Obsolete Calibres

This page updated 1st April 2024


Welcome to one of our newer pages. We have been accumulating a small number of obsolete calibre firearms over the past year or so, mostly as an extension to Roger’s hobby interest in many of these old firearms!

However, due to Sheila’s insistence we (she!) has decided to offer some of these for sale. Although Roger may have fired some of the rifles shown they are all offered for collecting only under Section 58 of the Firearms Act which means that no licence is required to purchase them. Should you wish to fire any of them this will be entirely at your own risk and they must be entered on your FAC before doing so and the gun is submitted to one of the Proof Houses for testing.  We should also point out that we do not claim to be experts in this field….just possessed with a total and absorbing fascination for these fine old guns! However we will try to answer any questions you may have as best we can, and will happily take further photographs of any particular part which you may require.

NB. Following recent changes to firearms legislation certain offences and lengths of custodial sentences passed means that we will need to ask purchasers of Section 58 firearms to sign a disclosure that they are not prohibited from possessing such firearms under the terms of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill 2017   This isn’t necessary if you already hold a Firearms or Shotgun Certificate.

Latest News

We have received a large shipment from the US which includes a number of obsolete calibre and antique firearms including a couple of Colt 1849 pocket revolvers, a Winchester .32-40 lever action rifle, Sharps carbines in .50-70 and .52 percussion (one of which comes with accompanying interesting paperwork and details of it’s previous Civil War owner)  Other items include a Smith & Wesson 1-1/2 revolver, Maynard 2nd Model Civil War and Smith carbines and a Hopkins & Allen .38RF revolver. We are currently trying to update this page with a many of these items as possible. Please bear with us as our ability to get as much work done as we would like is being severely hampered by Roger’s health problems. Still no news regarding his heart problems being treated but at least he now has now undergone his knee replacement surgery but he still finds walking around or even standing up very painful he is spending more time sitting at the computer which should allow him more time to work on this website ….. well, that’s the theory anyway!

Shooting obsolete calibre rifles?

Whilst we supply all our Section 58 rifles for collecting only Roger himself really enjoys shooting some of his old rifles to see how they worked and how accurately they may have been all those years ago. We do appreciate that some of you may well also enjoy this but of course any old rifle which you wish to shoot should be sent to one of the Proof Houses for testing and of course must be entered onto your FAC. The biggest problem when wishing to shoot these rifles is often where to obtain the appropriate brass cases. We have had some cases turned from solid brass rod by Roberson Cartridge Company in the US but have found in some cases they do not always give a perfect fit in the chamber of some rifles. This is hardly a surprise considering the variation in dimensions often found in firearms made over 150 years ago! We recently sold a .38-56 rifle strictly as a collectors item and the purchaser had no FAC and no intention of shooting his new acquisition but he did want a few dummy rounds to display and work through the action. We managed to supply these but only after some work on the lathe with wet and dry paper and oil and a marker pen to see where the cases needed polishing down a small amount. We are happy to supply some cases when required but please bear in mind they may require some work in order to fit the rifle. Please feel free to ask if we can help! These are some of the cases we have in stock but please note we will in certain cases supply cases to anyone buying the rifle from us as we have limited quantities available: .40-82 Win, .577/.450 Martini-Henry, .577 Snider, .310 Cadet, 11.15x42R Werndl, 11.15x58R Werndl, 11.3×50 Dutch Beaumont, .43 Mauser, .38-56 Win.  We also have a quantity of Winchester, Jameson and Starline brass for  .32-40Win, .40-60 Win, .45-60 Win, .45-60 Win and .50-70 brass

Obsolete calibre firearms for sale

James Reid Model 4 Revolver.

