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A snapshot of Colt and Bullard history; the Farrow single-shot rifle
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April 14, 2024 - 2:55 pm
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This period of time truly fascinates me.  This includes not only Winchester, but Winchester’s competition and the atmosphere and times when all this occurred.  It I could take a time machine back and attend the early expositions, I guarantee I would enjoy myself.  I caught a reference to the December 1884 New Orleans Exposition.  In his fantastic book, Bullard Firearms, Scott Jamieson writes, “In late December 1884 the Bullard company had to duplicate a case of guns that went missing a month earlier in transit to the New Orleans Exposition.  Farrow, who had charge of the display, said the exposition was chaotic.  Colt also suffered a similar disaster.”

This sets my mind going.  First of all, Miles Farrow is a very interesting figure.  He was a very well-known and accomplished match shooter who traveled the country.  He worked for Bullard and during that time he was shooting and promoting Bullard rifles at matches.  His role at Bullard appears to have been beyond promoting the rifles but exact details are scant.  Farrow also designed his own rifle.  He’s an example Merz had:

https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/rifles/antique-rifles—single-shot/extremely-rare-farrow-arms-company-target-rifle.cfm?gun_id=100656884

A friend of mine recently purchased a .32 caliber bullet mold and mentioned it was for a Farrow design bullet.  

Reading about the popularity of match activity and the various single-shot rifles that were in use and under development, it’s very easy to understand why Winchester developed their single-shot.  

Back to those missing Bullards and Colts, I wonder what ever happened to them?  Surely they made their way into circulation.  It would be interesting to know the serial numbers.  

Truly an exciting era to read about.  

Edit:  let me clarify, during 1884, all of Farrow’s match shooting was done with Bullard repeating rifles.  The Bullard single-shot came along in 1885.  

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April 14, 2024 - 3:35 pm
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Thinking through the potential Winchester intersect, when Farrow was competing with his Bullard repeater in 1884, the only Winchesters he could have been competing against were the 1866, 1873, 1876 and the Hotchkiss.  I wonder if any of his competitors were equipped with a Winchester?  Maybe a M1873 1 of 1000? Smile

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April 14, 2024 - 3:56 pm
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I doubt a 1 of 1000 but maybe a Browning single shot?

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April 14, 2024 - 4:42 pm
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Long & mid-range match shooting in the period that began with the Creedmoor Match of 1874 was carried out almost exclusively with SSs built by Sharps, Rem, Ballard, Wesson, Maynard; Brits used their own rifles.  Never heard of repeaters of any make used in such matches, not that they would have been prohibited.  When Farrow competed in later Creedmoor matches (he won more than once), he used a Ballard. 

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April 14, 2024 - 5:07 pm
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Scott Jamieson’s most excellent book is available here VERY cheaply.  This is where I got my copy last month:

https://www.hamiltonbook.com/products/search?q=Bullard&cat_id=

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April 14, 2024 - 5:20 pm
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mrcvs said
Scott Jamieson’s most excellent book is available here VERY cheaply.  This is where I got my copy last month:

https://www.hamiltonbook.com/products/search?q=Bullard&cat_id=

  

That’s his second book – twice as thick as his first one.  That’s an amazing price for that book.  After reading the book, you can’t help but impressed with volume of research he did.  A significant fraction of a life I would estimate. Several of my Bullards are pictured in his second book. 

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April 14, 2024 - 6:45 pm
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steve004 said

That’s his second book – twice as thick as his first one.  That’s an amazing price for that book.  After reading the book, you can’t help but impressed with volume of research he did.  A significant fraction of a life I would estimate. Several of my Bullards are pictured in his second book. 

  

I have the first, which he sent me in thanks for some minor info I provided for what was supposed to be another book, on the Robinson/Adirondack rifle.  His preliminary research was pub in Armax in the ’90s, but he couldn’t find a publisher for the completed book willing, so he said, to print it as he wished.  Evidently the publisher of the Bullard book didn’t consider sales would be large enough to justify pub costs.  I’d like to see the 2nd ed, but for my constant worry about disposing of the hundreds of books that already hang around  my neck like millstones.

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April 14, 2024 - 7:54 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said

That’s his second book – twice as thick as his first one.  That’s an amazing price for that book.  After reading the book, you can’t help but impressed with volume of research he did.  A significant fraction of a life I would estimate. Several of my Bullards are pictured in his second book. 

  

I have the first, which he sent me in thanks for some minor info I provided for what was supposed to be another book, on the Robinson/Adirondack rifle.  His preliminary research was pub in Armax in the ’90s, but he couldn’t find a publisher for the completed book willing, so he said, to print it as he wished.  Evidently the publisher of the Bullard book didn’t consider sales would be large enough to justify pub costs.  I’d like to see the 2nd ed, but for my constant worry about disposing of the hundreds of books that already hang around  my neck like millstones.  

Create a listing and sell them here on this forum.  Some may be more valuable than you think.

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April 15, 2024 - 7:20 pm
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clarence said
Long & mid-range match shooting in the period that began with the Creedmoor Match of 1874 was carried out almost exclusively with SSs built by Sharps, Rem, Ballard, Wesson, Maynard; Brits used their own rifles.  Never heard of repeaters of any make used in such matches, not that they would have been prohibited.  When Farrow competed in later Creedmoor matches (he won more than once), he used a Ballard. 

  

Clarence – 

This is why I am amazed that Farrow was so successful, winning such a high percentage of matches, using a repeating rifle when up against experienced match shooters using the various single-shot rifles you mention.  

Try as I might, I can’t identify the Bullard he was using – there is no reference to it beyond that it was a repeater.  This was all through 1884, so given the small frame Bullard didn’t come out until well into 1884, I have to assume he was using a large frame rifle.  This would mean it was a .40, .45 or .50 caliber.  

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April 15, 2024 - 7:41 pm
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steve004 said

This is why I am amazed that Farrow was so successful, winning such a high percentage of matches, using a repeating rifle when up against experienced match shooters using the various single-shot rifles you mention.  

Try as I might, I can’t identify the Bullard he was using – there is no reference to it beyond that it was a repeater.  This was all through 1884, so given the small frame Bullard didn’t come out until well into 1884, I have to assume he was using a large frame rifle.  This would mean it was a .40, .45 or .50 caliber.    

He wasn’t using a Bullard or any other repeater when he shot the Creedmoor matches, so this must have been later in his career, when he became an exhibition shooter.  Do you have his book, “How I Became a Crack Shot”?  I can’t find my copy, which is a small book & might have fallen behind taller books, which I’m not going to pull out in order to find it.

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