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Bruce Miller Virtual Library - Antique American Firearms & Makers => Rifles by Unknown Makers - Brass Furniture => WELCOME TO The Bruce Miller Virtual Library & Museum ---->> CLICK HERE TO ENTER <<---- => Berks / Reading 121008-1 => Topic started by: nord on December 08, 2012, 06:07:38 PM

Title: Berks??? A detailed study. 121008-1
Post by: nord on December 08, 2012, 06:07:38 PM
 36" barrel but shows no sign of being cut off. Swamped .960- .831- .868 in. about 42 cal. rifled and has a 13.5in. LOP. Unsigned but looks very Berks Co. Pa.

Some interesting details:

There is a crack repair in the RR channel forward of the front pipe. The barrel is rifled with 7 grooves and one turn in the 36in. length. Remember it is swamped. Narrowest part is a little behind the front RR pipe.

I have been contacted by a previous owner of this rifle. Here is what he has to say:

 "I owned the gun at one time.  I bought the rifle from Rudy Gleichman back in 1998 and kept it on my wall up until a few years ago. I know Rudy had the gun for quite some time as I took my time studying it before I bought it.
 
I came to the conclusion the barrel is of original length mainly because of the type geography that the gun came from, placement of the barrel keys and the wedding band engraving at the breech and muzzle. Several well know collectors agreed with my findings after the gun was dismantled in their presence.  The gun itself was made in an area of thick woods and narrow valleys. Up near Gratz or close by.  I believe it was made by Peter Bellis/Belles with a strong influence from Leonard Reedy. I doubt  the gun is any earlier than 1820.  Whether it was made for a women or boy has proven to be a difficult determination as the trigger pull was 13" or 131/2" if I remember correctly, standard for a man. I think the barrel length had more to do with the area used than age or gender of the user.

The long and short of the story:  You have a great gun! And now a little history.  Congratulations!"

"Suggest you make reference to the info I have provided Re: the barrel length. Indicate the info came from respected collectors and a previous owner. If you want references to the barrel length vetting I'm sure I can get it in writing for your files and the next owner. Boyer lived and worked quite close to where Bellis/Belles lived but he or any member of his family did not make this gun. Their carving was completely different. Your quickest reference to Bellis/Belles would be Kindig's book. If you don't have it I'll figure out away to get you photo copies on the section on Bellis/Belles. I'll be looking for the additional info I have during next week. Note: I eliminated both Boyer and Eckler in my original study, 15 years ago, to determine a potential maker. Still think it's a Bellis/Belles or late Reedy."

"So that you know: I have gone back into my notes and have determined the individual I originally sold this gun to had a family issue that required him to sell his collection a few years back. He placed this gun and the rest of his stuff in an auction.  Steve Hench wrote this gun up for the auction house. He indicated the barrel had been shortened in his first description. When I challenged him he agreed to inspect the gun again and restated a correction of his original opinion. The damage had been done, however, and his correction, although announced at the block, went unnoticed. So there are a few people out there who probably only remember the first description and not the correction."
 
"As far as the condition of the gun; I always thought it was a good clean original finish. Never once did I feel it had been restored but I did think someone had cleaned the brass at one point in it's life."
 
"Short Barrel Kentuckies are rare [see article KRA Bulletin Vol.23,No2 by Reeves Goring] .  I can guarantee 95% of the people that see one will tell you the barrel has been shortened. Most of them have their head up their butt!!"


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