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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I inherited this gun and I would like to restore it and place it by the fireplace. First of all I am totally ignorant about black powder guns. I am not even sure that this is a real gun or a replica. I don’t see a hammer that would fire, but maybe it’s missing.

Can you help and give me some clues in identifying this beast? Thanks.
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Its, now, a percussion rifle. Its missing its lockwork.
 

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Ok, This is what I have found.

MERRILL FIREARMS CO.— Baltimore, Md., 1864-67. Operated by James H. Merrill. Manufacturers of carbines, rifle and sporting arms using the Merrill system of breech-loading by a lever type breech-block. Merrill was associated with Latrobe and Thomas in 1855 to about 1864, when the Merrill Firearms Company was formed. In addition to 170 Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas carbines purchased by the government July 26, 1855, at $35.00 each, 100 each of Merrill carbines, muskets and rifles were bought in 1859. During the Civil War, 14,695 Merrill carbines and 583 rifles were purchased by the government. In addition many thousands of muzzle loading rifles Model 1841, and rifled muskets were changed to the Merrill system. The firm ceased operations in 1869. While muzzle loading arms are known to have been altered to the Merrill system in Baltimore it is believed that the Merrill rifles and carbines were made for the firm by Remingtons.
MERRILL, James H.— Baltimore, Md., about 1852-64. Inventor, pat entee and maker of Merrill breech-loading system carbines. Associated with Latrobe and Thomas, 1855-64. See Merrill Fire arms Co.
Merrill, James H.; Merrill Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co.—Merrill, a gunsmith of Baltimore, began about 1852. He received the following patents: January 8,1856, breech-loader, produced by Remington and later known as the Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas; July 20, 1858, method of converting muzzle-loaders. About 14,000 arms converted by the government on this system; April 8, 1861, breech-loader, with action changes covered by patents of May 28, 1861 ; October 22, 1861 ; December 8, 1863; produced by the Brown Mfg. Co., Newburyport, Mass., and called the Brown-Merrill. During the period January 1, 1861, to June 30, 1866, the government had purchased 14495 carbines and 583 rifles, paying $398,685.13.
 

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could you take a pic of the top of the breech. Would like to see if this is an early breech loader that Merrill designed. He was famous for carbines and there are a lot of those out there. He also adapted regular muskets to the breech loading system. When I first saw your pics, my first thought was Green Mountain Hawken (the trigger guard) but the side plate says this is a Merrill.
 

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I don't think it's a breech loading conversion, they have a rather large lever type looking thing that's on top of the breech area that lifts up and you load through the top of the rifle
 

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It isn't a breech loading conversion. It is a muzzle loading percussion rifle. It is possible that Merrill may have repaired it and replaced the lockplate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here is the top of the breech. What I like to do is to remove the barrel from the stock for refinishing. I see about four screws that have to come out but probably I will encounter some stubbornness. I suppose I can refinish it without removal but, if possible, I would prefer to remove it.

I was looking for a serial or model number so that I can do some Googling but there are none. Thanks for clarifying the name and description. I am assuming this is a 1841 model.

One more thing. I wonder if the missing lock-work can be found. Not because I want to be able to fire it, but it would be just for show.
 

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I have done extensive searchs of Merrill guns and cannot fine anything that comes close to looking like this. I'm incline to agree with Mike that this may have been something that he repaired for someone. You may be able to find a lock that would fit or be fitted. This rifle resembles a Hawken so maybe you can get a lock from one of them to fit.
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Does this picture suggest to anyone else that this particular rifle started life as a flintlock?

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