Author Topic: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info  (Read 1649 times)

Offline ET

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P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« on: July 26, 2018, 07:32:17 PM »
I bought a rifle at a pawn shop and I have found out some of the information about the maker and his rifles  from searching the forum, but I donít know whether my gun was made for a Round ball or a picket style bullet. The gun has a very heavy octagon barrel and is dated 1861 with the makers name and Masonic symbol (compass and square). I will try to attempt to attach some pictures. I would really like to know how much itís worth although Iím not trying to sell it and what type of ball or bullet it was made for. Any other information about the gun would be appreciated. The bore is very smooth, and it seems to be in good shootable condition.

















« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 05:06:02 PM by ET »

Offline Buck

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 08:02:03 PM »
ET,

Nice rifle, that's a Compass and Square.

Buck

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 08:17:51 PM »
Generally target rifles with a muzzle turned round for a bullet starter were designed to shoot a short conical bullet.

 Hungry Horse

Offline Gaeckle

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 08:38:51 AM »
Call the Log Cabin Shop, in Lodi, Ohio....ask for Tom, he has a wealth of knowledge about Pete Reinhart. Nice looking gun, but I wonder if the barrel was done by Reinhart and then stocked by somebody else, it doesn't have the same lines as all the other's I've seen and Reinhart had a very distinguishing look with certain features.

I have what is generally thought to be a rifle built by an apprentice who was studying under Reinhart, when you compare the rifle I have to  what Pete built there is no mistaking the influence of the tutor. Try to take some pictures of the engraving, as Rienhart had a consistent style of engraving.

Like I said, call the Log Cabin, 330-948-1082, speak with Tom, try to send him pictures.

Offline ET

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 01:44:28 AM »
Gaeckle,

You are right about Tom. He is very knowledgeable, and a great guy to talk with, and He haa a lot of information on the Reinhard rifles. I talked with him for some time, and he seems to think that the rifle was made for someone of importance. I sent him several detailed pictures of the rifle via email and he said he would look at them when he gets a chance and will let me know what he thinks. Thanks so much for your help!

Offline Gaeckle

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2018, 05:38:41 AM »
Gaeckle,

You are right about Tom. He is very knowledgeable, and a great guy to talk with, and He haa a lot of information on the Reinhard rifles. I talked with him for some time, and he seems to think that the rifle was made for someone of importance. I sent him several detailed pictures of the rifle via email and he said he would look at them when he gets a chance and will let me know what he thinks. Thanks so much for your help!

Cool beans! I'm going over there on Saturday, If I can remember, I'll take some pictures of the Reinhart guns from the museum....glad things worked out for you!

Offline ET

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2018, 10:23:31 PM »
Gaeckle,
You were right about my gun having been restocked. Tom said the same thing, after reviewing the pics that I sent him.  He said that the inlays that are made of aluminum, the forend cap, and style of some of the engraving, as well as characteristics of the stock didnít match those of Peter Reinhards rifles. He said he believed that someone had salvaged some of the original inlays, lock, butt plate, etc, and had used them along with the newer inlays to remake the stock. I wanted to believe that the rifle hadnít been restocked, and I kept looking for examples of Reinhards rifles trying to find atleast one pictured with the same style. I searched, and searched on line, to no avail.

Today, as I was searching on line, It came to me that maybe you were both right, and I should be looking for examples of other gun makers that had similar characteristics to my Reinhard rifle. I thought ďI have a few of the books that I received from my friend Professor Jim Whisker that I had not looked at for several years, and that this would be a good place to start. As soon as I opened my copy of Gunsmiths of WV by Jim I found what I was looking for. I must admit Iím getting older and have a few memory issues, but I donít know why I didnít remember the style of the gun maker who restocked my gun as he lived approximately 25 miles from me his entire life, and in his later years lived in Fairmont, WV (the town where I acquired the rifle)  The gunsmithís name is Madison M. Benson, or (M.M. Benson) as he was known locally, and his rifles are very high quality, and very collectible as well. I will attach some pictures of my rifle that show the similarities with the M.M. Benson rifle in Jim Whiskers book (The Gunsmiths of WV by James B. Whisker).










« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 11:50:35 PM by ET »

Offline Gaeckle

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2018, 03:47:51 PM »
That is really awesome. How fantastic that you were your own detective in discovering the origins of this rifle. If I'm correct, way back when, aluminum was valued more than gold as it wasn't easily processed, so that rifle was most likely a costly one at that. You may have also come upon a different train of thought that I proposed to Tom when I saw him: did Reinhart make and sell his barrels to other makers? He had a very good reputation for rifling very accurate barrels. It could be easy to see that happening.

