This rifle is attributed to "Christian Beck-The Earlier" in "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in Its Golden Age" by Kindig and is shown on page 252 as gun 102. Kindig believed him to be the brother of John Philip Beck. Subsequent research by the Beck family and long rifle historians has indicated that while J.P. Beck had a brother named John Christian Beck, Jr. (1750-1806) these rifles are by J.P. Beck's son Christian Beck (1782-1861) that was a gunsmith and trained under J.P. Beck and died in Jonestown. J.P. Beck also had a nephew named Christian Beck that apprenticed under John Bonewitz and produced very different rifles. Kindig notes that "Christian Beck stocks his rifles with good curly maple and decorated them with beautifully designed and skillfully executed carving in high relief, principally on the cheek piece side." On this rifle in particular, Kindig wrote, "Although not extensive, the carving is quite beautiful." This rifle likely dates to before the War of 1812. The seven-groove rifled barrel has blade and notch sights and is signed "C. Beck" on top. The lock is unmarked. The brass furniture is plain, a common feature on Christian Beck's rifles. The stock on the other hand has fine molding along the ramrod channel and bottom of the butt, raised relief carving at the barrel tang, "C" shaped relief carving at the front of the comb on each side, and an incised line on the cheekpiece that then turns into a beautifully executed raised relief and incise carved scroll motif on the left side of the butt.
Very good as reconverted to flintlock configuration with dark brown patina, moderate oxidation and pitting, attractive aged patina on the brass furniture, and mild scratches and dings. The stock is also very good and has some attractive flame figure, an angled crack across the right side of the butt, some smaller hairline cracks elsewhere, erosion at the breech, and minor dings and scratches. The lock needs work. This is a very attractive and well-known Christian Beck signed rifle.
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