WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA RIFLE BY ABIAS BUTLER SMITH

$1,295.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1218-01

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This attractive half-stock Pennsylvania rifle has 37 ½ inch, .40 caliber octagonal barrel engraved on the top flat in script: “A B Smith.” This was Abial Butler Smith, born in Pennsylvania in 1818 and recognized among western Pennsylvania gun makers, having apprenticed to Joel T. Ferree from mid-1836 to Fall 1838, and showing up in tax records for Allegheny County from 1838 to 1866, and Lawrence County in 1867 and 1870-1872. He took out at least one firearm related patent during the Civil War and another related to farm machinery, which he manufactured and sold after the Civil War. He died in Cleveland in 1900 and was interred in Pittsburgh.

The barrel is fully octagonal, with bottom and two ramrod thimbles, and mounts a fixed rear block sight and a front sight using what appears to be a piece of mother of pearl for the blade. The metal is smooth and deep brown. The bore has conventional rifling: Smith is known to have experimented with belted rifle balls. The lock is a commercial lock with double set trigger, side lug/bolster, with the hammer decorated with some floral motifs, as was the lockplate, which shows the lower portion of what seems to be a hunter at rear, with some plants at his feet, though the upper portion is rubbed and the forward portion obscured by corrosion or conversion from flint. The nipple is a modern replacement and the mechanism at the moment is non-functional (broken mainspring).

The stock has a brass, deeply crescent-shaped buttplate and triggerguard with recurved handrail. On the right buttstock it mounts a patchbox in German silver, 4-piece, with upper and lower plates distanced from the lid and given wavy serpentine borders of continuous lines and crosswise checks that are picked up on the lid, along with a sun with recurving flourishes at either side and sun rays pointing toward it, emanating from the ends of the lid. The head uses the same continuous engraved border lines and uses checks around the screws, giving the impression of starbursts, and also has a simple border along the oblong piercing with squared bottom.

The left buttstock has an oblong cheek rest decorated with a spread-winged German silver eagle, with head and tail pointing forward along the rifle, perched on a scroll with up-turned ends. This is rendered in silhouette with some light checked decoration and saw-tooth lower edges of the wings and tail denoting feathers, but with the beak delicately rendered and one of the tacks serving as the eye as well. The lock screw escutcheon is half-moon/tear drop shaped and appears to be silver or stained German silver. The stock tip, however, seems to be pewter. The wood shows some handling dings and pressure dents, with some chattering below the eagle on the cheekrest, but also shows some nice graining. The only damage we see is a stable hairline on the left flat from the breech to the lock screw, which is pretty common, and what is likely a repaired chip along the right of the buttplate tang that shows a small nail or tack and some filing. We note also, that Smith liked the circular punch decoration enough the he used it on the muzzle face also. The rifle comes with a tiger-striped wood ramrod that is nice and picks up some of the forestock striping, but is, of course, a modern replacement.    [sr] [ph:L]

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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