Berks County Longrifle
.50 caliber 42" swamped barrel,
maple, brass trim, Chambers flintlock,
signed Curtis French
Part Number: AAT-188
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The evolution of the Reading, Berks County longrifle was thought to have been highly influenced by the Swiss immigrant gunmaker Wolfgang Hachen, sometimes spelled Wolfgang Haga. Wolfgang and his brother Nicholas immigrated to Colonial America and Wolfgang settled in Reading, while his older brother Nicholas settled in York County until his death in 1758. Nicholas would have a son, Christan Hawken the father of the influential St. Louis Hawken gunsmiths. Wolfgang Haga's daughter would marry Peter Gonter, another influential gunsmith. Wolfgang would remain in Reading until his death in 1796. Not known to have signed his work, a great many unsigned Berks County rifles have decoration influenced by earlier forms of decorative Baroque carving techniques and retain the wider buttstock, as well as earlier lock forms much later than other regions.

This contemporary longrifle is signed Curtis French on the top flat of the swamped barrel. The rifle is neatly fitted with brass furniture including a hand made patchbox. The Jim Chambers early Germanic lock and swamped barrel are finished to a brown with a light textured patina. The decorative carving on this rifle has a Rococo style typical of a mid to late 18th century influence. Trigger reach is 13-7/8" to fit today's average size shooter. Weight is 9.2 pounds.

The .50 caliber 42" swamped octagon barrel, by Rice Barrel Company, has been polished and finished to a lightly textured brown. The swamped barrel is tapered and flared, thickest at the breech for strength, thinning to a waist ahead of center, and flaring slightly at the muzzle, to bring the front sight and rear sight to the same plane. The .50 caliber bore is rifled with seven round bottom grooves with a 1 in 66" twist for patched round ball. Rice Muzzle Loading Rifle Barrels are set between centers and milled octagonal, insuring a centered bore, concentric with the exterior, with no "run-out". Each barrel is stress relieved in an atmosphere controlled electric furnace, to eliminate work hardening or barrel warp, and to dampen harmonic vibrations or barrel whip. After the rifling has been cut, each bore is "ball burnished". A carbide bore-sizing die is pulled through the barrel, to insure bore dimension uniformity, eliminating any tight or loose spots inside the barrel. This critical procedure leaves the top of the lands smooth and polished, equaling the traditional lead lapping procedure. Rice barrels are Match grade quality, with bench rest capability. Rice barrels do not require lapping or extensive shooting to break-in.

Stocked in maple this rifle is has a distinctive Roman nose profile on the buttstock. The comb gradually tapers forward until it reaches a point just above and behind the wrist of the gun. Raised in incised carving defines the transition from wrist to comb. The carving is well done with clean smooth backgrounds. The brass buttplate is.wide with a modest curve in early longrifle fashion. A hand made brass patchbox is fitted to the buttstock. The patchbox is shaped with a four petal flower with two piercings on the head. The head and side panels are all decoratively hand engraved with a folk art style. The patchbox has a button release in the buttplate comb. It has a firm spring and latches securely closed. Beneath the door is a deep cut cavity for storing flints, jags, or other shooting accessories. The lock panels taper widest to the rear in early long gun fashion. Raised carving frames the lock panels and decorative panel surrounds the flared thumbnail tang of the breech plug.

The toe is fitted with a brass toeplate in a classic Berks County design. The triggerguard is shaped with a wide bow, another typical early feature retained long after other regions were producing rifles with much slimmer triggerguards. A panel of raised carving frames the skirt of the ramrod entry pipe and continues as a raised molding along the edge of the ramrod channel. A brass muzzlecap has been installed which helps to protect the end grain of the wood at the muzzle, as well as providing clearance to allow easy access to the ramrod. The 3/8" diameter wood ramrod is fitted with a brass tip with 8-32 threads for loading and cleaning accessories. The side panel is fitted with a sideplate that fills the side panel in Germanic fashion. The pointed arrow tail is a bit more typical of the decoration found on rifles from the neighboring Lehigh County. The buttstock is decorated with raised and incised C scrolls in a Rococo style, a later evolution of Baroque carving. We note a small hairline crack visible across the left hand side of the toe just touching the lowest point of the carving. It is difficult to see unless it is rolled in the light.

Ignition is provided by a Jim Chamber's Early Germanic flintlock. Locks with this styling are found on transitional American longrifles of the 1750-1760 era. Berks County longrifles are noted for using much earlier forms of locks well into the 1780's. The cock points directly into the octagon pan. The early “forged” style separate pan has no pan bridle arm. An oversize shouldered screw serves as a frizzen pivot bearing. We recommend our Tom Fuller 7/8" knapped English flints, #FLINT-ENG-7 for best sparking with this lock. A direct drilled vent hole is well positioned to provide best ignition.

A very finely made longrifle with well fitted parts and attractive carving with well cleaned backgrounds. If the wood has a few handling marks, the patina finish on the lock and barrel would give the appearance of a well maintained antique. Order it for a ten day visual inspection. You will be delighted. Else if it does not fit you, return it in unfired condition for same-day refund. Postage is your only risk, when you order any one-of-a-kind gun from Track, whether new, used, or antique.


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.490" round balls, pure lead, Hornady, per 100
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Track's best Black Powder BORE CLEAN Solvent, with flip-top spout
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Ball puller, steel screw, .50 caliber brass collar, 8-32 thread
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Flint priming flask, throws about 3 grains, brass
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Part Number: FLASK-PP-3
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English gun flint, 7/8 x 1", Fowler, Jaeger, Tulle, Twigg, Hatfield, Chambers
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Pack of 12 English Gun flints 7/8 x 1", Fowler, Jaeger, Tulle, Twigg, Hatfield, Chambers
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Jag, jagged cleaning tip, brass, .50 caliber, 3/8 rod, 8-32 thread
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Powder measure, brass, adjustable 0 to 120 grains, with spout
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Trapper's MINK OIL TALLOW,
patch grease,
for match shooting & cold weather hunting,
one 8 oz. tin
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Part Number: MINK-OIL
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Shooting patches, .015" cotton, .50 - .59 caliber, per 100, dry
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Cleaning Patches, 2-1/2" diameter, bag of 100, pure cotton flannel, for .45 to .58 caliber
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Pick & Pan Brush,
with brass chain, button clasp,
and black bristle brush,
for flint musket, rifle, or fowler
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Forged steel vent pick,
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Ramrod, 3/8" hickory, 48" long, brass tip, 8-32 thread
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Short Starter, patch & ball starter, 7/16" hickory rod for .50 caliber.
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Timothy Pickering's Tool,
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Primitive Rifleman's Turn Screw, hand forged tempered steel screwdriver, to fit in a longrifle patchbox
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Track's Catalog 18,
Out of Print
Please use our FREE on-line catalog and web site.
Track's Catalog 18, Out of Print Please use our FREE on-line catalog and web site.
Part Number: CATALOG-18
Availability: Book is no longer being printed or produced. Once we sell through our remaining inventory, item will no longer be available.  We will not be getting any more in.
Price: $10.00
  
 
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Elk River, MN 55330-1773

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