Author Topic: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE  (Read 1865 times)

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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.... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« on: January 06, 2019, 11:38:38 PM »
... Arnie Dowd and I have been discussing this unusual Iron Mounted rifle for a while, and we  want to post here to possibly gain  opinions and comments on her,... several of you have seen her at a couple shows, but we wanted to share her with a wider audience here,... I will post Arnie's text and include the great photos taken by Kenneth Orr ,.... enjoy,...!!!
     "This very unique Iron-mounted Longrifle is truly a mystery as to who made it, where it was made, and for whom it was made. It is absolutely untouched, unrestored and original flint. It surfaced in NM about 1998, and I am fortunate to be the current caretaker.
      Obviously, it has seen very long and very hard use and carried many miles, much of it on horse-back as the copper patch on the fore-end indicates as well as the crude copper, replacement barrel pin escutcheons, etc... Several ideas and theories have been made as to area of origin and maker, most credible is an associate of James McCamant of Virginia, since sharing several features of his work,...the two silver plates on the barrel being so worn that no inscription can be seen,...."
       Here are a few features, as supplied by Arnie,....

......1 ...Indian engraved on the silver half-moon inlay...
......2 ...extensive use of brass overlay and inlay (esp. the bars on the federal shield of the "National Road" style patch-box abd the 8" toe-plate ....
      3 ...abstract piercings on the lock bolt plate ...
......4 ...the  bird head finial on the trigger-guard,...
......5....the swell area of the fore-stock at the ramrod entry pipe,...
......6 ...the wood in the pierced areas of the iron fittings are scooped out in an intentional way so as to make the iron "stand out",...
......7 ...the brass inlay below the cheek-rest rolls up and under the bottom of cheek-rest extending to meet the silver edge of the cheek,...

        NOW,... the MOST, UNUSUAL UNIQUE feature,....never before seen,... the trigger-guard is "hinged",...!!! ... working similar to a lever action rifle, the hinged trigger-guard can be raised or lowered, allowing for adjustment for fit and comfort of the shooter in the wrist area of this rifle,... !!!!!

        Here are the specifications,....Overall,..64 1/2" .... Barrel is 47", swamped actual .50cal, rifled ....Weight is 12 lbs, ... Butt width is  1 1/2" , LOP is 14 3/4" ... definitely made for a big fellow,...!!!
        Hope you enjoy, and all thoughts, opinions and comments welcome,...
        Kenneth Orr's excellent photos are included .... Thanx, fellows, and enjoy,...!!! ... regards, CCF and Arnie Dowd ...  (TWO LEFT "CLICKS" ON INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE)   

























« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 02:53:15 AM by Ky-Flinter »

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 11:48:27 PM »
.... A few additional photos of the unique trigger-guard,....  comments welcome, .......












Offline BOB HILL

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 11:53:12 PM »
Anie and Dana, thanks for posting these great pictures of this fine rifle. It sure has a lot to study.
Bob
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Offline bgf

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 12:37:31 AM »
First off, thanks and wow!

Second, is the barrel held with wedges or pins?  Ive seen wedges with holes in right sight side escutcheons to push them out with a pin, and the left side of wedge is the "escutcheon".  Do you have a picture of the left side of forearm/foreend?

The nice ironwork makes me think Augusta county Virginia or somewhat north east / southwest either as an origin or influence, as well several other features...but just a first reaction!  The side plate and the patchbox are sort of two different approaches, but unique isn't a surprise on something like this :).

Offline louieparker

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 02:36:44 AM »
Yes its a fine and well used old rifle, unique in several ways. I like it a lot !  Not only the way its made but the wear and use it shows..  Shows a long useful history...I have no idea as to who the maker might be. I have never seen another rifle that shows convincing evidence to me to be by the same hand.. I have handled this rifle more than a little and always enjoy seeing  again.. Louie

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 03:10:35 AM »
I don’t understand the hinged guard. How does that enhance the fit for the shooter?  Does the lock say “sharps”?  Great rifle
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 03:25:21 AM »
I don’t understand the hinged guard. How does that enhance the fit for the shooter?  Does the lock say “sharps”?  Great rifle
I have the same question, I don't see a means for adjustment unless the piece in front of the cross pin hole somehow can be adjusted up/down with that flat spring locking it in place.
Dennis
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Offline JTR

