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Saddle Wear
December 13, 2013
6:19 pm
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Personally, I can't see myself riding around with my rifle across the saddle like that unless I was expecting to have to use it with no warning. Crossways would get caught on trees and branches constantly, unless one was in an area where that wasn't a problem, in which case, a sling would be a lot more comfortable and a scabbard would be best.

December 13, 2013
7:21 pm
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I just happen to have an old rifle that dates back to 1883, (a Whitney-Burgess 45-70), that has what I believe to be classic saddle wear, but that is just my opinion. Here are some pictures of the rifle and the worn area:

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December 13, 2013
7:54 pm
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"road king"
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Here is a thought about the SRC. Do you suppose could have caused by the gun being hung in an scabbard that was open to expose the forearm and been hitting on the stirrup. I am originally from the East Coast so I have no experience horse back riding. Embarassed I have seen Enfield Snider Carbines used by the NWMP with spur damage to their stocks caused by the way they were carried.

December 13, 2013
9:43 pm
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"Road King" said
Here is a thought about the SRC. Do you suppose could have caused by the gun being hung in an scabbard that was open to expose the forearm and been hitting on the stirrup. I am originally from the East Coast so I have no experience horse back riding. Embarassed I have seen Enfield Snider Carbines used by the NWMP with spur damage to their stocks caused by the way they were carried.

Good thought. In my research I ran across "boots" for the Sharps that really just covered the receiver and not much else. The barrel did point down. And just think of a "saddle ring carbine" actually using nothing but the saddle ring. The butt would be up and, depending on how low the carbine hung, and whether it was front or back, you could kick the crap out of it with your spurs/stirrup (back) or the stirrup (front).

Maybe tomorrow I'll saddle up and try it, just to see. I usually use a scabbard located under my fender with the butt front and up but it won't be any big thing to attach my weapon using it's saddle ring alone. I'll take pictures.

December 14, 2013
8:51 pm
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"road king"
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I was at the Museum of the Horse Soldier in Tucson today and spotted this photo. I am sure this kind of set up could have caused a lot of wear to the forestock.

http://s517.photobucket.com/user/RoadKing1998/media/image098_zps1098d883.gif.html

image098_zps1098d883.gifImage Enlarger

December 14, 2013
9:51 pm
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for the benefit of anyone who has not seen an example of "saddle wear" here is a picture of a well used 1873 forend that has it...note the belly in the wood just in front of the receiver...

11378723214_329c48529f_c.jpgImage Enlarger

December 15, 2013
10:24 am
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"Road King" said
I was at the Museum of the Horse Soldier in Tucson today and spotted this photo. I am sure this kind of set up could have caused a lot of wear to the forestock.

http://s517.photobucket.com/user/RoadKing1998/media/image098_zps1098d883.gif.html

image098_zps1098d883.gifImage Enlarger

Road King I love that photo. My grandfather was Mounted Cavalry he joined up in 1927 I would have to guess his rig had to have looked very similar to your posted photo.

Thanks for the look. My younger brother lives SE of Tucson I'll have to find out if he has been through the museum.

December 15, 2013
10:41 am
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briango said
for the benefit of anyone who has not seen an example of "saddle wear" here is a picture of a well used 1873 forend that has it...note the belly in the wood just in front of the receiver...11378723214_329c48529f_c.jpgImage Enlarger

That is pretty much identical to the pictures that I had posted showing saddle wear on an old Whitney-Morse-Burgess 45-70. Thanks for the picture.

James

December 15, 2013
10:49 am
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"Road King" said
I was at the Museum of the Horse Soldier in Tucson today and spotted this photo. I am sure this kind of set up could have caused a lot of wear to the forestock.

http://s517.photobucket.com/user/RoadKing1998/media/image098_zps1098d883.gif.html

image098_zps1098d883.gifImage Enlarger

Nice photo. I assume that loop has some kind of quick release attachment to the rider? You'd probably just have to lift up to unclip it from your belt. Other wise it looks like a pain/danger. I've never seen anything like that before.

