Monday, December 28, 2009

Whale Tail J.P. Beck Rifle by Ron Luckenbill

This rifle can be best described as a documentary copy of the original. Fortunately, I had access to the original prior to and during the building process to assure that all details are correct.

The gun starts with a 47 ¼” octagon to round barrel custom built by Ed Rayl to the dimensions of the original barrel. This barrel, however, is 45 caliber rifled, the original being about 50 caliber smoothbore. The lock started as a Jim Chambers small Siler. It was extensively modified to reflect the look of the original lock, including conversion to a bridleless frizzen. The simple single trigger is square across the bottom, as was the original. The patchbox was hand built using the same hinge arrangement as the original. The opening mechanism, again, is exactly as on the original Back rifle. The engraving of the patchbox is a duplicate of Beck’s engraving. The hardware was cast by Reaves Goehring who used original Beck parts for the molds. The ram rod pipes are handmade to copy the originals. All of Beck’s original file work was used. The stock is a modestly curled piece of maple, as was used on the original. The carving of the stock is patterned from the original. The finish is of the same hue as the original down to areas of shading including vestiges of an earlier varnish finish.

This rifle duplicates the look and feel of the original and can be taken hunting or to the range. This long barreled rifle weighs in at a mere 7 ½ lbs.

Copy and photos supplied by Ron Luckenbill.


  1. Would anyone know if JP Beck May have done any other kind of silversmithing unrelated to gunmaking. I have some early sandcast coin silver spoons that I could swear has similar traits to some of the brass work on his guns. Spoons are Signed J.P. The Design is Not Native American as I first presumed. Anybody Got a Picture of his Initials on some Authentic piece of his? Would that be Great!


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