Good call.1. I agree that the grain doesn't match from one rifle to the other.
2. Beckwourth looks to be holding the rifle at the point where the stock narrows for the ramrod inlet, so that the full-size stock runs longer than in the color photo.
3. The trigger guard profile on the Beckwourth photo looks bulbous, while the color photo looks to be less round, or a bit less tall. In other words, the Beckwourth photo would be easier for shooting while wearing thick gloves.
I think they are 2 different rifles.
I did some looking around and found a copy of the photograph that wasn’t taken from a printed book or document (if you zoom in on the photo you posted you can see what look like printer lines running across it), unfortunately, the bottom of the photograph has been cropped and doesn’t show much of the gun. There is a better image of that photograph out there, one that isn’t cropped just has to be found, and it should tell more of the story.Thanks to all who have contributed, especially @SDSmlf , who provided the enlarged photograph. I wish there were a way to enhance it, to clear up some of the grainy texture of the image!
Lots of interesting points have been made. Regarding the curl in the grain, it was not uncommon for maple stocks to be artificially striped, and the coloration may fade over time. As for the trigger guard, I'm actually seeing more similarities than differences, but again, the portrait photo is not very clear.
This occurred to me last night. We know from measurements provided on the Muzzleloader page that the barrel on the presumed Beckwourth rifle is 40-5/8" long (40.625"). The portrait photo gives us a good look at Mr. Beckwourth's hand, grasping the barrel. How wide is your hand at the knuckles?
I measured the width of Beckwourth's hand and the length of the rifle barrel in the portrait photo on my computer screen, and calculated the barrel length is 9.67 times the width of Beckwourth's hand, at the knuckles. If the rifle he is holding has a 40.625" barrel, that would mean his hand would be 4.2" wide. I think that's a pretty big hand. Possible maybe, but a big hand. If his hand were slightly smaller, say an even four inches wide, the barrel length would be 38.68" long, or about two inches too short to be the rifle in the color picture (note that a "hand" for a horseman, as a unit of measure, is equal to four inches. As an example, a sixteen-hand horse would be 64" tall at the withers). I am physically small by today's standards, and my hands measure slightly less than four inches. If Beckwourth's hand was as small as mine, the barrel of the rifle he is holding would be even shorter. I've seen old rifles on which the barrel had been shortened, but I've never known one to grow...
Maybe Jim had big hands?
I did some more measurements and calculations comparing the distance from the rear sight to the drum on the rifles in both photos. I thought I could get pretty accurate comparisons this way. By calulation, the rear sight on the rifle in the color picture appears relatively closer to the breech. I can show the numbers if anyone is interested, but these are objective measures and not subjective judgements. I don't know, but it's starting to not look so good for these being the same rifle.
However, I think @Loyalist Dave may have been on to something with his suggestion that these might have been a different rifles by the same maker. I see a lot of similarities between the rifle in Beckwourth's portrait picture and the presumed Beckwourth rifle in the color picture. I see similarities where others have pointed out differences. It's just that some of the comparative measurements don't quite add up. There was a post on the ALR forum, which I found last night but can't seem to locate today, submitted by a collector who owned the virtual twin of the presumed Beckwourth rifle... Same buttplate, triggerguard, and overall lines and architecture. He said his rifle was believed to have been made by a gunsmith in Boonville, Missouri. Beckwourth could have certainly been a customer of the same builder, and he could have bought a similar rifle, or two.
I think I see a reflection of the maker's mark on the shiny part of Beckwolurth's boot. Nah... just my old eyes. It would be interesting to see a state of the art examination's result. I bet an analysis would definitively show us one way or the other. Interesting subject, though.Just can not find enough similarities to convince me it is the same rifle. Played with the exposure a little, but nothing pulled out sufficient detail, at least for me. Maybe there is a better copy of the photograph that could help, could not clean this one up much.
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Thanks for that, @Herb !Nice work, Notchy Bob. Here are measurements I made of the Beckwourth rifle at Hengesbaugh's place: overall length 57 3/8"; Barrel Length 40 5/8"; Length of Pull 14"; Lock Plate 5.2"; Rear Sight to front of Powder drum 10 1/8". Jeff asked me to make a copy of this rifle in its original flint. I am down to shaping the buttstock and making that trigger guard. The barrel is 1.25 at breech to 1.125 at muzzle, 40 5/8" long, .56 caliber. I'll post pictures when done.
Actually, there is ANOTHER clue we can make use of — the side that Beckwourth's vest is buttoned on!It is my understanding that the images were reversed in these early photographs, and that is obvious when there are belt buckles with "US" on them, or Winchester repeating rifles with the loading gate visible, but I don't see any clues like that in this photo.