Saturday, March 15, 2014

Relief Carved Flintlock by John Armstrong

4-1/4″ full oct 44 Cal. rifled bbl signed in script “John Armstrong” on a brass plate inlet into the top bbl flat. 60″ overall and 4-3/4 x 1-3/8″ butt. Bbl is fastened to stock with 4 bbl wedges. This rifle has a 5″ hand forged flintlock signed “JA”. Curly maple stock is nicely relief carved with C-scroll designs over the entire left hand side of butt with relief carving around bbl tang and behind rear ramrod pipe. Rifle has nicely engraved and characteristic Armstrong brass patchbox with 5-piercings. Large silver oval inlay on cheekpiece engraved with American Eagle. Sideplate is engraved with Armstrong’s characteristic engraving. John Armstrong was a gunsmith in Emmitsburg, MD in 1808. He was a very good engraver and carver, and he made beautiful inlays and patchboxes. Armstrong was a master engraver in both design and execution and his workmanship was magnificent. 
PROVENANCE: Collection of Dr. Douglas Sirkin. 
CONDITION: Quality nicely relief carved Armstrong Kentucky rifle in very good overall condition. Relief carving on this rifle at butt is outstanding while carving behind ramrod pipe and forward of sideplate show a great deal of wear. Wood repair extending 2-1/2″ rearward from bbl tang where the tang had at one time been stretched to reinforce an in-period break through lock area. Kentucky rifle forestocks are very fragile and subject to breakage over the years. Early collectors spent a great deal of time and effort trying to save as much of the orig wood as possible while today’s collectors are more likely to simply replace all the damaged wood. This rifle has 9″ of wood replaced at muzzle along with numerous small patches of new wood along forend on both sides so that as much orig wood as possible has been retained in the forend. Bbl signature is worn to the point it is difficult to read. 4-49899 RG5 (30,000-40,000) 

Copy and photos from James Julia.

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