Original Shippensburg, PA. Longrifle

 in .40 caliber straight rifled

 

 

This is a nice slender little original rifle made by Jacob C. Keefer about 1850-1870. The last picture below is of another Keefer rifle made about the same time. I have been informed by knowledgeable sources that Jacob Keefer lived and worked in Shippensburg, PA.

 

This rifle is stocked in a nice piece of curly maple. The wood is sound with the typical crack by the rear lock bolt and a sliver of wood is missing near the nosecap on the right side. A piece of wood appears to have come loose at the rear barrel pin on the left side that has been glued back in place. The straight barrel is 40" long and ⁵⁄₁₆" across the flats. It has a new nipple in place. The bore is in good condition and measures .40 and has straight rifling. I pulled the breech plug to make sure. I know some gunsmiths did straight rifling but this is the first one I have run across. It supposedly works well with shot or ball giving the fowling grooves to accumulate in with shot but gives a bit better accuracy with a patched ball over a smoothbore. This bore is good enough to shoot and see if it works. The lock is a typical store bought lock with no name but nice engraving on the plate. As with most percussion locks of the time, there is no half cock. If carried with a cap in place, the hammer would be resting on the cap. The triggers work fine but must be set to fire the gun. The patchbox is a style common to the Bedford, Pa. area and has a release button on the toeplate. It's unusual to see a full patchbox on a rifle this late in the percussion period.

 

Overall a nice little rifle.

 

Weight is 9 lbs. 14 ozs.  Pull is 12".

 

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