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 04:06:14 AM »
Cool rifle!
The trigger guard looks like a hammer cocker to me.
Anyone ever pop the lock out and take a look?
John
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Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 04:46:29 AM »
Again Thanks to Dana for his help in posting these photos and text as I'm not very good with this technical stuff !  First -  the barrel is held by pins.  Second - the association to McCamant is very sketchy and the only two things pointed out by Mel Hankla that would indicate a connection are the abstract shape and engraving of the inlays above and below the cheek-piece and the first, silver barrel-pin escutcheon.  No one who has seen or handled the rifle thinks McCamant made it. 
Let me try to explain how the "Gizmo" on the end of the TG works -  as you can see there is a convex bolt-spring on the top of the small plate which presses against the vertical post of the TG just above the finger curl.  That spring has two fingers that go around both sides of the post which goes through the plate and if the bolt of the spring is loosened it releases the pressure on the post and allows it to go up or down.  Then when the bolt is screwed down it applies forward pressure on the post holding it securely in place.  This allows the distance between the TG rail and the bottom of the wrist to be increased or decreased which in turn increases or decreases the size of the bow of the TG for a fellow with big fingers or wearing gloves which makes the most sense.  The maximum deviation is just  bit over 3/8" but that does make a substantial difference in the depth of the bow of the TG
We will truly appreciate any thoughts, comments, theories or questions.  My hope also is that those guys who read and post on this site who have seen and handled  this rifle (and expressed a theory to me) will now post those ideas and theories for everyone to think about.  There is no question that this isn't the only rifle this maker made !  I hope Louie doesn't mind but he knows this rifle physically better than anyone.  Even though he did not take the rifle apart he made a beautiful bench-copy and it has been wonderful to see what it looked like "new".  He is the one who somewhat by accident discovered the hinged TG
In my opinion the two most interesting features on this rifle are the Federal Eagle which is part of the finial of the patchbox;  and the bust of the Indian (complete with bald-head, scalp-lock, braids and fringed shirt neck line) who is trying to tell us something but what ?
Thanks Again to Everyone and I will try to answer questions as they are posted.
Arnie

Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 04:52:57 AM »
JTR -  there is NO connection between the TG and the lock or cocking it.  You have to remove the pin holding the rear of the TG to the stock to move (lever)
the TG. The forward part of the bow of the TG is simply hinged to the "bird" finial of the TG
Arnie

Offline mountainman70

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2019, 06:20:11 AM »
What a neat ol rifle. Here is my observation, based on many years being a mechanic. If this is indeed an adjustable guard, after removing pin and dropping down, getting whatever adjustment is desired THEN what holds guard rear in That adjustment? I see nothing that would do this.
I do see a possibility the the front end of guard is inlet and locked/pined into trigger plate in such a way as to hold it tight when the mounting pin is reinstalled in the rear of guard, making this just another idea on how to set this stuff up, and possibly eliminating a front guard thru the stock pin.I like this idea well enough to do one on an upcoming longrifle build.
 Please bear in mind I haven't seen as many or held as many of these great old guns and some of the rest of you have, but I am always looking for the unique and unusual ways the oldtime smiths did things.
Best regards to all. Dave F 8) 8)

Offline bama

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2019, 06:53:38 PM »
Louie is this the rifle you made a copy of a few years ago? Seems like I remember seeing this rifle at the TN show last year of the year before and I remember seeing a rifle you built that had the same inlays at the rear of the lock panels.

Jim
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Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2019, 07:09:53 PM »
bama -  Yes, this is the rifle that Louie copied about 4 years ago and yes it was at the Tenn show in 2017 when I took this original rifle there.  As I said in the previous post, Louie did not take this rifle apart -  except he did remove the TG because he could not understand why there was space all the way around the forward post of the TG where it attached to the forward TG finial.  The bird on the forward end of the TG is thought to be likely a Peacock (a sacred bird of the SE tribes and the pin which hods it in place then becomes the bird's eye.  When he removed the rear pin this is what fell out or levered down !!  When he made the copy he did not copy the adjustable part of the "Gizmo" (as I call it) because he felt it was way to much work for something that didn't show.  Louie is a close friend and I know he doesn't mind if I brag about his incredible work.
Arnie

Offline bama

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2019, 08:40:17 PM »
Arnie that is a great rifle and Louie did indeed to a fine job building the copy. Thanks for bringing it to the TN Show and it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you brought it again.

Jim
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Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2019, 08:58:23 PM »
Mountainman 70,  Dave I apologize for answering yours and bama's posst in the wrong order.  This "Gizmo" is complicated in design (I believe Louie said pretty ingenuous) and yet simplistic in function.  As an engineer I am sure you could explain it verbally better than I am.  Please reread my previous description (the to long post !) but I'll try to make it clearer.  The forward TG finial is pinned to the stock (the pin can not be seen as it is hidden by the side-plate and the lock-plate) and is only connected to the forward bow by the hinge.  The pin through the head of the bird (thought to be a Peacock - a scared bird to the SE tribes) is to secure that extension and appear as an eye for the bird.  The rear (or bottom) part of the forward finial has two exterior fingers that extend back around on either side of the hinge and the forward part of the trigger plate (which is 4&1/2" in length) thus making it more stable.  When the TG is levered back up in place (closed) there is lip on the hinge that over-laps the end (clamps it down) of the trigger plate further securing it in place.
Now regarding the rear adjustable mechanism:  Yes it is truly adjustable.  First -  the rear of the TG where the finger curl is, is not directly attached to the rear finial plate which is the base for the adjustable mechanism.  This plate is obviously held by a pin through the tenon which extends up into the stock. The vertical post (the part which will slide up or down thus adjusting the distance between the rail and the bottom of the wrist) is actually a top part of the TG finger curl.  This part that passes through the plate is basically square so there is more flat surface for the extensions (fingers) of the spring to bear upon.  When you loosen the bolt holding the convex spring that then releases pressure on the post thus allowing it to move up or down.  When you tighten the bolt which flattens the spring this forces the forward end (the fingers around the post) to move forward and apply enough pressure (the fingers are touching the post on three sides) to firmly hold it in place thus the post can not be moved up or down.  I hope this makes sense !  Thanks for your patience and you may want to think twice about making one of these until you visit with Louie !  If you look at how short the distance is between the bottom of the stock and the the top of the rear tenon you can better understand how small this little mechanism is.

