North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Legends of the West: Western & Native American Sale

Sat, Sep 23, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Lot 198

J.M. Marlin Ballard .40-63 No. 5 Pacific Rifle

Estimate: $3,600 - $4,500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Early J.M. Marlin Ballard No.5 Pacific single shot rifle in big .40-63 caliber, serial number 14210. The famed Marlin Company took over the various Ballard patents and models in 1875. From 1875-1881 the frames of these fine rifles were marked “J.M. Marlin, New Haven, Conn. USA” over “Ballard’s Patent Nov. 5, 1861.” After 1881 receivers were marked “Marlin Firearms Co.” etc. until the Ballard went out of production in 1891. This example has the earlier marking making it easy to date its production sometime between 1875 and 1881. Interestingly, this was during the height of the buffalo harvest in the west. As the name suggests, this model in large caliber was intended for western use against the largest of North American game. The .40-63 was one of the most popular chamberings in the big No.5 Pacific Ballard especially during its early production years before 1881 as it had an enviable reputation for accuracy and hard hitting qualities. The No.5 Pacific is easily identifiable by the iconic wiping/cleaning rod mounted by two thimbles beneath the barrel and a forend held to the barrel by a lateral screw. This fine example with 30” medium heavy barrel is equiped with a buckhorn rear sight with folding globe “Beach” front sight as well as a Lyman tang sight. The barrel blue has thinned to a light blue/gray patina with good blue in the protected areas. The receiver has naturally aged to an attractive mottled silvery-gray with a hint of case color. The stock and forend show normal handling but both are basically sound with good wood to metal fit. The bottom of the forend displays some faint and worn “kill notches” that add the the intrigue of this rifle’s history. Thre rifle is further fitted with the classic “S” or serpentine lever and single trigger. The action is exceptionally tight with the lever snapping into place when lifted after loading- these are often worn and sagging. The hammer spring is strong and the safety half-cock is solid and secure. Amazingly, the bore on this rifle is bright and excellent with sharp rifling throughout. The Ballards earned a stellar reputation on both the target ranges and in the hunting fields of the Frontier Period of the 1870s-1880s. The Pacific Model was J.M. Marlin’s top of the line sporting rifle with most encountered today having seen heavy hunting use under harsh conditions and weather. This is a particularly attractive example with an exceptional action and bore. Serial Number: 14210. This firearm qualifies as an Antique, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.

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