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Model 54 with a custom stock questions
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September 13, 2021 - 5:19 pm
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I while ago a acquired this model 54 rifle serial # 9313. It has a nicely done custom stock which I think is pre ww2.

At first I thought it was made out of an inletted stock blank from Winchester. However after comparing it to a model 54 stock from

a 1928 manufactured rifle I see the inletting is quite different.

The rifle is also marked R.B.RODDA & CO. CALCUTTA between the rear sight and the receiver.

From what I can find out Rodda was established in the middle 1800’s in London, England as a retailer of high end firearms.

It appears they opened a store in Calcutta around the same time.

Does anybody have any ideas as to who the stock maker might be? I have some ideas but I haven’t looked

at enough custom stocks to be sure. Most of my information comes from Michael Pavlov’s two books.

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September 14, 2021 - 9:18 pm
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Hi Tom in Michigan…  From John in ‘Beachy’ SoCal! 

Diving right in!  As to “who made the stock…”  I can’t answer your question.  Also to add another element of “when”?  Only my opinion(s) follow. 

I don’t seen any “signature element” about the stock other than high quality. Viewing it, reminds me of some of Sedgley’s later work or Griffin & Howe possibly too.  Stoeger offered “Peerless” brand custom stocks as well as Belding & Mull. I believe one of my Model 30 Remington rifles is in such latter brand configuration.  Yet, frankly it doesn’t ‘hold a candle’ to the handsome stock you present to us!  Factually, your reflected stock, might well be the product of a custom stock maker in Europe or the States.  Within ‘possibility’, – about anywhere!  The handsome ‘shallow arc’ of the pistol grip looks of the earlier classic style faded by thirties. Such, combined with the wider forend of thirties  plus era.  Yet in custom, according to customer tastes, whenever!  I definitely like that shallow grip element. The sling swivels, ‘if original’ to the stock, definitely mid to latter thirties + era! The butt plate, later era Model 54 than your early Model 54 metal to suggest. Swivels, later Model 54 as on Model 70.  Yours originally, “hook” style.

There are no particular clues I can see in such early genre Model 54 metal with which it’s joined. Looking pretty standard if in quite nice shape too.  Hopefully ‘no extra holes’, though in custom state…!  Serial and sights reflective of typical early model version.  The Lyman 48 is indeed early and may have been “factory” offering .  I can’t quite read the elevation legend, but if it’s 150 yards, that’s the first Lyman Model 48 version, from about 1917 to perhaps latter twenties???  (Don’t ever contemplate removing it – the residual ‘naked inletting scar’ is horrendous!)   That early Lyman 48, bit less common and more pricey nowadays than the two later models. 

The Model 54 in Super Grade didn’t debut, to recollection, until 1934. By then, the latter stock “NRA Model” in place several years and your stock much more on that pattern!  Possibly some astute, visionary owner specification as ostensibly disdaining the original schnabel stock with its inherently poorer ergonomic characteristics. 

One good question is whether the referenced presumed retailer shown on the barrel, had any relationship with the stock whatsoever.  Conversely the stock perhaps strictly aftermarket to that dealers retail sale. I’m not sure the fact of that inscription offers any clear inference.  

Overall observation:   ‘Condition’ of the rifle and particularly of course pinging on the stock. Such strongly urging far more a closet queen than an ‘oft fielded’ rifle!  Not sure I’d equate that with ‘half way round the world’ ownership & employment with that nice stock appended! 🙂 

Unless some remaining undiscovered inference under the early era butt plate, likely you’ll need to seek extrinsic factors evidence.  A period catalog from the reflected dealer, perhaps!  My suggestion of doing what you’re likely doing; shotgun style.  Plying the gun forums. Connecting with the English Gunmaker forums.  ‘Power of the Internet be upon you!’ 🙂

And so!  I’m left envious & curious. Passing the torch! Hopefully the Winchester experts of this Forum can correct my errors & fill in all the blanks. Remaining optimistic!

Best & Good Luck.

Few pix of my closest serial number, original condition, comparable Lyman 48 sight… Appended for reference. 

Kindly keep us informed if your search productive!  

John 

 

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September 15, 2021 - 1:41 pm
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John,

Thank you for your insightful response.

The Lyman sight slide is graduated to 150. Unfortunately there is nothing marked on the stock under the buttplate. The swivels are 1 1/4″ and appear to be of Winchester manufacture. There is some carry wear at the front of the floorplate and the floorplate blue is somewhat faded.

My theory is that it was purchased in India by the original owner for a hunt in India. It was used during the hunt then returned to the U.S. with the original owner, but not used much, if at all after that.

From the buttplate, the swivel style, and the overall style & form of the stock, I’m guessing it was restocked in the U.S. some time from the early to mid 30’s, maybe up in to the mid 40’s. Pavlov notes that in the early to mid 30’s money was very tight and custom gunmakers would take in any work they could find. It does seem to follow the pattern of the Winchester “NRA model” stock.

Collecting model 54’s is a fairly recent interest of mine. So far I’m up to three. I should have mentioned I do have David Bichrest’s model 54 book.

For me, half the enjoyment of collecting is doing the research.

Regards, Tom

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September 16, 2021 - 12:08 am
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Hey Tom!  Your stock theory makes sense!  You also captured an important moment for me in gun collecting generally…  “For me, half the enjoyment of collecting is doing the research.” For me too and, “Exactly!”

I have David’s book too.  Combo of good work, filling a hole & and ‘only action in town’!  I’ve recommended it! 

If you don’t have a Model 54 in 30 WCF, you should consider acquiring one. Only chambering meriting its own specialty receiver and several other components attendant to a rimmed rifle round!  Their little carbine in that was especially neat in my estimation! 

Good Luck and..

Best!

John

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