Original U.S. Marlin Ballard Patent Large Bore Special Order High End Sharpshooter's Rifle made in 1866

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. This has to be seen and handled to be justly appreciated. It is in really excellent condition, and comes fully Factory engraved with Deer and Buffalo/Bison featured on either side of the frame. It bears serial number 12308 on the bottom front of the receiver, indicating 1886 manufacture. The MASSIVE Octagonal heavily blued barrel is 28 3/4" in length, with an added 1 3/4" round front section made from bright steel, which actually is a "false muzzle" or muzzle protector.

At first we weren't sure what it was, but after a very kind customer emailed us, we were able to pull the cap off and see for ourselves. This device was made to allow muzzle loading of the rifle, while at the same time protecting the front of the barrel and the main bore of the gun. The first 1/2 inch of this muzzle protector is unrifled, while the rest is, and matches the rifling of the barrel perfectly. It is also keyed so that it cannot be installed incorrectly.

Muzzle loading a rifle like this would ensure maximum accuracy, making sure that the bullet was properly centered, as well as already engraved with the rifling pattern. A centerfire propellant cartridge would then be loaded to fire the bullet out of the barrel. Judging by the wear on the bore and action, this rifle can't have been fired more than few times during its life, as to be expected of a high end custom order target rifle for the connoisseur.

Overall length of the rifle is 48 inches, and the patent and maker information is marked on the side of the frame:


The action is a falling breech activated by a lever which acts also as the trigger guard which terminates in a checkered wood knob. The very well figured Walnut stock has a wonderful grain and is carved with a checkered pistol grip area. The German Silver horned Butt Plate is quite elaborate. The caliber is approximately .40-65 centerfire and could be any one of many variation depending of the preference of the special order customer. There is a fully adjustable long folding Vernier tang sight fitted directly behind the hammer and a Tunnel foresight which is fully adjustable with a knob on the right hand side. The barrel is VERY heavy, and there is even a threaded hole on the bottom front section, probably for rest for chunk gun shoot at 200 yards. Overall weight of the gun without the loading attachment is 12.55lbs, so this is not a light rifle.

Clearly an expensive high end Factory Engraved Sporting Rifle for a very discerning customer that is still in virtually original condition. Ready to research and display with pride!


Year of Manufacture: 1886
Caliber: .40-65 or variation of .40-65
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 28 3/4 Inches

Overall Length: 46 Inches
Action type: Exposed hammer falling block
Feed System: Single Shot.

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

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