COMING IN MAY 2021
RARE & FINE BENJAMIN BIGELOW, MARYSVILLE, CALIFORNIA PILL LOCK REVOLVING RIFLE.
Cal. 46. 52.5” overall 32.75” octagonal barrel stamped on top flat: “B. BIGELOW, MARYSVILLE, CAL”. Benjamin Bigelow arrived in California in 1849 at the height of the gold rush and established a popular gunmaking trade till his death in 1888. Bigelow had previously apprenticed with William Billinghurst for 12 years learning the gun trade. Bigelow’s revolving rifle operates much like Billinghurst’s which used the Miller patent (1829) hand-turned cylinder and “mercury fulminate pill” ignition. Back action lock, iron mounted, walnut stock, blued barrel & cylinder; case colored lock, frame, triggerguard, patchbox, and buttplate. The only markings other than maker’s name on barrel is the back of the cylinder with corresponding 1-7 for each chamber and removable screwed-in plug. Very few Miller patent rifles were made, most by Billinghurst, no more than 2 or 3 are known by Bigelow and this is a very fine example retaining much of its original finish. Jim Servin wrote an interesting 1964 article on the California gun trade which is linked given the history of Benjamin Bigelow and his firearms production in the gold fields of California.