A percussion rifle by John Amos of Bedford County, PA


The rifle shown below was made and signed by Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith John Amos. It was purchased from a Colorado ranch where it had spent part of its working life, and it has clearly been repaired at various times to keep it in service.

The presence of a full-stock style of ramrod entry pipe indicates that the stock was converted to half-stock at some point, at which time the pewter nose cap would have been added. The barrel was shortened to 31-inches and a ramp-type adjustable rear sight was added.

The underside of the stock near the lock was damaged by a broken lock spring and repaired with a brass strip. A bent-over nail helps to secure the rear of the lock. A piece of wood is reportedly serving as a replacement barrel key.

The photos on this web page were provided by Jim McKenzie. The first photo below shows the right-hand side of the rifle, which is mounted with set triggers and a traditional Bedford County lock that includes a graceful Bedford County-style percussion hammer. The photo also shows that the stock once mounted a gourd-shaped wrist inlay just rearward of the lock. The photo also shows the right-hand side of the adjustable rear sight.
Photo of the right-hand side the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next image is an excerpt from the preceding image. A red arrow identifies the location of the missing wrist inlay. The outline of the inlay and the holes from the nails that retained the inlay are visible.
Excerpt highlighting missing wrist inlay

The next photo shows the engraved escutcheon that is located on the top of the wrist, just behind the tang. The photo also shows that the rifle has the pointed tang that is common to rifles produced in the area.
Escutcheon from the top of the wrist of the John Amos muzzle loading rifle.

The next photo features the nicely engraved five-piercing patchbox, which has the Q-shaped finial that is frequently seen on Bedford County rifles.
Photo of the patchbox on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo shows the patchbox with the lid open.
Photo of the open patchbox on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo features the slender engraved Bedford County-style rat tail percussion lock, which bears the initials of John Amos. At some point, the lock spring failed and broke out the bottom of the stock. The stock damage has been repaired with a carefully shaped brass strip. The rear of the lock is constrained with a bent nail.
Photo of the classic Bedford County-style lock on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo provides an overview of the left-hand side of the John Amos rifle. The presence of the ramrod entry pipe suggests that the stock was originally full length. This picture shows the left-hand side of the rear sight, and provides a nice overall view of the profile of the buttstock.
Photo of the left hand side of the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo provides a closeup view of the nicely engraved lock bolt plate, which has countersunk screw holes.
Photo of the lock bolt plate on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo provides a closeup view of the cheekpiece inlay and its eagle engraving. It appears that someone punched their initials (possibly "I.T." or "L.T.") into the medallion.
Photo of the cheekpiece inlay on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo features the relief carving rearward of the cheekpiece.
Photo of the carving to the rear of the cheekpiece on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo features the ramrod entry pipe of the John Amos percussion rifle.
Photo of the ramrod entry pipe on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo provides a top view of the adjustable rear sight. The owner of the rifle reports that it is mounted on top of the barrel signature.
Top view of the replacement rear sight on the John Amos percussion rifle.

The next photo features the left-hand side of the forearm of the John Amos percussion rifle.
Photo of the left-hand side of the forearm on the John Amos percussion rifle.

Photo of the buttstock toe plate on the John Amos percussion rifle.

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