Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1211: Engraved William Billinghurst Percussion Target Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Documented Civil War Era Engraved William Billinghurst Percussion Sharpshooter/Target Rifle with Scope

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Documented Civil War Era Engraved William Billinghurst Percussion Sharpshooter/Target Rifle with Scope

Manufacturer: Billinghurst William
Model: Percussion Target
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 40
Barrel: 31 inch octagon
Finish: brown/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 618
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 93
Class: Antique

This rifle is featured on page 429 of "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume 3: Flintlock Alterations and Muzzleloading Percussion Shoulder Arms, 1840-1865" by George Moller as an example of the rifles made by William B. Billinghurst of Rochester, New York, and used by Civil War sharpshooters. Moller notes, "The majority of sharpshooters' telescopic rifles used in the Civil War by Union forces were privately owned arms brought into service by their owners when they entered federal or state military service. Sharpshooters' telescopic rifles became legend as snipers equipped with these rifles in fixed positions not uncommonly dealt death to the enemy at ranges exceeding 800 yards." The heavy barrel is marked "W. BILLINGHURST/ROCHESTER. NY." on top, "2" on the lower right, and "CAST STEEL" on the lower left and is mounted with a full-length scope with rear mount marked "R. HASKELL/PAINESVILLE O." The other metal components have scroll engraving. The upper tang has a second empty scope/sight mounting tap probably used for a peep sight. An oval "crown/AF" (Auguste Francotte) and a "2T" marking are inside the lock. The rifle has an adjustable single set trigger. The included false muzzle and brass starter are unmarked. "GDM" is lightly marked by the toe. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Very fine as professionally restored with nearly all of the brown and casehardened finishes remaining, some mild pitting on the bottom of the barrel in the ramrod groove, and generally minor overall wear. The stock is fine and has a crack on the left side at the junction with the frame, mild scratches and dings, and minor edge wear. The optics are functional but would benefit from cleaning. Mechanically excellent.

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