Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

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Kirk Stovall
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Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kirk Stovall » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:02 pm

The local museum in Bozeman has built a display around Walter Cooper and some of his contributions to the founding and building of Bozeman, Montana Territory. The museum graciously designed the display with some of the items I have collected over the years, significant to Bozeman and it's earlier years. In the lobby area, in front of the display is the cannon that has seen lots of action throughout the state of Montana, eventually being brought back to Bozeman by Cooper, from the field where it had been left abandoned near Fort Smith.

I have a few original Sharps rifles that were used in the 1870's to kill buffalo in Montana. They were all shipped to Walter Cooper in Bozeman, Montana Territory in the 1870s. They all have Montana Provenance and one even has double that. The top rifle was shipped to Walter Cooper through J.G. Dow, then ended up in Miles City and was converted to 40-90 Bottleneck and stamped by A. D. McAusland, another frontier gunsmith in Montana Territory.

The 2 lower guns were actually shipped from Sharps rifle Manufacturing in the same shipment in August 1877. Although they aren't consecutive serial numbers, they are logged into the ledger consecutively. Together again after 141 years...

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whoop-up country
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by whoop-up country » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:34 pm

Nice Display Kirk. :D
Is that the museum that is in the old jail next to the courthouse?
It looks like it to me. I remember the log cabin in the museum.
By the way, you may want to have then take the sharps carbine at the bottom of the display off of full cock.
The old spring might not appreciate being left that way for a long time. :shock:

Bob.

Kirk Stovall
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kirk Stovall » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:54 pm

Yes, that’s the old Gallatin County jail. I spent a night in there back during my mis-spent youth.

That Sharps has a robust mainspring that will outlast me and a few after me...
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Kirk Stovall
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kirk Stovall » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:06 am

140 years later and still killing stuff...

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Jim Kidwell
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Jim Kidwell » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:38 am

I'm not going to say one word...... :roll: :lol:
....................................Jim
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Kurt
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kurt » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:18 am

Nope me neither :lol:
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Tom Trevor
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Tom Trevor » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:05 pm

Beyond wonderful.

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Lumpy Grits
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Lumpy Grits » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Thank you Kirk for the great pictures, and the history involved :!:
Gary
"Hav'n you along, is like loose'n two good men"

Kirk Stovall
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kirk Stovall » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:09 pm

Jim Kidwell wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:38 am
I'm not going to say one word...... :roll: :lol:
The rifle you idiot, how stinking stupid can one guy be? Geeez...
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Smoke Wagon
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Smoke Wagon » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:20 pm

I knew this was going to be good even before I opened it.

Thanks.

GPeterson
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by GPeterson » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:34 pm

My wife and I visited the Gallatin History Museum a year ago last summer, a fine visit. The cannon has quite a history itself, real (there is a real story about Don Weibert and the cannon you probably won't likely find), and/or speculative; seems the gun got around. There's even legend that the cannon spent some time in the Yellowstone River, too. There is a very good book (came out in 2016) that includes the cannon story, which went along on an expedition that left Bozeman, MT, back in 1874, with 150 well armed men. Jack Bean was one of those men, and during the expedition he made HIS famous long shot; the group who witnessed the shot estimated it at 1700 yds.

There's also a chapter in the book about a group of men who tried to duplicate Bean's shot back in June of 2015. Since Bean's rifle (according to the story) caliber isn't known, various Sharps rifles in various calibers were tried on a target at a little bit over 1500 yds. Results were interesting, along with the speculations of Bean's rifle caliber that actually made the shot, and what was available for rifle calibers back in 1874. I don't know if this book has already been mentioned on this site or not, but here it is if not:

"Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold, and Guns: The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition"
(and The Battle of Lodge Grass Creek) Author, Col. French L. Maclean, US Army (Ret.)

A good read for anyone who likes history, and the use of Sharps rifles while making it...back in the day. BTW, Walter Cooper figures into the story quite a bit, too, though he wasn't a member of the expedition.

Merry Christmas,
GPeterson

P.S. Might be a good Christmas gift for a history loving shooter of the old guns. FWIW, I got my copy on amazon.

Kirk Stovall
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by Kirk Stovall » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:41 pm

I know someone that can shed some light on this...
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MLV
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by MLV » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:48 pm

Yes, that's me. I first met French McLean when he was researching for that book. It turns out that much of the staging the day before the 1874 expedition left was here on my property. Then I helped when French wanted to try shooting Sharps at 1,500 yards. The firing point and target point were "best guesses" as to where Bean's shot supposedly occurred. I'm not saying that Jack Bean didn't hit an Indian at extreme range but I will say if he did so it was that Indian's unluckiest day and Bean's luckiest day.

The book is exquisitely well researched and covers every day of the expedition.
MLV
Beware the man with one rifle. He may not have enough interest in it to be competent!

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parkergunz
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by parkergunz » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:29 pm

MLV
I was the other Mike in attendance that day at the ranch, on Lodge Grass Creek, where French McLean was attempting to recreate the Bean shot. I agree with you wholeheartedly as to the original shot. The native combatant on that ridge was probably thinking about what was for dinner that night when mid thought there was a "thump". Yes it was Bean's luckiest day.
French did a book signing and lecture at the Big Horn County Museum, where I am on the Board of Directors, this past June. I brought the Shiloh 74 .45-90 that I used at the shoot for lecture participants to handle. He gave a wonderful talk on the expedition.
I felt quite honored when he asked me to sign his personal copy of the book.He told his next stop was to visit with you.
I am looking forward to visiting the Gallatin Museum sometime in the very near future to see their wonderful exhibit.

MLV
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Re: Original Buffalo Rifles On Display In Museum

Post by MLV » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:25 am

Mike, that was a fun day despite the near impossible-ability of putting a bullet on that plywood. French's book is a gem as is he. His other book named Custer's Best is great too. He was here again in October. We had planned to shoot some but my back was out. He and Hank Adams shot a little from my shooting house.
Beware the man with one rifle. He may not have enough interest in it to be competent!

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