new marlin ballard owner

Ballards

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alaskanbound
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new marlin ballard owner

Post by alaskanbound » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:10 pm

Hello, i am new to this forum and a new owner to a Ballard gun. I am looking for more information. The gun has been in the family but it's history is unknown/lost. It says J.M.Marlin New Haven Conn U.S.A. Ballard's patent Nov. 5 1861. the octagon barrel is 22 1/2" long and it is a .22. the serial number is 667. The rifle is all original and in excellent condition for its age. It is a straight grip stock, single trigger, has a single loop at the rear lever, not engraved, no wood rod under the barrel, has a crescent shaped butt plate with metal inlaid, the wood is checkered. it has a hooded front sight and a flip up rear sight.
Thank you!
AK

Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:38 am

AK;

Other than the checking on the wood, it sounds like you have a pretty standard Marlin Ballard #3 Gallery Rifle. The low serial number, and the J. M. Marlin markings indicate that it was made prior to 1881. Marlin introduced the #3 Gallery Gun in 1876, which with your serial number most likely is one of the first ones. Your #3 Gallery Gun is the lowest serial numbered gun at this time according to the Ballard book.
There is a photo of what would be a similar one to yours on page 121 of John Dutcher's Ballard book. You say the barrel measures 22 inches, is that to the front of the receiver or including the portion of the barrel that is in the receiver? A standard #3 Gallery Gun would have at least a 24 inch barrel, and up to 30 inches in length. Early #3 Gallery Guns were chambered for the .22 Short and Long rimfire cartridges. Later guns included the .22 Extra Long, the .22 Maynard Extra Long centerfire and the Winchester .22 Centerfire.
All in all, it sounds like you have a very fine, early Ballard #3 Gallery Gun.
Due to the increasing cost of ammunition, there be no warning shot!

The growing federal deficit = generational slavery to the national debt.

If the world was perfect.......it wouldn't be.

Brent
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Brent » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:59 am

I'm no expert, but it does sound like a very nice #3.

These old rifles are said to be best served by being restricted to a diet of subsonic or "standard" velocity ammo, while avoiding high or hyper velocity ammo.

I use subsonics in all my .22s, new or old and for all purposes, so this is not much of a hardship other than having to search for ammo just slightly harder. Subsonic hollow points from Eley, Lapua, RWS, SK would all be excellent choices for the upcoming squirrel season for which such a rifle is perfectly suited.

Here's proof:
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~jessie/P ... 0small.jpg

alaskanbound
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by alaskanbound » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:55 pm

Thank you Regnier and Brent, this is all great information! Nice squirrels Brent. We will try to find the book too. I measured the barrel and it is 24" total, the exposed part was the 22 1/2" long. We also realize there is an inlaid piece of wood in the forearm. From what we have seen on the different ballards, the wood on ours looks like a higher grade of wood. Is there any way of posting pictures so you can see it? We value your opinions and information since your expertise extends far, far beyond ours. I will try to figure out how to post some photos.
Thanks again
AK

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:07 pm

AK;

Go to the section titled "No Longer Guest Questions". Scroll down through the posts to one titled "Old Marlin in New Zealand". Scroll down to a post by Road King, and he gives the instructions on posting photos to a post.
The inlay in your forearm probably is horn or maybe ebony wood. Many Ballards had the inlay on the forearm. Marlin tended to use good wood their firearms. Especially the early long guns.
Due to the increasing cost of ammunition, there be no warning shot!

The growing federal deficit = generational slavery to the national debt.

If the world was perfect.......it wouldn't be.

alaskanbound
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by alaskanbound » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:23 pm

ok, i found the link for uploading photos and here goes,,,hope it works and you can see this beauty.
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Brent
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Brent » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:55 pm

That is one, truly fine and extraordinary Ballard #3. Yes, that is about as good as it gets. Just that rear sight is worth a pretty nice chunk of change. The whole rifle, I couldn't guess its value. Outstanding and a big responsibility :)

I would absolutely love to take it squirrel hunting.

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:35 pm

AK;

Wonderful example of an early J. M. Marlin #3 Gallery rifle. It definitely shows that it is an early gun as it has a flat side receiver (not rebated) and a flat top to the receiver that usually will be a machined concave shaped area. Great stocks with checking and exceptional sights. A most unusual #3 Gallery gun. Be glad someone in the family did not sell it before you were lucky enough to acquire it. Great gun, congratulations!
Due to the increasing cost of ammunition, there be no warning shot!

The growing federal deficit = generational slavery to the national debt.

If the world was perfect.......it wouldn't be.

Brent
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Brent » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:04 pm

Regnier,
Would this be a forged action rifle (the acclaimed 2-line address)? I thought all #3s were supposed to be cast.

I"m not a believer in the 3-lines=cast, 2-lines=forged rule. My Pacific is 3-lines and it is forged.

What a beauty!!

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:15 pm

Brent;

I have to go with John Dutcher on this one. On page 123 of his book, he says "...most No. 3 Gallery Rifles" have a cast iron frame.
As to the 2 line vs. 3 line "rule". I discount that altogether in that on pages 122 and 123 of John's book, you will see 2 line Marlin Fire-Arms and 3 line J. M. Marlin and Marlin Fire-Arms marked frames, and throughout the book you will see 2 line J. M. Marlin marked frames, both cast and forged. So put that misnomer to rest now. Page 123 shows a cast 3 line, Marlin Fire-Arms frame and a 2 line, forged Marlin Fire-Arms frame in the same picture. One is a No. 3 Gallery gun and the other is a No. 10 Scheutzen Junior. Page 122 shows a 3 line, J. M. Marlin No. 3 Gallery Rifle. I hope this makes sense......
Due to the increasing cost of ammunition, there be no warning shot!

