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  1. #1
    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    1873 Trapdoor - The Cattywampus Special

    Well folks,
    Bud Light and an auction atmosphere may have gotten me into trouble tonight.
    This thing sure looked nicer at the auction house.
    You may notice from the pictures that nothing is lined up the way it should be, the metal looks "odd," and there's no marks on the sideplate.
    So what the heck do I have here? Give it to me straight. I can take it
    I'm certainly at a loss!
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    Last edited by rcathey; 06-11-2018 at 10:05 PM.

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  3. #2
    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    It's a "Bitsa"

    The expression "Bannermann Special" * comes to mind. In other words, it's a "bitsa" - bits of this and bits of that.

    The breech plug/tang is not properly aligned to the "shoe"= receiver (the bit with the trapdoor). Furthermore (can't quite tell from the photos) the receiver may not be properly aligned with the barrel. And you don't know why that is so. Which is a major argument for it being a bitsa that was assembled by an incompetent person.

    It looks as if it needs to be a couple of degrees tighter. Do NOT simply try to tighten it up to achieve alignment. In your situation, I would remove the breech plug from the receiver and (if misaligned) the receiver from the barrel and examine the screw threads on plug, receiver and barrel, looking for burrs. Use engineers blue (a.ka. micrometer blue) to show up any highspots on the mating faces that may need to be levelled - preferably with a diamond lap. When you are satisfied that all components are clean and undamaged, then lightly lubricate the threads ( a smear of thick oil or thin grease) and assemble by hand. If they reach the same position again without undue force (i.e. it should not require a cheater bar on the wrench), then you can tighten up the last couple of degrees in order to achieve proper alignment.

    The most difficult aspect of this operation is holding the tang without marring it. You need a wrench setup that avoids putting pressure on the top edges (the edges that are visible when the rifle is assembled) as that will spoil them. Since wrenches usually have parallel jaws, that means a very careful setup with a small steel wedge...!!! It's tricky, and I really, really dislike those tapered tang profiles.

    *The US equivalent of a Khyber Pass Special !! - Bannermann (and others) bought up redundant and scrapped Trapdoor components from Springfield (hence unmarked lockplates etc.) and assembled them into rifles that were frequently passed off as originals. This misuse eventually resulted in a stop of such component sales by the arsenal.
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 05-01-2018 at 07:28 AM.

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  6. #3
    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Well that settles that! Thanks! Looks like a project to keep me busy

    What do you make of that rear sight? I couldnít find anything that matched it.

  7. #4
    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcathey View Post
    Well that settles that! Thanks! Looks like a project to keep me busy

    What do you make of that rear sight? I couldn’t find anything that matched it.
    It looks like some kind of a volley sight from a Rolling Block. I've seen one before, and am this very minute busting a few brain cells to recall where.

    BTW: Since what you have is obviously not a collector's piece, you should look to make the best shooter out of it that you can. Start off with the action I recommended in the previous post, while I continue to search....
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 05-01-2018 at 02:25 PM.

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  9. #5
    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    I most certainly will!
    It fills a gap in the collection so I'll piddle with it here and there as time goes on.
    Any other tips and advice you can give will be very much appreciated.

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    Really Senior Member butlersrangers's Avatar
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    I agree with Patrick that it looks like a 'rolling-block' rear sight, but, I can't place it.

    Spanish and Danishicon rolling-block sights seem to have the 'volley-notch' on the left. Swedishicon rolling-block 'volley-notch' is on right, but, styling is different.

    The "A" inside a Diamond (mark) is not ringing a bell.

    FWIW - (Oviedo) Spanish rolling-block sight and OP's sight:

    Last edited by butlersrangers; 05-01-2018 at 03:36 PM.

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    Really Senior Member butlersrangers's Avatar
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    Now I can sleep tonight!

    OP's sight is for Albini-Braedlin rifle.


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  13. #8
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    You da man!
    At least that answers that question!!

  14. #9
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    Thanks Butlersrangers, and now I can sleep as well !

    BTW, for anyone who would like to increase their knowledge of the less common types of old banger, browse around on this fascinating site

    Albini-Braendlin

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  16. #10
    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Little update here followed by good news. Since I had the gun apart for the pics I went to cleaning it. Grabbed ahold of the barrel and it twisted right off in my hands. That was kind of the nail in the coffin so I put the parts up for sale, made a few bucks, and helped about 5 other collectors get their rifles going. Allís well that ends well, I figure.
    Now for the mind blowing news. I found another at the same auction house tonight. And itís considerably less cattywampus. Boreís pretty smooth but the stock is full length, stamps are clear, and all in all an amazing STEAL for what I paid. I love auctions. Pictures are coming. Thanks for all the advice on the Cattywampus!


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