English Stalking Rifle

Circa 1770

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 English rifles are less common than smoothbores. To hunt large game in England, you had to own the land the game was on, therefore owning the game on the land. Most big game hunting in Europe was done by having servants drive the game towards the shooters who were often set up under a tent or canopy. While eating sweetmeats and drinking wines, the shooters waited for the game to run by then blazed away once the game came into range. Very sporting. The idea of actually stalking the game became more popular in the mid 18th century and rifles with longer barrels were developed for this new sport. The longer sighting radius of the longer barrels made them better suited for the distances that the game were now being hunted.

This rifle pictured is my version of several original stalking rifles I have seen. It has a butt style similar to a typical fowler except for the trigger guard having a grip rail and the barrel being full octagon with front and rear sights. This particular rifle is .45 caliber with a 44" swamped barrel. It has wedges and a hook breech for easier cleaning and a silver band at the breech. It is stocked in American walnut and is checkered at the wrist with silver wire dots in each of the checkered squares. The hardware is brass and is engraved. The sideplate is copied from one that was excavated at the Geddy Foundry site in Colonial Williamsburg, Va.