If anyone has "Packing Iron, Gunleather of the Frontier West" by Richard C. Rattenbury, check out the chapter on "Slings, Buckets, Sockets and Boots. There is a "carbine loop" which covers the receiver and is designed specifically to go over the front of the McLellan (strap and buckle) and the Whitman (hole and slit) so you can carry as we've been talking about without having to hold it with your hand.

The cavalry sling looks like it could leave a rider kicking his weapon in the fore arm area from the riding position.

December 15, 2013
12:42 pm
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briango said
for the benefit of anyone who has not seen an example of "saddle wear" here is a picture of a well used 1873 forend that has it...note the belly in the wood just in front of the receiver...

Is the wear symmetric on both sides of the forearm? I would expect that the right side of the forearm would have a lot more wear than the left side because of how the saddle slopes up in front of the rider.

December 15, 2013
12:51 pm
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Mark W. said
Is it possible the fore stock was used as a lever handle to help compress one of the springs on a steel trap? That could surely cause some rapid wear in the area we are looking at.

Placing the wood over the strap shaped spring on the steel trap then pressing down as hard as required to compress the spring enough to allow the jaws to pass past the trip rod and allow the trap to be set?

I went out and tried to do this (without buggering up my rifle) and found that it would work. I used my left hand to push down the left spring and my right hand, over my rifle, to push down the right, though I would put my hand right over the top of the rifle, over the trap (unlike the photo). I'd pull up the set with my thumb. This did not work on the ground with the rifle upright because of the drop of the stock. It did work sideways though, and both ways on a bench. On the other hand, it seemed unnecessary since I could do all that without the rifle. It might have helped though, if I had huge gloves on and it was freezing outside. I still think it would have eaten up my rifle real quick. The pic is an old double sided trap, not used in at least 30 years.

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December 15, 2013
12:57 pm
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Win38-55 said
Personally, I can't see myself riding around with my rifle across the saddle like that unless I was expecting to have to use it with no warning. Crossways would get caught on trees and branches constantly, unless one was in an area where that wasn't a problem, in which case, a sling would be a lot more comfortable and a scabbard would be best.

I agree. It would be easier if it was a short carbine though. Here is a "carbine loop" they designed for that purpose (Packing Iron, Gunleather of the Frontier West" by Richard C. Rattenbury):

book.jpgImage Enlarger

December 15, 2013
1:02 pm
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"Road King" said
Here is a thought about the SRC. Do you suppose could have caused by the gun being hung in an scabbard that was open to expose the forearm and been hitting on the stirrup. I am originally from the East Coast so I have no experience horse back riding. Embarassed I have seen Enfield Snider Carbines used by the NWMP with spur damage to their stocks caused by the way they were carried.

Hey Road King: Here is my saddle ring short rifle on my saddle. It seem the kick point would be a little further down than the fore arm the way my outfit is set up. That could vary though. If it was much lower it might be flopping around and hitting the horse a lot though. Food for thought, anyway. My brass ox bows could definitely do some wearing. Pics are carry back and carry front:

CopyofOlympusone205.jpgImage Enlarger

CopyofOlympusone203.jpgImage Enlarger

December 15, 2013
1:10 pm
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Here's one of my saw bucks. It's been re-leathered more than once, but still no wear on the wood. Also, in the pic of my old half seat with the scabbard, you can see another, even older saw buck on the rail behind it with no wear in the places where it should be. I still admit I'm wrong; I'm just arguing this point to show how I arrived at my original theory.

CopyofOlympusone204.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 15, 2013
1:13 pm
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briango said
for the benefit of anyone who has not seen an example of "saddle wear" here is a picture of a well used 1873 forend that has it...note the belly in the wood just in front of the receiver...

Is the wear symmetric on both sides of the forearm? I would expect that the right side of the forearm would have a lot more wear than the left side because of how the saddle slopes up in front of the rider.