I am going to send 3 or 4 plain close-up photos (which were not on the disk) to Dana which should make this whole application easier to understand.  I am sure he can scan them in and post them.
Thanks, Arnie

Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2019, 09:32:05 PM »
Jim -  You have no idea how much I'd like to be in Alabama next weekend and at Mel's KY show in Feb but those and even Tenn are much less likely than in the past as my Natalie's health (sadly she has Alzheimer's) continues to slide slowly and our son (Arn Jr. age 52) now lives with us as he is now on full disability retirement.
But, God willing, maybe sometime in the future I'll get back there again and bring a couple of rifles.  However, it is great to share and stay in touch through this site as well as email and phone with all my friends back east -  its a long way from our mountains here in Colorado.
Thanks, Arnie

Offline mountainman70

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2019, 09:58:24 PM »
Thanks for the clarification,Arnie,and my condolences for your wife and son.
I can sorta visualize what you describe. Some seriousgood closeups would be great. I have found it difficult at best to describe some things to others when being able to hold it and see would be great. Not possible here,and that's ok.
So, all that being said, I am not gonna try to make something like this,way out of my realm.But I am going to make the next longrifle guard mounted like I said. Ya gotta admire the old smiths ingenuity.
Have a goodun guys. Dave F 8) 8)

Offline wildcatter

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2019, 12:14:46 AM »
Really appreciate you guys posting the rifle here, I hadn't seen it before. Is the federal eagle within the patchbox double headed?

Thanks,

Matt
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Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2019, 12:54:55 AM »
Matt -  Yes but I am sure he did it for symmetry or balance.  Thanks for asking -  important question,  Arnie

Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2019, 01:11:46 AM »
Dave -  Kenneth and I should have thought of the importance of more interior close-ups, but -  Dana will be posting shortly a great photo (taken from the bottom) of the TG area of Louie's copy when the rifle was in the "white".  This will help as it clearly shows the "finger-type" extensions on both ends.  There will also be posted in couple of days some other close-ups although they are not as good but good enough.

The script on the silver plates is the real challenge and likely our answer but thus far have been unable to clarify it.  Have tried highly technical, commercial x-ray (variable ray, density, etc) to no avail but now working on angle, digital, variable light photographs.  High Density Laser Scan has also been suggested but yet to find a source out here.

Thanks for all the input, Arnie

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2019, 02:06:47 AM »
... here is the photo of the Louie Parker recreation of this rifle, showing the trigger-guard and trigger-plate ,.....rifle still "in the white" at this point .... (TWO LEFT CLICKS WILL ENLARGE PHOTO)


Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2019, 02:59:47 AM »
I have a theory that the rear attachment of the trigger guard Is actually a repair rather than an adjustment. I just don’t see going to all the effort To make a grip rail adjustable. It’s just a theory. Having it in hand might change my mind.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 05:14:14 AM by Shreckmeister »
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Offline WElliott

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2019, 03:46:40 AM »
I have had the pleasure of examining this great rifle several times and, like the king in the “King and I”, I can only say: “‘tis a puzzlement.”  As a Southern collector, I am quick to claim it for my region.  The possibility, perhaps even probability, exists that it was made for an important Southeastern Indian. But, not only for whom but by whom is a mystery so far. I certainly don’t have a clue. It obviously was made by a master craftsman who made many more rifles during his career. One would think that there would be several extant examples of work by this talented and inventive maker.  Although his other rifles would not be similar in all aspects to this unique rifle, one would think there would be enough similar characteristics to make an attribution.  I haven’t seen another.

Thank you Arnie, for making this jewel available for study. Hopefully, someone will eventually come up with a convincing attribution. In the meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes open!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 03:49:57 AM by WElliott »
Wayne Elliott

Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2019, 04:22:04 AM »
SHRECKMEISTER -  Wish you could see and handle it as you would be totally confident that the "Gizmo" is a unquestionable and intentional piece of engineering.  Louie will/would insure you of the fact.  We will be posting 4 more photos from Louie that will help clarify its constructional design and intended use.
Thanks for your observation and opinion.  Arnie

Offline wildcatter

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Re: .... UNIQUE (SOUTHERN ?) IRON MOUNTED RIFLE
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2019, 06:15:31 AM »
A couple more questions, is the Tang original to the gun, in y'all's opinion? What is the distance from the rear most barrel pin to the trigger guard and to the rear entry pipe? Is that a brass inlay between the two silver name plates on the barrel? I'll have more questions tomorrow but really like this one!!

Matt
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