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Discussion in 'Marlin Rimfires' started by Spud9, Dec 16, 2012.
The Ruger Mini 14 with Accu-strut.
RE. Ballard project
Very nice project. I would love too see how it shoots. Really cool. What's years do you think its from?
Serial number indicates it's likely from around 1885 or so. Marlin almost never recorded Ballard rifles in their records, so tough to pinpoint closely. I think there are about 20 Ballard rifles in Marlin's records, and nobody knows why those were recorded?
Will be taking it along next month to our annual long range fun shoot. Hope to get some sight settings, and see how far out I can push it. My friend has targets out to 990 yds., and numerous closer targets also.
Sounds good keep us updated on the range time with it. I'm a big black powder buff so this is close enough to peak my curiosity on how it shoots. Should be fun
Afraid I it may disappoint you then! I shoot no black powder at all, so all my old Marlins get mild smokeless powder loads.
Nothing to disapoint. I know its not black powder firearm .
No, all Ballards are black powder firearms, as the last built by Marlin were sold in 1890-91, so long before smokeless powders were around. I just prefer smokeless, so that is what I use in all my old single shot rifles.
An update to this post, and gun. I recently received all the brass, ammo, and paperwork the previous owner accumulated over the 40 years he owned the Pope Ballard set!
The seller was contacted by the estate, and then contacted me to ask if I was interested in it? Of course I was extremely interested in all of it, and wanted to keep everything with this set, so it's preserved for the future!
I got probably 400 rounds of brass for the 3 calibers, plus some loaded ammo too. I also got 2 old 3 ring binders of information. One binder is strictly load and ballistic data the owner worked up. He was an engineer, and it shows in the math and graphs he did for various calibers! It's mind blowing to see how he determined bullet drops, velocities, felt recoil, scope adjustments at various distances, all on his own graphs.
The 2nd binder is filled with old data accumulated from various catalogs, articles, manuals, and correspondence with others in the gun world. Additionally there are inventory lists of the guns he owned, and receipts for many guns he bought or sold!
It's an amazing amount of documentation, and shows how Walt's mind worked, and his engineering process towards every caliber he shot or loaded for!
That's great to have so people can continue to learn. The old ways are dying out with the old timers!
Another old Marlin Ballard found it's way to the orphanage for old Ballard rifles recently! I first saw this Marlin Ballard #4 Perfection 4 years ago when a friend asked advice on buying it. I was pretty excited to see it, as it was in a caliber I knew was extremely rare, and a caliber I'd never seen in years of collecting Ballard rifles. A .50-70 Govt. cartridge!
Back when my friend bought the gun I told him if it ever came up for sale I would appreciate first chance at it! He agreed I'd have the first notice, and about 4 months ago called to ask if I still wanted it? Fast forward 4 months later, and after many missed meetings, he finally brought it to our monthly gun show and I bought it!
Beyond the extremely rare caliber which was only offered the first year of production in 1875, it also uses some unusual parts mixture! The JM Marlin company started out building Ballard rifles in 1875 after Brown Mfg. went bankrupt building the guns. The owners of the Ballard rights was Charles Daley of Schoverling & Daley, and they gave John marlin all the equipment, leftover parts, and even employees of the defunct Brown Mfg. company. So this first year Ballard has the old heavy flat sided forged receiver built by Marlin, but uses other Brown parts. The reverse eye lever, buttplate, trigger, and hammer are all Brown Mfg. parts. Brown parts can be found mixed into many early Marlin Ballards built in the first couple years. But the barrel is even more interesting! Marlin wasn't set up for making .50 caliber barrels, so John Marlin ordered the .50 caliber rifled barrels from C. Sharps Arms Co.! So this Marlin installed barrel is a Sharps bore!
The #4 has virtually no finish left, and a lot of carry wear on metal and wood. But it hasn't been beat around, or neglected. The bore and chamber are in spectacular condition, and the action is as tight as any minty Ballard I've ever owned! So mechanically it's perfect, and should be a wonderful shooting Ballard!
Since it's over 140 years old, I wont do any work to make it pretty. It's earned all the wear and use it shows, and I want to keep it as it is. It's been here in Oregon it's whole life, and came here in 1875 new, when the family moved out West on a wagon train and settled locally.
That is a real BEAUTY!!
Thank you for sharing it with us!!
Been a good year for me so far. I went to Denver and picked up two more Marlin Ballard rifles. A Ballard #6 Schuetzen with George C. Schoyen barrel, and Belding & Mull telescope. Caliber .32-40.
At the same show I picked up a Pope barreled Ballard Schuetzen rifle with a very early first year JW Fecker telescope. Also in .32-40, and with birdseye maple stocks.
Then we had our annual two day collector's gun show here a couple weeks ago, and I was able to trade into a nice factory Nimscke engraved #4 1/2 A-1 Mid-Range rifle. It's in .40-63 Ballard Everlasting caliber:
I've wanted a 4 1/2 Mid-Range for decades, so happy to finally own this one.