Original U.S. Kentucky Percussion Rifle with Trade Lock by Joseph Manton & Set Trigger c. 1840

Item Description

Original Item: Only one available. Here is an octagonal barreled "Kentucky" rifle, which more correctly is known as a Pennsylvania Rifle. It has the typical curved butt stock used in the mid 1840s more southern areas. It looks to be in .30" caliber, a very common size for these rifles, and has a heavy octagonal barrel with seven groove rifling. The rifle was built in the United States, most likely in the Kentucky area, using a British-made trade lock with a clear maker mark:


The Manton family were prolific gunsmiths in the London Area. JOHN MANTON was one of England's finest gunsmiths in the early part of the 19th Century, as was his brother JOSEPH, who would mentor several famous mid 19th Century gunsmiths. John's son George Henry Manton also made guns until 1854.

We estimate that this octagonal barrel rifle was made about 1840, and it features all brass mounts, including a nose cap. The right side of the butt stock has a very nice brass patch box, which is easily opened by hand.

The full length stock looks to be made of walnut, with a dark finish. There are some repairs to the stock, particularly around wrist area, going up on the left side to the lock screw. While popular and attractive, the highly curved stocks also put a lot of stress on the wood, which was prone to breaking. This rifle looks to have seen its fair share of use, and probably broke during use, or possibly just from being dropped on the butt stock.

Interestingly the rifle is fitted with a "set trigger", where the weapon cannot be fired when cocked until the rear trigger is first depressed until it clicks. This then allows a gentle push on the front trigger to discharge the weapon, hopefully with great accuracy. The front trigger will not work until the trigger is "set", which also serves as a safety. The "set" mechanism works, however the hammer will not hold at either full or half cock, possibly due to a worn tumbler, or a weak sear spring.

The bore shows clear rifling, but also oxidation and fouling. Based on the amount of powder burn around the lock, the rifle was used quite a bit. The rifle also still has both front and rear sights, and a ramrod, though it is just for display.

A real part of American Frontier History. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1840
Caliber: approx .3" with 7 groove rifling.
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 42 Inches

Overall Length: 57 1/2 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

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