Between 1863 and 1865 James produced around 1000 Model 4 single action revolvers which cleverly could be used a percussion revolver or with .32 rimfire ammunition by unscrewing the removable nipples. This allowed Reid to circumvent the Rollin White patent which at that time was owned by Smith & Wesson, who actively (and almost always successfully) sued most other manufacturers who tried to market revolvers with bored through cylinders. Revolver is in standard configuration with silver plated finish, 4″ octagon barrel, German silver half moon front sight, hammer notch rear, 6-shot cylinder, spur trigger, and 2-piece smooth rosewood grips. Revolver is accompanied by a nipple wrench and period leather flap holster secured with a Federal infantry “I” button. This revolver was carried by civilian farmer J. Thaddeus Starr during the Civil War. J. Thaddeus Starr was born in 1836 and seems to have been determined not to get caught up in the war, but instead to defend his property. Born in 1836, he was a farmer in Howard County, Maryland, in 1864 when he managed to avoid being drafted into the Union army by providing a substitute. Family tradition, repeated in a 1965 affidavit, indicated that when forces of either side were near, he made it a point to take his pistol and conceal his horses in the woods, seizure of which could have spelled ruin for a farmer. It is an indication of the toll and stress the war inflicted on Marylanders regardless of their political views. Starr passed away in 1920. Included with the pistol is Starr’s original 1864 draft exemption certificate and a post-war photograph. CONDITION: Very good. Significant portions of factory silver plate are retained with the balance exhibiting a mottled patina with some signs of cleaning. Grips shows some light impressions and abrasions remaining fine overall. Bore has some pitting from period use of period black powder. Mechanically fine with all 6 nipples intact. BAS

1855 Root sidehammer percussion revolver.

Samuel Colt invented this model but it is conventionally named after Elisha K Root who was a noted Colt designer. This example bears the serial number 1532 which places it in the first year of manufacture (1855) This model is a Model 2 in .28 calibre but this revolver was also made later in .31 calibre.  With a  3 1/2in. octagonal barrel, the top flat stamped ‘COLT’S PAT. / 1855’ and ‘ADDRESS COL. COLT / HARTFORD CT. USA’, five shot cylinder with roll engraved stagecoach hold-up scene, blued frame with grooved top-strap and back-strap in one, sheath trigger, case-hardened hammer, rammer with spring-catch, varnished figured walnut rounded one piece grip, the revolver has all matching numbers, and much of its original finish, in original mahogany case fitted and lined in burgundy velvet (faded) with American eagle and shield between stars and crossed revolvers powder-flask, and brass bullet mould stamped ‘Colt’s Patent’ which still contains one each ball and conical bullets. All in all a pretty little Colt revolver to complement any collection ….. £2,400


Smith & Wesson New Model 3 Target Single Action revolver in the rare .32-44 calibre.  This highly regarded and sought after revolver appeared on many guises and calibres, but only 2,621 were chambered for this unusual target cartridge, which was in itself unusual in that the bullet was seated right down to the level of the case neck thus placing it close to the barrel to hopefully promote accuracy.  Manufactured from 1877-1910 this example may well be a first year production as it bears a serial number of 624  The revolver is in excellent mechanical condition with tight lock up and the action functions correctly. It still shows around 95% plus original bluing on the frame and barrel with a small amount of loss at the muzzle. The cylinder however does show loss of bluing on outer surface, but the flutes still show almost 100% bluing. The bluing losses may be down to holster wear although carrying a target revolver in a holster may seem a rather odd thing to do.  The mother of pearl type grips add a touch of style but the lower rear aspect of the left-hand grip shows some loss of shape, possibly breakage in antiquity but this barely detracts from the overall condition of this revolver.   £2,950

Colt 1849 pocket percussion revolver in .31 calibre made in 1863 with 1-line  New York address. Serial # 226610 In very good condition with traces of original finish retained in protected areas with overall pleasing dove gray patina. Octagonal 4″ barrel, cylinder scene still largely visible. Grips show no major signs of distress, only light wear. Shootable bore and crisp and tight action and mechanics. Full or partial matching numbers observed on frame, barrel, loading lever, wedge, cylinder, cylinder arbour, and grip straps.   £1,700

1861 vintage .31 caliber percussion Colt 1849 Pocket revolver  with 4″ octagon barrel, 2-line Hartford address, brass pin front sight, v-notch rear sight, 5-shot cylinder with stagecoach hold up scene roll mark, silver plated brass grip straps, and 1-piece smooth walnut grips. in very good condition with finish almost entirely thinned to pleasing brown gray patina. Cylinder scene worn but still largely visible. Grip straps retain significant portions of silver plating thinning to bright brass. Grips have finish loss with minor impressions and some wear at base. Fine bore and mechanics with tight action. Full or partial matching numbers observed on frame, barrel, loading lever, wedge, cylinder, cylinder arbour, and grip straps.   £1,700

