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Author Topic: Tim Murphy Rifle  (Read 5450 times)
smshea
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« on: June 20, 2010, 08:02:57 PM »

So I have a client that would like to have a Rifle Representative of what Timothy Murphy might have used for his famous shot during the Revolution. I'm wondering what others might in vision in his hands on that day.  Brain storming Ideas would be a big help. Huh

Thanks
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SCLoyalist
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 08:24:02 PM »

Several   accounts say Murphy used a double barreled gun, although whether a swivel breech or some other scheme isn't specified.   More accounts say it took him two or three shots to land the fatal shot.

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TinStar
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 09:42:38 PM »

Along the Schoharie River in Schoharie County NY, there is a NYS Historical Marker about Murphy and his famous shot. Yes, he did use a double barreled rifle and had to fire a few shots  to hit his mark. Murphy was a Schoharie County resident during the Revolution. If I get down that way again I will take a pic and post it. It's quite interesting.


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smshea
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2010, 09:52:05 PM »

I was always under the impression that we know he owned a swivel gun at some point but that there is no proof that this is what he used on that famous day. Maybe I'm wrong on that....but either way....what style? From where? This may call for imagination. Wink   
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Karl Kunkel
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2010, 09:55:16 PM »

I can't recall the souce right now, but I beleive that Murphy's rifle after the war was a swivel breach, but that there is/was no real info that this was the rifle he carried that day. Some thought he would have carried a regular rifle.
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Kunk
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2010, 10:20:38 PM »

I think it is in:
Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard Ketchum
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smshea
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2010, 10:31:56 PM »

I'm not looking to throw anyone under the bus for their opinions here.
 
 Those who know me know I naturally gravitate to Eastern most Pa and usually Federal period guns....So I'm out of my natural comfort zone here. Need some help thinking out of the box here.

Acer, Thanks for bringing that book up! I keep thinking I'm going to reread that but need to dig it out of a storage unit.  I just wrote myself a note for tomarrow! Grin
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Acer Saccharum
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2010, 10:52:07 PM »

It's a fabulous book. Written in a clear and concise manner, history, but highly readable. COvers Burgoyne's trek down the Champlain and Lake George valleys, and the defeat at the Battle of Bennington, and digging in at Saratoga.

My club, the Old Saratoga Muzzleloading Club, is on the very grounds the Brits marched through, really close to Freeman's Farm. Just south of Schuylerville, the club is a mile North of the actual battle ground. The terrain is gently rolling farmland until you get to the American position, where the earth is raised up abruptly into hills and gorges. To go around the American position, Burgoyne would have had to go MILES to the west, cutting his way through forests and wading through swamps. The Brits were almost starving at this point, and decided to fight the Americans right there and then get through the other side of their line to food and supplies. Burgoyne was vainly hoping for Clinton to come up from NYC to effectively pinch the Americans between the two Brit forces. Clinton never made it.

I think about history of Colonial America when I go to my shoots along the Hudson.

Tom
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Dpeck
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2010, 08:05:54 AM »

The accounts claim that Murphy must have had two fairly quick shots available to pick off Fraser and his aide.  That is about the extent of it.

DP
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Don Getz
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2010, 08:10:47 AM »

When I first heard the story about Murphy shooting that general, I heard that it was a two barreled gun.   Think about this for a moment.   I don't know of any american made swivel breech guns, or even over/under guns, that were made
prior to the revolution.    On the other hand, I have seen "jager" swivel breech guns which would have been available at
that time.   Many of those Jagers were large bores, so, is it possible that he used one to accomplish this feat.........seems
doubtful.   My guess is he was shooting a single barrel rifle, probably 45, maybe a 50...........Don
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Don Getz
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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2010, 08:22:52 AM »

To follow up on my last comments, I  just remembered the "William Antes" swivel breech......it was an early gun, but, was
it, or one like it used?     Seems like I remember Murphy coming from the Northumberland County area, and there are connections between William Antes and Fort Augusta which was in Sunbury, Northumberland County.   If I remember
correctly, a fellow by the name of Markley, an englishman, who was the armorer at Fort Augusta, married the daughter
of William Antes.   Some food for thought.............Don
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Acer Saccharum
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 08:29:52 AM »

Maybe he had two or three rifles up in the tree, and shot them in succession, like Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. Grin
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2010, 08:43:36 AM »

Some info:
http://americanrevolution.org/murphy.html
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Mike R
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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2010, 08:50:56 AM »

I'll have to search for my source, but I read not too long ago that Murphy did own a wender type double rifle and that a receipt for it had been found--If I recall it was made near Easton, PA. However, the same source allowed as how it being heavy, was mainly use in garrison and that he carried a single barrel rifle that day he [reportedly] made the long shot(s).  That info may have come from a book called "Frontier Riflemen" or Rev War Riflemen....

