Germanic Flintlock Smooth Rifle
This is the latest Dick Toone gun and it is for sale.
The smooth rifle in the photographs is my latest flintlock gun of over two dozen starting back in 1975. I first discussed and photographed the original in 2000 with the late Joe Kennedy at Washington Crossing State Park, New Jersey. It is in the private collection of H. Kels Swan. He purchased it at an estate sale of a Reynolds family from West Chester, Pennsylvania.
I was most impressed by how the gun held and pointed. Next was the condition. It was evident the breech plug had recently been worked on supposedly to remove a bullet lodged down the barrel about a foot from the muzzle. What is also evident in the gun’s condition is that it had been well used and it had lain many years with the lock side up. This side is smooth and darker than the other side which is a captured time capsule of original production. Evident are longitudinal plane marks, gouge thrusts in the forestock and butt stock moulding, file marks, and even a chip partially dislodged in the decorative carving held in place by original varnish. I visited the gun at times for a decade discovering a new facet and consulting often with Shumway’s “Muzzle Blasts” articles and his books about early Germanic examples.
Joe Kennedy thought the gun might be of German origin but the Walnut stock is of open grain more like American Black Walnut. The clincher, I think, is the “small shop made” side plate, minus any engraving, with two filed slash marks canted to match those on the Germanic lock and the rather plain ramrod pipes. The butt plate and trigger guard are highly embellished with Rococo engraving, and side plates were available to match. I see economy of cost indicative of frontier production not using a set; not European guild work. The tapered breech plug termination appears on early Shumway examples of German origin. This gun expresses transitional manufacture by a trained German smith building in a Pennsylvania shop using import hardware supplemented with home manufacture. I was not able to disassemble the gun to look for internal or obscured maker marks and none are evident on the outer surfaces.
Close examination while replicating the gun revealed that the rear entry thimble terminus design when flattened is in perfect Golden Mean proportion side to side bulges as well as length. It appears like a flame pointing back to the holder of the gun. Incised engraving carved around the thimble in the forestock are tendrils of plant life just beginning to sprout.
More developed tendrils interweave with matching flower buds to the rear and side of the breech plug. This indicates growth in the stylized art form that fully develops in the carving on both sides of the stock rear and the patch box lid. In these carvings five petal flower blossoms partly appear symbolizing man’s voyage in life on earth only to be fully discovered in Heaven. A very artful message from the past, possibly by a Moravian brother in a wilderness shop, in the late middle of the 18th century. I have tried to duplicate the style and art of the unknown artist and added my touch of color to the decoration. The ramrod with the original gun has very faint evidence of stripes on the portion within the forestock and so I included this decoration too.
- Jim Chambers Germanic lock with deluxe Siler cock.
- Robert Hoyt 401/2″ barrel .62 cal. octagonal to round custom made to dimensions of original.
- Mold and Gun Shop butt plate and trigger guard of J. Dobbs design modified by me.
- Wayne Dunlap Walnut stock blank with barrel inlet by Mark at Jack’s Mountain Stocks.
- All other components made by Dick Toone. Weight is 7 3/4 lbs.
Very reasonably priced at $3,800.00 and can be fired at my home farm range.