The photos below were taken in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and show a full stock percussion long rifle that was made by a Mier of Somerset County (see barrel engraving). This graceful Somerset County rifle is featured on page 300 of Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle". For reasons listed below related to the barrel signature, incised carving below the cheekpiece, and the patch box piercings, I propose that this rifle was made by Jacob Mier.
The first photo, below, shows a view of the entire right-hand side of the full stock Mier percussion rifle. Click here to see a larger version of this image.
The next photo is an enlargement of the entry pipe and ramrod ferrule components of the Mier rifle. The ramrod ferrules are relatively long, compared to those on many rifles.
The next photo is zoomed in on the patch box, trigger guard, and lock areas of the Mier-marked full stock muzzle loading rifle. The gracefully shaped buttstock has no comb. Instead, the top edge of the buttstock blends smoothly into the wrist. The narrow top to bottom depth of the buttstock seems to dictate a narrow patch box. This photo also shows that the trailing edge of the lock panel of the stock has a little "beaver tail", for lack of a better term.
The following photograph is zoomed in on the engraved four-piercing patch box of the Mier-marked muzzleloader. The P-shaped piercings on the side plates resemble the piercings on the two Jacob Mier rifles shown on page 113 of the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties". The slightly curved lower edge of the stock incorporates an incised line that parallels the lower edge. The forward end of the wrist seems to incorporate incised carving that mimics the relief carving sometimes found on guns from this region of Pennsylvania.
The next photograph shows the commercial lock and the mating repaired lock panel of the stock. Even though the lock is obviously a commercial product, the forward face of the hammer spur is concave, which is the way classic gunsmith-made Bedford County hammer spurs are shaped. To me at least, this looks like a gunsmith-built hammer, rather than a commercially produced hammer.
The next photo provides a bottom view of the trigger guard on the Mier rifle.
The next photograph shows the gunmaker's signature on the top flat of the octagon barrel. Because the stroke used to form the first initial started on the right and moves to the left, I interpret the first initial to be a "J".
The next photograph shows the crude, generally obround cheekpiece inlay, which does not match the overall quality and elegance of the rifle. Based on the poor quality engraving and rough peripheral shape of the inlay, it was probably not made and installed by the same individual who built the rifle and signed the barrel.
The next photo shows the forearm and nose cap of the Mier long rifle. The nose cap has the same cross-sectional dimensions as the forestock, which in my opinion accentuates the sender appearance of the rifle. This photo reveals that the ramrod ferrules and the barrel are retained to the stock with laterally oriented pins. This photo also shows that the forestock is decorated with parallel incised lines.
The next photo highlights the left-hand side of the buttstock of the Mier rifle. This buttstock has one of the most graceful profiles I have ever seen on an antique muzzle loading black powder rifle. The incised carving on this Mier rifle is interesting and reasonably well done. I do not mean to damn with faint praise with that statement, because the truth is I've seen a heck of a lot worse incised carving on otherwise nicely executed Somerset County rifles. This photo gives a good view of the rear of the panel for the lock bolt plate, and a good view of the grain of the stock wood. I forgot to take a picture of the lock bolt plate, but you can see enough of it here to know it is nicely engraved. To me, the defining feature on this stock is the two curved incised lines under the cheekpiece, which match the Jacob Mier rifle at the top of page 113 of the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties".
The profile of the stock on this Mier rifle is very similar to that of a Jonathan Dormayer rifle that was sold at auction on March 11, 2014. It also bears a resemblance to the rifle that is pictured on page 42 of the Whiskers' 1991 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" and attributed (perhaps erroneously) to John Altfather.
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