safe to assume it never left Austrian possession.

I have obtained a brass 12 Gauge shell yesterday. It fits quite as precise as a normal 12 gauge case. Having spoken with some gunsmiths locally most - independent from each other - suggested the 18°8 inscription of the firing proof refers to 18,8mm barrel diameter at a certain point. This makes sense, since it has with a caliper measured 18,76mm barrel diameter at the muzzle.
One gunsmith suggested the paradox rifling might had been tried to be removed to convert the gun to a shotgun, therefore only being visible atop at the muzzle. The same gunsmith also suggested it once might had come with a second rifled barrel which would be a reason to also carry a foldable peep sight. He however agreed that this is only speculation.

My question on the value was mainly based on the pure interest whether the price I paid was good, fair or too much. As I had mentioned, my knowledge on such guns is limited and therefore would had appreciated any input, doesn't matter if these represent personal opinion.


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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #333166 - 08/10/19 04:45 AM

6 1/2 pounds = wow!
It's a beautiful gun & would have been fun on the grouse yesterday.

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


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


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Promo
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333205 - 09/10/19 02:34 AM

Yes, it is amazingly light. While this makes you want to keep holding it, I assume it could massage the shooter's shoulder quite a bit when firing a solid.

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Daryl_S
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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #333206 - 09/10/19 02:54 AM

Shot, as in 1 1/8oz. or 1 1/4oz. or solid projectile, will kick about the same in such a light gun. Those shot charges weigh 492gr. and 546gr. A .730" ball of pure lead weighs 583gr.

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


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


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Re: A. Mulacz Break Barrel with Paradox rifling [Re: Promo]
      #333511 - 17/10/19 06:32 AM

hello promo, very nice bore gun! the owner than must be a very conservative hunter in a time when everyone want a 8 mm. not made for hunting roe deer or chamois maybe for the big red deer and boars in siebenbügen, brown bear also.

there is a difference between britsh paradox or full rifled guns and german/austrian/swedish bore rifles.
for the british paradox gun, you had a 12 ga. shotgun barrel with choke bore and the choke was rifled.
this means the groove diameter is the shotgun barrel diameter. continental made bore rifles startet with a shotgun barrel that was rifled so the lands having the shotgun barrel diameter. its clear that such bullets must be thicker in diameter. of course, for a good barrel maker everything was possible also in the KuK empire than and dont forget that barrel diameter end especially shotgun barrel diameter were not standardised. even today a 12 ga shotgun barrel can vary from 18,20 to 18,90 mm under CIP law but this 18,90 mm is extreme and I doubt any good barrel maker will do it.

here is a pic of the old RWS bullet catalog showing the Katzenkopf / cats head bullets for paper and brass cases. notice the caliber is different to fit in brass or paper but the upper ring called "Führung" is allways the same. in the old Stukenbrock catalog this bullets were also recommended for paradox guns because the original british bullets were not available.



--------------------
Norwegian hunter misses moose, shoots man on toilet
.
bringing civilisation to the barbarians


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