Special Order Winchester Model 1894 .32-40 lever action rifle. Winchester Model 1894 special order rifle made by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1905. 26″ blued half octagon Winchester barrel in .32-40 caliber with Winchester 2 line address, fitted with Lyman sporting front sight and Redfield Buckhorn rear sight. Blued solid frame action, plain trigger with rare button magazine. Winchester walnut standard buttstock with steel crescent buttplate with matching walnut forearm with blued nosecap. Condition shows 50% original blue with light surface corrosion fading to silvery patina in wear areas. Action worn to a silvery brown patina. Wood has traces of varnish with light handling and usage marks. Good bore and mechanics. Brass cases available if required.   £2,400

Maynard 2nd Model single shot carbine in .50 calibre  Serial #14541. Manufactured by the Massachusetts Arms Company from 1863-65 with a total of about 20,000 produced with a 20″ round barrel with octagonal breech with two leaf rear sight and blade front sight. Saddle ring on case hardened receiver. Walnut stock with military butt plate bears “AJN” and “JM” cartouches in rectangles on left side of wrist. These were amongst the most popular carbines used in the Civil War probably only behind the Sharps. This example is in excellent condition bearing of course it’s age, with much of the thinning original bluing remaining and mixing with a brown patina with scattered handling marks throughout. The frame had turned a dull, grey patina with faint traces of original case colours in protected areas. The stock is excellent with crisp cartouches and scattered handling marks. Mechanically fine with a tight action and a bright bore with crisp, sharp rifling overall giving a high condition example of this popular ACW carbine noted for its accuracy. We have some cases available to purchase if required.  £2,500

Marlin Model 1893 Special Order Takedown rifle in the ever popular .32-40 calibre, serial #A8059 with 26″ round to octagonal barrel marked “Special Smokeless Steel”  and dovetail mounted front sight with elevator adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight. Half length magazine tube. Case coloured takedown action. Forearm and semi-pistol grip walnut stock of fancy black walnut with crescent steel butt plate. Barrel and mag tube retain 80% lightly faded blue showing small spots of corrosion. Action has restored case colours on sides with top & bottom parts having a faded appearance with touch up finish. Stock & forearm are sanded with heavy gloss varnish refinish. Stock has small chips along both side of upper and lower tangs with a small (barely noticeable) repaired crack to right wrist. The bore is generally bright retaining sound rifling. this is a very pretty Marlin rifle ….. £2,750 SOLD

Sharp & Hankins 1862 Navy carbine in .52 rimfire calibre. Barrel is 24″ with good, strong rifling with some frosting and fine to light pitting in the grooves. The frame still shows traces of original case hardened finish with some freckling, light rust and spots of corrosion. Markings on either side of the frame are clear. The distinctive leather barrel cover (which is usually missing or in poor shape) remains. This may well be a contemporary replacement as it shows only minor to light scuffs and cracking/crazing but it certainly looks to have been on the carbine for some time! The butt stock has a light coat of varnish over some fine to light scattered dings, marks and scratches. The butt plate is brass and is tarnished with areas of discolouration.  A fine looking and better than average Navy carbine ….. £1,950

Ball repeating carbine in .50 rimfire calibre. They were manufactured by Lamson & Co in Windsor, Vermont and only 1,002 were made for a government contract in 1864 but they received them in 1865 after the Civil War had ended. TYhis example is in all original and very good condition. The barrel is 20.5″ in length with an excellent bore. It is a seven shot lever action repeating carbine similar to the Spencer but with the magazine tube in the forend instead of the butt stock. It is marked E G Lamson & Co/Windsor VT/ Ball’s Patent/ June 23, 1863/ Mar 15, 1864 and bears inspector’s markings in the left side the butt stock and top of the wrist near the receiver. This rifle is generally considered to be a civil War weapon even though they were delivered too late to have seen service in the war….. £3,400

