FULL STOCK KENTUCKY RIFLE PRODUCED BY JAMES H. JOHNSTON OF WAYNESBORO, PENNSYLVANIA

$5,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 516-273

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The full length of this impressive weapon is approx. 55.00 inches long. It has an octagon barrel that meas. approx. 40.00 inches long with a notched rear sight and a long thin blade front sight. Clearly engraved on the top flat of the barrel, approx. 4.75 inches forward of the breech, is “.J.H. JOHNSTON.” The barrel has a plumb appearance throughout. The top of the barrel at breech shows some light surface pitting. Bore is .44 with sharp rifling. Bore is dirty and needs cleaned.

The lock was manufactured by Joseph Golcher and is marked in one line forward of the hammer “JOS. GOLCHER.” It is set flush and has a pointed rear and rounded front. The lock face is engraved with scrollwork, flowers and fern leaves that is delicately executed. Serpentine iron hammer is decorated with a fern branch on its shaft. Hammer rests on the original nipple and drum. Lock surface has a nice even dark patina. Trigger is double-set and action works properly.

Curly maple stock is full length and in excellent condition but does show some light wear in the area of the lock. There are no cracks. The rifle is enhanced by two German silver inlays. The left side of the butt, on top of the cheek rest, has is a wonderful stylized Federal spread-winged eagle on an oval that meas. approx. 2.25 inches x 1.25 inches. This inlay seems to be a trade mark for Johnston made weapons. The wrist of the stock has a small shield that meas. approx. 0.75 x 1.00 inch. Shield has a linear border decoration. Both sides of the butt in this area have enhanced linear carving.

The patchbox is brass, is rectangular and is done with rococo style embellishments. The hinged patchbox lid itself is decorated with geometric and linear decoration and is flanked by two smaller brass rectangles which support an arch at top that in turn supports an open circle and scroll. Patchbox is opened by depressing a button on the brass toe-plate of the stock. Mechanism operates properly.

The brass triggerguard has a long bow to accommodate the double triggers and a finger rest at rear. The guard has squared ends front and back. Looking at the bottom exterior surface of the bow it appears to have two parallel raised lines giving it a sea shell type of appearance. Left side of the stock opposite the lock has a brass escutcheon with one squared and one rounded end with a dome at center. Wooden ramrod has an iron tip and may be an old replacement. The three brass pipes are present as is the heavy brass nose cap. Buttplate is also of plain brass.

The maker, James Hampton Johnston, is described by a biographer as the “founder and sole proprietor of the Great Western Gun Works and was born in the town of Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, December 16th, 1836. He grew to manhood in his native place, and there learned the trade of gunmaker. Just previous to the beginning of the Civil War he moved to Pittsburgh, and was appointed Master Armorer at the Arsenal there. In this position he served with credit until the close of the war, a period of five years. In the following year, with a small capital, he established the Great Western Gun Works, one of the most rapid and surprising business successes in the great manufacturing city of Pittsburgh. From a business of $2500 in 1866, in 1874 it had grown to the proportions of $150,000 annually. Nor is this success the result of mere chance and a few speculative ventures; it was the fruit of methodical business habits and that reliance which, with strict integrity and honesty of purpose, distinguishes the character of all self-made men.”

Johnston died in Pittsburgh on June 28, 1917 and is buried there in Allegheny Cemetery.   [AD]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire!

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