Who made it/Southern type long rifle

Discussion in 'Firearm Identification' started by Rat, Nov 24, 2018.

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  1. Nov 24, 2018 #1

    Rat

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    I have a rifle that's been in the family forever, I wonder if the maker can be identified.

    The rifle has been in the family since 1846 for sure. Don't know how new it was then. An ox was traded for it, with someone in the Donner party, whose ox had died.

    I'd call it .40" or .41 caliber, shoots .375" ball pretty good.

    It is stocked in oak, ram-rod is oak, butt plate is brass, trigger guard is silver or DSC06697.JPG DSC06700.JPG DSC06698.JPG DSC06699.JPG DSC06701.JPG DSC06702.JPG "German Silver", and thimbles are some kind of a sheet metal.

    "PB" is on the top flat of the barrel. This does not match the initials of anyone in the family, who were ever in possession of the rifle.

    The barrel was cut-down sometime in the late 1800's. We know it had a longer barrel originally.
     
  2. Nov 24, 2018 #2

    Rat

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    Also, my impression of this rifle is that it was not an expensive rifle when made, something cranked out for a quick sale to the wagon trains heading west out of St.Louis. ? Cheap or not, it certainly survived a lot of hard use until the end of the percussion era. And she still shoots.
     
  3. Nov 26, 2018 #3

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    No ideas of who PB could be??
     
  4. Nov 26, 2018 #4

    Juice Jaws

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    No idea who made it, but you have a great story there, and a nice family heirloom.
     
  5. Nov 26, 2018 #5

    Rat

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    You wouldn't believe the stories about this rifle. There's a connection to the Mountain man Meeks, (Meaks?) the Donnors, the Whitman massacre, quite a story. I have found a reference to "some Pennsylvania rifles marked PB" and a Peter Brong, who was supposed to have been making rifles in the 1700's, and "into the 1800's". So I suppose it could have been made well before 1846. Might have been a flint to percussion conversion, I don't know, but I don't think so. Funny that we know so much about the rifle through family diaries and history, but can't figure out who made the darn thing! :) Oh yeah, I have the original powder horn, and antler-tip powder measure. Should had them in the photos.
     
  6. Nov 26, 2018 #6

    TFoley

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    BRONG, PETER Located at 700 North Queen Street, Lancaster, PA., in 1800.
     
  7. Nov 26, 2018 #7

    Rat

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    I guess if I could find some pics of a known Peter Brong rifle, and the PB on the barrels looks the same, that would do it. So, my new quest is to find such a pic. If anyone knows of a source let me know.
     
  8. Nov 26, 2018 #8

    Rat

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    Well, found one example/pic of a Peter Brong rifle, did not see a pic of a makers mark, but it was stated the rifle had "P.BRONG" in block letters on the top flat, not "PB" in script like mine. And, the rifle was extremely fancy, my/our rifle is just too plain. BUT, now I find a listing for Peter Bear, whose listed 1840-1850, which I think/assume/guess matches the time frame of this rifle better, as it came into the family around 1846. But again, we don't know if it was a new or old rifle at that time. ?? Crap. There is also a Peter Berry, who's mark is different. Peter Bear I can't find anything on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  9. Nov 26, 2018 #9

    Hornguy

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    It is definitely not a Peter Brong or Berry rifle. The P. Bear might be a match though I never heard of him. It has the long tang that is attributed to Southern made rifles and the lock is an English import which may or may not have been a late converted flintlock??
     
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  10. Nov 26, 2018 #10

    Rat

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    Trouble with googling "Bear", is that I get all this stuff about....bears. I need to study the rifle again and try to determine if it was a conversion, but seems like I did once before, and didn't think it was. The lock it's self isn't a conversion, I believe. 1840-1850 is sure a good match for rifles going west at that time, and really getting into the percussion era. I assume a Southern type rifle would not be out of place in St.Lous. And the short time span would explain why nothing is know about Mr.Bear. If it is a Peter Bear rifle...does that make it a .40 caliber Bear rifle? Those would be some small bears. (although I believe they shot just about anything and everything with .40 caliber rifles, back in the day)
     
  11. Nov 27, 2018 #11

    Dr5x

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    LOOKING CLOSELY AT THE MUZZLE IN YOUR PICTURE IT ALMOST LOOKS LIKE ITS NOT A RIFLE, AS SUCH BUT A HEX SHAPED BORE LIKE A WHITWORTH..

    LOOK CLOSELY AT THE MUZZLE PICTURE. THESE VERY OLD EYES HAVE BEGUN TO LIE NOW AND THEN,

    DUTCH

     
  12. Nov 27, 2018 #12

    Rat

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    The bore is round, and rifled, but the muzzle seems to have been "coned" by hand, with files. I have not shot the rifle extensively, or experimented with loads, so I don't know how accurate it is. About once every three years, the immediate (about seven people) family get together and we each take a shot at a paper plate with it. And then we each keep our plate as a momento. Or however you spell it. That's with a patched .375" ball, and the powder measured with the original measure...which is a pretty tiny charge, certainly not more than 30 grains. I'll measure it one of these days. !! But yeah, interesting muzzle treatment. I think, but don't know, that the rifle was bobbed right around the time of the Whitman "massacre", as the rifle was then used for a year in the militia, chasing the Indians around trying to arrest some of them. Wasn't really a "war" as it is often referred to. They did have a few fights though. As that was all horseback work, I think it was done to make the rifle a little more handy on horse back. But that is speculation.
     
  13. Nov 27, 2018 #13

    Rat

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    However, I have not really inspected the rifle for quite a few years, will give the bore a better look-over. And forgot to mention, the rifle seems to be at least reasonably accurate. And just realized, the Donnor party left from Independence Missouri, not St.Louis. My bad.
     
  14. Dec 4, 2018 #14

    Rat

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    No additional ideas, info? I guess I'll assume Peter Bear for now. Thanks! Or as Elvis would say: "thank you very much'.
     

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