Tracing a Ballard Pacific

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Brent
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Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by Brent » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:28 pm

I have an original Ballard Paciific .45-70. It's a decent rifle and I'm going to take it elk hunting this fall. I would like to know a little more about the rifle however and I was wondering if there is anyone that can tell me when it was made and where it went when it was shipped from the factor to a dealer.

Can these rifles be "lettered" like some Winchesters and Sharps rifles?

Second, can an original Pacific wiping rod be definitively identified? And if so, how?

Thanks,
Brent

Regnier (gunrunner)
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Re: Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by Regnier (gunrunner) » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:22 pm

Brent;

There is a very limited factory information on the Ballard rifles. What information available is listed in John Ducther's book Ballard, the Great American Single Shot Rifle
on page 92. There are only 8 identified as the Number 5 Pacific model in the records. The records do not reflect where or to whom the gun was shipped.
The original wiping rod will have a brass tip, with a slightly concave area in the end with a threaded hole in the middle to screw in the cleaning jag.
I hope this helps.
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marlinman93
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Re: Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by marlinman93 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:50 pm

Brent,
One other thing the original Pacifics had, (and so far I've never seen!) was a wiping rod extension. Marlin had section of rod that would make the Pacific wiping rod actually reach the length of the barrel! I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of a letter from James Grant to a friend, in which Grant describes this factory rod that came packaged with each Pacific. He said he had never owned one, but had a friend who had a complete rod with extension, and had been in the family since it was new.
I've built an extension for my Pacific, so it will wipe the entire barrel with the under barrel rod.-Vall
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

Brent
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Re: Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by Brent » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:46 pm

My Ballard rod has a threaded end that is brass tipped and fit for a large diameter extension or jag. I have not figured out exactly what the threading is, it could be some sort of 1/4" but I think it is a tad smaller. Maybe a #12? Thread pitch I have no idea.

The other end of the rod is also brass. But more like a band. You can see the end grain of the wood and the brass band - maybe 5/8" wide (don't hold me to that), appears to be pressed on.

I have bought a 5/16" muzzleloading rod for use when in the field. A friend has made a 5" long brass jag for it that will allow me to wipe the entire length of the barrel without a problem.

Brent

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marlinman93
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Re: Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by marlinman93 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:00 pm

I'd enjoy seeing a picture of that wiping rod Brent. Mine is plain on one end, and brass threaded to 8-32 on the other. Not sure of the origins of mine, as it's been with the gun when I got it, and looks old, but not sure if it's factory.-Vall
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

Brent
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Re: Tracing a Ballard Pacific

Post by Brent » Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:17 am

Vall, here are some photos from this morning

The first two are of the back end of the rod. It is hard to see in the photo but this is a thick brass band that is well tarnished because it spends most of its time right below the muzzle collecting fouling. The shot showing the end of the rod barely lets you see that there is wood flush with the - this is a band, not a cap.
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The next two are the jag-end of the rod. Brighter because the tarnish gets scraped away in the ferrels and the old at the receiver face. The apparent seam or border running around the circumference of the brass is simply the result of such scrapings. It is not a seam or joint. The end of the rod is threaded for a large diameter bolt - Much larger than a #10 and yet, barely smaller than a 1/4". I will guess that it is a 12 but I can't find any 12's handy enough to give them a try. The thread appears fairly course and normal in shape, but is not visible in the photo.

The wood is hickory or a D*** close approximation thereof. I have never seen a modern made wiping rod like this, so that is one reason why I think it might be the original. Also, some ballard experts have told me they think it is original - other experts have said they doubt it).

Unfortunately, Dutcher's wonderful book has nothing helpful about this particular issue - at least not that I have found.
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