Author Topic: RCA 15  (Read 1728 times)

Offline Stoner creek

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RCA 15
« on: April 21, 2019, 04:29:58 AM »
I was fortunate enough to obtain this piece from another ALR member recently. I took it to the Tn./KY. Rifle show in Knoxville last week wanting some inspiration and insight on the origin and age of this rifle. The answers that I got were all over the board regarding itís origin. Itís age was fairly consistent. What I am asking is your opinion. Any opinions are welcome and appreciated.
First let me tell you what we do know: it was made from American walnut. The mounts were not cast. The butt plate was hammered from a single piece of fairly thin brass and the trigger guard is made from at least 7 pieces of sheet brass. The barrel is its original length 26 1/4Ē , .58 cal.. the lock and rear sight all are imported with the rear sight having an elevation leaf.  Any other statistics you can find in RCA VOLUME 1 page 70. Inside the patchbox lid is an inscription from 1864 which could be a good argument for the gun being here at that date and not coming across the Atlantic after either of the Great Wars. Please give me your thoughts! Every opinion matters!!


















Offline Stoner creek

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2019, 04:33:20 AM »
More pictures














« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 05:41:17 AM by Ky-Flinter »

Offline David R.

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2019, 05:24:28 AM »
Congratulations! Have often admired the RCA black and white version. Nice to see some more photos. The made up trigger guard is very interesting. Still trying to figure out where all the joints are. So barrel shows no evidence of shortening huh?
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2019, 05:52:55 AM »
Before we knew for sure that it is stocked in American Black Walnut the question about whether it was a provincial German rifle or was stocked here was perhaps 50:50. Now in my view it is 80:20 stocked here:stocked there. Maybe more than that.

It really is nicely stocked up using a quite early lock and barrel. The form of the buttstock as it flows into the wrist reminds me of the ďtulip rifleĒ. Itís hard for me to imagine who in the colonies would want such a short barreled barrel and old lock stocked up after, say, 1760, but reasoning doesnít always work.

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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2019, 03:09:50 PM »
First I'll ask , Hey Wayne, let's see the inside of that lock!
 Then I'll speak for Wayne, yes the barrel is full length as it is. It is a swamped barrel and has an excellent bore and according to a previous owner shoots quite well. roughly 1 twist in the length of the barrel.
 I believe this rifle was made by a jolly German fellow fresh off the boat. There is also a fowling gun out there that is a twin to this gun....I believe it's in a Whisker book called "EARLY AMERICAN FLINTLOCKS". I believe this smith made guns in Europe and the Colonies.
 Notice the interesting flat bottomed box, it's wider at the bottom than the top.
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2019, 03:46:51 PM »
Mike you're absolutely correct, there is another piece clearly made by the same guy.  It was at a KRA show a number of years ago if I recall correctly.  It's really quite an interesting little rifle and I think it's importance as what may be a very early American-made rifle has been somewhat overshadowed by other stuff.  Interesting - to my mind - is that in 1864 it was in Easton.  Is that name C (or G) Sugert?

I've had some German-made work here also with the hardware being riveted/brazed up in pieces.  I have a pistol now with a brass guard made in three pieces.  I'd be interested in seeing not just something of a breakdown or sketch of how the guard here is joined together but also would be interested in seeing the inside of that buttplate, and the butt end of the stock under it.'

Anyway THANKS for the good photos and congratulations on an awesome acquisition!
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 04:00:28 PM »
There was a C.F. Sugert of Easton who was awarded a 'diploma' by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society for his display at the Philadelphia society exhibition in 1857.  "Best display of white chemical, erasive and other soaps and candles."
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2019, 04:45:39 PM »
Good call Brooks!
Hereís a look at the lock. Note the placement of the fly within the tumbler. I also enjoyed seeing the file marks on the bottom of the main spring.











