John Philip Beck (c. 1751-1811) was active in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and is known to have manufactured a wide variety of firearms, including muskets for the Committee of Safety during the American Revolution in addition to his well-known long rifles. The Kentucky Rifle Foundation calls him "one of the superior builders of Pennsylvania long rifles" and notes, "He was instrumental in establishing the regional style, and his rifles are often embellished with bold rococo scrollwork and beautiful engraving." This rifle is probably relatively early work by Beck and features a beautifully engraved patch box with the "whale tail" finial seen on some other Beck rifles as well as elaborate incised and raised relief carving on the stock. The barrel is smoothbore and may have been originally rifled or be original as a "smooth rifle." Several of the known Beck "rifles" are smoothbores of similar caliber. The barrel has traditional blade and notch sights and is signed "Jx Px Beck" in script. The surname resembles "Beuck," but this is consistent with other Beck signed guns. The lock is unmarked. The furniture is all brass. As noted, the patch box has attractive engraving. The lid has an intricate floral pattern, and the side plates and finial have scroll patterns. The sideplate is not engraved. The stock has molding along the ramrod channel terminating in incised scrolls and a floral scroll pattern at the entry pipe. The bottom of the stock ahead of the trigger guard also has an incised floral scroll pattern. The flats have the large tear drops typical of Beck's work, and there is a raised relief and incised scroll pattern carved at the barrel tang. The bottom of the butt has molding, and the wrist and butt have a mix of incised and raised relief carved scroll patterns, including classic "C scroll" patterns on the left side behind the cheek rest. A Kentucky Rifle Association 2018 President's Display medallion is included.
Very good as restored including reconversion to flintlock configuration. The barrel has a distinct signature, a mix of natural dark aged patina and applied brown finish (the latter in the breech section), several dings and marks, and minor pitting. The lock is mostly a mix of gray and brown patina and has some oxidation. The brass furniture is fairly bright, crisp engraving and some visible texture on the patch box, and some marks and scratches including a series of dings on the trigger guard finial. The stock is also fine and has generally crisp carving, smooth refreshed oil finish, some minor cracks and chips in the forend, a thin hairline tension crack at the rear lock screw, a few scatted small flakes, flash wear at the breech on the right, and minor marks and scratches. Mechanically fine. Overall, this is a very attractive rifle by one of 18th century America's finest gunmakers.
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