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| | |-+  ID signiture and rifle, IDed as Samuel Mier
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Author Topic: ID signiture and rifle, IDed as Samuel Mier  (Read 2905 times)
copdoc
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« on: May 15, 2010, 11:29:16 PM »

Hello
Interesting forum.  I have an old ML rifle, lock missing, about 30 cal with false muzzle.  The barrel is signed but I can not make it out. An older gentleman gave it to me in pieces.  He thinks the lock and trigger guard are gone forever and that it originated in NC.

I will take more pics if it helps or even if anyone is interested in them.

Thanks









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Tanselman
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 12:42:35 AM »

Your rifle appears to be made by Samuel Mier (1831-1909), a late Somerset County, PA gunsmith. His father Jacob Mier and brother John Mier were also gunsmiths of some reknown. Samuel worked in Elk Lick Twp. in Somerset Co., and substantial information has been published on him, much of it by Jim Whisker in his "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset Counties."

The gun, despite its damage and relatively late style, has several details that indicate it was made by Samuel Mier. These details include: 1) signature, with letters cut in Mier's style and shape, 2) cheekpiece with multiple molding lines and rounded lower edge, 3) engraved pattern on lid, including the serpentine lines along either edge of the lid, 4) oversized release button in toe plate, 5) non-standard hinge configuration, 6) use of non-standard side leaves on his patchboxes, which were highly engraved and each was very individualistic. The gun can solidly be attributed to Samuel Mier, and is a relatively late gun by him, probably dating to the 1860s or later. He also used large silver inlays in the cheekpiece, usually with an eagle engraved on it... but I can't see what figure is engraved on your cheekpiece inlay. Shelby Gallien
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B Shipman
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 01:29:32 AM »

Where else can you get a cogent resonse like that.
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copdoc
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 08:12:25 AM »

Wow, thanks

That was fast and complete, well almost complete.  Where did the old man put the lock?   Huh
Is it in that big green cabinet in the corner of the basement?  Smiley 

I had a darker pic showing the cheekpiece.  I should also get a pic of the muzzle. 

I will also get some pics of the Winder musket he gave me and make another post. 

Thanks again

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Tanselman
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 11:39:43 AM »

The silver cheekpiece inlay has an acorn engraved on it. If you look closely, the piercing or cutout in the patchbox finial is also a stylized acorn. Other known guns by Samuel Mier used acorns in the engraving or as decoration.  Shelby Gallien
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copdoc
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 01:01:30 PM »

The silver cheekpiece inlay has an acorn engraved on it. If you look closely, the piercing or cutout in the patchbox finial is also a stylized acorn. Other known guns by Samuel Mier used acorns in the engraving or as decoration.  Shelby Gallien

Thanks
I thought the cutout on the patchbox looked like an acorn.  I see this was pretty common to pick a motif and follow it through on the rifle.  I found a very interesting whale motif on the reference section of this forum. No wonder artists as well and firearms enthusiast like these guns.
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copdoc
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 04:06:45 PM »

I forgot to ask. Would Mier have made the lock or used another maker's lock on his rifles?  I googled him but found very little except to know I am lucky to have this rifle even missing the lock. I guess I need Mr Whisker's book.

Thanks again
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Tanselman
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 06:45:52 PM »

The lock, triggers and brass furniture, or mountings, were probably commercial parts Mier purchased at his local hardware store. Some finish filing of the brass mounts was done before installing them on the stock, and that filing gave these late commercial parts, at times, a flavor of the local gunsmith. If you get a copy of Whisker's book, or someone copies the appropriate pages for you, it should be relatively easy for a black powder gunsmith to locate, finish and install the missing parts in a style appropriate to the time and particular gunsmith. This rifle was made too late to have gunsmith-made parts, when he could buy commercial parts locally for less than the value of his labor if he made them.  That probably also includes the barrel on this rifle.

By the 1860s, gunmakers were, for the most part, assembling parts. The uniqueness of the gun came from the gunmaker's ability to shape the stock outline and surface features in his own style, and add a few personal touches such as the fancy patchbox that he cut out of sheet brass and engraved, and any inlay work. Even some inlay work and patchboxes could be commercially purchased by this time, but yours is probably hand done by Mier.  Shelby Gallien
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copdoc
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 07:25:47 PM »

Thanks again

I thought that was the case and should be able to eventually find a period lock.  Were all his guns percussion by 1860?

He is a close up of the barrel just in case anyone wants to see it.  Checked again and it is about 36 caliber.  Would this heavy barrel turned for false muzzle usually be for target shooting? 

I know I need to look for the book.

