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Joined: Nov 2014
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AZSkibo Offline OP
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Greetings and salutations. Long time reader, new poster. I've done what background research I could, have ordered the British Riflemakers book, etc. after having recently acquired a very nice E.M. Reilly in .500 (3") BPE. looking for information as to approximate year of manufacture and a value if possible. S/N: 20808. Marked 'EM Reilly & Co., London on left and right locks, E.M. Reilly &Co. New Oxford St, London (left barrel); & Rue Scribe, Paris (right barrel). Rebounding hammers, two folding leaf express sights (100, 200 yds). Side lever action. Extremely clean bores, crisp rifling. Fully engraved. The inset initial medallion in the stock is blank (I assume where the original owner's initials would go). Any help would certainly be appreciated!

Last edited by AZSkibo; 11/19/14 02:09 PM.
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AZSkibo Offline OP
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I understand (assume?) that the Paris storefront closed in 1872 so this gun would therefore be made on or before then. Would like a relative value for insurance purposes though.

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Welcome, AZSkibo - I've got two E M Reilly double rifles in .500BPE. The first has serial # 18766 and the second #18954. Like yours, mine are extensively engraved and in wonderful condition, bores and all. The earlier one has Damascus barrels and the latter rust blue. I'd be interested in learning the composition of your barrels.

According to the only reference I've been able to find, Volume 3 of Nigel Brown's BRITISH GUNMAKERS, it appears you're in the same vague situation I am. That is, your Reilly as well as my two are listed as being made sometime between the years 1868 and 1875.

The first serial number listed in this range is 16,273 with the last being 20,827.

Both of my rifles have the same London and Paris addresses on the barrels. I'm interested in your source regarding the closing of the Paris "storefront" closing in 1872. Brown makes the following statement; "There was a Paris branch in the Rue Scribe certainly in the 1870s and 1880s."

The title of your first post is "YET ANOTHER Reilly (.500 BPE). This leads me to believe that you perhaps have another Reilly if not more. Is this so? I'd be very interested in hearing about any other you may own.

Best Regards - Marc (Krakow Kid)

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AZSkibo Offline OP
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Marc- from another post on Reilly's on this board (http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=283480),
Birdog noted:
"From 1870 to 1874 E M Reilly & Co traded from both 502 New Oxford Street and 315 Oxford Street, and in 1869 Edward started trading as E M Reilly et Cie at 2 Rue Scribe, Paris; reportedly, this shop closed in 1872."

In the same text, there was a later shop in Paris:
"At some time between 1884 and 1898 E M Reilly opened another shop in Paris, this time at 29 Rue du Faubourg, St Honore. When it closed is not known."

As mine is marked Rue Scribe I must assume it is made prior to 1872 though perhaps the serial numbers dictate otherwise? Who knows? I believe the barrels to be Damascus but I haven't inspected that closely. It's certainly not nitro-proofed.

If you don't kind me asking, what do you think a decent market value on your two would be? I need to get an insurance rider for mine but I don't know what to put as a replacement or fair market value.

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You guys have me wondering now. I too have a Reilly in 500 BPE with a Paris address. I will have to look and then check the SN too. I can't add anything but I'll watch to see what you fella's learn.


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AZSkibo - I sent you a PM

Also, regarding the date of your gun's manufacture. The information (from Nigel Brown) I gave you yesterday still holds, in all probability, true. Your double rifle, as the serial# indicates, was made between 1868 and 1875.

The storefront selling E M Reilly wares at the 2 Rue Scribe Paris address opened in 1869 and closed in 1872.

This means your dr could have been built sometime in the years 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871 or 1872. I don't see a problem accepting the information culled by Nigel Brown.

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AZSkibo Offline OP
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Thanks for the info and the PM. I'll see about getting some high red shots of her shortly. Aside from some minor use marks, which I think inevitable given she's 140 years old, she's definitely the nicest and certainly most interesting firearms I've come across. Previous owner has her regulated to 100yds on a very light smokeless load and gas checked bullets. I have concerns about the reliability of such a light load in the positively cavernous case of the .500BPE as well as the use of non-patched bullets in the Henry rifling. I'm going to start working up a proper load over the holidays using patched bullets and 3F based on my experiences with a C Sharps 45-90 (45- 2 4/10").

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Before you build up any loads I strongly suggest that You get Graheme Wright's book "Shooting the British Double Rifle" With most smokeless loads use filler, either backer rod or Dacron. If not you could ring the chamber with a single shot!

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AZSkibo Offline OP
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Appreciate the heads up but as previously stated, I'll be using black. Not nitro for black, loads. I've never liked smokeless in these cavernous cases and I'm not interested in the effect that burning various fillers may have in this old gal.

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There really aren't any effects from using fillers and they do not burn during firing.

n right also speaks of using black powder with these. The main reason that you should consider the book is to understand how the DR really works during firing. I read mine thru several times at first, I still refer to it once in a while.


Cal Pappas also has a new book out, "The Double Rifle Primer" That I also would recommend.

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