An early American rifle

This gun represents a melding of continents and cultures. It has the brass hardware of a German hunting rifle, Germanic lock, combined with short, large bore barrel in the Jaeger style. It has American wood, stock shaping, and folk art decorative carving.

This rifle shows some traits that show in later Lehigh Valley guns: a wrist that’s wider than tall, and a Vee shaped forestock with an open end nosecap.

From a sugar maple tree came the wood for the stock, harvested from my own woods, scavenged from a storm damaged tree. It’s carved in a folk art manner, reminiscent of Pennsylvania Dutch Fractur art. Aqua Fortis was used to stain the wood, a dilute mixture of nitric acid killed with iron filings.

Part of the fiction of this rifle is that it had a sliding wooden patchbox cover at birth. Some time during its life, the slider was replaced with a metal box, perhaps to ‘fancy the gun up’. The dovetail for the sliding cover in the buttplate had to be fitted with a filler plate. The dovetail grooves for the original sliding cover remain.

Barrel: Douglas, 31″ long, .62 caliber. Tapered and flared octagon

Lock: Jim Chambers ‘Early Germanic’ lock

Castings: Reaves Goehring’s early German trigger guard and buttplate

Patchbox, thimbles, sideplate, and nosecap handmade by T Curran.

Photography by Jim Filipski, who makes my art look really good.

Click on any of the images for a larger view.

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About Tom Curran

Gunmaker, machinist, engraver, artist
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