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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80 (Read 35342 times)
Gone Fly Fishing
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Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Apr 4th, 2010 at 4:05pm
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   One of the most skilled single shot gun designers in Great Britain was Daniel Frazer.  The Frazer patented falling block internal hammer single shot action was considered equal to or superior to the other British single shot actions of that period.

I am interested in communicating with anyone who is either collecting and/or shooting the Frazer falling block rifle/s for research purposes.

My interests are mostly historical in nature, however, future acquisitions of Fraser examples is conceivable.

Thank you,

Creedmoormatch
  
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MartiniBelgian
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #1 - Apr 4th, 2010 at 5:05pm
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The only thing I have is just a great hankering of owning one of those falling block rifles/actions - but I'm afraid it will never come to that...  That action is indeed a marvel both in design and execution.
  
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Mike Gordon
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #2 - Apr 6th, 2010 at 10:45am
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I saw an early Fraser at a gun show in New York State last year and had a chance to examine it closely.  It looked like one of the plain guns shown in Kirton's book that had been sold in Canada. A bit rough  and the price of several thousand dollars was a bit high for me.  It closely resembled a Fraser that had been for sale on Joe Salter's website a few years ago.  
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #3 - Apr 6th, 2010 at 10:52am
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I have a medium action I will be building up into a light sporter in 6.5x54R the dutch mannlicher round. They are really beautiful actions and a great design in my mind. I too would like to know more about them. It sure would be nice if Mr. Winfer would pen a volume on them.
            Steve
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #4 - Apr 7th, 2010 at 4:34am
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Mike,
You probably saw the Italian copy marketed as Fraser - by no means an original, in design or execution.  That one was pretty ugly indeed..
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #5 - Apr 7th, 2010 at 10:41am
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    Hi Martini Belgian ;

    I have never seen, nor heard of, an Italian " knock off " of the sacred Fraser action.  .   .   . it is almost, if not, a contradiction of terms.

     Steve ; 

I am glad to hear of your interest in the Fraser action.  I would be happy to share the results of my project as they develop.  I have family members in the U.K. who will be assisting me in the ensuing months, so I'm looking forward to receiving their data.

  Creedmoormatch
  
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Mike Gordon
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #6 - Apr 7th, 2010 at 10:57am
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The small bore (.22 LR & .22 Hornet only) Italian made under lever single shot marked "Daniel Fraser"  was written up by Frank deHass in Rifle magazine sometime in the early 1990s. deHass found it to be interesting, but mostly junk.

The Fraser I saw last year was an honest to goodness Fraser, not very different from the rifle pictured on page 221 of Jonathan Kirton's book.  Considering how rare real Frasers are, the sellers price of several thousand dollars (I don't remember the exact price.) was proabably quite reasonable.

With all this talk about Frasers lets not forget that the Ruger No 1 (and No 3) are basically the Fraser action turned into an underlever.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #7 - Apr 7th, 2010 at 4:26pm
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Mike Gordon wrote on Apr 7th, 2010 at 10:57am:
With all this talk about Frasers lets not forget that the Ruger No 1 (and No 3) are basically the Fraser action turned into an underlever.


Mike,  How could I ever forget that Mr. William Roger was inspired by the British supreme falling block action that inspired him to move to the No. 1 design for his own when the American shooter hadn't a clue or a desire for anything other than a bolt action repeater.

Creedmoormatch
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #8 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 1:05am
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Gentlemens:

Do you think there would be a market for a faithful reproduction of the original large Fraser action?


Glenn
  
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harry_eales
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #9 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 3:36am
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hst wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 1:05am:
Gentlemens:

Do you think there would be a market for a faithful reproduction of the original large Fraser action?

Glenn


Hello Glenn,

I think there would be a market but not a large one, a few hundred perhaps at best. The problem is, or would be cost. It is a complicated action and although EDM and CNC machines would be of great assistance, there are a lot of oddly shaped parts to be made.

I've only ever seen one of these actions stripped down and it was built like a Swiss Watch, and as good as any of the 'London Quality' gunmakers products.

If built exactly like the original, I doubt if you would get any change out of US$ 2,000.00 for the action and stockbolt. I include the latter part because it's not a straight foreward item but a complex part, which has to be 'timed' in order for the safety catch and rear tang screw (which pass through the stockbolt), to be fitted correctly.

