This rifle is featured on pages 183 and 184 of "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I: Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms" by George Moller and has his very small and faint "GDM" collection mark by the toe. Moller states, "This Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, rifle was made by Jacob Dickert sometime between 1761 and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War." Jacob Dickert (1740-1822) was a German immigrant born near Mainz and was one of the most prominent Pennsylvania riflesmiths and was active in Lancaster County, recognized as the most significant center of rifle production in colonial America, from the 1760s until his death in 1822. During his lifetime, the American long rifle, American backwoods riflemen, and the Pennsylvania gunmakers became famous thanks to reports of American marksmen picking off British officers and other targets of opportunity from long range, acts the British considered ungentlemanly. During the war, there are recorded references to Dickert rifles far from Lancaster. Dickert didn't make all of his rifles himself but instead ran an organized and productive shop, particularly during the war when Lancaster became an important center for American arms manufacturing. His name became virtually synonymous with the American rifles, sometimes distorted as "Deckard." With a Dickert rifle, the best American marksmen could reliably hit targets at over 200 and even 300 yards while the average infantryman with a musket would do well to reliably hit a target at 100 yards. George Washington famously employed riflemen to terrorize the British in the north, and the "Over the Mountain Men" won the Battle of King's Mountain with rifles in the south. Both Morgan's men and some of the "Over the Mountain Men" are recorded as armed with Dickert rifles. Even though in reality they played a relatively minor role in the actual war, the riflemen and their rifles established a lasting reputation for individual American marksmen that continues to resonate today. This rifle certainly may have seen use by a rifleman during the war. It has traditional blade and notch sights, "J Dickert" signed on top, an unmarked lock, brass furniture, attractive four-piece patch box with simple engraving on the finial and the thin side plates and a plain domed lid, a release button for the patch box on the heel behind the buttplate screw, and a maple stock with raised relief carving around the ramrod entry point, barrel tang, rear of the wrist, and around the cheek rest. The carving below and to the rear of the cheek rest is particularly attractive and uses both incised lines and relief carving. The buttstock is rather stoutly built like other early Dickert rifles and has raised molding along the bottom terminating at the back of the trigger guard bow. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Good as reconverted to flintlock configuration with a dark brown patina overall with artificial brown visible at the tang and lock area, mild oxidation and pitting on the balance of the lock and barrel, aged patina on the brass, rather large vent, and relatively mild overall wear. The stock is also good. "The nose of the stock's comb has been lowered slightly during its period of use," per Moller, and the forend has been expertly replaced from the ramrod entry pipe forward, but the buttstock has very nice carving, and the carving remains visible though partially smoothed. There is a bit of a gap under the buttplate tang, and some chips and flakes at the edges. Mechanically fine. This is a very attractive and early American long rifle by the era's most famous maker: Jacob Dickert. It is also documented in one of the most respected collections of U.S. military arms and would certainly be a key addition to any American arms collection.
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