This model was the fanciest deluxe grade of the Marlin Ballard rifle line and only a small number are believed to have been manufactured, circa 1878 to 1887. These rifles were generally made to the customer's specifications and surviving examples are encountered with numerous variations. "Every part made with the greatest care and finished in the highest possible style," read a period advertisement. Engravings alone could set a customer back as much as $50 extra. The receiver has highly attractive hand engraved factory scrollwork along with "Ballard A1" on the left side and "Long Range" on the right side. Scrollwork extends to the raised barrel ribs located at the breech, and an engraved band decorates the barrel at the muzzle. The left side of the frame has the two-line Marlin New Haven address/Ballard patent marking. The barrel is numbered to the gun. Fitted with a windage adjustable front sight with spirit level and long range Vernier tang peep sight. The checkered forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured select walnut. The forearm has a horn cap. The buttstock has the factory sight mounting base at the heel of the checkered hard rubber buttplate. This rifle is pictured and identified in John Dutcher's "Ballard: The Great American Single Shot Rifle" on page 253, and according to Dutcher, this is the lowest recorded serial numbered Extra Grade rifle known. Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection
Fine. The barrel retains 60% original blue finish fading to an attractive plum along with some pitting under the forearm. The receiver retains patterns of silvered out original case colors, otherwise faded to gray. The engraving is crisp. The wood is also fine with some minor dings and scratches and crisp checkering overall. Mechanically excellent. A highly attractive Marlin Ballard No. 7 A-1 Extra Long Range Rifle documented in the definitive book on the subject that will be a welcomed addition to any single shot rifle collection.
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