After gentle prodding of the auction house and importer my suspiciously cheap Monkey Tail Carbine has finally arrived. Below are photographs as it came. For once I have restrained myself from leaping into disassembly and cleaning straight away.
The lock is dated 1874 and seems in good order with a strong spring and effective at half and full cock. The serial number is 12435 with no preceding letter. Proofed at 52 bore, marked .450 The barrel is marked 483 and Whitworth patent. The tail underside is stamped M, B and 3. The breech area has the NA&A Co 'squiggle'. The rear of the breech is also proof stamped. Overall it seems in good order. The barrel has clear WR octagonal rifling. The bore seems dirty rather than corroded. There are no other visible markings but the barrel has not been removed as yet. The finish is a brown patina degraded from original blueing. I doubt if it will be necessary to do more than clean it with oil and copper gauze and a good scrub in the barrel with stainless steel gauze. The butt plate has a door which opens to two long holes for a two piece cleaning rod I presume. They are empty. The ramrod in the fore stock lacks a tip. I have not tried to remove it as yet.
It lacks a rear sight (I have an Enfield sight spare for fitting for the moment). The stock has been drilled to mount it to a wall but with no effect upon the metal so will only require wooden plugs to fill the holes. The front swivel is slightly smaller than the rear and has a strange screw bolt so these may be replacements. The key deficient item is in the breech. It shuts and opens crisply and bears the slide with plug in good order. There is some sort of spring missing that would move the block on the slide. I will have to check such drawings as I have but any input, advice, drawings etc, would be gratefully received to replace or remake the part/s. I suspect that this was a measure taken to render it safe to display and the bits long lost. The nipple is stuck fast but that is no new problem to deal with. The front sight is present. It is very low and the base has been sawn with a longitudinal cut to take the existing thin blade. I suspect that this is a later change and not original but I have never personally inspected another M-T so I am open to correction.
A 47-400B mould is on it's way from Accurate Moulds and 2 M-T nipples from Peter Dyson. Also see my Monkey Tail Paper thread from earlier.
It all looks promising bar the breech spring bits. I will post some more photographs once I have the barrel and lock off for cleaning. I see no reason to remove anything else.
Thanks to the return of the editing function I can say that I have worked out the breech sliding block issue. I managed to slip it off the retaining slide in which there is a rectangular slot. I found a worn pin that would project into that slot and retain the sliding block in a position that allows it to enter the breech when closing it. All I have to do now is work out how to replace the pin and how to get the block onto the slide with a new projecting pin.
It looks as if the pin is screwed in from the other size so, hopefully, I only need to replace or remake it. I don't suppose anyone sells spares? All in all I am very impressed with the design and NA&A Co's manufacturing.
Further edit. The Canadian trials of the M-T found that the greased cartridges became too hard in winter temperatures. The report probably was the cause of the change to ungreased cartridges. Assuming that the greasing had previously been found to be beneficial it may be that it is worthwhile in more temperate climates? I have found no hot weather reports on greased cartridges.