Offline ET

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2018, 12:32:01 AM »
Gaeckle,

I would suppose that P.A. Reinhard, may have sold some of his barrels, but I found no mention of that in the article written by his. Son F.A. Reinhard. http://www.aolrc.com/newsletters September 1980 (Peter Reinhard). Also the lock, and other hardware on the gun appear to be the same type with the same engraving that P.A. Reinhard used on his rifles. I would suppose that it would also be possible that M.M. Benson could have supplied the parts that are made of aluminum to Peter Reinhard, however, since the gun was found by me in Fairmont, WV (where Madison Benson lived in his later years, and until his death, it is more likely that the gun was restocked by M.M. Benson, and more than likely who also refreshed/rebored the barrel to 45 caliber)  This seems to be the calber used more frequently by M.M. Benson, and it seems that Reinhard preferred a smaller diameter bore. What still strikes me as an oddity is the fact that the overall style of the rifle has characteristics of both builders, but the overall pattern of the stock neither follows the exact lines as either builder.
 I believe that Tom is exactly right in his hypothesis that the rifles stock was damaged (possibly broken at the wrist which was a common problem) and the owner of the rifle took the rifle to M.M. Benson, and possibly requested that he follow the lines/style of the original stock, With the addition of some inlays that were as you said ďvery expensive, as aluminum was very uncommon and was more expensive than gold at one time in the 1850s until the 1880s) There is (in my mind atleast) - the question of the two oval German Silver inlays that folllow the fleur-de-lis pattern of Reinhard) I have to wonder if these were originally placed on both the right and left side of the original stock, and if this was something that is normal to Peter Reinhards work.
I have tracked down some of the history of the rifle, but Iíd love to know who the gun was originally made for with the barrel dated 1861 (first year of the Civil War) with Masonic Symbols on either side of the date and name P.A. Reinhard, with the Aluminium inlays, of M.M. Benson, and a very highly figured curly maple stock that was used.

Who ever this gun was made for, he must have been a very influential and important person, and from what Iíve read (at the time this gun was made normal muzzle loading rifles were reportedly selling for between seven dollars and fifty cents up to fifteen dollars, and P.A Reinhard rifles were said to be selling for fifty to seventy five dollars) I would love to talk to someone who knows the history of this rifle. If only it could talk I wonder what stories it could tell!
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 12:52:06 AM by ET »

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 03:49:03 AM »
An indication of the value of the aluminum in the 1880's :   The cap of the Washington Monument has an aluminum pyramidon, installed before the dedication in 1888.  As noted above, worth more than gold!
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline ET

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 01:34:20 AM »
I took the old girl out to the shooting range to try her out. Old Mary Todd as I now affectionately call her was pretty impressive for an old girl whoís over 150 years old. You can see the results in the Black Powder SHooting forum.

ET  AKA Randy Friend Sr.

Offline Uncle Miltie

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Re: P.A. Reinhard rifle. That I bought need some info
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2019, 05:43:31 AM »
Old thread, but I like old stuff, and thought I'd add my two cents here.

I've seen and fired a fair number of Reinhard rifles, and feel this particular one was originally made by him.  1861 is a fairly early date for Peter's rifles, and in that year, was most likely made as a picket rifle, for use with a cloth patched bullet no more than 1 1/2 calibers in length, with the muzzle turned round for use with a guide (piston) starter for starting bullets.

  Reinhard was a Mason, and many of his rifles bear this mark.  I do believe, as Tom mentioned, that the rifle was re-stocked at some point, as the stock does not appear as though it was done by Peter.   It's important to note that even though Peter was a already a skilled maker, he went to work with  William Billinghurst for a time, in order to learn to make better rifles.  As a result, Peter became a better stock maker, skilled engraver and of course barrel maker.  His rifles won more matches, and he became famous throughout the eastern US.

The oval plates on the rifle shown appear to be engraved by a skillful hand; the aluminum inlays do not.  I think the oval plates were part of the original rifle, and the aluminum inlays added by someone else.  Most Reinhard rifles I see are rather plain, but as stated earlier he made them in higher grades as well.  As someone stated earlier, aluminum was a bit pricey in the old days, and I have seen several Ohio rifles using this material.


A nice old rifle, thanks for posting it!  Every Mother's Day weekend the club at Canal Fulton OH holds a match for original slug and picket rifles.  If you wish to tool up your rifle to use as it was originally intended, please let me know and I can refer you to someone who can do this work.  Hope this helps.