Antique Halfstock Sporting Rifle,
.40 caliber, 33" barrel,
checkered walnut, engraved brass,
percussion lock marked P.S.J. & Co.
Part Number: AAS-402
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This antique halfstock rifle is unmarked as to a maker. The rifle is stocked in walnut and trimmed in brass furniture. This rile likely dates from the 1850's to 1860's based on the style of the furniture and the markings on the lock. The square tail lock is marked P.S.J. & Co over Warranted. The Philip S. Justice & Co. of Philadelphia produced locks from the 1840's to the mid 1860's, and they are commonly noted on many period rifles, most notably antique J. Henry rifles. The barrel appears to be refinished and the bore recut. The lock displays a small amount of restoration around the notch for the drum. Trigger reach is 13", typical of many antiques and this handy rifle weighs 8.2 pounds.

The .40 caliber barrel appears to have been recut with seven grooves and a slow twist for a tightly patched round ball. The barrel is a handy 33" length, so it is not overly muzzle heavy. The under barrel rib has only a single ramrod pipe mounted forward of the center of the rib. The barrel appears to have been re-polished and finished to a dark brown. The polishing has faded the engraving on the tang and the pitting on the side flat of the barrel around the drum from corrosive antique percussion caps. The top flat has a very faint engraved design with a pair of mirrored ichthus inside dashed lines framing a blank spot, this marking does not have the same hand as the other engraving on the rifle and was likely added later. The barrel is fitted with a period low silver blade front sight and a flat top rear sight dovetailed 10" ahead of the breech.

The rifle is stocked in walnut with a satin finish and does not appear to have been sanded. The wrist has period style flat top checkering. In mid-19th century halfstock rifle fashion the forearm is fitted with a pewter forend cap that also acts as the ramrod entry pipe. The buttplate has a slender pointed heel in Eastern U.S. fashion in the mid 1800's. The cap box is well fitted and hand engraved with a chicken walk border and decorative scrolls. The mounting screws have the slots neatly aligned. The breech plug has a long tang that extends down the wrist. The engraving on the tang has a faded appearance from being polished.

The brass toeplate is neatly inlet and hand engraved. The triggerguard bow is a Flobert style and is hand engraved with decorative scrolls. The forearm has two wedge keys, mounted through nickel silver oval escutcheon plates, note how the keys are positioned favoring the muzzle end of the stock. The ramrod is original with a reversible worm on the hidden end. The side panel has a wing shaped sideplate with a engraved border. The stock has not developed a crack at the lock bolt, as found on many rifles over 150+ years. The large oval cheek piece is shaped with an accent line along the lower edge.

The square tail lock percussion lock design was popular post 1840 and is similar in form to a H.E. Leman Trade Rifle lock. The square tail lock is marked P.S.J. & Co over Warranted. The Philip S. Justice & Co. of Philadelphia produced locks from the 1840's to the mid 1860's, and they are commonly noted on Trade rifles during that period. The lock plate has a small amount of restoration around the notch for the drum, to better support the drum, and this area has a bright finish. The lock has only a single position tumbler, so it is either in full cock or fully down. Eliminating the half cock notch was a simple way to avoid putting a fly detent in the lock's tumbler to allow using set triggers. The trigger are double lever double set. They will function set, or unset because the lock does not have a half cock notch. Once set the front trigger only requires a few ounces of pressure to fire the lock for a accurate aimed shot. This trigger has the backlash correctly adjusted and you can cock the lock before setting the triggers.

The stock displays very few marks and has no visible cracks or repairs, which made it a good choice for restoration of the bore. The 40 caliber bore appears bright and as-new. The lock and triggers are crisp. An interesting mid-19th century Sporting Rifle. 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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