Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3108: Pre-Revolutionary War Flintlock American Long Rifle

Auction Date: May 16, 2021

Documented Incised Carved Pre-Revolutionary War Flintlock American Long Rifle with Brass Patch Box

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $65,000

Documented Incised Carved Pre-Revolutionary War Flintlock American Long Rifle with Brass Patch Box

Manufacturer: American
Model: Flintlock
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 52
Barrel: 39 3/4 inch octagon
Finish: unknown
Stock: maple
Item Views: 1395
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 65
Class: Antique

This very interesting early American rifle is gun no. 10 in Joe Kindig Jr.'s "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in it's Golden Age" on page 66 and is noted on page 61 as having "several unusual and early details: the muzzle cap is fastened with a screw instead of the usual pin; the end of the barrel tang is squared rather than shaped or pointed; the lock plate is broad at the pan and tapers sharply to the rear instead of having nearly parallel top and bottom edges. Notice the fine lower butt molding. This rifle has a comparatively short barrel, as have many of the earliest guns; it is less than forty inches long and has never been shortened. I believe this rifle was made either in Lancaster County or near Reading." An included letter from Earl F. Lanning notes the rifle formerly had a tag that identified it as one of the rifles displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art around the late 1930s-1940s. The swamped octagon barrel has seven-groove rifling, low profile blade and notch sights, and no visible markings. The Germanic style lock is also not marked. The furniture is brass, and iron sling swivels are mounted to the forend and the front of the trigger guard. The patch box is secured with brass tacks which is unusual. The stock has nice molding along the forend that flows into incised carved scroll patterns by the entry pipe, shaped flats with floral carved tails, raised relief and incised carved floral patterns at the barrel tang, additional incised scrolls at the front of the comb, raised molding along the bottom of the butt, and incised and raised relief scroll carving ahead of and behind the cheek rest. The patch box release is accessed from the left side of the stock at the butt. This early American long rifle overall can be seen as a representative transitional piece between the shorter Germanic jaeger rifles and the longer American long rifles that became increasingly popular later in the 18th century and into the 19th century.

Rating Definition:

Good. The barrel has gray and brown patina, mild oxidation and pitting, and erosion at the breech. The lock needs work and has dark brown patina, a broken pan bridle, and mild oxidation. Per Lanning, the cock is a replacement based on a cast from another Reading rifle. The brass furniture has aged patina. One of the tacks is absent, and two have either been replaced by iron pins or have just had their brass heads lost. The stock is fair and has chips and slivers absent along the forend along with some cracks, partially smoothed carving on the right and on the forend, more distinct carving on the left, crudely pinned period repaired break and chips in the breech section, some subtle flame figure, and some scratches and dings. This is a very attractive and interesting early American long rifle that very well may have seen use in both the French & Indian War and the American Revolution, and it is documented early in one of the most influential texts on these classic American firearms.

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