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 According to "Volcanic Firearms: Predecessor to the Winchester Rifle", approximately 400 Smith-Jennings rifles were produced.
LOT 3006
Rare and Historic Factory
Engraved Robbins &
Lawrence Second Model
Smith-Jennings Repeating
Rifle - NSN, 54 cal., 26 inch
round bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. The Smith-Jennings was an
improvement on the Jennings design patented by Horace Smith of Smith & Wesson fame in 185
manufactured by Robbins & Lawrence who were also manufacturing other innovative firearms in the period, including the Sharps
rifles. The Jennings and the Smith-Jennings rifles are important in the evolution of Winchester lever actions. Their design and production brought together the talents of
Benjamin Tyler Henry, Horace Smith, Daniel B. Wesson, and others and were part of a series of design improvements that led to the Smith & Wesson and Volcanic lever action pistols and carbines
and then the Henry and Winchester Model 1866 through a series of incremental improvements. This rifle is the second variation or “Second Model” of the Smith-Jennings, also known as the “pregnant frame Jennings” in reference to the bulge at the bottom of the frame. Only an estimated 400 are believed to have been manufactured c. 1851-1852. It has a small blade front sight, dovetailed notch rear sight just ahead of the breech ring, a tubular magazine below the barrel, light scroll engraving, the “PATENT 1849/C.P. DIXON AGENT/NEW YORK” marking on the left, a ring trigger, and a walnut buttstock with an iron buttplate with stepped heel and an oval nickel-silver inlay with coordinating engraving on the right.
CONDITION: Fair with mostly dark brown patina overall, mild pitting, some heavier pitting on the hammer, and general moderate overall wear. The ring trigger is a professionally made replacement. The markings and engraving are mostly distinct. The stock is very good and has some minor edge wear, light scratches and dings, and smooth finish. The primer mechanism isn’t functioning, but the rest of the action appears to be mechanically function. This is a
rare and early American repeating rifle design that is historically significant Estimate: 9,500 - 16,000
in the development of both Smith & Wesson and Winchester and would be an excellent representative example in any American firearms collection.
According to "Volcanic Firearms: Predecessor to the Winchester Rifle", less than 1000 of all variations were produced.
LOT 3007
Scarce Documented Factory Engraved
and was
Jennings Breech Loading Percussion Rifle - Serial no. 341, 54 cal., 26
inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. The Jennings rifles were the successor to the Hunt
epeating Rifle and were manufactured by Robbins & Lawrence in Windsor, Vermont, c. 1850-51. It is believed that less then ,000 of all variations were made despite an original order for 5,000. This particular variation is a First Model breech loading,
single shot rifle, and this example is pictured on page 13 of “Volcanic Firearms: Predecessor to the Winchester Rifle” by Edmund E. Lewis and Stephen W. Rutter and listed as from the latter’s collection. The rifle
utilizes a “Rocket Ball” cartridge which is loaded through the right side of the frame. A ring trigger operates the breech and automatic pill primer device which is no longer used on this version as it has been adapted for use with percussion caps by fitting a nipple. The magazine tube was made smaller in diameter and is used for carrying the cleaning rod. The Rocket Ball’s insufficient power made it impractical for hunting or military use which led to its lack of success and the small number produced. The action, trigger guard, and buttplate have light floral scroll engraving. The left side of the receiver is marked “ROBBINS & LAWRENCE/MAKERS/WINDSOR VT.” and “PATENT 1849/C.P. DIXON AGENT/NEW YORK.”“341” is marked on the lower tang, and the pictures in the book noted above indicate matching serial numbers are also on the internal components. It has a brass blade front sight, notch rear sight, brass tipped wooden cleaning rod, and a straight grip stock with an iron buttplate. CONDITION: Very good plus with strong traces of original blue, mottled gray and brown patina, some mild oxidation/pitting, scrapes at the edges of the frame, and distinct markings and engraving. The stock is very good and has a few cracks through the wrist, minor chips at the edges, and some scratches and dings. Mechanically fine. Provenance: The Stephen Rutter Collection; Property of a Gentleman. Estimate: 7,500 - 12,000
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