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Joined: Jun 2007
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Sidelock
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I recently acquired a Charles Lancaster hammerless Double Rifle
SN 7417 and have ordered a letter from wharton@bunduki.co.uk.
It has a boxlock toplever action and is approximately .45 caliber with 30 inch barrels and a swamped top rib w/ 3 leaf express sights and double scope mounts.

It is marked on the left barrel: "CHARLES LANCASTER 151 NEW BOND st. LONDON" on the right is marked: "NON-FOULING SMOOTH OVAL BORE RIFLING" on the floor plate is marked: "PATENT BLOCK SAFETY"

Does anyone here know the approximate age of this gun and the approximate current value? I know quite a bit about shotguns but very little about English Double Rifles.

Best Regards, George


To see my guns go to www.mylandco.com Select "SPORTING GUNS " My E-Mail palmettotreasure@aol.com
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George,
Many people shy away from the "Oval Bore" Lancasters just because they are such an anomaly.
Condition will be the determining factor IMO.

Black powder proofed. right?
I will check your website for pictures.

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George,

Lancasters oval bore rifling predates breechloaders and was used initially on artillery, by the 1850's he had experimentally rifled the British Military Enfield .577 cal muzzleloader, some of which were taken into service. Oval bores also made good scores in long range target matches.

I have fired one of Lancasters four barrelled 'Pepperboxes' chambered for the .455" British service pistol round, it was quite a hefty beast but recoil was minimal, it was quick to reload as well. Many people without sufficient knowledge believe that some of these weapons are in fact shotguns, nothing could be further from the truth. Quite a mechanical genious was Mr. Lancaster

Your double rifle could have been made at any time in the last 35 or so years of the 19th.C. The great advantage of the oval bore over any other form of rifling of course, was it was so easy to clean.

The value of your rifle does depend upon condition, but they are a scarce item and not a lot were made. I've only seen two in my 50+ years of shooting and both were in excellent condition.

As with most things, it's only worth what someone is willing to pay. It may be worth your while checking some of the Auction Sites to see what pricess are being made by similar rifles. Lancaster was a top class maker.

Harry


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Thank you Huvius and Harry. I am awaiting the card copy and letter from Margarita who says that they have my gun's records in their file. I hadn't thought about the ease of cleaning the bore. I have pictures now on my web site but they need to be downsized. The rifle appears to be in very good original condition. I am taking it to my gunsmith, Jim Kelly, tomorrow to see if he can determine the caliber and cartridge.

Best Regards, George


To see my guns go to www.mylandco.com Select "SPORTING GUNS " My E-Mail palmettotreasure@aol.com
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George,
A Lancaster catalogue from the early 20s announced the end of oval bore rifling. The increased velocity of smokeless ammunition was apparently too much for the oval bore to ensure accuracy.

Until then, plenty of rifles shot very well with that technology.

Looked at your pix and the website blurb. Don't believe I'd call a .450 express something to use with dangerous game....

Regards, Tim

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I have to agree with Tim regarding the use of a .450 Express against dangerous game. The term 'Express' was used to denote the high velocity of the bullet. In the Black Powder days that high velocity was gained by reducing the bullet weight, the cartridge cases were already full up with powder.

Certainly it will kill large and dangerous game, but then so will a .22 rimfire if you place the bullet correctly, but no one but an idiot would try.

The .450 Express is fine for African thin skinned game but I wouldn't like to take on a large Brown, Grizzly or Polar Bear with it.

Harry

Last edited by Harry Eales; 09/09/10 12:22 PM.

Biology is the only science where multiplication can be achieved by division.
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I have a Lancaster bolt action made in 1911 in .280 Ross with an oval bore. It shoots surprisingly well with jacketed bullets,

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Don't forget Lancaster oval big bore rifling is suitable for bird shot shooting. If case is straigt and slightly cone, this is the right road to use bird shot loads.
Famous Russian traveller and reseacher Prejzevalsky used Lancaster oval bore DR made by Forester for both big wild animal and for small birds such grey partrige in Mongolia.


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Well I got the Charles Lancaster double rifle back from Jim Kelly, Darlington Gun Works, today. Jim has restored it to "as new" condition. I will be posting some pictures shortly. Does anyone know who holds the Lancaster records! I never received a response from wharton@bunduki.co.uk. Iwould like to know it's history and the exact caliber (it appears to be @ .45 caliber)A .410 shell is very loose and a 28 gauge will not go in.

Best Regards, George


To see my guns go to www.mylandco.com Select "SPORTING GUNS " My E-Mail palmettotreasure@aol.com
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George,

Might try a 32 gauge shell. Fiocchi makes them and, I believe, Midway sells them.

Exact caliber can be determined from a chamber cast. Get Jim Kelly to do one and use the comprehensive data in "Cartridges of the World" to tell what it is...

Look forward to your pix.

Regards, Tim

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