The Fraser is possibly the most complex single shot action ever produced. Nothing is simple about the shape of the great majority of parts, and thus it does not lend itself to ease of production. But, to simplify the design would defeat the object, it wouldn't be a Fraser Action at all, but a cheaper 'look alike'.

Harry

« Last Edit: Apr 8th, 2010 at 3:43am by harry_eales »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #10 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 3:50am
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Harry,

I would disagree - there's some things on the original action that could be omitted without anyone ever noticing (like - I believe - the half-cock option) without ever compromising the design itself.

I do believe someone in the US once made some (modified) Fraser replica's a few years ago.  Some minor changes were made, but I do believe it wasn't exactly cheap though...
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #11 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 7:54am
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hst wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 1:05am:
G

Do you think there would be a market for a faithful reproduction of the original large Fraser action?


Glenn


I am keenly aware that the present day market would have little or no appreciation for any thing even close to an exact copy of the D. Fraser & Co. falling block action.   Those of us who are the exception to the masses have the ability to locate and pay the tariff for an original and a great appreciation for a 19th Century work of great genius.

The Italian made copies of Sharps rifles and many others are for the masses and fit the bill for those folks to a tee.  It's really hard to imagine an Italian made copy of the Fraser ever coming to fruition.  Who would purchase them ?

When was the last time you saw a Swiss made pocket watch in a retail establishment ? 

Creedmoormatch
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #12 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:21am
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harry_eales wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 3:36am:
[quote author=495255210 link=1270411530/8#8 date=1270703136]
The Fraser is possibly the most complex single shot action ever produced. Nothing is simple about the shape of the great majority of parts, and thus it does not lend itself to ease of production. But, to simplify the design would defeat the object, it wouldn't be a Fraser Action at all, but a cheaper 'look alike'.



       Well put Harry !   I agree wholeheartedly,  and will remember to buy you a pint of the best Larger when I see you next.

Creedmoormatch
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #13 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:42am
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Creedmoormatch wrote above :

"I am interested in communicating with anyone who is either collecting and/or shooting the Frazer falling block rifle/s for research purposes.

My interests are mostly historical in nature, however, future acquisitions of Fraser examples is conceivable.

Thank you,

Creedmoormatch " [/quote]


Why do people always want to make cheap "knock off" copies of quality merchandise ?  I'm a historian expressing an interest in communicating with knowledgeable collectors of fine antique firearms, and it turns into a "let make a copy of it and sell it ".

Same thing with my Rolex watch, everybody wants one even if theirs is a chrome plated over pot metal case and made in China.  Is there no authenticity any more ?  Where have all the connoisseurs gone to ?

Creedmoormatch
« Last Edit: Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:47am by Gone Fly Fishing »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #14 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:55am
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The Fraser would be a good thing - but for a Brit action having all the good features, very simple, few parts, and visually attractive too, take a look at the Field falling block - the bottom drawing:
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Very fast, light, center-hung hammer, very solid, pretty simple to make and most certainly not ugly....  Not the precision and complexity of a Fraser, but it would probably have a bigger market.  Maybe the only change to make is to use 2 springs instead of the mainspring also being used as trigger return spring.  Maybe also add a stockbolt fixture to improve it.  
Also, that would probably be an action I could afford  Embarrassed  And also a good base for a nice target rifle - Greener made target rifles on these actions.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #15 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:20am
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I have an interest in the top tang safety on these guns. Any information would be greatly appreciated in that regard.  I will try to post a picture of my action shortly.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #16 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:31am
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bouldersmith wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:20am:
I have an interest in the top tang safety on these guns. Any information would be greatly appreciated in that regard.  I will try to post a picture of my action shortly.



There is a side elevation drawing (without dimensions) in F.de Haas's book Single Shot Rifles and Actions on page 257 (in my copy).

Harry
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #17 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:32am
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I bought a complete straight stocked rifle that had been rebarreled, and not very well. The action was covered with fine scroll at one point, but had been polished off before I acquired it. I will use the original fore end as a pattern and covert the gun to a pistol grip, top tang safety gun, hence my interest in the safety arrangement. The caliber will be 6.5x54r, the dutch mannlicher round.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #18 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:37am
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Thanks Harry, I even have that book!
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #19 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 7:17pm
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Gone Fly Fishing wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:42am:
Why do people always want to make cheap "knock off" copies of quality merchandise ?  I'm a historian expressing an interest in communicating with knowledgeable collectors of fine antique firearms, and it turns into a "let make a copy of it and sell it ".

