Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scott Shea Rifle

This fine flint lock longrifle is a reproduction of those guns that originated in the Blue Mountain region of Berks County area of Pennsylvania in the later part of the 18th century. Built on a piece of curly maple stained to a deep red, the rifle is trimmed in brass furniture and has a nicely aged patina finish to give it the appearance of a well maintained antique. The rifle is signed on the top flat of by contemporary builder Scott Shea.

The rifle is assembled around a .36 caliber by 42" long straight octagon Green Mountain barrel. The .36 caliber bore is cut rifled with eight lands and grooves with a slow twist for a tightly patched round ball. Green Mountain Muzzle Loading Rifle Barrels are machined from high quality American made bar stock, A.I.S.I. 1137 modified, stress relieved, annealed, certified rifle barrel quality steel. All barrels are drilled from solid stock, reamed to a high degree of smoothness, then optically checked for straightness. Very close tolerances are maintained.

Stocked in curly maple the wood has been stained and finished to a classic reddish tone to simulate a Madder Root oil varnish, or also sometimes called a "violin varnishes".

The buttplate has a modest curve to engage the shooter's shoulder. The buttstock is fitted with a brass patchbox that is fitted without the use of side panels. In their place the stock is decorated with a incised border forming lobes around the patchbox.

The rifle has been finished to appear aged, the wood has a few minor distress marks scattered across its surface while the brass furniture, though once polished bright, has been allowed to fade back and develop a slight tarnish.

The rifle has a 13" trigger reach. This shorter trigger reach is very common to rifles from this school of gunmaking. This school of style has a distinctive arc on the comb, from the toe to triggerguard and triggerguard to lock panel. A longer pull on this style of rifle makes it very difficult to maintain the correct architectural appearance. Weight is 6.6 pounds.

The buttstock has a very slender comb decorated with incised carving. A line of incised carving defines the transition from wrist to comb with a Fluer de Lys design. A similar Fluer de Lys design with a incised lobed border surrounds the flared tang of the breech.

From the breech forward the straight octagon barrel measures 42" in overall length. The barrel has been browned then rubbed back to give it a well aged appearance. The breech end of the barrel is signed S * Shea. The barrel is fitted with a classic Lehigh valley flat top rear sight dovetailed 9" ahead of the breech. A brass front sight is dovetailed 2-1/2" behind the muzzle.

This bottom view of the rifle shows off the brass toeplate and triggerguard that have been used on the gun. The toeplate is held in place by two small nails. Toeplates serve a protective role, guarding the delicate toe of the gun from damage when it comes into contact with the ground during the loading and cleaning stages of shooting. 

Moving forward along the stock the triggerguard can be seen. Properly pinned into position, as is traditional, the guard has a burnished appearance with a aged patina. 

Forward and out of the picture the tapered wooden ramrod is held in place by three brass ramrod pipes, one entry and two forward. All three pipes are finished in the same manner as the other brass on the rifle. Finishing off the stock is a brass muzzlecap that protects the end grain of the wood, much like the buttplate to the rear. A ramrod tip has been installed on the rod, threaded 8-32 it is ready to accept you loading and shooting accessories.

Finished to a aged brown to match the barrel, the small Siler flintlock has a crisp action and a well hardened frizzen. When using our best 5/8" knapped English gun flints, #FLINT-ENG-5, the lock will throw a shower of sparks into the pan. The single trigger is pinned high to provide good leverage against the sear.

Fast ignition is assured by the stainless vent liner, positioned well above the bottom of the pan, centered on the heat of the flash. If your flint longrifle suffers from that infamous slow whoosh-bang ignition delay, study the work of today's best gun makers, and position your vent well centered on the pan, high above the bottom, to serve as a window on the center of the flash.

A backside view of the rifle shows off the two brass sideplates that have been used on the rifle, a tear drop and a lozenge shape. The sideplates are decorated with a zig zag or "chicken walk" engraved border. The buttstock is shaped with a square cheeck and decorated with incised carving.

Our final look at the rifle shows off the small cheek of the gun along with the brass oval inlay engraved with a flowering star. Incised carving flows down from the wrist below the cheek and continues behind the cheek. 

Well made this fine Berks County longrifle has very good wood to metal fit with neatly executed folk art style carving and engraving, and a patina finish to give it a very period appearance. Assembled around a .36 caliber Green Mountain barrel, this rifle should have a very modest recoil.

Copy and photos from Track of the Wolf.


  1. COOL RIFLE! love the details.

  2. One of the nicest Berks rifles I've seen. Well executed.


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