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T A Mellon’s Model 1866 Rifle
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July 8, 2023 - 5:55 pm
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  I have a nickle signed John Ulrich engraved 1866 with a walking stag that looks identical. It’s my opinion it’s his work. The nickle over the engraved gun metal hides some of the fine strokes in the brass and makes it look cheap, but as it wears the fine detail will appear. T/R 

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July 8, 2023 - 6:59 pm
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TR said
  I have a nickle signed John Ulrich engraved 1866 with a walking stag that looks identical. It’s my opinion it’s his work. The nickle over the engraved gun metal hides some of the fine strokes in the brass and makes it look cheap, but as it wears the fine detail will appear. T/R 

  

Only by naive American standards of the time is this master-class engraving, no matter how famous the Ulrich’s are in this country.  Compared with engraving on British & French guns of the period, this work doesn’t measure up.  I actually like the stag for its archaic quality, but the scroll-work wouldn’t pass muster in a British gunshop.  American engraving standards did rise in later yrs to match European work, all the way up to Kornbrath, White, etc.  If you have any old copies of Gun Digest, compare Ulrich’s work with what’s shown in the “Engraving” section, dropped from current GDs. 

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July 8, 2023 - 9:01 pm
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 I do not like nickle finish over engraving, it hides the detail and yes John Ulrich’s stag is naive. What do you expect for $2.50 with hand tools?

 I owned an early Colt 1851 Navy engraved by Gustave Young and his dog or wolf’s head was naive, but I sure loved his work. I will always wonder how anyone can cut metal like that. A true artist working on steel canvas. T/R

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July 8, 2023 - 10:15 pm
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Perhaps John Ulrich’s engraved game are a bit of a caricature and, if actually a live specimen, perhaps would defy normal anatomy and physiology, but…this example, by far and away, is worse than any other examples of John Ulrich’s work I can find, as known examples on the internet (RIA, Collectible Firearms, etc).

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July 8, 2023 - 10:16 pm
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TR saidI will always wonder how anyone can cut metal like that.
  

By signing their apprenticeship contract at age 16 or 17, & then working diligently for the next 5 or more yrs.  Believe usual procedure was to engrave before steel was hardened.

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July 9, 2023 - 2:29 pm
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clarence said

TR saidI will always wonder how anyone can cut metal like that.

  

By signing their apprenticeship contract at age 16 or 17, & then working diligently for the next 5 or more yrs.  Believe usual procedure was to engrave before steel was hardened.

  

According to Pauline Muerrle’s engraving book the Winchester engravers performed their artistry after the steel was hardened. They made their own tools from hardened steel broaching rods.

 

Mike

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July 9, 2023 - 5:37 pm
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 The 1866 has a gun metal receiver, butt plate, and forearm cap making engraving easy. Colt’s shipped to New York engraver’s were shipped soft. Early Winchester case-hardened steel parts have the case colors in the engraver’s cuts. It wouldn’t make sense to case-harden twice. I don’t know about blued guns, perhaps later Winchester engraved hardened guns? T/R

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July 9, 2023 - 5:43 pm
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  Colt’s shipped to New York engraver’s were shipped soft.TR said

  

That’s what I’ve always heard.  Not clear why parts to be engraved would not be left soft, as it makes engraver’s work easier. 

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