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VERY RARE EARLY WESTERN FRONTIER RIFLE SCABBARD – 1860’s – 1870’s “SLIM JIM” PATTERN - FOR THE HENRY RIFLE, MODEL 1866 WINCHESTER, SHARPS & REMINGTON SPORTING RIFLES – EXCELLENT CONDITION:  Presenting in excellent condition and exhibiting several features which strongly suggest manufacture in the early Western Frontier era of the 1860’s through the 1870’s, this Rifle Scabbard is a very rare survivor, and one which is seldom seen.  This is the perfect scabbard to display with a Henry or Model 1866 Winchester Rifle, or a Sharps or Remington Sporting Rifle such was on the post-Civil War buffalo hunt prairies.   

Measuring 39” long, the scabbard was formed with the same distinct profile seen on the early “Slim Jim” holsters produced to carry the percussion and early cartridge conversion revolvers, with a definite “step” below the receiver and a definitively constricted 19 ˝” long barrel tube.  While the pattern for this scabbard was designed to accommodate a number of different models of rifles in use during the period, this scabbard will accept all of the rifles listed above.  The toe of the scabbard is fitted with a round plug – a feature which was eventually abandoned in favor of the “pinched” toe seam seen on later production scabbards.   

The scabbard was made without the riveted carrying strap loops which are also a feature of later production scabbards.  While the carrying straps did not survive with this scabbard, there is evidence of parallel marks of light wear just below the throat and just below the barrel tube step, which appear to be caused by repeated wear from straps rubbing across the surface of the leather – indication that this scabbard was carried on a saddle.  Finally, there are remnants of a two-piece strap which was used to close the throat of the scabbard and secure the rifle in place.  

The right side of the scabbard is completely covered with very attractive complex, detailed stamping which follows the profile of the scabbard.  The left side of the scabbard is stamped with a 1 ˝” wide border which carries over several of the stamping patterns from the right side.  All the stamping is very nicely executed and speaks of an experienced leather worker’s hand.   

The substantial-weight leather is very supple, it retains a bright, shiny surface, the scabbard holds its shape, and is full form.  There is some crazing, but very little loss of surface.  All of the seams are intact and show no signs of repair or restitching, and as noted, the toe plug is in place.  While the scabbard holds it shape, but the leather is relaxed a few inches below the barrel tube step where the tube will fold over if not supported internally.  Otherwise the leather both at the throat and lower towards the toe shows no softening or flexing.   

The scabbard is completely lined with soft chamois-type leather which appears to be fully intact the length of the interior.  There is a second layer of lining at the very opening of the throat which has experienced some wear, but the wear has not affected the base layer of lining.   

This was an expensive, quality rifle scabbard of its day.  It would be a key addition to a gun leather collection, and one which would display perfectly with a high condition Henry, Model 1866, or a Buffalo Hunter’s Rifle.  Such a rare specimen that similar scabbards have not been included in such works as Packing Iron, this is an excellent example of the early rifle scabbards in use on the Frontier, and one that would never need to be upgraded, if it were possible.  SOLD



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