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Southern American Long rifle

Ca. 1770-1780
Origin: America
Overall - 60 1/4", Barrel - 45 3/16", Lock - 5 1/2" x 1 1/16"
Iron/steel, walnut, brass & silver.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2004-5
Full stock of dark walnut, inlet for a wood patchbox (cover now replaced with a modern reconstruction), and a cheek rest on the left side. Made without the benefit of a sideplate, buttplate or tail pipe. Trigger plate present. Both sides of the buttsrock are covered with decorative carving depicting a rooster on the left side and a stag on the other, in addition to some heavy-handed hatched foliate carving. Bottom of buttsock with hatched scoring.

Barrel of swamped octagonal section, about .45 caliber. Rear sight 13" from the breech and decorated with some filing. Brass & silver front sight dovetailed in 2" from the muzzle. Plain breech plug tang with stepped & lobed end.

Flat lock of classic Germanic-American form with a bridleless pan and decorative filing on the tail of the lockplate. Steel spring screw protrudes from inside of lockplate. Sidenails (replaced in modern times) were originally about 5/8" in diameter and were likely of the Franco-American musket type now used as the barrel tang screw.

Cast brass triggerguard, of classic Germanic-American faceted form.
Label:While smoothbore guns were available and cheap in the pre-Revolutionary South, those with rifled bores were far more difficult and expensive to make. Spiraling grooves cut inside the gun’s barrel made the rifle highly accurate, ensuring its desirability in the wilderness. A missed shot could mean starvation, so function trumped all. Crafted by an unknown Backcountry artisan, this rifle dispenses with non-essential features and has no sideplate, buttplate, or tailpipe. Indeed, it appears to have been constructed with recycled European and American parts. Although truly utilitarian, the weapon is not devoid of embellishment: one side of the buttstock features a folk carving of a rooster and the other sports a carved stag.
Mark(s):Barrel marked with "IM" and a mark (resembling an "8" with a small "v" attached to its right side) on the left flat of the breech.