L. N. Walker Bullet Mold?
Yes, there is a Question Mark there at the end of the title. The truth is, I can't tell what the first two stamping letters actually are. I looked at them through a 100 power microscope and that did not help at all. The fellow I bought this from thought it said A.M. Walker. Check out the images and read what I have found. Make up your own mind. If you can add anything, please send me an e-mail.
This is what I had to look at when buying this mold. The sand casting is really rough, and the markings are not clear. I am pretty sure about the Walker part of the stamping, so I bought it immediately. I have seen the L. N. Walker stamping on his false muzzles. This stamp looked right to me. Even if unclear.
For any serious Single Shot collector, L. N. Walker is an important name. If you do not know about this fellow, Get a copy of "Remington's No. 3 Hepburn" by Tom Rowe. Read Chapter 11, on page 239.
A rough brass sand casting. I photographed it next to a regular 45-70 Remington Mold. One handle is bent in slightly, as we often see in brass molds. It does look a lot like this Remington Mold. I called Ed Curtis. He reminded me that Remington had a large foundry business. You could order Castings, Barrels, etc. The lengths of the two molds are exactly the same. Just under 7 1/2 inches. Note the casting flaw on the iron mold upper right by the screw. I see these flaws on Remington molds. This might mean the molds were cast in sand using a wood pattern. The hinge screw is in the same location and is the same size.
The shape of the two molds is very much the same. Machining, material and polish is different. The Hepburn book describes Walker as a Contractor for Remington, with his own shop and employees. He could have made a couple of wood patterns easily. All he had to do was send them over to the foundry. It is possible. Brass is easier to cast and easier to machine. It does not wear out cutting tools as fast. It would be perfect for experiments.
The handles look rough. When you look at the business part of the mold, it is a different story. Whoever made this mold knew what he was doing.
The fit and finish of the mold cavity and mating surfaces is superb. You can see a picture of a very similar Iron mold on page 361 of Tom Rowe's Hepburn Book. The mold is from the Myron Whitehead Collection. The mold cavities seem exactly the same. Nine gliding bands on the bullet and the same caliber. Ed Curtis says he has one of these also.
The caliber stamping on this mold is interesting. It is the same as the stamping on the mold in Toms book. I have no way of making an exact comparison. Take a close look at the stamping on both molds. It seems like the same stamping dies. The only difference is that this brass mold is stamped deeper. I wish he had hit the makers mark deep like this!
The 306 grain weight of the bullet is very unusual. Why 306 instead of 300?
This odd weight is an interesting clue. On page 322 of Tom Rowe's book, you will see a description of the 38-75 Remington Straight. A 38 caliber cartridge with a 2 5/8 inch long case. Tom refers to these as "Experimental" cases that may never have gone into production. There was a fire in the ammunition department. That may be why these cartridges never were produced.
On the facing page you can see a list of cartridges available. You will find the 38-75 listed. It is the only cartridge listed with a 306 grain bullet.
The mechanical design and function of this mold is different from the normal Remington Mold. In the images above you can see a slot in one half of the mold. The other mold half slides into the slot. This was a complicated machining job. It does make the mold halves line up even better. You have a hinge screw, a locating pin and a slot. It reminds me of wearing a belt and two suspenders to get everything to line up!
The cut off plate is very unusual. My first thought is that this is an experiment. I have no idea if it works. I do not plan to try it.
If anyone has a mold similar to this, I would love to hear about it and get pictures. Hopefully it would have a clear makers stamp.
There was also a 38-90 cartridge listed on page 323. It was offered with a 330 grain bullet and the same 2 5/8 inch straight cartridge case. The mold for this cartridge would be marked 38-330. A more normal sounding bullet.
Above, are a couple of side views of the mold blocks. They are left rough too. Only the front of the mold blocks had a fine polish. That might have had something to do with the jig that held the blocks when the mold cavity was cut.
The center image is a straight on picture of the mold cavity. I made a few rubber casts of the bullet cavity to give you an idea of what the bullet might look like. The rubber casts the exact size of the mold cavity. Allowing for shrinkage of the hot lead, this mold should cast a .375 or .376 bullet. It is cylindrical. No taper.
No matter how I adjust the light, I just can't get a clear look at those first two letters. Next time I make some rubber castings, I will place some on this marking and try to print it. The rubber is so accurate, it can pick up fingerprints off glass or other smooth surfaces.
I wish I had a straight on photo of the L. N. Walker stamp. The patent model rifle on page 308 of Tom Rowes "Remington's No. 3 Hepburn" book actually shows two different Walker stamps. Check out the images. One small stamp is on the breech block. A larger stamp is on the top of the action.
It would be fun to have two straight on pictures of good quality. Try to line them up and superimpose them.