William Billinghurst Jr., Buggy Rifle, Shooter’s Box, Detachable Stock & Accessories
Medium Frame, 10-inch .28-caliber barrel, no serial number…
Measurement: Overall: 17.5”
Material: Beautifully grained walnut stock
Condition: Excellent, smooth mechanics; tight fissure to right side of wrist with very
early tiny wood pin
Additional Information: The firearm has a round/octagon barrel which was originally
blued. The blue has turned blue/brown with age, the tang retains about 80% original
case coloring. The sights are original, the front hooded sight retains its original glass
disk with center aiming dot. Excellent bore. Sparse but quality leaf-like engraving on
flats of top strap; screw securing strap is engraved; top strap displays two-line border
engraving. The depressed area on the rear tang provides space for the scope mounts
rotating elevation knob. ***One of the outstanding features is that the gun retains
an its original fine glass lens in the front sight with an aiming dot. (It is almost unheard of
that these survive.) The trigger mechanism is a cam which is beautifully designed to
securely cock and yet release with very little pressure.
The shooter’s case is made of tinned sheet iron and is typical of those found in New
England and New York State. Complete with accessories including bullet starter,
Billinghurst mold, flask (Riling #412) and Ely Brothers cap tin; Round labeled paper cap
box with label of Hicks Brothers of Waterbury, Connecticut…and a small period oilcan.
Bullet mold is unquestionably typical of Billinghurst and ONLY Billinghurst.
William Billinghurst Jr. 91842-1873) was the only son of the senior Billinghurst and
apprenticed in his father’s shop until he was 21. Then as an established journeyman it is
assumed that he continued to work for his father and evidently built a few guns on his
own. We know of two, one pictured in the Swinney book and this one [See “Reference”].
We assume that perhaps one or two more are out there, however his production was
very limited. Billinghurst Jr. died of consumption about 9 years after completing his
apprenticeship. He died without heirs, all his possessions went back to his father,
including the one completed gun pictured on page 260 [Swinney] which was then given
to Billinghurst Sr’s wife Caroline.
Reference: The New York State Firearms Trade by H.J. Swinney, Compiled by Tom
Rowe, Rochester, NY 2003. Pages 259 & 260.
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