This is truly an amazing Virginia Longrifle with a great history and unlimited amounts of Gun Making Art. To start with young Master Gunsmith of Colonial Williamsburg built this rifle starting in 1965 through 1966 in the Williamsburg Shop. It was made for his childhood close friend Donald Dehart "Duck to friends". It is a totally handmade iron mounted rifle. It represents the 1780 Golden Age of Virginia gun making. Wallace, Gary Brumfield and Donald Dehart grew up in Ft. Lewis, Salem area in Glenvar Hollow close to Dixie Caverns. The maple was a downed tree that Wallace had planked up at his Father Lester's Sawmill. There is a video of the Sawmill in operation filmed in the 50's. Most all of the earlyshop rifles came from that tree. The rifle was made for a cost of $450.00. Mr. Dehart is now in a Nursing Home in Roanoke, Virginia and loves visitors at 70 years old. He said back then that was alot of money but well worth it. He said Wallace didn't leave anything off, he gave it his all. The rifle has so much art that it is hard to photograph. There are no pictures of the incredible tang carving. The patch box is extremely well design and crafted in the highest fashion of Virginia style. The star on the cheekpiece is made of iron with sterling silver wire inlay around it. The lock is early in style and all handmade, then it was silver plated. Some of the silver is worn away from use. The rear entry thimble, front and rear extension of the rigger guard and front top extension of the butt plate have silver inlayed and filed into a molding. The trigger guard is the best iron trigger guard I have ever seen on original or contemporary. The carving in all areas represents the best of the best style in high relief Rococo, the finest of 18th century Philadelphia Furniture was not any finer. The rear entry carving is spectacular as well with a very detailed for stock molding. All 4 barrel wedges are in let into the stock. The side plate is pure in style and function. The finish is rich and hand rubbed as an original from years of use. The barrel is rifled and 43" long. There are 2 brass loops for a vent pick but it is long lost now. Mr Dehart hunted many years with this rifle for many years and said that it was the best thing that he ever owned. The rifle is 58 years old now and in very well kept condition. Mr Gusler once stated that this rifle was his most favorite long rifle that he ever made. Its an American Masterpiece of Gun Making Art and will remain that for years to come. I asked John Bivins in 1990 while we were in Virginia, who do you think is the best long rifle maker and John quickly replied Wallace Gusler. He said that Wallace taught him everything that he knows about gun making. There are many pictures to show angles, there is a picture of Duck, Neil and Gary in 1966 hunting in Glenvar, they made local history there and 2 of the best Master Gunsmith that the Williamsburg Shop ever had. Recently a gentleman told me that this is a fantasy rifle, I replied yeah it is, its a real fantasy to own a gun this fine. I applaud the Master Gunsmith of Williamsburg for all he has accomplished, for the better understanding of the great American Kentucky Rifle.
Duck Dehart with this rifle, their friend Neil, and young Gary Brumfield, 1966 Glevar Hollow.
Copy and photos supplied by Steve Boyleston.