Mountign a Civil War Rifle?


Cliff Wilson

Is there a pre-made case?

Do I call Lois?

How do I mount it once in any case?

52" long and 9" high. Obviously plastic wrapped wire would hold it, but are there any pre-made mounts?


Sorry about the typo in the topic. Could a Moderate fix it please?
I am in the process of mounting an old rifle. Customer wanted something rustic and no glass so rifle could be taken out. Kurt at Rustic Creations made a custom shadowbox 10" x 42" out of their barnwood. He suggested a mount that would cradle the gun and hold it securely, and to wrap the mounts in rawhide leather. This could also work if using glass, but not sure if your customer would want something this rustic. Just thought I'd share.

BTW, I haven't even purchased any mounts yet. Still waiting on the customer to bring the rifle back in & approve mounting method.

Look forward to hearing everyone's ideas! Thanks for the topic, Cliff.
Lois could build your acrylic box quite well. So could Gemini Moulding/Showcase Acrylics in Chicago, which is considerably closer to you, and there may a local plastic fabricator that could do the work, too.

Either way, I suggest you mount the gun by formed rod mounts, embedded into 8mm or 10mm fluted polypropylene sheeting (Coroplast).

I would use .055 spring steel (aka piano wire) formed with pliers to fit the contours of at least two mounting points on the gun. Cover exposed surfaces with at least one layer of matte black shrink tubing (available from electrical distributors). To anchor the mounts, bend them 90-degrees up in back and stick them through the front of the board. Peel away the back "skin" of the board to embed each mount between the flutes with epoxy or some other hard-setting concoction.
I would be careful with heat shrink and wood finishes.

Heat shrinks some in several different flavors and there are to many variables to accurately predict how it will react with the finish on the gun. I would think that most modern wood finishes could handle any of the heat shrink types. But I wouldn’t bet a 150-year-old rifle on it.

Is it possible to cover them in something cotton?
We have mounted several civil war vintage weapons and use 1/4" bolts, bent to fit into the barrel and around the receiver. Fit the threaded end through 1/4" ply wood (sealed) and tightened with nuts. Cover the board and sides with a moorman suede. We build the box with Fosters oak moulding, deep and either stained or painted to suite the customers requirements. We once mounted and civil war piece that came to use in three pieces; when we finished it appeard to be a complete weapon with a lot of fill-in and paint.
Ready made mounts are a bit light for this kind of work and probably will not fit.

Jack Cee
Two conservators I asked agreed that the typical, matte black, heat-shrink tubing used for electrical wiring is made of a relatively inert polyolefin material, and should be safe for padding formed rod mounts to hold almost anything.

This should not be confused with heat shrink films used in packaging. There's no telling what's in those.

But if the wood's finish is very delicate, maybe a more padded surface would be better. As Jay suggests, several wraps of soft cotton would work. Polyester felt might be a good choice, too.
Jim I'm just guessing at best. The only reason I bring it up is that vinyl is in some of the heatshrinks.

Vinyl presents a significant danger to a nitrocellulose lacquer for example. Rubber also can discolor and soften lacquer also. For this matter cologne and bugspray eats lacquer and we spray that on our skin.

I would just be remarkably careful with a 150-year-old finish or any other wood finishes. Who knows what they were using then?
Jay, It has been my experience that Lacquer was not a common finish on gun stocks...

If it was a "nice" rifle, it got shellac or a short crystal varnish.

Service rifles got oil. And we're not talking nice swedish Tung oil.... they got peanut, walnut, out-of-the-ground, or semple oil... (don't ask me what semple is, it's just what I have been told...and shellac doesn't like it).

Either way, I get queasy when people start talking "relatively" inert, and any of the "Olephins" in the same breath....

Ansel nylon replaced the "Miracle Olephin" carpet that ended up off-gassing and killing pets and people.

Relative is a term I like to reserve for extended family only.
Jim's idea for use of electrical grade polyoefin
covering for metal fittigs is s good one. We are
familiar with these polymers in their polyethylene
and polypropylene forms. Both have very good
track records of use with delicate materials, but
since some forms may have less stable additives,
their safety may be relative and all should be
carefully examined, before they are used.