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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had to work this morning, so I didn't get to the little local gun show, until almost noon. Guess lady luck was with me though, as I ran into a fella walking into the show, with a strange rolling block rifle.
The rifle is actually not a rifle at all, but rather a 20 ga. shotgun. The gun appeared to be all there, but hadn't been touched for years! The firing pin was stuck, the block was sticky, and the entire outer surface appeared as if it had been either varnished, or oiled and put away. A thick brown fuzz was all over it, and the inside of the bore looked like 10 miles of bad road!
Still it was a rolling block action, so if it didn't clean up, it was still worth the seller's asking price of $100 even! The wood was good, and unmonkeyed with, so it could be salvaged.
I decided to take a chance, and took it home. When I got here, I soaked it for an hour in the solvent, and then went to work on the metal with Hoppes, and bronze wool. The brown fuzz came right off, and the metal looked pretty good! Not blue, but a nice even dark brown patina. The bore even cleaned up to a smooth even sheen, which was surprising for a gun from the 1880's!
After cleaning it, I looked for the normal Remington rollstamp on the top tang. To my surprise, the stamp didn't say E. Remington, but rather it had a "New Haven, Conn. U.S.A." rollstamp. Something didn't sound right? I was sure Remingtons were all made in Illion, NY, not Connecticut!
Put the gun aside, and went to the books. Time for some research, and I had a couple of options, for companies that built Rolling Block style guns. Crescent, Davenport, Smith and Whitney had all built similar actions, although Crescent was in New York, Smith was in Mass. and Davenport was in Norwich, Conn. That left Whitney. Sure enough, the Whitney Rifle Company was headquartered in New Haven, Conn. not far from Marlin! When I looked at the pictures, and read the description in Flayderman's I knew I had found the maker.
Turns out that my 20 ga. Rolling Block, is a Whitney Remington Style, type II variation. Also turns out to be a farly rare, (although not extremely valuable) firearm! Less than 1,000 Whiney RB Shotguns were built from 1881-1887. This will make a neat little addition to my collection, and I may even take it out to the range, and try a few clay pigeons with it! :D
 

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rolling block

That sounds like a unique shotgun! When you get it cleaned up, I'd sure like to see a pic! SW
 

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Marlinman93,
I have two questions.......???

First, what are the winning Lottery numbers going to be for next Saturday's Mega Millions drawing????????

Second, regarding this bucket of horse manure that I am holding....How many fingers do I need to hold it with in order for it to turn into a bucket of GOLD ???

Vall, with your luck (or good fortune) I believe that sometimes you must be able to turn that "proverbial bucket" into GOLD and you must be able to know the winning lottery numbers in advance. You astound me with your ability to find such great collectables. I enjoy reading about your escapades. You sure must be living "right". I think that your wife must have a lot to do with that though. This latest find really sounds awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry Eagle Eye, don't play the Lottery, and don't gamble either! Wouldn't want to waste any of my luck on frivolous things! As for the bucket of manure, it takes more fingers than either of us has, hence no gold in that thar manure! :wink:
Nebrhogger,
I'll get some pics soon. It cleaned up nicely, and looks very good for 120 years old!
 

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Marlinman,
I was just kidding you. I like hearing your stories and You do have such a knack for finding bargains. I hope to see the pics soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Well, you'd sure learn to get serious about figuring lead if you were shooting doves with one of those! It must have been designed for the folks who couldn't afford to go through a box of shells in a half hour.

I think it's cool!! :D SW
 

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Way to go MM93. Congrads. Very impressive find and very fortunate you arrived when you did. Fate DOES smile on you. But I know the feeling -- at least every once in while.

Sure would like to hear how it shoots.

-- lazer
 

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Interesting! Just wonder what you have there MM-93 - I could find no info on New Haven marked Whitney's in my books. I did find a footnote that Winchester bought out Whitney in the late 1880's- you may have a gun that was sold after the buy-out. All my books list the Whitney address as being Whitneyville....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Doc,
You may have the two Whitney companies mixed up. The original Whitneyville Armory started by Eli Whitney Sr., of cotton gin fame, and the Whitney Arms Co. started in 1866. The original company was actually started in 1798, and was in business until 1888 in Whitneyville, Conn.After Eli Sr's death in 1826, the company was held and operated by a manager, until Eli Whitney Jr. became of age, whereupon he took over. In 1866 Eli Jr. started the Whitney Arms Co. with the intent of selling Whitneyville firearms. This company was in New Haven, Conn. throughout it's existence. The first Rolling Block style rifles built by the Whitneyville Armory were the split breech design, and were unique to themselves. This was the M72. Although they used many of Remington's expired patents, they were not like a Remington, except in looks.
When the second variation came out, it was basically a copy of the tried and true Remington #1 and #1 1/2 style rifles. This action was stamped Whitney Arms Co. New Haven, Ct. USA, while the originals were stamped Whitneyville Armory C along with a long list of patent dates.
The second vesions were made from 1880-1888. My sources for this info are Flayderman's Guide to Antique Firearms, and DeHaas' Single Shot Rifles and Actions. Both confirm the same info.
Here is a quote from the final paragraph in DeHaas:
"During the period when the Whitney firm was producing rolling block rifles, they were also making a couple lever action rifles, namely the Burgess and the Kennedy. Winchester was also making a single shot rifle on the Browning designed action and did not consider the Whitney single shot to be much of a threat, but they did consider the two Whitney lever action rifles to be serious competition to the two Winchester lever actions, the Model 1873 and Model 1876. In December of 1887 the board of directors of the Winchester Co. deciding this threat should be removed, if possible, voted to authorize the executive officers of the company to negotiate a purchase of the Whitney firm. In early 1888 the purchase was made and the manufacture of the Whitney rifles ceased. This ended a 90 year period in which Whitney produced firearms were made in the Whitneyville plant on the outskirts of New Haven, Conn."
Hope this helps.

PS-The Whitney (whitneyville) companies were the first major productions firearms makers in the United States. It is a shame that Winchester bought them just so they could close their doors! mm93
 

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Vall...sounds like a nice one even though the price was quite high!!! :D

I think you're ready for some brass shotshells, BP and then the quail hunt. You'll need to take a spotter, 'cause after you shoot you won't be able to see if you actually hit anything. :shock: I used to take an old muzzleloading double barrel 16 gauge out and it was a hoot. Never got accused of rapid fire though.

max
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes! I'd like to find some brass 20 ga. shells to go with the Whitney. I have an old Bridgeport tool for reloading the brass 20 ga shotshells, so some cases would be fun to play with! Any ideas?
 

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mm93, maybe that supplier for the calibers, starts with Buffalo, I think. also theres some new ones available from Magtec, but I'm not sure if they make 20's..........Buck 8) :roll:
 

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Have about eleven 16 gauge brass shotshells, but no 20's. I see quite a few 12 gauge, but 20 and especially 16 gauge are harder to find. Or I'm looking in the wrong place. I'll keep an eye out for 20 gauge. I found my 16 gauge cases a couple at a time.

max
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I found out Buck is right! Magtec does make 20 ga brass shotshells, and they're not too bad at about a buck a piece. Saw a new box on ebay for $22, shipping included.
 
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