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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Bullard / Stevens ? (Read 2652 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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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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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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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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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #15 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 9:01pm
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slumlord44 wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 8:59pm:
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.


Think Grant may have mentioned a brass frame, but no idea which volume.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #16 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 9:49pm
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WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and supporting factual or anecdotal evidence.
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Bill Lawrence
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #17 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 10:34pm
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If the seller could be persuaded add a close-up photo of the butt of the stock with the buttplate removed, we'd know a lot more.  Assuming, of course, that the buttstock is deemed original and that the seller truly wants to substantiate his story.

Bill Lawrence
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #18 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 11:37pm
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Rebel wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 9:49pm:
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Not the original pat. documents, except the drawing, and that is so poorly reproduced that it's illegible.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #19 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 1:30am
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The Google Patent came up clear for me, pictures and text, a few years ago.  They've done something to their Search function since, and it isn't as straightforward as it used to be.  Also, even back when I was collecting patents, it appeared that they scanned in the pages by the bale, and some of the words got corrupted in the search index.  Looking for "Browning" under "Inventor" wouldn't get you a great number of hits, because a lot of the words would get into the Inventor search indexes as "Beawning" or something similar.  Putting "Browning" into every category would get you much more, because the word wouldn't have been corrupted throughout the patent application.

I would imagine the ASSRA Archives would have The Gun Report, for anybody who wants a copy of the article.

Horr lived in Chicopee Falls, MA.  He may or may not have worked for Stevens, and may have shopped his idea to them rather than assigning it to them at the beginning.
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #20 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:42am
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Recent searches I've done on Google Patent took a lot longer to ferret through than they used to for me! It's still better than other options, but not what it used to be!
  

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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #21 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:44am
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Bent_Ramrod wrote on Jun 4th, 2017 at 1:30am:
The Google Patent came up clear for me, pictures and text, a few years ago.  They've done something to their Search function since, and it isn't as straightforward as it used to be...


That's putting it mildly.  Furthermore, I'm not interested in trying to make sense of an error-packed transcription of the original document, I want to SEE the original document, as I've done previously on the US Pat. Office website here:  (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

But, plugging the # into the above search box produces nothing but a blank page.  Shouldn't be ANY problem if you have the correct pat. no., as there often is if the only data you have is a date or name.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #22 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:48am
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marlinguy wrote on Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:42am:
Recent searches I've done on Google Patent took a lot longer to ferret through than they used to for me! It's still better than other options, but not what it used to be!


Well, other than confirming that the patent exists, what's the good of an illegible drawing and a corrupted text? 
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #23 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 2:12pm
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thank you. as always I learned a lot again from all of you.
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #24 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 2:48pm
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Redsetter wrote on Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:48am:
marlinguy wrote on Jun 4th, 2017 at 9:42am:
Recent searches I've done on Google Patent took a lot longer to ferret through than they used to for me! It's still better than other options, but not what it used to be!


Well, other than confirming that the patent exists, what's the good of an illegible drawing and a corrupted text? 


There is no good if that's the case for you. I don't get that myself. I recently looked up HM Pope's 1888 patent for his takedown system and had no issues reading the patent application or the patent drawing. Only problem I had was the drawing was too tiny to see details, so I had to enlarge it pretty big to see it well.
What I did note was a ton of misspelled words, like "H M Porn" instead of "H M Pope". Or "brech seating rifles". But I could get the gist without learning a new language.

But I also discovered if I click on "view the PDF file" it comes out perfect, as it's a copy of the original patent application, and in very nice shape!
« Last Edit: Jun 4th, 2017 at 2:56pm by marlinguy »  

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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #25 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 4:54pm
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marlinguy wrote on Jun 4th, 2017 at 2:48pm:
But I also discovered if I click on "view the PDF file" it comes out perfect, as it's a copy of the original patent application, and in very nice shape!


