A 1958 photo of a Bedford County rifle made by John Amos

This antique Bedford County percussion rifle is from a photograph of gun collector Calvin Hetrick that was published in the February 14, 1958 issue of the "Bedford County Press" newspaper. This muzzle loading rifle is featured as a product of the gunmaker John Amos on page 47 of the 1991 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" and on page 48 of the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties". The patch box, with its five piercings and Q-shaped finial, is a very common style in the Bedford School of gunsmithing. What isn't common is incorporating decorative inlays within the piercings like this rifle does. The rifle has decorative wrist inlays. The barrel pin escutcheons have a shape that looks generally like a bird flying directly toward or away from the viewer. The set trigger on this rifle is extremely curved, while the hair trigger is a straight rod-like item that appears to be lathe turned.

The graceful percussion hammer on the narrow rat tail lock of this rifle is obviously of the Bedford School of gunsmithing, but instead of projecting high above the barrel like most Bedfords, the spur extends rearward and in my opinion sort of appears windswept. To me, this makes the hammer very attractive, somehow augmenting the sense of forward motion that these long, slender Bedfords seem to emit. That sense of motion isn't conveyed very well by the photo below, but it is apparent in the photos taken at right angles to the lock that are included in the 2001 book referenced above.

This is a 1958 b&w photo of a rifle made by John Amos. Photographs of this rifle are included on page 47 of the 1991 book 'Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties' and on page 48 of the 2001 book 'Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties'.

This Somerset and Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith project is intended to be a collaborative effort with gun collectors, historians, genealogists, etc. who may have information or photos to share.

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