SOLD FOR: $2576
Make: Contemporary, R.E. Sells
Model: Half Stocked Plains Rifle
Serial Number: NSNV
Year of Manufacture: ATF Antique
Caliber: .50 Caliber
Action Type: Double Set Trigger, Percussion Muzzleloader
Barrel Length: 34.5” Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short, long silver blade that has been dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sight is a tall buckhorn “V” notch that is dovetailed into the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a one piece varnished hardwood with a channel cut for the included brass tipped wooden ramrod, nose cap, three ramrod pipes, three sets escutcheons, right handed cheek rest, pineapple patch box and a crescent metal butt plate. The toe and heel of the butt plate show light thinning at the leading edges. The wood shows light handling and storage marks. There are light scratches in the grip areas. There are no cracks or chips. The LOP measures 14.75” from the face of the front trigger to the back of the butt plate and 14” from the face of the rear set trigger to the back of the butt plate. The stocks rate in Very Good Plus – Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Browned
Finish Originality: Original to Build
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is erosion at the muzzle. In this writer’s opinion and for the age, this bore rates a 7 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 97% of its metal finish. The metal shows light handling and storage marks. The percussion bolster underneath the cone shows black powder residue from firing. The bottom metal shows a deep plum finish. The screw heads are deep. The maker marking on the barrel is crisp. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The rear trigger can be set for a front hair trigger or fired without the setting of the rear. The barrel is a hooked breech. We did not fire this firearm. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The name “plains rifle” reflects the fact that it was often used by frontiersmen and hunters on the Great Plains and were typically single-shot, muzzle-loading firearms that fired round balls or conical bullets. They were often highly ornate, with elaborate engraving and inlays on the stock, and were prized by their owners not only for their performance, but also for their beauty.
This half stocked Plains rifle is a very nicely crafted firearm with the maker’s name engraved on the top of the barrel flat, “R.E. Sells”. Roger Sells has made rifles of all sizes and styles with either percussion or flintlock ignition types. His craftsmanship is well known in the Contemporary Long Rifle community. This rifle has a very nicely balanced barrel to wood ratio and has a smooth action, very nice set triggers, and attractive pineapple patch box which equates to wealth in the 1800s. The rifle features two barrel keys that when pushed through the stock and the ramrod is removed, the barrel can be lifted out with a hooked breech. If you are a black powder aficionado or an early frontiersman, this is a great piece for your collection.