.40-70BN Sharps sporting rifle#155800  Sharps sporting rifle in .40-70BN chambering, 26″ octagonal barrel labelled Sharps Rifle Co., Hartford.  Bluing on the barrel is turning brown. The bore shows slight frosting and clearly defined rifling with slight wear. The action is tight and shows a silver/grey patina finish. The rifle is fitted with double set triggers. The front sight is a Marbles #8 sights and the rear sight is a R S Lawrence ladder type. The woodwork is sound with one slight crack visible in the forend and multiple dings and scratches on the butt stock, not unreasonable for what was almost certainly a working gun in its history. There is a slight crack near the tang and a small through crack near the toe of the stock. A sound example of a 19th Century working rifle …. £6,000

Spencer rifle conversion in .56-50 cal  These rifles were converted at the Springfield Armoury in 1871 after the Civil War from  Burnside 1865 marked carbines. They were fitted with a 32.5″ barrel with three groove rifling and a Stabler magazine cut off was fitted. This example shows around 90% blued and colour case hardened finish. It comes with original bayonet and the barrel shows some marking where this has been affixed in the past. The bore is excellent (9.5/10) and this rifle may well be  unfired …. £7,500

Colt Colt Pocket Third Model Deringer.  Manufactured from 1875 to 1912. Serial number42107   Standard markings and features with London crown proof marks underneath the barrel and matching hand numbered grips. This deringer has a 2 1/2″ round barrel and is chambered in .41RF calibre and has a mixture of blued and nickel finishes. The pistol is in very fine condition retaining 70% original high polish blue finish on the barrel with some scattered small patches of light pitting. The brass frame shows 90% original nickel finish with very slight edge wear. Grips are fine with some light handling marks and light crazing towards the bottom edges. Mechanically excellent ….. £1,300

Sharps Pepperbox  4 Shot Pistol.  Serial number 8299  Manufactured c1859-1874 this example is chambered for the .30RF cartridge. The cluster of four barrels is fired in turn using a clever design of firing pin which rotates through 90 degrees each time the hammer is cocked. The cylinder group is moved forwards for loading by pressing the small catch in the frame under the barrels.  The blued barrels and hammer have turned to a pleasing dark brown colour and the brass frame retains a pleasant natural colour. The wood grips are in very fine condition and the whole pistol is a good, clean example of this innovative design ……. £800  SOLD

Colt Deringer with Pearl Grips.  A very fine example of this classic Old West “back up” pistol often favoured by gamblers who frequented the saloons as well as citizens requiring a simple but effective means of concealed self protection. Serial number 19906  Chambered for the .41RF cartridge this little deringer retains around 80% of its original nickel plating with some light edge wear and light flaking mainly on the left side of the barrel. Grips are also very fine with some light handling marks and extremely attractive colours. Mechanically excellent ….. £1,500

Winchester Model 1886 rifle in .38-56 calibre.  Serial #75400 manufactured in 1893. Included with a factory letter which lists this rifle in .38-56 calibre with an octagonal barrel (26″) and plain trigger when received in the warehouse on 4th February 1893 and shipped on 14th February 1893 in order number 14610. Fitted with dovetailed small German silver front and elevation semi-buckhorn rear sights. Mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock with crescent buttplate.  In good condition retaining traces of original blue finish and mostly silvered out case colours on the receiver with the balance mostly a smooth, grey patina, some light spotting scattered throughout (more dense on the receiver) and a patch of mild pitting on the bottom right of the receiver. The wood is very good with some scattered minor dings and scratches and a small notch cut at the front of the comb. The bore is generally sound with strong rifling and a few small areas showing minor roughness. I would give it 8/10.  Mechanically excellent.  This is a good example of Winchester’s larger frame lever action rifle which allowed them to offer rifles chambered for some of the larger black powder cartridges of the day as the design replaced the older toggle-linked bolt with twin locking lugs rising up each side of the receiver and locking the bolt firmly in the receiver….. £3,250  SOLD

Swiss Canton rifle  £1,500

.50-70 Sharps military rifle  £3,750

.58 cal American Civil War rifle  £1,200

Further information and prices to follow shortly together with a few more rifles ….. E&OE!

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