It is a privilege to have the opportunity to provide photos of these beautiful examples of the Bedford School of gunsmithing. These two antique muzzle loading percussion rifles were made by the Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith Daniel Border. Both of these long and slender rifles have rat tail locks with graceful Bedford-style hammers. Both rifles have full stocks of curly maple, and feature lock and lock bolt plate panels that taper to the rear. Neither stock has decorative incised or relief carving. Both have cheekpiece medallions, and both have silver wrist inlays trailing the lock and lock bolt plate panels. Both rifles have the pointed barrel tangs that are common to the region.
The rifle in the first set of pictures has a typical Bedford County patch box with five piercings and a Q-shaped finial. The lock bolt plate is dated April 25, 1848, which means that Daniel Border would have been about 22 years old when he made this rifle. One interesting feature on the rat tail percussion lock is the inclusion of a protective fence behind the drum. This fence would help to protect the wood to the rear of the barrel from the damaging effects of the cap explosion. The lock bolt plate engraving has similarities with that on an 1847 William & Daniel Border rifle.
The Daniel Border rifle in the next set of photos has a non-typical patch box featuring a geometric finial design. The barrel is signed "D. Border : Bedford : Pa". Note the variety of escutcheons along the forestock.
The next set of photos shows both of the above Daniel Border-built long rifles together, for comparison.
For links to information about other Bedford County gunsmiths and the longrifles they built, visit the gunsmithing project index.
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