Muzzleloading Forum .....

Contact - Can't Login?
Please do not post unsolicited research or firearms for sale here!
Login Name Post: John Derr swivel rifle info        (Topic#307179)
Posts: 2
04-17-18 01:00 PM - Post#1680134    

Hello everyone, I am a retired FFL and now do appraisals for museums, individuals, auctions houses, etc.

One of my customers is sending me a John Derr percussion swivel rifle (possibly a swivel rifle/shotgun combination gun) for appraisal and I am finding very sparse information on him. I know he was in Berks County, PA. and he was a blacksmith, pewtersmith as well as a gunsmith but not much else to go on. I found a few rifles and handguns that sold a few years ago but not much recently and no swivel guns at all.

I'm trying to do a solid job for my clients and give them the appraisal and some history to go along with it.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Jim Hinton aka Oldhoosier62

45 Cal.
Posts: 764
04-17-18 01:36 PM - Post#1680142    

    In response to OldHoosier62

Sorry I do not have any information to share but I would love to see pictures! I love Swivel Breach guns! I plan to make one in flint with .40 cal barrels!

Good Luck!!

32 Cal.
Posts: 37
04-19-18 09:34 AM - Post#1680497    

    In response to OldHoosier62

I just recently bought a swivel breech gun myself and have since purchased "Small Arms Makers" by Robert E. Gardner. The book lists a
"Derr, John- Maker of flintlock and percussion rifles and pistols, Lancaster and Oley Township, Lancaster County, Pa., 1810-44."
Hope this helps a little, good luck.

Edit to add- The book lists a
"Derr, Johannes- Gunsmith of Berks County, Pa., 1818."

Edited by boomerdog on 04-19-18 09:39 AM. Reason for edit: Added information

Kansas Jake 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1530
04-19-18 10:23 AM - Post#1680515    

    In response to boomerdog

I have a copy of The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle by Henry J Kaufman. It also lists a Johannes Derr in Berks County, Penn. There is also a plate showing a rifle by John Derr. It is flint lock, full stocked in maple, brass mountings with a 42" octagon to round barrel. It indicates the top flat of the barrel is marked John Derr in block letters. The caption indicates the patch box is a pattern also used by Mauger on his rifles. The caption also speculates that Derr may have engaged in another occupation as few of his rifles are found in Pennsylvania collections.

Another short reference in the book makes reference to Derr working in the late 18th and early 19th century at the same time as Henry Albright, Holls, Haeffer, Rupp, and Mauger.

This isn't much, but I thought I would share the reference.

40 Cal.
Posts: 428
05-15-18 06:11 PM - Post#1684848    

    In response to Kansas Jake

Photographs would really help

45 Cal.
Posts: 672
05-15-18 07:41 PM - Post#1684867    

    In response to OldHoosier62


John (and on some records – Johannes) Derr was one of Berks County’s gun maker's, making rifles, smooth bore guns and pistols of a wide variety of styles, including swivel rifles from 1800 until 1850.

Guns from Derr are almost always signed, either with a stamp, “John Derr” or in script, “John Derr, Oley Valley” on the top flat of the barrel.

He was trained by Henry Mauger and his standard patch box design is similar to Maugers.
He often used barrels made by the Wyomissing Creek barrel makers in Cumru Township.

Posts: 2
05-17-18 08:21 AM - Post#1685036    

    In response to Pete44ru

My apologies folks, had a bit of a medical scare and just got back to business.

Customer has decided to auction off the rifle and the rest of his estate. Here is a link to the rifle with lots of pictures.

Link didn't work for some reason. PM or email me for the link.

Again, my apologies. Thank you all for the help.

Edited by OldHoosier62 on 05-17-18 08:23 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

Icon Legend Permissions Topic Options
Print Topic

Welcome Guest...
Enter your Login Name and password to login. If you do not have a username you can register one here

Login Name


Remember me. Help

Login Not Working?...

Registered Members
Total: 32199
10-21Mike in GH
Current Quote
"There is no place for the hyphen in our citizenship... We are a nation, not a hodge-podge of foreign nationalities. We are a people, and not a polyglot boarding house."

FusionBB™ Version 3.0 FINAL | ©2003-2010 InteractivePHP, Inc.
Execution time: 0.214 seconds.   Total Queries: 38  
All times are (GMT-5). Current time is 12:18 AM