Same thing with my Rolex watch, everybody wants one even if theirs is a chrome plated over pot metal case and made in China.  Is there no authenticity any more ?  Where have all the connoisseurs gone to ?

Creedmoormatch


Dear Mr. "Historian":

Do please forgive me for disturbing your little voyage of self importance.

And if you wish to equate my work with cheap knock off chrome plated Chinese pot metal, well...


Glenn Fewless
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #20 - Apr 8th, 2010 at 7:22pm
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bouldersmith wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:20am:
I have an interest in the top tang safety on these guns. Any information would be greatly appreciated in that regard.  I will try to post a picture of my action shortly.


Steve:

I too am looking for information on a top tang safety.  I am working with the full size action, but I expect that as the firing mechanism is of the same design in both that the safety will be as well.

Let me know if you come across something.  The images in the DeHass book are better than nothing, but good photos would be a real aid.

Best,

Glenn
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #21 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 3:19am
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Bouldersmith & Glenn,

Gentlemen,

There is a whole chapter devoted to Daniel Fraser and his rifles in Jonathan Kirtons book, The British Falling Block Breechloading Rifle from 1865. Pages 217-245.

Unfortunately the only cross sectional drawings are that of Bouldersmiths rifle with the none-automatic trigger guard safety catch.

There are a lot of interesting photographs of this action with both types of safety catch, rifle sights and stocking and carrying case styles.

It does appear however, that the action with the trigger guard safety, doesn't have an upper tang, whereas the version of the action that has the shotgun style safety, does have an upper tang

It you haven't already got this book it is a worthwhile investment.

Harry
« Last Edit: Apr 9th, 2010 at 3:33am by harry_eales »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #22 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 10:16am
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Thanks again Harry. I have Kirkton and was familiar with his writing on these actions. The De Hass lead was really helpful.

Glenn,
        After reading what De Hass had to say about how the safety works and its Half cock safety feature, I think will go a slightly more standard route and forgo that little tid bit. As far as adding the Tang and safety, which in this case is a simple sear blocking safety, I am very familiar with this system from working on double shotguns. It is really very much like the tang safety on PD Farq actions.  Now all I need is some free time. Too many projects. Roll Eyes
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #23 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 11:39am
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Harry:

Much obliged. I do have the Kirton book and it is a fine work.

I had hoped for a faithful reproduction of the original design, but it looks like DeHass' work is as close as I am going to get for a pattern.

Best regards,

Glenn
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #24 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 12:02pm
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OK, now you have my interest. Does anyone know of any W.Field rifles being produced, do not believe I've ever heard or seen one. Please post here if any pictures or additional info is found. Thanks
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #25 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 12:37pm
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Field essentially made mostly actions but also complete rifles for the 'trade', and his Field falling block design was used by some of the big names of the Brit gun trade (like H&H, Gibbs, Lancaster, Greener, Bland, Purdey, Th. Turner, Rigby...).  While not having the 'sex appeal' of the Farq or Fraser, it is a very well-designed and engineered action, with very few components.  Essentially a sidelever falling block - very neat, compact and tidy.
This pic comes from the Greener book - a Greener match rifle built on this action:
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« Last Edit: Apr 9th, 2010 at 1:12pm by MartiniBelgian »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #26 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 3:24pm
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Fields patten in 22LR. whitey
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #27 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 3:43pm
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If anyone wants more pictures just email me at  whanson@plainstel.com  Itried to load but ?????  Smiley Whitey
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #28 - Apr 9th, 2010 at 4:24pm
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The other side. Whitey
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #29 - Apr 10th, 2010 at 3:22am
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Whitey,

Yours is not the Falling block one though - you have the Field-Martini action on that rifle.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #30 - Apr 10th, 2010 at 9:03pm
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Toolmkr,
Here is a Military match rifle with the Field falling block action (made by Greener) in 500/450 No.2 that I am currently working with. As MartiniBelgian says it is a simple yet strong action and is very well made. Barrel has henry rifling and it shoots very nicely with PP.
Spud
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #31 - Apr 10th, 2010 at 9:10pm
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MartiniBelgian wrote on Apr 10th, 2010 at 3:22am:
Whitey,

Yours is not the Falling block one though - you have the Field-Martini action on that rifle.

