Author Topic: What to make of it?  (Read 959 times)

Offline wabeek

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What to make of it?
« on: August 29, 2020, 07:30:59 PM »
We have all seen and studied longrifles the lives of which have been impacted by recycling of other parts and some even by misadventure.  This is rifle is probably an example of both.  My question is, from where do you think this or most of this rifle originated?  It remains just as found in the mid 1950s, exposed to the elements for decades in a western Pennsylvania barn where as a teenager I bought it and six small horns.  Mind you, I cleaned the little brass it has and rubbed on some Linspeed oil, which wouldn't be done today.  The .60 cal. rifled octagon barrel is 41"long, has four used loops, an out of place grind spot for another and is not the first barrel for this stock.  The barrel and lock (also not the first) are heavily pitted.  The rifle is just above 56" overall with a butt of 4 1/4" by 1 5/8".   The barrel bed shows abandoned loop trenches evidencing the forestock having been shortened 3".  The lock, once flint (stock above mortice also was flint) does not fit mortice.  Nose cap is riveted from above.  Brass ramrod thimble is possibly original (barrel bed shows lower thimble gone, upper is ferrous sheet metal and further toward muzzle is gone).
Trigger guard front foot has neatly tacked wood filling. Missing buttplate and "scraping" damage I find interesting.  Note the scraping at wood adjoining butt tang and toe, cheek piece (pick staples survive), and left forestock (one photo reversed).  Buttplate intentionally removed to be used as a scraper?  Rifle "marked", "claimed" by scrapings?  American Indian?
I suspect that the architecture, patchbox and sideplate are the best remaining clues as to this old guy's roots.  Please, I would very much like the benefit of your thoughts.




 












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Offline Kevin

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Re: What to make of it?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2020, 10:41:46 PM »
Greetings Wabeek,

I don't know what to make of it but thanks for posting the photos.  I like the simple patchbox that is on it.

Take Care,
Kevin

Offline satwel

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Re: What to make of it?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2020, 08:31:46 PM »
In the museum at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site there is displayed a rifle musket carried home by a Civil War vet. He stashed it in his barn where it sat for many years. Almost the entire length of the rifle stock was heavily chewed on by a porcupine - especially the areas contacted the most by hands. The theory is the porcupine was attracted by the salt deposited from perspiration. The porcupine damage looks similar to the damage on your rifle though not quite in the same areas. Since your rifle also spent time in a barn, perhaps you have another case of damage inflicted by an animal of some sort.

Offline DaveM

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Re: What to make of it?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2020, 01:06:15 AM »
Interesting rifle - it may have been a US contract rifle, private contract, perhaps 1792 / 1794 contract - with numerous alterations as you point out.  Maybe 1808 contract, I don't recall the specs as to barrel lengths of the various contracts but if you look into barrel lengths for those contracts that may be a clue. .   My guess is the heart cut into the patchbox head, and the light incise carving, may have been done later also.  too bad it does not have the original barrel - any signature on top of the barrel?

Offline wabeek

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Re: What to make of it?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2020, 03:34:33 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  For years I thought the stock damage was critters, only recently that it could be human.  'Food for thought'!  Contract rifle?  All good observations to spur more study.  Thanks again.