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oakridge
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 09:42:22 AM »

Copdoc,
The muzzle of that barrel is turned for a bullet starter, not a false muzzle. Starters were used primarily for picket bullets, as opposed to round balls. A rifle like yours could have been used for sporting (hunting), as well as target use.
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Dphariss
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 10:06:39 AM »

Wow, thanks

That was fast and complete, well almost complete.  Where did the old man put the lock?   Huh
Is it in that big green cabinet in the corner of the basement?  Smiley 



Lock might have been removed for any number of reasons in the distant past. Removing the lock/hammer/cock/frizzen was a way to make the gun a safe and/or for a play thing for kids. So it may have been gone a long time.

Being turned round at the muzzle it is likely twisted with a gain twist for use with picket bullet ending in 32-48" or even a straight twist in the same range. Picket bullets needed a false muzzle or a guide starter to achieve much accuracy.



These came into use by about 1825-1830 in the east and were the inspiration for the false muzzle as well as the guide starter.


These were usually used for longer range target shooting but could be used for hunting but the loading process and the starter made this sort of a PITA. I have a 48" twist 40 I have been shooting pickets in with some sucess. They also often require far more powder to shoot well than a RB perhaps 40-100% more.
I am up to 80 gr of FF Swiss in the 40 right now at last testing. Now it needs a platinum lined (best) or hard stainless nipple to control erosion.
Dan
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Tanselman
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 12:04:17 PM »

Your rifle was definitely a percusison gun, and if restored needs a percussion lock. The flintlock started disappearing in the early 1830s, more rapidly in well settled areas where percussion caps were readily available, and more slowly in remote areas. Samuel Mier's late working dates, probably beginning to work as a journeyman in 1852, is a good indication that all of his rifles were made as percussion guns.... unless someone specifically ordered a flintlock gun from him.

There are still enough old percussion locks floating around, and in the "junk drawers" of those who restore old guns, that you have a decent chance of finding an original lock that will fit the open mortise rather well. If you can't find a complete lock, an original plate that the gunsmith can replace parts on will usually look better than a new lock in the gun.  Shelby Gallien
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copdoc
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 08:03:10 PM »

Thanks a lot to all of you for info and pics. This is a whole new field of study for me.
I have read of the Picket bullets a realized soon after I typed that this might have been for those.  I was not sure of the difference in the bullet starters and false muzzle difference.  I am looking for an old lock and have a few machine tools(and a lot of friends that are machinists/tool and die makers) to help. Compared to the restoration of the WWII flamethrower and recoilless rifle fitting a lock should not be too bad.   Using old parts but making the side plate would save time if I can not find one to fit.  A very talented friend offered to make a lock if I could not find one.  I would like it as original as possible but will mark repo parts and take pics so future generations will know which parts were original.  Just my thing. 

Do any of you shoot original rifles from this period?  If so I will have to make a bullet starter as I am sure the original will never show up.  Were they standard size and sold in hardware stores or made by the smiths?

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JTR
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 10:58:11 PM »

I have a bunch of old lock plates, and one of them might fit your gun. I also have a bunch of percussion hammers. But I'm going to be out of town for the next 6 weeks.
If you can draw an accurate outline where the locks fits in and include some dimensions, when I get back home I'll dig through my junk to see if something will fit. Just be aware that there didn't seem to be any standardized size and shape of locks at the time, so finding an exact fit might be difficult. 
Send an email to jtrrobbins@msn.com if you're interested.
John
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John Robbins
copdoc
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 11:15:46 PM »

Thanks John

I am very interested.  email sent
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Hurricane ( of Virginia)
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2010, 05:55:52 PM »

A longrifle , attributed to Jacob Mier ( the father) is exhibited in the ALR Museum.

Here is the URL:

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=2880.0

Hurricane
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copdoc
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2010, 10:48:06 PM »

Thanks
I looked at it when Shelby IDed mine..  Beautiful rifle and very similar to mine.  very nice collection of pics.  Eventually I'll get the lock replaced and add mine.
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chuckles2011
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 09:57:35 PM »

it's definitely a Mier rifle.  Are you planning to keep it, or even without a lock might you be interested in selling it?   chuckles2011
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Shreckmeister
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 01:18:25 PM »

I have some photos of another S Mier gun that shares some characteristics and which you can see the type of lock he used.  If you email me, I will send them to you.
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Johan (Yock), John, William and Lincoln Shreckengost. Father, son, grandson and great grandson.  4 Generations of gunsmiths in Pennsylvania.
copdoc
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2011, 06:39:26 PM »

chuckles2011  not for sale at this time.

suzkat  thanks  would love to see another Mier.  I bought Whisker and Yantz book and found out that he was "best known and important of the Sommerset gunsmiths"  I was pleased.  I also found out that he made half stock target rifles and that this may be an original configuration. I keep hoping the old gentleman who gave it to e will find the lock but I guess he will not.  email coming to you.
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