Gert I know but just had to throw it in. Smiley
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #32 - Apr 10th, 2010 at 9:12pm
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Spud, more photos please, internals if possible, I like the way it looks Cool.
MIKE-T
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #33 - Apr 10th, 2010 at 10:12pm
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Mike-T,
Can't do at the moment as the rifle is away having some work done. Will send some at a later date. In the meantime have a look at the patent docs & diagrams on MartiniBelgian's site. Also some good photos & info in Kirton's chapter on the Field action (pgs 196-207) and Winfer's Vol.2 (Gibbs, pgs 152-153).
Spud
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #34 - Apr 11th, 2010 at 9:26am
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You could call it the Brit Hiwall - except it is quite a bit simpler.  I would only make 2 modifications to it:
1. Separate (and weaker) trigger return spring
2. Modify for stock bolt
IMO, it wouldn't give up anything to any other action out there - lock time would be quite a bit faster than a Farq while being at least as solid - not so fast as a Martini maybe, but then again, not everyone is born equal...  Wink  Moreover, it is extremely simple construction-wise.  quite a few years ago there was a gent in SA (Karl Schlager) making replica's of these, but unfortunately he doesn't do so anymore - and I missed the chance of getting his last one.  Then again, I was young and poor then (now I 'm old and poor  Grin  )  And yes, the patent information is on my website.
Of course, Spud's rifle is extremely desireable as it is chambered in my all-time favorite round - the #2 Musket.  I now have 4 rifles chambered for this round, and every one of them has proven to be a tackdriver.
« Last Edit: Apr 11th, 2010 at 3:29pm by MartiniBelgian »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #35 - Apr 12th, 2010 at 11:15am
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MartiniB & Spud, Thanks for the pictures. Looking forward to seeing additional info posted. This action seems to be the best to copy with modifications. I believe all exact or very close copies should be so marked in a way so removal would be very noticeable, preventing fraud.
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #36 - Apr 12th, 2010 at 1:43pm
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Send me a PM with your email, and I'll send some scans to you...
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #37 - Apr 12th, 2010 at 7:56pm
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His double rifles are plenty pricey.


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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #38 - Apr 13th, 2010 at 9:41am
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Spud thank you for all the info & photos you have already provided me, have been looking for my next winters project, had about settled on the De Haas round bolt single shot, modified to a striker action as the Gerfen SS rifle shown in the 2010 GD page 76. After seeing your Military Field falling block and the prints thanks to MartiniBelgian, I have reconsidered and when not casting bullets for this summer’s matches will start collecting up the scraps of hard wood and lexan/delrin etc to start putting together a working model right after Deer season, may try to incorporate a striker similar to the striker in the Gerfen.
Spud I do not have the books you mentioned for more Field info, reduced  everything I owned before my move from PA to northern MI a couple years ago to make weight, decided to keep my shop equipment, books were the next heaviest thing, so they had to be drastically reduced, had at least one of Winfer's excellent books, sadly  Cry it did not make the cut and was sold.
As toolmkr said keep the info/photos coming,
MIKE-T  Smiley  Smiley  Smiley
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #39 - Apr 14th, 2010 at 8:54am
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Mike-T & Toolmkr,
Happy to help out. Send me a PM with your email and when I get the Field back I'll photograph the major internals of the action and pass them on. Pity about those books MT...you can never have too many reference books! I'd be lost without my library.
Spud
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #40 - May 9th, 2010 at 3:39pm
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Creedmoormatch,
I am new to this forum and as the Fraser is of much interest to me I thought I would ask if you are still seeking information. Please let me know?
There was quite a bit discussion about the complications of the Fraser and found my own thoughts to be quite to the oppisite. I believe one of the attributes of the Fraser id that it is not complicated. However this is opinion and to all there own.

LRF
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #41 - May 11th, 2010 at 9:19pm
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With all this talk about Frasers lets not forget that the Ruger No 1 (and No 3) are basically the Fraser action turned into an underlever.


