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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Bullard / Stevens ? (Read 3084 times)
scharfe
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Bullard / Stevens ?
Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:04am
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What is the history on this rifle ? (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)
  
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uscra112
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #1 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:27am
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Well, it does look externally like unto a sideplate Stevens, but I'd want a lot more documentation than the presence of a Bullard buttplate and a dealer's say-so. I'd also want to see the internals.   If the provenance does prove out, it will be an interesting addition to the Stevens legacy. 

BTW that gun has been for sale for quite a long time now.
  

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Redsetter
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #2 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 10:15am
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uscra112 wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:27am:
BTW that gun has been for sale for quite a long time now. 


And discussed here once before.  It can't be anything else but a Side-Plate, I think, despite the buttplate; maybe some previous owner hated prong plates as much as I do.  The reason it hasn't sold is undoubtedly the seller's inflated price combined with his ridiculous bullshit; although Side-Plates are rare & worth a lot, that doesn't mean they're worth this much.  If the price was dropped a thousand, I think it would sell, even with such incongruities as it has. 

  
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scharfe
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #3 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 11:37am
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was this model covered at all in any of Grant's books ? if so which one.
  
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Redsetter
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 11:56am
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scharfe wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 11:37am:
was this model covered at all in any of Grant's books ? if so which one.


Every one except maybe the last.  But most info in 2nd vol., "More."
  
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waterman
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #5 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 12:24pm
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I spent much of the winter with Jamison's Bullard books, especially the second one.  Really good scholarly work. 

Throughout 1885, Bullard was in financial difficulty.  Production had exceeded sales, they had legal and cash flow problems.  Bullard management was trying to keep their skilled workers employed and not lose them to other manufacturers. 

W. Milton Farrow was a Bullard employee ("assistant manager") and the first Farrow, with a brass action, came out of the Bullard shop in late 1884.  Farrow stocks were made by Bullard's chief stock-maker.

Bullard single shots appeared shortly after that, designed by two Bullard employees, looking for a market niche and designed to use parts already on hand for the Bullard repeaters. 

If someone had an idea for a single shot like what we now call a side-plate Stevens, the Bullard company would have made a brass prototype on something like a time and materials basis.

Did that happen?  Who knows?  I don't think the seller has offered any proof.  Price is far too high for a gamble.  Maybe divide the asking price by 3 if you were a gambler or serious Stevens guy.

  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #6 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 1:05pm
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waterman wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 12:24pm:
If someone had an idea for a single shot like what we now call a side-plate Stevens, the Bullard company would have made a brass prototype on something like a time and materials basis.


True, but so probably would Stevens, which already had the most prominent reputation for boys' and small-game single shots.

In one of Grant's books ("More," maybe), he relates the great efforts he'd made to track down info on the 1885 patent date marked on Side-Plate barrels, but he never found out what it pertained to, or who the original patentee was.  If it had originally been granted to someone connected with Bullard, the seller's story would gain much plausibility.

I second your praise of Jamieson's book--a model of what a gun-book should be. I believe he's currently trying to make publishing arrangements for a work on Evans rifles.
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #7 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 6:22pm
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I'm often puzzled how anyone could accept an unsubstantiated claim from a seller who is attempting to profit by the sale of a firearm. I would hope most buyers would be cautious enough to ask the seller for proof of his claims prior to bidding.
Without some proof to back it up, it's just a fun story, and worth nothing.
  

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uscra112
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #8 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 6:47pm
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Wall Street talks acerbically about "the greater fool strategy", but it's clearly not limited to stocks and bonds.
  

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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #9 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:13pm
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marlinguy wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 6:22pm:
I'm often puzzled how anyone could accept an unsubstantiated claim from a seller...


Ebay THRIVES on it!  Call any kind of pre-WW II scope a "sniper scope," and the dopes & know-nothings line up to bid on it.  I'm actually surprised that the "Bullard Side-Plate" BS hasn't persuaded some fool to part with $3500.  But Bullard collectors are a pretty small club; had the buttplate been marked "Winchester," it would probably be sold by now.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #10 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:51pm
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The person to ask about that rifle would be John Dutcher, who wrote a very comprehensive paper for The Gun Report (Feb. 1992) on the Otis W. Horr (U.S. 323,936) Patent "Side-Plate" rifle.  He did an amazingly thorough investigation of the model.

Stevens manufactured it in small ("Favorite") and large ("Ideal") frame sizes and there are "medium" frame versions around as well.  Several were made of brass, mostly nickel plated, and he thinks they were experimental or tool-room examples.  Some have no markings on any parts.

There is no mention of any connection with Bullard in the article.  Despite the 1885 patent date, the guns were most likely manufactured between 1892 and 1894, and Bullard had gone out of business in 1891.  Any convenient buttplate could have been used to replace a missing one at any time in the rifle's life.  (I've even done it myself, in some of my "parts guns.")
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #11 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:32pm
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Bent_Ramrod wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:51pm:
The person to ask about that rifle would be John Dutcher, who wrote a very comprehensive paper for The Gun Report (Feb. 1992) on the Otis W. Horr (U.S. 323,936) Patent "Side-Plate" rifle.  He did an amazingly thorough investigation of the model...


I don't doubt it, and since Gun Report croaked, there's no easy way to request a copy; on top of that, I've heard John is now so hard of hearing he dislikes talking on the phone.   

Horr's name is one I've heard before, but can't remember where.  Not in Grant's books, as I just checked the indexes.  Was he an employee of Stevens?
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #12 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:39pm
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Had the question come up a month ago, I'd have printed out the pictures and topic, and asked John when I saw him at the Denver show a couple weeks ago. He's always gracious, and extremely helpful when talking to him face to face.
  

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slumlord44
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #13 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:59pm
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This gun has been around for a while and discussed here before. Sure looks like a Stevens Sideplate to me with a different butplate. I have a couple and check out every one that comes up for sale. Never saw one with a brass frame and the research I have done says the frames were cast iron to the best of my recolection so i'm not sure what it is.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #14 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 9:00pm
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Bent_Ramrod wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:51pm:
The person to ask about that rifle would be John Dutcher, who wrote a very comprehensive paper for The Gun Report (Feb. 1992) on the Otis W. Horr (U.S. 323,936) Patent "Side-Plate" rifle...


Looks like those diabolical Ruskies have hacked the US pat. office website--all I see after I enter this number in the search box is a "blank page."  Can anyone else find it?
  
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