Offline Stoner creek

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2019, 04:49:36 PM »
There was a C.F. Sugert of Easton who was awarded a 'diploma' by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society for his display at the Philadelphia society exhibition in 1857.  "Best display of white chemical, erasive and other soaps and candles."
Eric, Thanks for the information. It adds to the old gunsí history.

Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2019, 07:04:23 PM »
Hi,
RCA 1 indicates the wood was determined to be black walnut.  Was that done by the USFS wood anatomy research center in Madison, Wisconsin?

dave
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Offline bgf

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2019, 09:08:44 PM »
I also think made here by then recent immigrant from some part of Europe.

But, just to throw it out there, I vaguely recall a fad in Great Britain for copying Germanic style rifles...is it possible that the same thing caught on here or was carried on by an English immigrant?

Offline Skirmisher

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2019, 10:20:13 PM »
Eric, the buttplate is quite thin and forged over a form from a single sheet.  The wood beneath is flat on the rear, but on the tang area is fitted closely to the brass, as if the buttplate is a thin veneer.  The face of the buttplate was once domed but has since flattened since there is not wood beneath to support it.
I puzzled over this rifle for several years and like Mike Brooks concluded that a trained maker from Germany had set up shop over here with tools and a supply of locks brought with him.  The lock seems to predate the rifle by 20 years or so.o

Offline 120RIR

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2019, 01:51:43 AM »
I see this rifle has that "hogged out" patchbox with no wood between the buttplate and the forward part of the cavity.  It's my understanding that this a highly unusual feature on American rifles and so far only noted on RCA 19 and the so-called "sister rifle" (assuming the sister rifle was made over here)?

Offline Skirmisher

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 02:36:35 AM »
That "hogged out" box cavity is a German feature, but there is no reason at all to think that German immigrants in America would initially build a rifle differing in design from the familiar German patterns.  The evolution of a more distinct American form did not result from a German desire to evolve, for the Germans in Germany clung to traditional designs for at least another century.  The demand for changes in the design of traditional German rifles came from Scots-Irish frontiersmen who were major customers and who demanded practical changes to better suit their hunting requirements far to the West.  Presumably the closed box cavity proved more practical for American hunters, just as a smaller bore and longer barrel proved more efficient.

The only feature of this rifle which is probably not original is the finely made iron rammer.  Frederick the Great did not introduce the iron rammer for military arms until the 1740s, the same decade in which this rifle was made.  I think the original rammer must have been wood, and this heavy iron rammer dates to about the same period as the patchbox inscription.  The barrel is about .58 caliber and takes a .575 patched ball.  The rammer is threaded to accept standard 3/16"x24 Model 1855 worm and ball puller, readily available in the 1860s.  I don't believe that is coincidental.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 02:46:50 AM »
I see this rifle has that "hogged out" patchbox with no wood between the buttplate and the forward part of the cavity.  It's my understanding that this a highly unusual feature on American rifles and so far only noted on RCA 19 and the so-called "sister rifle" (assuming the sister rifle was made over here)?
Just to make clear, I wouldn't describe that box as "Hogged out". It is very precisely executed in a very professional manner, nothing crude about the way it was done. Although I agree that by American longrifle standards the term "hogged out" may apply as this is a big box cavity. This is one of those guns when you have it in hand it is difficult to put down, a lot to see in hand and in person.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
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 smylee grouch

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 02:59:01 AM »
Old parts restocked by George Shroyer (sp) ? :-\

Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2019, 03:02:00 AM »
Hi,
Since nobody answered, I'll ask again.  How was it determined that the stock was black walnut?

dave
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Offline Skirmisher

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2019, 03:10:29 AM »
There is a lot to ponder, Mike.  On those big, open at the back German box cavities, I have yet to look at one that showed evidence of ever carrying grease or greased patches.  I had a wheel lock once with ungreased, triangular, coarse linen patches in the box, but I have come to believe they may have mostly served as tool boxes, much as were boxes on the 1803 rifles.  At least some American box cavities we're filled with grease, as I have an old stock full of grease that has dried to the consistency of wax. Different uses demanded changes in design.  Old rifles are fun, aren't they?