I'd say the No.1 is closer to the earlier Aston than to the Fraser but is most certainly neither one--that's why it has its own patent.
  

Karl
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #42 - Mar 10th, 2011 at 9:44am
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Resurrecting an old thread, but if there's still any interest in D. & J. Fraser I have a page on them on my web site. See: (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links).

David
  

David Minshall - (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links) - (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)
Firearms, long range target shooting and associated history
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #43 - Mar 10th, 2011 at 10:19am
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David.  As a long range shooter, I've always found the information and history on your website to be enjoyable reads.  You have much time and energy invested and many thanks for the effort.  Bob
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #44 - Mar 10th, 2011 at 10:29am
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For any of you that are interested in the Field's patent. Tom Oppel has a great article on one he built from a kit in the new Journal.

40 Rod
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #45 - Mar 24th, 2011 at 5:02pm
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    dbm  .   .   .   .Hello David ;

    Thank you for bringing this information to the attention of ASSRA readers.

    I've just returned from the Baltimore Gun Show last weekend where I had some very good conversation with two gentlemen from Great Britain, which included the works of Daniel Frazer. 

   I shall remain a great fan of his work in the arms business and shall continue to expand my knowledge at every opportunity to do so.  Thanks for this opportunity.

   Creedmoormatch

         Choose Civility
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #46 - Apr 13th, 2011 at 7:34pm
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Gone Fly Fishing wrote on Apr 8th, 2010 at 8:42am:
 Where have all the connoisseurs gone to ?

Creedmoormatch


Many of us are just a little slow to join the forum... Cool

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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #47 - Apr 13th, 2011 at 8:16pm
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    HUVIUS , .   .   .   .

   You are by all means, WELCOME to the A.S.S.R.A. Forum, and I hope you enjoy your participation and make many new friends here.

   Thank you for sharing a most exquisite and interesting rifle, from what you have shown of it.  I would prevail upon you to furnish as much more information concerning the piece, to include additional photos, as your time and interest will permit.

   Thank you, and we look forward to having you with us.

   Creedmoormatch
  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #48 - Apr 13th, 2011 at 10:34pm
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Creedmoormatch,
Thanks for the welcome!
I frequent a couple other forums - with the same user name (Huvius) so my posts over on those are pretty easy to search out.  That way, regardless of which forum I am posting on, everybody knows it's me (for better or worse... Grin)
My Fraser is a very interesting piece.
From what I have pieced together, which is obviously conjecture for the most part - but some very expert conjecture at that (mostly others' not always mine...), is that it was originally an early model with the safety within the trigger guard.  It was later converted by Fraser to the newer top tang safety configuration and I suspect rebarreled to Fraser's 400/360 at the same time, which, by the way is the same as the 400/360 Purdey but with a different bullet design.
Anyway, the conversion work is definitely Fraser.
My rifle is a rather standard grade gun by Fraser standards - many were highly engraved - but mine has a simple border with most surfaces left open.
That being said, I feel the art of the Fraser rifle is in the design and the quality of the execution.  I doubt there is a genuine Fraser that isn't a best rifle in every respect.  The high level of adornment of some of them is just icing on the cake!
I know one forum member here has had my gun apart - hope he took plenty of pictures and measurements!
Here are a couple more pictures.  The beauty is often in the details...
A couple things of note that I want to point out.
See how the checkering runs right up to the metal of the top tang?  On an original top tang safety model, the checkering would have a border which runs parallel with the metal.  Also the border is different on the tang.


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« Last Edit: Apr 13th, 2011 at 10:41pm by Huvius »  
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Re: Daniel Fraser & Co. c.1870-80
Reply #49 - Apr 13th, 2011 at 10:54pm
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I wanted to add my opinion regarding the interest in making a replica of the Fraser action.
Seems to me, that if the top tang were desired, and the action was not a genuine copy of the Fraser, then wouldn't it be easier to make the top tang integral with the action as most of the other period Brit single shots were?
Then the safety could be copied from a Farquharson or Webley or Holland.  And, as an added benefit, the bolt running through the stock could be discarded and the action could be joined to the stock through the top and bottom tangs.  This way, big bores, which seem to be in vogue right now, could sport a decent recoil pad which wouldn't need to be removed to separate the action from the wood.
  
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