P.S. I don't remember the name of the builder, but it was not Golcher.
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2010, 09:08:39 AM »

Another bit of confusion:

http://pajack.com/stories/pennsylvania/timmurphy.html

http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/2003_summer_fall/fraser.htm
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2010, 09:55:59 AM »

So after looking at several sources..there appears to be no real solid evidence.......but common lore says he used a double barrel rifle..........so I guess thats what the client might want...did he say???   Might have to look to possible european design??  Was a swivel breech known to have been made during the Rev war.... seems more reasonable than SxS???
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De Oppresso Liber
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Dennis Glazener
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2010, 10:49:54 AM »

Thanks for all the info in this post. My GGGG GF Samuel B. King was one of Morgan's riflemen. He was from Bedford County VA and joined Dec 9, 1776 and was with Morgan at the battle of Saratoga. I like to think he may have known Tim Murphy!
Dennis




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Ken Prather
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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2010, 10:58:27 AM »

I have an ancestor that was also at Saratoga with Morgans, Capt. Basil Prather. He was in command of 60-plus riflemen that were attached to Morgan from the 8th PA.
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2010, 11:34:23 AM »

Here's Tim Murphy's horn.  It was at an awkward angle under glass, at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie.  About 15-16" along the outside curve, about 3" at the base, iron nails to hold the buttplug, and no markings.  Either a cheap standard trade horn or a one-off made by a non-professional.





I don't doubt that Antes, etc was making double barrel swivel rifles by 1770, but the one in RCA looks 1780's-1790's to me.
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2010, 12:24:36 PM »

While Fraiser stated the man that shot him was in a tree Murphy was not the only rifleman shooting at him at the time. So who really killed him could be a ?
But Murphy is an excellent candidate and chances are the story that has come down through time is correct. But I am not sure that Murphy ever claimed it. But he may not have considered it something the brag about.

So far as the swivel breech? The Antes rifle could easily predate the Revolution and I think it does. Antes was certainly old enough, b. 1735 IIRC, to have even invented the little figure with the funny cap that appears on Allentown guns and on this swivel. It would have been the perfect gun for the Fraiser job since a 50 caliber rifle will easily make the 300 yard shot. Wenders had been in production in Europe since the advent of the flintlock.
I can tell you that a swivel is pretty nice thing to have for hunting and in combat would have been that much better.
Sometime during the Revolution Kenton ordered a double barreled rifle from PA. So they were apparently known as far "out" as Kentucky. SXS are far more unwieldy than a swivel.
Dan
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2010, 02:36:19 PM »

To muddy the waters even more, I remember reading about a letter written about two brothers or cousins from North Carolina who crept about half way to the Brit lines, through a field of standing grain. According to the letter, the two fired at Frazier from less than 200 yards from a slight rise in the field. Don't remember the source though.

As mentioned in the article on the early American Review page, the first mention of Murphy as the one who shot Frazier was in the mid 1840's, so IMHO, the story is probably more fiction than fact.

That said, no one can really know what style of rifle was used by Morgan's riflemen at Bemis Heights. I suspect that an early Lancaster,  an early VA rifle similar to the Haymaker, or something close to RCA 21 might be a good choice.

God bless
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Dennis Glazener
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2010, 07:53:04 PM »

Quote
That said, no one can really know what style of rifle was used by Morgan's riflemen at Bemis Heights. I suspect that an early Lancaster,  an early VA rifle similar to the Haymaker, or something close to RCA 21 might be a good choice.
My vote is on RCA #124, it just screams Morgan's Riflemen, especially the ones from VA!
Dennis
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Jim Kibler
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2010, 09:46:19 PM »

Quote
That said, no one can really know what style of rifle was used by Morgan's riflemen at Bemis Heights. I suspect that an early Lancaster,  an early VA rifle similar to the Haymaker, or something close to RCA 21 might be a good choice.
My vote is on RCA #124, it just screams Morgan's Riflemen, especially the ones from VA!
Dennis


So what is it about RCA #124 that screams Morgan's Riflemen?  Just curious what your thoughts are.
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Acer Saccharum
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« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2010, 07:10:54 AM »

Jim, it's only because Dennis is from VA. And because he owns the site, we let him have his little fantasy now and then.

Tom
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Dennis Glazener
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« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2010, 09:05:44 AM »

Jim,
I guess the VA attribution has something to do with it (maybe a lot more than I let on).

The graceful lines of the walnut stock (I don't like the goofy incised lines, I can imagine a bored Rev War guy using his knife to carve these line while sitting around a campfire Roll Eyes), the simple, functional look that I think would appeal to early Scot-Irish frontiersman. The wide (2 1/16") butt and comparatively straight stock that to me would make for comfortable shooting of a .59 caliber rifle. The use of a top of the line Ketland lock for reliability.

To me it just has the look of a rifle that one of Morgan's VA riflemen would have owned as his personal rifle.

Dennis
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