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2019, 03:35:00 AM »
Hi,
Since nobody answered, I'll ask again.  How was it determined that the stock was black walnut?

dave
I can only assume that itís owner at the time that Shumway researched the piece or Shumway himself had the wood tested. George mentioned it as such and I would doubt that he would publish without some large degree of certancy. As itís new keeper, I would have no problem having the wood tested. If indeed it were confirmed as American walnut (juglins nigra) my question would still remain. This thread is getting good!  Thanks all!!!

Offline 120RIR

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2019, 03:49:38 AM »
By "hogged out" I didn't mean to imply it was poorly done but I've seen that term used in relation to the patchbox being cut out right to the buttplate without leaving that bridge of wood.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2019, 03:10:54 PM »
By "hogged out" I didn't mean to imply it was poorly done but I've seen that term used in relation to the patchbox being cut out right to the buttplate without leaving that bridge of wood.
Yep, I understood what you meant. Just wanted to make clear for others the quality of the box. You never know what people might think about the term Hogged out with out an explanation.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
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 Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2019, 03:51:10 PM »
I think the number of definitively American boxes carved out in this manner (clear to buttplate, regardless of round vs. square bottom) are surely less than 10.  Deschler's rifle is cut like this, Cowan's short rifle of course, the cherry parts rifle in RCA2, #42.  I think I recall maybe one or two others but it's certainly much more commonly seen in surviving German rifles.  "Surviving" being the key word there.  Possibly, it's an earlier characteristic and the rifles it was used upon here just simply have not survived in any quantity.

I could easily see this rifle as being either American or German - it's really a toss up although if the black walnut stock were verified it would much more likely clinch it for me.  My *guess* is that when George made note of it being black walnut in RCA1, that's what he was told by the owner and so that's what he noted.  Maybe some more detailed information as to the testing might be available from a previous owner.

FWIW, I think it's a really nice early little piece, although by 'early' I would personally place it perhaps in the 1760s or early 1770s.  I really don't see it being earlier and I don't think that lock really predates the 1760s.  For some reason I can't quite put my finger upon, I wonder if the lock may possibly be French or Belgian.  Certainly enough import locks and barrels were very easily available here from merchants in larger towns and cities from all over, prior to the War.  If it's American, I suspect the lock and barrel were purchased and the stocker made up the brassware needed. 

The reason I think it interesting to potentially attempt to research 1864 owner is that the rifle appears to be in extremely fine condition, which may indicate very light or little use.  I say this with the caveat that I know nothing of any possible restoration work.  It's been my experience that pieces in such condition are potentially more likely (of course not "always," just more likely) to have passed down in families - William Marshall's Oerter rifle is a good example of this and there are others.  Maybe it's just a wild thought but since it's known who had the rifle in 1864, possibly a "mere" hundred years after it's birth, it's possible that by working back through his genealogy a bit might put you closer to a maker or original owner/location.  Just a bit of a curious diversion - on rare occasion it pays off.
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Offline Arcturus

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2019, 01:43:00 AM »
Quite clearly a canoe gun...  ;) :o ;D

This is the kind of stuff that I come to ALR for... Congrats to Stoner creek on the acquisition, and thanks so much for sharing these color views of this old treasure with us.  I, too, suspect a European 'smith new in the colonies making this gun here mid-18th Century.  In a Pennsylvania family for a century before being spruced up during the War Between the States in case of any more invading greycoats?  Is that "G" Sugert?   If only these old things could talk! 
Jerry

Offline Stoner creek

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2019, 03:58:40 AM »
I believe itís a C but could well be a G. No second initial.

Offline JamesT

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Re: RCA 15
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2019, 05:02:25 AM »
Thank you for sharing this fine rifle. It is a beautiful piece. I'm interested in the sling attachments. I see the rear one. What can you tell me about them?  Were they added later or are they more standard to a continental Europe build?
James