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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not an original, patterned after an early Pennsylvania style rifle this beauty sports a 38" .54 swamped barrel, fancy maple stock, and comes up and holds like a dream.

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Early banana shaped lock, relief carving, silver wire inlay and wooden sliding patch box with a 'Man in the Moon" set off the right side.

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The left side presents a scroll cheek piece with ebony and ivory compass, more relief scroll work and the but is big and wide soaking up even heavy charges of powder and ball.

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Pineapple carving below the rammer thimble and line carving set off the fore-end nicely.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Relief shell carving set off the barrel tang.

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The nose cap, (first photo) is German silver inletted into the maple, finishing the rifle. A rifle like this wouldn't have been owned by a frontiersman or ordinary farmer, most likely someone of a merchant, "smith", or large land owner class would have commissioned a rifle of this grade, (1740's-17560's).
 

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That design is not too far removed from the German Jaeger rifle that the Kentucky rifle evolved from. Beautiful rifle.

Occasionally I will watch the Woodwright on PBS, and in one episode he visited the gunsmith at Colonial Williamsburg. The gunsmith had one of the early design rifles laid out on the bench that he was applying the incise carving on. The Woodwright picked up one of the small wood chisels and the gunsmith immediately took it from his hand. Apparently the gunsmith had seen some of the Woodwright's shows too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You're right on about the German Jaeger influence on this rifle, Johnny. It shows quite a bit of the earlier rifle's traits and just beginning to blossom into the sleeker American long rifle. The pictures don't show it well, but holding the rifle it's easy to see and feel the fat almost, "clubby" butt-stock. It shoulders and points amazingly well, like a fine fitted shotgun. The rifle was patterned after those made at Christian Springs, Pennsylvania in the early part of the 18th century. It was crafted by Earl Williams of Tennessee and is a fine example of an early American colonial rifle.
 

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Absolutely gorgeous. A fine example of craftsmanship.

I've always questioned patch-boxes on these kind of rifles... on a custom rifle like this, it's just another form of ornamentation. Were thpresent on utilitarian rifles as well? It seems to me that a "possibles" bag would be more efficient to store patches in.
 

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There was a rifle maker in Arkadelphia, Arkansas around the 1850 time period that made a utilitarian hunting rifle. He simply drilled a shallow hole about two inches in diameter in the right side of the stock and filled it with beeswax or tallow to wipe the patch on to lubricate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Absolutely gorgeous. A fine example of craftsmanship.

I've always questioned patch-boxes on these kind of rifles... on a custom rifle like this, it's just another form of ornamentation. Were thpresent on utilitarian rifles as well? It seems to me that a "possibles" bag would be more efficient to store patches in.

I believe the term, "Patchbox" is a misnomer. Patchs were most often cut as part of the loading procedure, either from cloth or thin greased leather. I do find the box a handy place for a few extra flints wrapped in cloth, and that's what's in the box of my rifle.

Most rifles of early pattern did have a simple sliding wooden patchbox, (a carry over from the European rifles) which was often lost as they have nothing but a stud and spring to hold them in place. When opened, they're completely loose of the rifle and easily lost. A new one would be made. Early Pennsylvania gun makers solved this problem with a hinged metal lid attached to the gun. Even gun makers south of Pennsylvania used patchbox's on their guns. Not until the "Tennessee" rifle do we see the patchbox being omitted. Every muzzle-loading U.S. military rifle had a patchbox from the 1803-the latest design, the 1855 rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There was a rifle maker in Arkadelphia, Arkansas around the 1850 time period that made a utilitarian hunting rifle. He simply drilled a shallow hole about two inches in diameter in the right side of the stock and filled it with beeswax or tallow to wipe the patch on to lubricate it.
That would be an example of a "Tennessee" rifle, very utilitarian, yet still capable of fine accuracy and loosing nothing as to function.
 

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Absolutely gorgeous. A fine example of craftsmanship.

I've always questioned patch-boxes on these kind of rifles... on a custom rifle like this, it's just another form of ornamentation. Were thpresent on utilitarian rifles as well? It seems to me that a "possibles" bag would be more efficient to store patches in.
Most Tennessee Squirrel rifles sported patch boxes. However, they did not contain patches, but rather a cake of bullet lubricant of some kind. The patch box was opened and the patch swabbed across the lube.


Bob Wright
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The real beauty is how it comes to the shoulder like a fine fitted shotgun.

If any of you decide to get a custom long rifle, specify a swamped barrel. It does make a huge difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tennessee Valley offers a lot of kits for different style rifles. Don't know how much inletting is left, but that is where the most work is. The old Bishop and Fajens stocks were advertised as 95% complete, but the last 5% was the worse part.

Tennessee Valley Muzzleloading
You're dead-on about that 5%!

I know of Tennessee Valley and a few others selling kits. Probably Chambers is the best, if anyone here feels brave enough to take on a build, I would suggest buying the video available from Chambers first. It covers tools and how-to step by step. [email protected]
 
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