Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rifles for Ken Gahagan and Doc Wilhite by Ian Pratt

Two rifles maybe best described as brothers - made to represent a pair of guns built 15 or more years apart by the same maker. First six shots are of the earlier gun, the next six are of the later piece.

Rifle #1 for Ken Gahagan

Rifle #1, the earlier of the pair. I intended for it to have an almost European feel but showing the transition toward the American rifle. Whoever built it had been seeing a variety of decorated arms, perhaps repairing and maintaining them?

Rifle #1 - The buttplate is re-used from an earlier French gun. The guard maybe made by the gunsmith - ? The 2 piece patchbox with a simple release is another indicator of an early rifle.

Rifle #1 forend, entry carving

The way the carving is supported by the cheekpiece is very Germanic, but not necessarily the motifs - building in clues that indicate an American rifle and not European

Rifle #2 for Doc Wilhite

Rifle #2 - the maker of rifle # 1 built that first gun he has traveled down the wagon road and is serving a different clientele. After 15+ years we can see him making certain concessions to a newer style but his hand is still evident.

The rifle is decorated with modified pieces of trade silver . Overall the stock shape is less "inflated" than the earlier example. The stepped wrist architecture of the butt has been greatly reduced. The forged guard is similar in profile to the earlier piece but it's form has been somewhat simplified

Rifle #2 - with a flat toe, compared to the round toe of the earlier rifle #1

Rifle #2

Rifle #2 - the carved scallop molding of the earlier gun is echoed here in silver

Rifle #2 - Compared to the first rifle the lines of the buttstock are more sleek. The small button through the top of the buttplate shows that the maker has adopted a more complex style of patchbox release. The cheekpiece is less massive and blends cleanly to the surrounding stock - all indicators that the maker's work is transforming into the classic fully developed American Longrifle

Photos by Ric Lambert.

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