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If the cartridge shown above is the proper one for the rifle, it is neither 577 Snider nor 577- 3 1/4". Rather, it is 577- 2 3/4", it seems the confusion results from measuring the overall length instead of the case length to arrive at the longer designation. The idea that 577 Snider may have been the original chambering has at least, some merit. Cape guns bound for South Africa were very often chambered for the military cartridge at the time, which would be available for issue if the owner were "called up" for service. After the service cartridge changed to 577/450, the owner may have decided to rechamber to a more powerful cartridge, or a subsequent owner may have. This is speculation based upon reasonable assumptions.
Mike

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Argo44 Offline OP
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Thank you gentlemen. The Canadian owner added this: "The British contribution may be correct or not, regarding the cartridge . I have the 577 BPS 3 1/4[overall length, the brass is 2 3/4 in] and it is correct [although it is a Nitro cartridge, same size]."

It looks like the rifle cartridge is the correct size. But the gun was not proofed for nitro when it was rechambered, which in and of itself would date the conversion to between 1887 and 1896. I still can't help him much on value....It looks a rare gun but not collectible?

Last edited by Argo44; 11/07/22 02:09 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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Originally Posted by Argo44
As unsual Mr. Para is right about the 13. Here are pictures. 12c is in the diamond. Based on this I'd estimate the gun were bought in 1884. Sometime after 1887 the rifle barrels was rechambered and the shotgun barrel honed out. The shotgun barrel measures .724 at the muzzle. But it it were honed to .729, that would mean there is .005 of choke.


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Here is the Canadian owne'rs story of the gun and some more details.

The 18 is actually a 13 and the square appears to be 12 over 6 or c ? . As for the s/n on the sg it looks like it was upside down and then re-stamped [these pics show better] . The bore size at muzzle is .724 in [cyl bore ?]. Also originally there were addresses on the barrels , but i do not recall which one. Now for the rest of the story.

I acquired this old gun at least 10 years ago from a very elderly lady whose husband had been gone many years. He was originally of English origin and this gun was his parents/grandparents . The story she told me was that his relatives had left England and had purchased this Cape gun to go and live in South Africa . After some time they moved to Canada . The gun was mostly discarded and lived in an outdoor shed for over 40 years and was eventually stored in a closet in the house that she lived when i got it. The condition was terrible. The stock was completely broken off behind the trigger guard and the action and hammers were rusted almost solid. It took me months of soaking and building screwdrivers to fit he screws.The barrels and parts were soaked in a liquid i got from a gunsmith here which removed a great deal of the surface rust basically leaving it black . Before this the only indicator of the Damascus was under the forearm. I was then able to locate a fellow who uses a method similar to the one featured in the Double gun Journal to restore the finish on the barrels. This is when the addresses were lost as well as some loss of material at the rear of the barrel fillet.

Looking at these two images, it is not apparent to me that this cartridge fits this rifle. The cartridge is way off center in the chamber and the rim looks to be almost the size of the chamber walls. The Snider and .577 both share a case head with the 24 gauge. I am remembering when I bought the gun I mentioned. It was adverised as "likely a 577 Snider". but turned out after much research to be a bore round of 20ga x 1-5/8" (actually 20 ga x 40mm) a german round. Turns out there is a whole series of these at varying lengths.
It would be of interest to slug the bore of the rifle barrel. I think that it would be more likely to be a 577 of some sort, but it really looks like an awfully sloppy fit. The Snider I believe ended military service in 1872. I have an 1872 commercial BSA Snider carbine. It has a very tight bore and shoots a 570 round ball best. The cape gun I bought has a bore near that and shoots a 16 ga ball best. I use .660 balls in it. With a longer case it would have substantial power. If it were mine, I would quickly check to see if a standard 20 gauge hull will go in the chamber, then slug the barrel with a couple of round balls to see what fits. You should be able to source 570,600 and 660 to try.

Last edited by AGS; 11/07/22 02:35 PM.
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Whoops, I made a typo. I use 16 ga balls in the gun, but they are not full 660 bore size. They are balls designed for use in a choked 16 ga. They fit tightly in a 20 gauge brass case and expand into the rifling of the barrel.

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Thanks, I've passed all this on to the owner. It is appreciated...and I learned a lot too.


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Just as an aside, there is a Reilly on GunBroker right now, ser # 237xx that makes this one look infired. Looks to be heading toward $150 when the smoke clears.

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The 577 Snider is notorious for being loaded with bullets undersized compared to the barrels. The first ones were conversions of the 58 caliber Enfield, which used the 58 caliber Minie bullet that was considerably smaller than even the bore diameter (much less the groove diameter). The reason the Minie bullet worked in the percussion Enfield was because the black powder charge caused the hollow base's skirt to obturate to fit the groove diameter, with room for black powder residue. The original Snider bullet was likewise smaller than bore diameter and also depended upon obturation of the bullet to fit the barrel. Smokeless powder will not satisfactorily cause this obturation (with safe charges, at least). I found that even to cause ignition of light NFB loads in my converted Enfield I have to mechanically expand skirts of Minie bullets to at least .620" with a self-made punch and ring to limit the amount of expansion. This necessitates leaving the cases " as fired" and with a neck diameter larger than a "factory" cartridge, as observed by AGS above.
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The Reilly on Gunbroker is 23107. It's in bad shape.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

There are 5 Reilly's in the Holt's silent auction catalog. I am now up to 575 serial numbered Reilly guns whose parameters are known for the database on p.57 of the Reilly line. It stretches from SN 88 (1829) to 35678 (1911). This is out of about 33,000 serial numbered over the life of the firm. That is a healthy sampling for research purposes.

Last edited by Argo44; 11/08/22 07:24 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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