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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I made a rash decision and bought this .36 caliber Tennessee or possibly North Carolina longrifle. It has some features that made me think it was a NC one, where I'm from, but now I'm thinking TN. I also think it's from post Civil War, the mountain residents continued making and using percussion (and flintlock) rifles through most of the 1800s because they knew them, and they were reliable. The seller said 1850, but I'd say more like 1875 or later.
It's got nice wood, a 43 1/2" barrel and is quite heavy, about 10 lbs. Probably a target rifle for prone matches, like in Sgt York. The main reason I got it was it's good condition. Many mountain rifles are in poor shape, they weren't hung over a mantle in wealthy homes like a lot of the northern types. They were used in the wet Appalachians, were roofs often leak.
I'm realizing collecting handmade longrifles is quite challenging compared to factory made Colts with production ledgers and hundreds or thousands of identical models produced for years. These may have been made in a log shop, for local customers, and only 8 or 10 made a year. There are few records or ways to know who made them, unless they are signed. This one was, in a silver barrel plate, but the plate is gone, just a rectangular hole left.





 

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Very nice! That one is in remarkable shape for what it is and where it lived!
The lines and the iron furniture remind me of examples of TN rifles I've seen. The brass buttplate and toe plate are unique.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Right you are Mark! TN seems to be where it came from, possibly the Unicoi County. An expert on another forum just said he wouldn't be surprised if it was full stock, but changed to half stock. Still researching, very hard to place. But the piece d'resistiance was the long tang over the comb. When I saw that, I knew is was TN or NC, and had to buy it.



Many more pics:
 

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AZshot wrote:
I also think it's from post Civil War, the mountain residents continued making and using percussion (and flintlock) rifles through most of the 1800s because they knew them, and they were reliable. The seller said 1850, but I'd say more like 1875 or later.
As a matter of interest, my uncle was a WW I veteran from middle Tennessee. He told me the Springfield Rifle, M1903, was the first cartridge rifle he ever shot. Prior to his entering the Army in 1917 or so, he had had only cap-and-ball rifles. And my late hunting companion, told me he used a ".38 caliber Harrington & Richardson cap-and-ball rifle as a professional hunter supplying restaurants around Water Valley, Mississippi during the 'Twenties (1920's). He got his first shotgun firing paper shells after WW II.

Bob Wright
 

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I had an assistant scoutmaster that was a gun collector that got me interested in gun collecting, and over the years he had two or three "Arkadelphia" rifles. There had been a rifle maker in Arkadelphia, Arkansas that made a plain utility muzzleloading rifle that was distinguished by a hole drilled in the right side of the stock for patch lubricant. It was about two inches in diameter and 1/2 inch deep, and some of the old rifles still had remnants of the lubricant which was said to be a mix of tallow and bee's wax. I thought the rifles were just plain ugly and never bought one, but wish today that I had.
Another plain half stock rifle that was fairly common as muzzle loading rifles go was one by J. Henry & Son. I had heard that they were primarily trade rifles made for the Indians.
 

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I had an assistant scoutmaster that was a gun collector that got me interested in gun collecting, and over the years he had two or three "Arkadelphia" rifles. There had been a rifle maker in Arkadelphia, Arkansas that made a plain utility muzzleloading rifle that was distinguished by a hole drilled in the right side of the stock for patch lubricant. It was about two inches in diameter and 1/2 inch deep, and some of the old rifles still had remnants of the lubricant which was said to be a mix of tallow and bee's wax. ....................................
Those grease wells were common on many Tenessee and North Carolina made rifles of the day.

There was a rifle maker in Tennessee, near the Falls Creek Mill area back in the day. His name, as best as I can remember was Bean. I was there at the Mill and saw a marker with that information, but haven't seen nor heard of him since.

Bob Wright
 
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