DUAL IGNITION 1870s FRANK WESSON .42 Caliber Rifle with Heavy Octagonal Barrel
With Large Vernier Tang Mounted Peep Sight!
Here we present an antique Dual Ignition Frank Wesson Two-Trigger Rifle in .42 Rimfire or Centerfire, made circa the 1870s in Worcester, Massachusetts. Frank Wesson was the younger brother of Daniel B. Wesson, of Smith & Wesson, as well as Edwin Wesson, who was also a highly-esteemed gunsmith in the mid-to-late-1800s. The fame of his family’s name was not lost on Frank as he was, in fact, a prolific firearms designer and maker in his own right. He was granted patents in 1859 and began producing rifles of this two-trigger configuration.
First patented in 1859 and sold as a sporting rifle before the start of the Civil War in calibers 32, 38, and 41 rimfire, Wesson added a military model with a 24-inch barrel and chambered it for .44 Rimfire. Later editions, such as this one, were further refined. This one has a spring-loaded (for retraction) manual extractor on the right side of the heavy octagonal barrel. It also includes a large Vernier style tang-mounted peep sight and the rear sight dovetail on the barrel has been filled with a removeable plug. This one also features a rimfire firing pin as well as a floating firing pin within the breech for dual ignition. This one’s chambering is difficult to identify but the groove to groove measurement is .420 inches, the chamber diameter .447 inches, and the length of the chamber to the rifling is 1.645 inches. Apparently, Wesson favored some interesting and now rare cartridges. This appears to have been one of them.
The overall condition is fine. Nicely refinished. Bright, sharply rifled bore. Robust action. This example is tight at the hinge. Solid walnut stock. A great example of these scarce and unique rifles with a plains rifle aesthetic!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 30-1/2 inches.
Caliber: .42 Rimfire or Centerfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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