The growing federal deficit = generational slavery to the national debt.

If the world was perfect.......it wouldn't be.

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marlinman93
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by marlinman93 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:32 am

The 2 line, 3 line address thing is a fairly good way to determine cast steel, or forged. But as we've found out, it's not 100%. I do use it for quick reference, but if I was buying a Ballard, I'd certainly drop the block out, and check for the void under the barrel to see if it was a cast receiver.
This is a very rare Ballard #3, being a first year gun, and 3 digit serial number. It's even more rare because it's got special order wood, and checkering that is rarely seen on first year guns, let alone #3 Ballards! The tang sight is the less expensive Gallery longrange style tang sight, without the screw adjustment of a regulated vernier. Correct for a #3 Gallery, but not a very expensive sight in today's market. The vernier screw adjustment will get twice what a Gallery tang sight gets.
The lever, hammer, buttplate, and trigger are the neat part! Those are all leftover Brown Mfg. items, and not seen much once JM Marlin finished using up the leftover Brown parts! I see that the frame and lever don't use the pin and locating holes of the Brown Ballard. Some early Ballards used those features, and some didn't. My #4 Perfection is also a 3 digit, and has the same lever, but with locating pin and hole.
Your #3 is one of the most unusual, and fine early Ballards I've seen! I just saw a similar #4 first year gun two weeks ago at our two day collector's gun show. Same deluxe wood, and checkering pattern, and it was the first example I'd seen of such an early deluxe Ballard. Amazing to see another so soon!
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by alaskanbound » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:32 am

Wow everyone, this is all so exciting to learn about. I thank you each for your input and information. I am anxious to share it all with my husband. We are very excited and honored to have such a beautiful gun and learn more about it. We tried to get it appraised for insurance purposes at a local gun store but he was having difficulties determining its worth since he could not find anything for comparison. I feel we have learned more from this website than bringing it in, you are the experts. Thank you again! Hopefully one day we can make it to one of the collectors shows, that would be exciting to see and talk in person with other owners and learn even more.

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marlinman93
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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by marlinman93 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:04 pm

Regnier (gunrunner) wrote:Brent;

I have to go with John Dutcher on this one. On page 123 of his book, he says "...most No. 3 Gallery Rifles" have a cast iron frame.
As to the 2 line vs. 3 line "rule". I discount that altogether in that on pages 122 and 123 of John's book, you will see 2 line Marlin Fire-Arms and 3 line J. M. Marlin and Marlin Fire-Arms marked frames, and throughout the book you will see 2 line J. M. Marlin marked frames, both cast and forged. So put that misnomer to rest now. Page 123 shows a cast 3 line, Marlin Fire-Arms frame and a 2 line, forged Marlin Fire-Arms frame in the same picture. One is a No. 3 Gallery gun and the other is a No. 10 Scheutzen Junior. Page 122 shows a 3 line, J. M. Marlin No. 3 Gallery Rifle. I hope this makes sense......
You lost me here Rick. On page 123 there indeed is a cast 3 line, and a forged 2 line shown. Which only supports the idea that a 2 line is forged, and a 3 line is cast. On p. 115 John shows a #2 with PG frame that he calls a #2, but mentions it has a two line address. But he also says it started life as a larger CF round, and was sent back to the factory to be rebarrelled to a #2 caliber. Not really what I'd call a #2 as it left the factory.
On p. 131 he shows a #3F with 2 line address, which me says is unusual, but doesn't say if it's a cast or forged receiver? SO not sure if it's unusual because it's a #3F two line, or because it's a cast 2 line? I've looked pretty thoroughly through John's book, and he shows little or no of examples of his theory that there are cast receivers with 2 line address, or forged with 3 line address.
I'm not an expert, and have only owned about 4 dozen Ballards. But I haven't owned one yet that contradicted the 2 line-3 line forged/cast theory.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Brent » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:59 am

mm93,
If you look at that Pacific on the "Ballards still carry the mail" thread below this one, you are looking at a 3-line forged action.

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Re: new marlin ballard owner

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:09 pm

Vall;

I completely understand the confusion. So, going to the best source for information, John Dutcher's book, we find on page 110 that John says that the cast frames were used for the low power cartridges of the No. 0, 1, 2 and 3. He also states that typically, these frames will be stamped with the 3 line frame markings, but the very last paragraph of the page states that other models can be found with these 3 line markings.
He does state on page 112 that typically, the 3 line marking is found on the cast frames and the 2 line was used for the forged frames. But, on page 131, we see a No.3 Fine Gallery Rifle with a 2 line marking found on the forged frames and not the cast frames as used on the No. 3 frames. Then, on page 229, there is a 6 1/2 Off-Hand Rifle with the 3 line markings, and the statement that a number rifles in the same serial range can be found with the 3 line markings.
As you stated, the best way (and John Dutcher says the same thing on page 112) to determine whether you have a forged frame or a cast frame is to remove the breech block and check the barrel shank area of the frame for the hollow or solid area.
So there are exceptions.
Due to the increasing cost of ammunition, there be no warning shot!

The growing federal deficit = generational slavery to the national debt.

If the world was perfect.......it wouldn't be.

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