THAT is what I failed to do!  But when I did, it was shown in full exactly as I was expecting.  Much obliged for the tutorial.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #26 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 5:28pm
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In the 1885 Springfield, Massachusetts City Directory, Otis W. Horr is listed as "emp J S & Co".  He is listed as an employee of J. Stevens Co. or J. S. A & T. Co in its several forms for every Springfield City Directory between 1873 and 1894.  After that, he may have retired (b. 1828) or otherwise left Stevens, because he is listed as a mechanic.  His home address is the same for all that time.

That should take Bullard out of the picture.

Modified.  Horr's marriage certificate lists his birth day as Oct. 7, 1828.  He died on Nov. 23, 1900. In the 1900 US Census, he was listed as a "gun stocker".
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #27 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 6:14pm
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wow !!! this is like watching CSI-SS rifles. I thought the Mounties were the ones who always find their man.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #28 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 8:36pm
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This thread, and the discussion is what I really love about the ASSRA forum! The knowledge base and help that is freely given is always a treat! I've been assisted by members here often when I was stumped on an oddball gun, and couldn't track down some history. Only to ask a question here, and gotten the answer I sought, or a lead that helped me know where to look!
Thanks for that information Waterman! Once again you've come through!
  

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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #29 - Jun 4th, 2017 at 10:22pm
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and as long as I keep asking questions about things I read 25 years ago and have forgotten and then gave all of my books and magazines away.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #30 - Jun 14th, 2017 at 9:08pm
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I examined this gun for about ten to 15 minutes at a gun show in San Angelo a year or so ago.  I was amazed at the good condition with brass small parts, sight etc.  The quality of the work was very good on what appears to be a designers model to exhibit the concept, especially after I dropped a light down the barrel and confirmed smoothbore.  The Bullard buttplate was in very good condition and was nicely attached to the buttstock.  This is a very nice gun but of very little practical use. 
James
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #31 - Jun 19th, 2017 at 6:19pm
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Bullard parts were not made by Bullard, but by a 3rd party foundry.  In any event, if the maker was in or around Springfield, Mass., finding such a buttplate ought to have been easy. 

This gun (no longer a rifle, since it is a smoothbore) ought to attract a serious Stevens collector, but not us shooters.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #32 - Jun 22nd, 2017 at 11:07pm
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There are several side plate stevens rifles with brass frames that are documented prototypes in the factory.
Most likely, brass being easier to machine, it was preferred for trying out new ideas.

Such changes in the design were incorporated into production without any announcement or fanfare in the side plate years.

I think this rifle is another such shop model. I'd like to see beneath the side plate to see what changes were made.

Regards,
Ron
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #33 - Jun 24th, 2017 at 10:49pm
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I made an  Horr Sideplate action from the patent drawings. I enlarged the drawings so that they were  the same size as the large Stevens sideplate as shown in DeHass Single  Shot  Rifles and Actions . Its 25-20 Win. caliber and it shoots really good. I made a temporary stock for it out of poplar but I have walnut for a permanent stock, I might make one like this so called Bullard/Stevens. Paul.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #34 - Jun 25th, 2017 at 2:52am
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Otis Wyman Horr (1828-1900) was a machinist & stockmaker who worked for Stevens from the early 1870s thru the early 1890s.  He lived on Fuller Street in Chicopee Falls.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #35 - Jun 25th, 2017 at 10:56pm
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Have seen Paul's Horr patent action. He did a very nice job.
Chuck
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #36 - Jun 26th, 2017 at 11:27pm
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Thanks, Chuck. I appreciate that coming from a master gunmaker.
  
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Re: Bullard / Stevens ?
Reply #37 - Jun 27th, 2017 at 2:34am
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RJM wrote on Jun 22nd, 2017 at 11:07pm:
Most likely, brass being easier to machine, it was preferred for trying out new ideas.

Regards,
Ron


Also would not require the long hours of heat treatment that is necessary to make a malleable iron casting.
  

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