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Joined: Nov 2014
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Sidelock
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I think the engraving is very nice. I think the rifle is a Neidner.
I seem to remember seeing it offered at auction or on Gun Broker before, and having trouble making $1000, because of the unusual wildcat cartridge which lacks even loading data in the usual references.

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Don't know who made it but a clue may be hand engraved on the top of the left action rail.
In the last pic,,the one that shows the hand engraved caliber marking,,you can see just the last couple of letters engraved on the top of the left rail of the action.
A makers name perhaps?

That caliber marking on the bbl is very well done, something not always the case even when simple Block or Roman letters are chosen.

I'd almost throw in a guess that the engraver was Jos Fugger,,at least of the floor plate.
He did so many different styles and this was one of them. The Bison head is featured on some of his other work.
But that doesn't pin it down to that person of course as the style and that figure could have been done by any number of capable artists.

The floor plate engraving is quite involved if you enlarge it and study it. The Bison figure is in an oval, nothing different there.
But the oval is surrounded by broad shaded rolled scrolls and a pedestal device an each side of it as if the figure pushed it way out of the background.
A lot more to it than just the cut scroll work flowing outward from there.

The trigger guard area looks blank, or the picture didn't pick up any of the engraving there.
27" bbl doesn't look out of place on it. Maybe the length is a metric thing, the rifle being made up by a European gunsmith type.

The 1/4 rib & sights does remind me of a Hoffman too.
Worth 5K?,,I don't know. I guess it is as someone payed that for it.
I'm forever being told that Golden Law of 'What's it Worth'.
I certainly would have payed $1000 had I seen it for sale somewhere.

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Plenty of candidates for the maker:

"The original 400 Whelen was developed by a group of experienced and knowledgable men back in the 1920's. Townsend Whelen, James V. Howe and barrel maker Adolph O. Nieder. I believe that Fred Adolph, who developed the 30 Adolph express, later called the 30 Newton, was also involved in this project. The caliber was a brain child of Whelen, the rifles made by Howe and the barrels were made and installed by Nieder. There is some evidence that Whelen and Adolph corresponded on the 38 Whelen, which died away after Winchester discontinued the 275 grain 38-72 bullet, and likely corresponded on the 400 as well. Of course the rifle makers of Griffin&Howe and Hoffman were involved in making many rifles for Whelen designed cartridges."

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/18621-The-400-Whelen

Clearly, there were two guys who thought they knew what it was.

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Still looking for the Cape Buffalo... Where do they get these guys?

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Originally Posted By: Kutter

Worth 5K?,,I don't know. I guess it is as someone payed that for it.
I'm forever being told that Golden Law of 'What's it Worth'.
I certainly would have payed $1000 had I seen it for sale somewhere.



Hammer price was $5500, plus 20% commission, $6600 plus tax and shipping.


My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.
- Errol Flynn
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This is a very nice rifle which I too was hoping to pick up under the radar so to speak.
Also, I think I have a pretty good idea of its origins.
There was another fine rifle in the auction that, although a different sort of rifle, helped me to reach my conclusion.
Lot #360 is a Webley & Scott Mauser 300H&H Magnum.
Superb rifle, and I knew I had seen that style before somewhere.
After thinking about it, I remembered seeing that very rifle offered in the 1931 Stoeger catalog.
There it was! Pictured exactly as the rifle in the auction.
Webley & Scott rifle - square bridge magnum Mauser, H&H cocking piece peep, everything original and correct right down to the sling!
Of course, that one rallied at the auction to a price too much to consider.
So, back to the 400.
Also in that very catalog, right in the front, is a section devoted to Col. Townsend Whelen.
On offer are stocking to Whelen's specifications, accessories to his specs (grip caps, butt plates, etc.)all of which are applied to the rifle in question.
The following pages are devoted to the engraving offered by Stoeger.
Stoeger employed master engravers at the time and offered some very impressive work. The catalog shows five floorplate designs but also remarks that anything could be engraved to the customer's instruction.
It's my belief that what we are looking at is a custom rifle ordered straight from Stoeger.
They certainly had the talent in house to build the rifle and that would explain the various styling cues applied to the rifle as well as the omission of any mark or signature of the maker or engraver.
Its easy to get caught up in attributing work to single particular craftsmen or makers. I do it too - "boy, engraving sure looks like Kornbrath... stock must be Adolph...got to be a Hoffman!" especially when bidding at auction - hope springs eternal as they say.
Superb rifle none the less.

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PhysDoc Offline OP
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Would you please post some relevant pictures from the catalog.

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First, here is the ad and auction picture of the Webley & Scott 300H&H





Now, to the 400.

Here, the general outline of the rifles is apparent.
The one major difference is the quarter rib on the auction rifle.
The Stoeger ad is for a Springfield of course, but the same stocking and features were offered for Mausers, Winchesters, Enfields etc.






Here, examples of the engraving Stoeger offered.



A comparison of the catalog style and the rifle.
Of course, there would be variations as to the subject and which engraver was actually doing the work, but one thing I noticed is the use of scrolls, as in paper scrolls, and a rope border framing the animal as well as the treatment around the floorplate release button.








Here, the buttplate style and trap are very similar. The swivels on the auction rifle are referred to as detachable "as recommended by Col. Whelen" in the catalog.
The grip cap was offered engraved with a trap if desired.





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Nice bit of deduction and correlation to known offerings. I would suspect you are spot on the money. Comparing the features of the W&S along with the engraving styles offered in Stoeger's catalog would/will probably be the only confirmation you will get. Regardless, a beautiful rifle that was on my watch list as I am sure it was on many others. Congrats.
Thaine


It ain't ignorance that does the most damage, it's knowing so derned much that ain't so! J. Billings
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I didnĺt get either of these rifles although I did place what ended up being meager bids.
Both of these rifles were two of the better bolt guns in the auction but went for close to full retail in my opinion.

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