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    Civil War Sharpshooter's Rifle: The Morgan "Heavy" Rifle Along with the Original Wooden Storage Case and All Accessories Being the Exact Gun Pictured on PP. 44/45 in Time/Life's "Echoes of Glory Arms and Equipment of the Union" Probably the most recognizable, and certainly one of the most impeccably documented, 'Sharpshooter' rifles from the Civil War period. The rifle is accompanied by six letters, the earliest dated January 18, 1928, providing the complete lineage of the rifle's ownership, as well detailed inventories of what was originally included with the set, with all of those pieces still remaining. The set is accompanied by the original 8 3/4" X 42" X 4 3/4" high dovetailed wooden case with an old coat of black paint, configured with compartments for the rifle, accessories, and individually drilled holes for bullets. The case if fitted with brass bail handles on each end.
    The rifle was originally owned and apparently made for a Colonel Morgan of Hartford, Conn. The rifle is marked on the top flat of the barrel in block letters "Milwaukee, Wisc." and, according to the accompanying detailed documentation was made by John C. Wells. Wells originally worked in Hartford and moved to Milwaukee in 1858. The barrel was forged by John Meunier, who worked in Milwaukee beginning in 1857. Additionally, although it seems unlikely, the documentation states, in more than one letter, that the rifling was done by William Billinghurst of Rochester, N. Y., one of the iconic names in the production of high quality American target rifles. The rifle weighs 35 pounds, the octagonal barrel being 35" long and 1 7/8" across the flats. The bore is caliber .455 and is rifled with six grooves of left hand gain twist. The conical 'picket' type bullet weighs 260 grains. The accompanying mould casts the bullet slightly larger than the bore, after which it is swaged, with the accompanying tool, down to its proper size and shape. The rifle is fitted with double set triggers and mounts a 12 power, five lense, steel, telescopic sight, providing a 20 foot field of vision at 220 yards. The rifle is specifically identified in the earliest documents as a "Sniper's Rifle", but in an interesting four page, 1928 manuscript letter, from Joel Cargel, of Brooklyn, N. Y., who owned the rifle from 1895 to sometime after 1928, he describes using the rifle to hunt woodchuck, stating, "many a chuck has lost his numbers when the old cannon sent him its summons". The letter is in response to a request from D. A. Lyman, a reporter for "The Hartford Courant" to provide the story of the rifle for an article he is writing. In his response Cargel further states, obviously with great emotion, "This one of mine still survives, and I hope it will be laid up somewhere, among the records and archives of the rifle shooting fraternity - as a memorial of old times and a rare curio, that future generations of riflemen may look over and compare with future modern arms", and refers to the rifle as "this old companion of mine.
    The rifle is cased with the following accouterments; powder flask, bullet mould, swage, patch cutter, false muzzle, bullet starter, nipple wrench, loading and cleaning rods, percussion caps and bullets. The rifle is also fitted with a yoke style rest which moves on a track when using the rifle on a fixed base. The condition of the rifle is superb. Very fine condition overall with just some thinning of the blue/brown finish on the barrel. Walnut stock with a 3" hairline and a couple of missing splinters just forward of the lock along the barrel channel, else excellent. All mountings are of German silver with the exception of the forend tip which is pewter. The rifle exhibits an interesting detail just below the lock with a small cut allowing access to the interior of the lock for lubricating without requiring the actual removal of the lock. A sure sign the gun was in the hands of an experienced and seasoned rifleman.
    A magnificent and iconic American rifle, in superb condition with a wonderful history.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    25th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,299

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