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Thread: Thinking about building a NC state rifle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    176

    Default Thinking about building a NC state rifle

    I am thinking about building a Mendenhall, Jones, & Gardner Rifle and would like to know other forum member's opinions on the feasibility of the project. I'm thinking about starting with a Remington 1863 "Zouave" Rifle, and making the following modifications:
    Brand new stock, take a Dunlap 1863 without patchbox and flat buttplate
    Grind and re stamp, and color case harden (did they color case harden the locks? the pictures seem to indicate yes)
    Remove barrel modern markings, re stamp, rust blue
    Replace rear sight with m1841 sight
    Replace lock escutcheons with Enfield escutcheons
    New, flat buttplate
    Replace rammer with all steel m1841 type
    re contour barrel bands

    Would the following rifle resemble a MJ&G rifle or am I fighting a lost cause? And what would the market be for such a weapon?

    I welcome your thoughts.
    Tim Surprenant
    Holmes' Brigade
    Old Northwest Volunteers
    A/35th Engineer Battalion

    Camp Randall Armory
    Maker of Contractor Lockplates for M1861 Rifle-Muskets
    www.camprandallarmory.com

  2. #2

    Default

    Hallo!

    An interesting question to ponder.

    IMHO...

    First, much depends upon one's skills and tools.
    Second, much depends upon one's vision or mental picture of how "close,' "exact," degree of resemblance or similarity one has to have or can live without when it comes to accuracy in general and details present specifically.
    Third, is the availability or parts that can be modified or altered to be Mendenhall, Jones & Gardner North Carolina Contract rifles of any of the four "types."

    Let's see. In really brief...

    Type I's had .50 seven groove barrels.
    1862, 1863, and 1864 Type II's, III's, and IV's were .577 with seven grooves
    Buttplates were iron and flat, some had a VERY slight curve.

    Type II's are essentially M1841 copies minus the patchbox and with heavy brass barrel bands similar to the U.S. M1855 Rifle Type I (colored and brass mounted) and with an M1855 R Type I nose cap but shortened to roughly 13/16th inches nominally.
    Most have an M1841 hammer, but some appear to have a slightly "lighter" version. I believe the bands may have possibly come from the Fayetteville Harpers Ferry rifle works.

    1863-1864 Type III rifles are similar to Type II's but changed over to Enfield style lock screw escutcheons and somewhere during production they switched over to an Enfield style hammer.

    1864 Type IV rifles added a two leaf rear sight to replace the M1841 style 'Kentucky" block rear sight.

    And last, are the varied and sundry stock, barrel, and particularly lock stampings M, J & G used such as "M.J.& G N.C. C.S. and date. "MJ&G" over "N.C." forward of the hammer, to the rear of the hammer "C.S." over '1862' or "1863" or :1864."

    Still in brief....

    I believe but not check, that reproduction original brass M1855 Rifle Type I barrel bands and brass nose caps are still available. I am not so sure M1841 rear band and nose cap could be made to work.

    The larger issue would be the MJ&G flat iron butt plate. I do not have a repro "Zouave" handy to look at, to see whether say a repro M1842 butt plate could be ground/filed down to work. Or whether you have the skill or tools to maybe bend and hammer sheet steel into a MJ&G butt plate or not.

    MJ&G's were finished bright. As with Springfield and Harpers Ferry armor arms, lock plates and hammers were case hardened. BUT, the hardening was to harden iron to prevent wear and screw holes striping out, not to have color- so any color was removed when struck bright (The exception being the U.S. Model 1863 RM).

    A market? IMHO, hard to say. MJ&G made over 2300, of which 2,239 were accepted into service. In the "scheme of representative numbers" that makes them a pretty rare choice. And that is NOT getting into mainstream reenacting's common 'two bander" bans, etc.

    IMHO still, due to the iron butt plate issue, you may be better or more easily off looking any of the other Confederate M1841 clones that are essentially M1841 Rifles minus the patchbox, M1855, late rear sights (or M1841 block), and with M1855 Type I brass bands and nose cap (Fayetteville too).

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Bedford, Virginia
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Boyd Miles

    I dream of a world where a chicken can cross a road without having its motives called into question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Atlantic Beach, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 31stWisconsin View Post
    And what would the market be for such a weapon?

    I welcome your thoughts.
    Are you thinking of going into business? I think there is a limited market for these rifles. I'd be interested but only because I'm a Tar Heel. If selling is the main concern, I'd suggest creating something different like the Lorenze rifle. If you kept it less than the cost of a new car then I think you'd sell quite a few. If you're just interested in NC rifles, I'd suggest the Fayetteville. Locks, hammers, barrels, and stocks are more easily found for that one, it should be an easier project, and there probably would be more of a market for it
    Kevin Barnes
    Co I 6th NCST

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    10

    Default Fayetteville Repros

    If you do go in business AND do it "right", you'll have folks lining up for Fayettevilles, especially us Tar Heels. As a Fayettevillian, reenactor, Soldier, and husband of a history teacher-historian, you can bet I'll be one of your first customers if you offer them. Keep us posted!


    Todd Vajner
    22nd NCT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default

    I recently made a J.P. Murray rifle. I went a similar route (sort of). I found a Euroarms JP Murray carbine at a gun show at a very good price. I robbed the lock assy, butt plate, and trigger assy. Added a Whitacre Mississippi barrel, 55 brass bands , Zouave nosecap and a Dunlap Confederate Mississippi stock blank. This stock is a standard 1841 stock without the patchbox and side plate inlet.
    This is the stock I would go with if you do decide to go forward with the M.J.&G. Also S&S out of New York offers a buttplate for the 1841 Cadet rifle that you could use. It's a steel Mississippi type buttplate without patchbox inlet and the dimensions are about the same. I would have to check some reference material but I think some of the M.J&G's used a steel butt plate that was flat stock applied to the stock while very hot.
    If you can get your hands on a copy of "Confederate Rifles and Muskets" by Murphey and Madaus I would highly recommend it, as Kurt has already mentioned the M.J.&G. have alot of variation through their production.

    http://www.n-ssa.org/vbforum/showthr...t=Murray+rifle
    Last edited by GPM; 12-22-2013 at 10:51 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Here is a link to the butt plate

    http://www.ssfirearms.com/proddetail.asp?prod=51S6

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    176

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. I am trying to start a gun making business, and I am starting small (with my lockplates)and working my way up to more ambitious projects. While a Fayetteville would be more desirable, the appeal of the MJ&G is the fact that I can use a barrel and lock from a Zouave Rifle. I do think I will go ahead with this project when I get back from my winter vacation and the weather warms up a bit.
    Tim Surprenant
    Holmes' Brigade
    Old Northwest Volunteers
    A/35th Engineer Battalion

    Camp Randall Armory
    Maker of Contractor Lockplates for M1861 Rifle-Muskets
    www.camprandallarmory.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Atlantic Beach, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Please still consider the Lorenze rifle. The world needs a good repro of that. If you can figure out how to build that and not have to charge $2500 then you will sell them. Good luck with your new business
    Kevin Barnes
    Co I 6th NCST

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Wheaton, IL
    Posts
    2,388

    Default

    And in a more reasonable bore..... .69 unrifled just not acceptable....
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

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