Author Topic: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle  (Read 804 times)

Offline gortmann

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Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« on: April 15, 2019, 06:06:36 PM »
Hi Everybody;

I've got the disease (collecting old muzzleloaders) and have one with some strange markings in unusual location.  It's an antique .50 caliber percussion rifle that I gave to a gunsmith for a good going over; cleaning, tightening things up; new frizzen, etc. It's a beautiful gun with lots of brass and silver. Anyway, upon removing the stock underneath the barrel various initials were discovered which according to the gunsmith, who has a great reputation & done some work on muzzleloaders for movies, related that in some cases the builder would put his initials in that location. I have tracings he gave me for those initials and their location in a drawing which I will include here. Perhaps someone knows who it could be. I will be putting it up for sale here eventually; any idea on the value? I purchased it some time ago in northern PA but am told it came from NY.
Thanks,
Greg




Offline Rambling Historian

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 06:53:11 PM »
Based on the "loop" on the upper right of the middle letter that could be an H not a U. Looks like there might be a faint crossbar. Hard to see for sure. There does appear to be something at the bottom too though which makes it look like a U. Those markings could be from the gunmaker or barrel maker.

You'll need to share more images of the gun for any of us to give you an idea of the value.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. -John Adams

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Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 05:53:33 PM »
Sure.  Thanks for your reply.  Here are some pix of the rifle.  Its .50 caliberm 58" long and ready to shoot.





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Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 09:04:33 PM »
A picture of the patchbox side from lock to butt could help with determining the regionor maker it came from.
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Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 05:32:02 AM »
Ok, here's a couple pix of that side.





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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 04:10:12 PM »
In the future don't have these guns "cleaned". You probably lost a substantial amount of it's value.
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Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 05:25:05 PM »
Only the bore was cleaned.

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2019, 05:33:23 PM »
What Mike was referring to is that someone "cleaned" the rifle at some point.  In other words, steel, wood and brass usually don't look like that after 200 years of aging.  The brass would be a mellow caramel color, the wood fairly black usually, etc.  The collectors like that untouched look.  When this patina is scrubbed off or refinished, it loses a lot of value.  Best wishes,   Marc

Offline 120RIR

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2019, 11:01:54 PM »
Returning to one of the original questions regarding the barrel markings, it strikes me as pretty odd that a maker would sign his work in this way...where it can't be seen.  Barrel makers, sure, but the actual rifle maker?  Or - could this possibly suggest the barrel was re-used on this gun and the ultimate maker didn't want or need the signature to show since it wasn't his?

Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 01:01:21 AM »
According to the gunsmith, who has been around these rifles & pistols for nearly 50 years related that he has seen it before though it is uncommon to put the name/initials underneath like that.  The wear on the letters indicates that the barrel is very old.  He said its original.  Some of the guns that have highly embossed or nicely engraved easily seen names were done in that manner because the gun was one (or several) that the gunsmith planned on keeping for himself. 

Offline JTR

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 05:17:41 AM »
Some of the guns that have highly embossed or nicely engraved easily seen names were done in that manner because the gun was one (or several) that the gunsmith planned on keeping for himself.

Hmmm, never heard that one before.

But then I've only been collecting and studying these old things for about 35 years now,,,

Good luck with your sale,,,
John Robbins

Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2019, 12:11:26 AM »
Actually this gentlemen has been working on and buying selling these guns for 60 years as he apprenticed with his father.  He's in his mid 70's and is an expert historian for local history.  He even was commissioned do work on the guns for the "Pirates of the Carribean" movie.

Offline JTR

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2019, 12:46:38 AM »
You mean Sean?
John Robbins

Offline gortmann

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Re: Strange Location & Marking On An Old Percussion Rifle
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 03:05:04 AM »
John DeWald of Muncy, PA in conjuction with Mr. Kennedy who passed away several year ago.