This page highlights a 19th century Bedford County-style percussion long rifle that was made by a Pennsylvania gunsmith named George Fay and is signed "GF". George Fay, Sr. performed gunsmithing in both Bedford and Blair counties.
The first muzzleloader picture below is a full-length view of the right-hand side of the George Fay rifle before the patch box lid and missing ramrod entry pipe were replaced.
The next photograph provides a full-length view of the left-hand side of this antique full-stock firearm before the patch box lid and missing ramrod entry pipe were replaced. As shown by this and the preceding photograph, both sides of the wrist incorporate a teardrop-shaped silver inlay.
The next picture shows the cheekpiece side of the buttstock and provides a good view of the cheekpiece inlay on this antique black powder rifle. The elliptic-lanceolate-shaped cheekpiece inlay is engraved with a spread wing eagle. The lower edge of the raised cheekpiece is decorated with a straight incised line. The metal cross-pin that retains the rear of the cast brass trigger guard to the gun stock is visible near the left-hand edge of the picture. The butt of the stock is fitted with a cast brass crescent buttplate.
The next image shows the area where the original ramrod entry pipe was missing on this antique muzzle loading rifle.
The next image shows the engraved brass lock bolt plate and the teardrop-shaped silver wrist inlay on the left-hand side of the George Fay muzzleloader. The lock bolt plate has three screws and a rat tail. The metal cross-pin that connects the front of the trigger guard to the gun stock is visible at the lower edge of the stock panel, below the lock bolt plate.
The next image shows the lock, wrist, and trigger areas of this antique long gun. The percussion gun lock appears to be a commercial product and does not embody the traditional Bedford County style of lock plate and hammer. The trigger mechanism is the double set trigger variety. The set trigger is deeply curved, and the hair trigger is an attractive lathe-turned straight trigger. These differences in shape make the triggers distinguishable by touch, and give more "feel" to the sensitive hair trigger. The adjustment screw of the trigger assembly projects from the trigger plate between the two triggers. The percussion nipple is mounted on a drum that lacks a vent screw. The short nose of the hammer is well-aligned with the nipple and covers part of the nipple to protect the shooter's eyes from flying cap fragments when the gun is fired. The round-tailed percussion lock appears to be of the store-bought commercially manufactured variety. Like the lock plate, the lock panel of the stock also has a rounded tail. The teardrop-shaped silver wrist inlay is engraved.
The next image shows the muzzle of the full octagon barrel with its octagonal cut rifling. The image also shows the forward ramrod thimble, the dovetailed front sight, and the long brass nose cap of this antique muzzle loading black powder rifle. This view also shows that the barrel is pinned to the fore-end of the full-length stock, rather than held in place with barrel keys.
The next image shows the riflemaker's initials "GF" engraved on the top flat of the octagonal barrel, near the breach. This barrel inscription is faint but reasonably clear.
The next image shows the tang and wrist area of this old gun, including an engraved silver elliptic-lanceolate-shaped thumb plate. Pointed breech plug tangs retained by two screws are common to the region.
The next picture provides an oblique view of the attractive engraved brass toeplate of this old black powder cap lock gun. The toe plate is retained to the gun stock by three screws.
The next image shows the engraved four-piece brass patch box before the relatively crude looking and apparently non-original lid was replaced. The Bedford County-style Q-shaped finial is pierced, as are both of the patch box side plates. As typical with Bedford County-style rifle stocks, the comb of the buttstock is low and relatively straight, as is the belly of the stock. As this photo shows, the stock is made from an attractive grade of curly maple and has a dark finish. The metal cross-pin that attaches the rear of the trigger guard to the stock is visible below the tip of the patch box finial. I am impressed by the good fit between the buttplate and the side plates of the patch box.
The next image is a photograph of the exterior surface of the engraved brass finial of the patch box. The finial was temporarily removed from the rifle during the replacement of the patch box lid. The hinge pin for the patch box lid is visible in this photograph.
The next image shows the interior surface of the patch box finial.
The next image shows the quality replacement patch box lid before engraving and before aging to match the patina of adjacent patch box parts.
The next image shows the complete right-hand side of the George Fay muzzleloader after the patch box lid and ramrod entry pipe were replaced, but before they were aged. Rather than being located over the ramrod entry pipe, the rear sight is mounted about midway between the entry pipe and the percussion hammer.
The following image shows the buttstock area after the replacement patch box lid was engraved and aged.
The next photograph is an enlargement, showing more detail of the expertly done replacement patch box lid. The hinge does not project above the surface of the patch box.
The next photo shows the rifle after the expert repairs were complete:
Go to the Somerset & Bedford County gunsmith project index for additional Pennsylvania long rifle photos and history.
Go to the home page for additional regional history.