Item #34084

Marlin – Ballard No. 4 Rifle with Period Scope and Kent Muzzle Venting

  • Price: $5,995.00
  • Maker: Marlin
  • Model: Ballard
  • Caliber: .32-40

  • Description: Serial #32007, .32-40, 24” octagon barrel with an excellent, bright bore. This is an extremely nice rifle that has 80-85% of the original blue remaining on the barrel with some mild fading along the edges of the facets, and silvering at the muzzle. The Kent muzzle vents consist of small ports arranged helically at the muzzle in 6 groups of five (following the grooves along the bore on the interior) and a small “PAT. APL. FOR” stamp is present on the right side. The barrel itself is numbered to the gun on the underside, and has a partial caliber designation at the breech (partially milled away for the rear scope mount. The rear sight dovetail has been filled with a blank that reads “32.40” across the top. The frame has muted original color case-hardening that has dulled a bit with age, and is turning to a a mottled pewter patina that has some thin freckling at the rear of the frame as well. The original walnut stock and forend have some scattered small handling marks and minor surface blemishes in the original varnish finish, along with a very small repair at the tip of the forend on the right side, and a few short, stable cracks: one on the left side of the forend, and two flanking the top of the straight wrist. The hooked, aluminum buttplate is a later addition and has some gaps along the wood border. The scope is marked: “L.N. MOGG / MARCELLUS N.Y.”, and is 31 1/2” in length with an intact crosshair reticle, and somewhat dim, but fully serviceable optics. The action is tight and functions flawlessly. The rifle is accompanied by article reprints from 1901 and 1903 issues of “Shooting and Fishing” magazine written by the well-known outdoors writer Charles Winthrop Sawyer. These articles concern the benefits of barrel venting, and also seem to indicate that he was the owner of this rifle when the venting was added; particularly a January 1, 1903 article that has a photo of the left side of the muzzle. The rearmost vent hole in the photographed rifle has a small triangular divot, or blemish that is also present on this example. Additionally, the rifle he owned came equipped with a Mogg scope, although he had changed that by the time the photograph was taken. Also included with the rifle are excerpts from the 1999 Amoskeag Auction catalog of the Maurice Mudge Collection (this rifle was lot 48 in the sale), an original Kent Vented Muzzle brochure from about the turn of the last century, copies of the aforementioned articles, a further article on vented barrels by Harry Pope, and a certificate from the Proof House of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers detailing why the rifle was not proof tested upon its entry into the United Kingdom after it was purchased by the present owner. This is a splendid, Marlin-made Ballard Rifle in fine-near excellent condition, and has a fascinating period augmentation that is seldom seen today. It would make a great addition to any collection. Antique