FOREHAND & WADSWORTH Breech RIFLE w/ Rotary Sight
1870s Rifle with Deluxe Walnut Stock
Here we present a rare antique single shot falling breech rifle with a rotary peep sight manufactured by Forehand & Wadsworth of Worchester, Massachusetts, circa 1871-1880. The rifle is nearly identical to the Allen & Wheelock drop-breech rifle and features a trigger guard which acts as a lever to open the breech and eject the cartridge.
These drop breech rimfire rifles were manufactured first by Allen & Wheelock and Ethan Allen & Co. in the 1860s to 1870 and then by Forehand & Wadsworth in the 1870s and 1880s. Both Sullivan Forehand and Henry C. Wadsworth married daughters of Ethan Allen before they took over and renamed the company. Production was limited and only a couple thousand are believed to have been manufactured of this rifle.
This rifle features a fully octagonal barrel, deluxe walnut stock, and, most interesting of all, an Allen’s Patent rotary peep sight regulated to 1600 yards! This sighting system is very scarce and is operated by depressing the latch with your shooting hand thumb and by turning the outside of the dial with the other hand. There is a small window that shows which distance (1-16 in hundreds of yards) and a small aperture at the top of the sight that is the correct height for that distance. This is a very unique and fascinating little device! The top of the barrel is marked “FOREHAND & WADSWORTH/ WORCESTER, MASS./ PATENTED SEPT. 18. 1860”. The back of the rear sight is marked “ALLEN’S PATENT/OCT. 28, 1862”. The bottom of the butt stock is marked “R” just behind the trigger guard.
The overall condition is fine. 80% of the original blue finish remains on the barrel. The markings are clear and legible. The bore in very good shape, clean with strong rifling. The stock has been neatly repaired at the wrist and has seen some chipping at the toe. The action is excellent.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 24 inches.
Caliber: .38 Rimfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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