COL. Townsend Whelen’s Early Griffin & Howe Springfield Rifle

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August 29, 2023

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COL. Townsend Whelen’s Early Griffin & Howe Springfield Rifle.


Cal. 30-06. (30/25 M1?)
S# 467. (CA 1925)

Col. Townsend Whelen was listed as an advisor in the initial list of officers of the newly formed Griffin & Howe company in 1923. This rifle dates to 1925 and was ordered by Col. Whelen to be built for his cousin William B. Whelen. With his cousin’s untimely death, Whelen received the rifle back from the widow. This rifle is described and history given in “Mr. Rifleman”, Whelen’s autobiography where he says in 1955 he had a crossbolt fitted to the rifle as he thought the stock had begun to split. At that time he also had the Lyman scope mounted by G&H.

The rifle has 24″ barrel fitted with sleeved on front ramp holding gold bead, top of barrel is engraved “NO 467 GRIFFIN & HOWE INC. NEW YORK”. (This early rifle was made at the time that the G&H S#’s were assigned by caliber before sequential numbering starting at 500 in 1926). A 1″ triangle of scroll engraving is at breech end along with caliber designation “.30/25 M.1.” (Cal. .30 1925 Mark 1?) . Action has had tang slimmed, G&H side mount and Lyman 48 bases installed, and top of receiver ring and bridge stippled. There are sprays of scroll on receiver ring and left side of bridge. Bolt has had front portion polished and engine turned, handle is lowered, knob is checkered in two panels. A Buehler safety is installed. Bottom metal is unaltered from military configuration. It is engraved with about 30% coverage well cut shaded scroll surrounding the Whelen family crest on floorplate. Crest consists of two leopards passant on a shield which is surmounted with a Duke’s crown and trumpeting swan. This crest is found on other rifles that once belonged to Whelen. Front of floorplate is engraved with Griffin & Howe name and address. This treatment is only found on early G&H rifles. Tripper guard bow is also scroll engraved and this scroll surrounds the gold inlaid initials “WBW”. All engraving on this rifle is the work of the noted Rudolph Kornbrath. Steel capped pistol grip stock of lightly marbled European walnut measures 13 7/8″ over checkered and engraved steel buttplate with trap. (Oiler in trap). It features early G&H styling with horn forend tip, early type G&H case hardened and engraved grip cap. Very well cut point pattern checkering at grip and around forend. Sling eyes are fitted to toeline and forend. Rifle is mounted with Lyman All-American 4X scope with crosshair reticle in G&H alloy rings and slide.

PROVENANCE: Rifle was sold at April 2016 Amoskeag Auction for almost $15,000


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