Author Topic: Unknown VA 20190121-1  (Read 4319 times)

Offline Mark Elliott

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Unknown VA 20190121-1
« on: June 21, 2019, 03:54:24 AM »


This unsigned iron mounted rifle is most likely by a maker from Rockbridge County to the southern Valley of Virginia who was probably a journeyman. It has an early style tapered barrel; wider at the breech down to rear site, then rear site to muzzle is parallel.  The stock architecture seems to fit an earlier maker.  The barrel is 43 1/4 inches long; rear pin to front trigger finial is 11 5/8; barrel pins are not equal distance apart. The wood patchbox has scribe marks which is an early feature.  The rifle has more Southern Valley features than anything else.

I wouldn't discount the possibility of this being a western North Carolina rifle. Its thin butt with a flattened comb, longer two-screw tang, along with the shapes of the lock bolt washers, could be from that general area.

This is a very interesting working rifle. The iron furniture appears to be in rather poor or heavily oxidized condition while the barrel has fairly smooth surfaces. Curiously, the cock agrees with the condition of the furniture showing past rusting while the plate is relatively smooth. Nonetheless, the gun is a good example of an economically made southern made piece. The smithing of the iron is quite good. The gun is stocked in nice maple and attention was given to matching the patchbox cover to the stock. The rifle may have been cleaned as the historic surfaces do not seem to be strong.

The prior comment on a surface condition mismatch between lock plate and cock is appropriate. The stock is relieved above the lock plate's top edge for a conventional ca. 1815 single throat cock that stopped on the plate's top edge. I think the rest of the lock is original, but lost its cock at some point. An original cock, unfortunately from a later style lock, was probably mounted to keep the lock "all original."  I think the iron mountings have been wire brushed in the last 40 years to clean off excessive rust, but they still look good, not excessively polished to white, and whoever did it was smart enough to take them off the stock before cleaning...saving a lot of potential stock damage. The butt plate and small iron plate on sliding wood lid are more heavily pitted, a common occurrence on a gun that sat on its butt exposed to humidity/dampness in a barn or out building for a long period. Overall, it's a good looking rifle with interesting iron mounts, well worth putting in the Library.