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    Description

    Unique Unmarked Takedown Conversion American Halfstock Percussion Plains Rifle. .69 cal., 30-5/8" rifled half-round/half-octagonal barrel with molded band at mid point. Steel under-rib. Blade front sight and dovetailed buckhorn-style rear sight. Bottom of barrel at breech marked: P[eagle]H. Unmarked banana shaped lock with barrel-type bolster. Set-triggers. Saddle ring. Tiger maple stock and fore-end with engraved brass furniture. Hand-crafted brass wedges. Scrolling triggerguard. Wooden ramrod [illustrated on p. 344, 1997 edition of Civil War Guns by gun researcher and author William B. Edwards]. It was Edwards' belief that this rifle was possibly one of numerous guns built near Harper's Ferry for Lewis, Clark & Chasteau to be used on the U.S. "Exploring Expedition" to the Pacific Coast. This is only speculation on Edwards' part. Lewis & Clarke historian S.K. Wier states: "Two kinds of guns were the main reliance of the explorers. Lewis obtained fifteen rifles at Harper's Ferry Arsenal in the spring of 1803". Apparently these were the '1792 Contract Rifle,' modified for the expedition with Harper's Ferry model 1803 locks and patchboxes. They were plain, Pennsylvania-style rifles, with no ornamentation, hand-made by gunsmiths in Pennsylvania. Full stocked, they had an original barrel length of 42 inches, which was likely shortened a bit for the expedition, and caliber at least 49 and perhaps as large as 54. The other gun of daily use was the “Charleville pattern” musket, the standard firearm of US soldiers of the period. It is a 69 caliber smoothbore, and is now called the 'Model 1795 Springfield' musket. Both the rifle and musket weighed nearly ten pounds and required most of a minute to load a single patched shot." Edwards' speculation on this rifle is intriguing, especially due to the U.S. eagle marking on the bottom of barrel and the unique takedown feature. If one rejects the Lewis & Clarke association, it opens the door for research in other areas which might be equally revealing. Among the suggested makers is Peter Hardinger of Berks County, PA, who made Pennsylvania style rifles.

    William B. Edwards CollectionCondition: Good as configured. Metal with grey-brown patina and showing minor spots of pitting. Wood with wear and marks. Patchbox sprung. Action good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2011
    30th Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,150

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