Jud Brennan's imagination, resulting in uniquely inspired creations, has influenced the Contemporary Longrifle Culture for over 3 decades. Still going strong, it is obvious that Jud is not lacking inspiration and he has gifted us with yet another artistic treat. This petite rifle, built around an antique "Golcher" flintlock, is somewhat a tribute to not only a famous person, but to an interesting time in the development of our young nation.
I wish I could be a little bird and hear all the conversation that will arise when photo's of this rifle hits the internet ! Wish I could hear all the various speculations of "what it is" ???
At first glance, it's finely sculpted stock with bold comb and tall butt , reminded me of the work of Jacob Young. Perhaps because the first antique rifle I ever owned was made by Young for Wm. Waid Woodfork. About a decade ago Jud was heavily influenced by a rifle signed "T. Simpson ~ fecit" and inscribed on its box "G. Mansker". When this rifle surfaced it stood the Kentucky rifle world on its head and more than a few contemporary rifles borrowed elements of design from it.
Rolling this rifle over, looking at its patchbox with captured lid, I could feel this influence, however many other decorative facets were pulling me along a mental journey tracing the footsteps of Brennan as his creative thoughts became alive.
An incised molding line from the heal extension of its butt-piece along the comb usually makes one think of "North Carolina". The diamond inlays made me think "Cumberland's of Tennessee", but then John Small of Vincennes, Indiana used them as well.
The big silver "man in the moon" behind the cheek-piece made me think specifically of two Kentucky made rifles, both from the Lexington area. Here I go… getting caught up in wanting to make a statement of "what is it"!
I hope that upon seeing these great pictures and feeling that surge of excitement, each student of the "Longrifle" will catch his (or her) breath and take some time…. and study. Study this little rifle! Get into the head of the maker! Follow wherever your thoughts take you… think about Crockett, the Alamo, Tennessee, Kentucky, and then…. GO AHEAD !!! Form your own opinions, share and discuss them freely with all the many others who will also get much pleasure from talking about this grand little rifle. For this is the lifeblood of today's Longrifle Culture. ENJOY!
Photos on the burlap background by Dr. Peter Marshall and Robert Weil. Copy by Mel Hankla.