Original U.S. Pennsylvania Percussion Rifle with Set Trigger & Decoratively Inlaid Figured Half Stock - Circa 1850

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Just purchased at a recent military auction! This is a wonderful heavy barreled "Pennsylvania" percussion hunting rifle, often referred to as a "Kentucky" rifle. The design developed in Pennsylvania, and then spread down the Ohio River Valley to Kentucky, where it was very popular. Information we received with this rifle suggests it may be from the Carolinas, as the design was popular everywhere, however we have no information to confirm this.

This is a lovely example that has definitely seen some use, which still is quite the looker due to the lovely "Flame" figured half stock. This is also decorated with numerous "German Silver" inlays on both sides, including what looks like a U.S. Eagle on the left butt stock cheek piece. The hook butt plate, trigger guard, ramrod fittings, and lock side plate are all of brass, as is the rare "resting bar" on the bottom of the fore stock area, which allowed it to be rested on items when firing without damage to the stock. The nose cap also looks to be German Silver, as are the barrel escutcheons, which are decorated like the stock inlays.

The rifle features a 34 inch long octagonal barrel with 7 groove rifling and a bore of about 0.34", one of the usual sizes seen for Pennsylvania rifles. Overall length is 50 inches and the barrel is very heavy for accurate shooting, much like "bench rest" rifles of the day. Due to wear and powder burn there are not any markings left on the lock plate, which is relatively common. Many times gunsmiths would purchase "trade" locks and barrels, made elsewhere in the U.S. or even overseas, and then would fit them to a locally made stock. The gun trade was booming in the Ohio river valley, and often outstripped the resources of the area during the early 19th century. This lock plate has some lovely hunting engraving on the tail, but the entire front portion is pitted.

The top of the barrel is marked, but we are not quite sure what to make of it. There look to be the letters "J J" or "L L", and next to this is "No" 44". We are not sure what these mean, as the rifle is definitely does not have a .44 bore. There are no other markings that we can see on the rifle, and there is not any major wear on the barrel, so we do not believe any markings were lost. We checked the bore, and it is in very good condition, showing some light wear with strong lands and grooves.

As with most hunting rifles, this example is fitted with a "set trigger", where depressing the rear trigger first until it clicks and just touching the front trigger discharges the weapon, hopefully with great accuracy. The mechanism is fully functional on this example, and the lock cannot be fired at all unless the rear trigger is set first. For this reason there is no half cock on the lock, as it was not needed. The trigger is currently well adjusted, with only a light touch needed to cause it to discharge.

Overall condition is very good, with a lovely look and no major issues. Just a really nice example of an iconic early American gun design, with some great inlays and research potential.

A very nice Pennsylvania Percussion Hunting rifle, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1850
Caliber: approx .34" seven groove rifling
Cartridge Type: Ball and Powder
Barrel Length: 34 Inches

Overall Length: 50 Inches
Action type: Side Action Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle Loading

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