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Kentucky Rifle w/ Brass Belly Plate and Patch Box -Circa 1850-

We found this Kentucky rifle several months ago from a long-time collector.  He purchased the gun from an elderly man back in the late 1960's who ran a small gun shop in New Mexico.   Other than its point of origin forty years ago, there isn't much of a history but would note that the maple is fairly light in color which is consistent with wood stocks we've observed coming out of dryer climates.   There were many early percussion rifles just like this that found their way onto the frontier during the Western Expansion.   While I'm far from an expert on flintlock and early percusssion rifles, it seems fairly consistent with others we've seen that have come out of the Kentucky and Pennsylvania areas.  Maple-fully stocked with brass furniture, a well-defined cheek piece, with a breech plug tang that ends in a sharp point secured by a single screw.   It also has a large brass plate that stretches from the opening of the ramrod channel all the way to the trigger guard...about nine inches in length by one inch wide and secured by brass pins.   There is a name on top of the barrel I'm certain (see photos) but it's no longer legible due to spark erosion from around the bolster.   There is however a name of some sort inside the lid of the brass patchbox (see photo).   Whether this is the name of the foundryman who produced the brass castings for the furniture or the gun's maker, I'm not positive...but like "Ditterger" or "Dittinger".   The brass furniture looks like they were formed from a small-time foundry as there is a hand-formed look to them with some slight incongruence.   To me, this only adds to the charm of this rifle as you know it was made more by hands than the product of some factory or gunsmith assembly-line at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Good+ with the metal turning to a smooth brown patina.   As mentioned before, there is some light pitting on top of the barrel near the bolster which is typical for percussion and flintlock weapons from this era.   Double set triggers work.   Have not cleaned it but the bore looks to be Very Good with strong lands and grooves and no signs of any major pitting or damage.  Seem likely it would grade up with a good cleaning.   The maple stock is in very good condition with a solid wrist and lock area....no breaks or repairs.   The only negative thing I can find on the wood are two hair-line cracks along the top edges of the fore-end where the wood is thinnest.   These would be very easy to fix or just leave alone.   Brass furniture has been cleaned a time or two but is beginning to mellow and age back to a light patina.   Original hickory ramrod is in good condition.   All in all, a very solid example of an early American percussion rifle built during the 1840's to 50's.

Item# 1139




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