The Model 1817 "Common Rifle" was one of the world's first widely issued military rifles and was manufactured by multiple American contractors in 1817 to 1840. R. & J.D. Johnson were the contractors that produced the smallest number of these rifles: only around 3,060 of the 39,067 manufactured per George Moller on pages 448 of "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume II: From the 1790s to the End of the Flintlock Period." This rifle is shown and discussed on pages 445 and 449 in his section on these rifles and has his small "GDM" collection mark by the toe. Many of these rifles were also converted to percussion in the 1840s and after and used into the Civil War era. This makes high condition examples of their rifles especially rare and valuable, especially in flintlock configuration. They are also desirable thanks to their connection to U.S. riflemen in an era in which most soldiers carried smoothbore muskets. Though the U.S. had previously purchased rifles on contract and manufactured them at Harpers Ferry, but the Model 1817 rifles were the first rifles issued to the military in large numbers. Many were also issued to Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War, particularly in the early years when rifle-muskets were hard to come by. It has seven groove rifling with small rounded grooves, a ring on the muzzle face, the standard blade and notch sights, "US/P/JN" on the breech end of the barrel, "JW" on the left flat at the breech, a "W" just ahead of the upper tang, "1822" on the tang, "U.S./R & JD. JOHNSON" at the center of the lock under the non-fenced brass flash pan, "1824/MIDDN CONN." on the tail of the lock, an oval "JW" cartouche and smaller "JW" stamp on the left stock flat, "W" at the rear of the trigger guard, an asterisks on the stock just behind the trigger guard, "US" marked buttplate, leather sling, and the distinctive oval patch box containing a spare flint, turn-screw, ball puller, and worm attachment. The ramrod has a proper brass tip. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Fine with 30% original case colors on the lock, strong original brown finish on the barrel tang, otherwise crisp smooth gray patina on the balance with some light speckled oxidation and brown patina, and general minor overall wear. The stock is excellent and has most of the oil finish, attractive dark red-brown tones, some scattered light scratches and marks, and distinct markings. Mechanically excellent.
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