Good question. I suppose they could flip it back and forth but a right handed shooter would probably have the stock pointing right most of the time. With the slope on my saddles anyway, the tenancy would be to have more of the right side of the forearm against the swell/fork/pommel/horn. If the rifle is laying in your lap and against the horn it may be more tilted and centered against the horn but most riders I know are more up right (unlike those cavalry "sitters" in these old photos). Don't know how they rode on their butts like that. Compare:

[Image Can Not Be Found]

December 15, 2013
2:29 pm
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Win 38-55..The wear is mostly to the bottom edge, but definately leans to the right side of the forearm.....While I believe in saddle wear, I do wonder why the gun would not rest more comfortably across your lap and the saddle if it were laying on its side? which should cause the wear to be on the side of the forend... One thought that I had that reinforced the validity of the saddle wear theory is the fact that while it is fairly common in the early guns.your chances of seeing it on a gun go rapidly downhill as the model and date of manufacture get more recent...The number of people that made a living off the back of a saddle horse started to diminish rapidly by the turn of the century, and this seems to coincide with the age of the guns you see.Brian

December 15, 2013
3:40 pm
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Ok, I am back to add more fuel to the fire..after looking at some of James Rileys photos I went and looked at an old saddle I have......It was a shock, and a revelation.....Now I don't know much about saddles but I do know this one is very, very old, and would cause saddle wear to a gun in no time flat...I will post a picture of the saddle so you can at least get an idea what I am talking about..The leather on both side of the horn are worn clear through in places and have cut marks that I am told by a Very knowledgable person are caused by roping...[ these are visible in the photo] The leather has completely worn off the horn and it has been wrapped with rawhide, an effort I am sure to keep the rope from cutting into the wood any further. Also visible ahead of the horn and on each side is a square headed bolt, the top of which is exposed and protruding because of wear to the leather..[visible just above the straps in photo] in addition to these things there are leather ties, or straps on each side of the horn[also visible in the photo]. These straps seem like a very likely place to tie or form a loop and slip the barrel through while the butt stock rests in your lap...These staps are actually a single long piece of leather that is attached to the saddle with a metal fastener in the middle...So, if you formed a small loop to slip the forearm through it would be resting right against the metal fastener. There are also nail heads fastening the leather at the bottom of the horn..My conclusion is that in speculating on what could cause this wear, we must think in terms of what types of saddles were in use during that time period.. I have no doubt that today's saddle construction is much more refined..Brian
[/img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5088/5340011568_5c49409321_z.jpg

December 15, 2013
3:42 pm
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one more try on the saddle picture5340011568_5c49409321_z.jpgImage Enlarger

December 15, 2013
6:57 pm
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briango said
one more try on the saddle picture5340011568_5c49409321_z.jpgImage Enlarger

I’m figuring that saddle is a classic early 1900s (30s or 40s?) roping saddle. Its low cantle, big seat that covers the stirrup leathers, short rounded skirts, big swells and wide fenders, is what makes me think that. Compare with that old Texas Half Seat Trail Saddle with the Sam Stag Rigging in my shop photo. That is probably 1860s? Not sure. My riding saddle (slick fork, deep seat) is probably about the same age as yours, maybe a little older, but it’s been kept up and repaired over the years.

A 500 pound steer burning rope across swells can do that (wear on the swells, or cantle in back for that matter), as well as popping a finger or two on a bad dally around the horn. The leather ties are used for the lariat on one side and a lead/tie rope on the other, when they are not in use. I suppose you could tie your rifle on with them but that’s not what they are for.

The horn is wrapped to limit rope slippage on the horn (probably steel but could be wood) bolted to the tree with those bolt heads on either side. Today you often find rubber inner tubes. Those bolts and nails would do more than “wear” a nice burnished spot on your rifle.

Hard use and lack of care can make it look older. That saddle could use some oil. If you are really interested you could search for a maker’ brand on the saddle and get a better feel for when and where it was made.

December 15, 2013
7:25 pm
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James, Thanks for the saddle info..it just sits in my game room for show,paid 15 bucks at a yard sale.I have looked, but can't find a makers mark on it...wish there was one as it would be interesting to find out more info..I know the straps are not meant for a gun, but the one on the left side just seems perfect for a right handed fellow to use like I described..I guess the point of my post was just that at least on this saddle the potential to wear away some wood relatively quickly would be great..I agree that rubbing against the bolt heads, nail heads or other fasteners would scratch or guage the wood, but years of rubbing on leather, and hand carry could even it back out and burnish it..Its all interesting speculation, so I just thought this would enlighten or further confuse....Brian

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