The farm of the Lepley gunsmiths was next door to my grandfather's Southampton township, Somerset County farm (where my great-grandfather and great-great grandfather had also lived). I have been trying to find photos of a Somerset County Lepley rifle to publish on this website for over twenty years. As far as I can tell, no photo of a Somerset County Lepley rifle has ever been published before today.
The antique full stock Lepley rifle shown below is 30 caliber with a 38-inch barrel. It is not marked "Lepley", but it is known to be a Lepley rifle because it has been handed down in the Lepley family for generations. To see the tools and gun parts left over from the gunsmithing operation, and to see Lepley biographical information, click here.
Lannie Dietle, February 16, 2020
The following photo shows the entire right-hand side of a percussion long rifle made by the Lepley family of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
The next photo shows the buttstock of the rifle. The buttstock has a fairly typical Somerset & Bedford County-style profile, with a straight underside and a low comb. I don't know as much as I would like to know about rifles from Bedford and Somerset counties, Pennsylvania and I wonder if this somewhat atypical butt plate represents a later style that may have been purchased from some mail order enterprise. The gun has a cap box instead of a patch box, which helps to date the rifle to a later period, toward the end of the black powder era.
The next photo is a bottom view of the trigger guard on the Lepley rifle.
The next photo shows the front sight and nose cap area of the Lepley long rifle. The rifle has a relatively long nose cap that has about the same lateral cross-section as the forestock. In my opinion, these two aspects of the nose cap help to make the rifle appear slender. As can be seen in this photo, the forestock is decorated with two incised lines, and the barrel is pinned to the stock.
The following picture provides a closer view of the cap box and the deeply hooked butt plate of the Lepley muzzle loading rifle. As can be seen in this photo, the wood is nicely figured. About forty or fifty years ago I read that maple is more curly in rocky areas. I can testify that the Lepley farm is in a rocky area, having picked rock from the fields of the adjacent farm, having seen the stone fences that were once common in the area before being bought up as construction material, and having hunted, camped, gathered maple sap, and otherwise tromped through the local forest.
The next photo highlights the lock and trigger guard area of the Lepley muzzleloader. The hole and adjacent projecting pin in the lock plate are from replacement of the main spring. The spur of the percussion hammer has the forward curve that is common to rifles in nearby Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
The next photo just provides a slightly differently angled view of the lock and trigger guard area of the Lepley rifle, showing the profile of the hammer a little better than the previous photo.
The next photo shows the entry pipe area of the Lepley muzzle loading long rifle.
The next photo highlights the entry pipe and ramrod ferrule portion of the forestock
The next photo of the Lepley rifle shows the ramrod ferrules and the nosecap.
The next photo is an oblique view of the muzzle area and the underside of the nosecap.
The next photo is an oblique view of the butt plate and cap box.
The next photo provides a slightly differently angled view of the percussion hammer of the Lepley muzzleloader. Although this is a Somerset County rifle, the hammer resembles the type of hammer commonly found on Bedford County rifles.
The next photo provides an excellent side view of the hammer in the cocked position. Because of the lighting, this photo may show the lower half of some eroded engraved initials. The condition of the wood aft of the barrel and the erosion on the lock plate show that this rifle has been fired many times.
The next photo shows a portion of the left-hand side of the Lepley rifle, including the butt stock, trigger guard area, and lock bolt plate panel area.
The next photo shows the lock bolt plate of the Lepley rifle.
The next photo is another view of the lock bolt plate and associated stock panel, because you can't have too many photos; right? This photo shows that the stock panel has a streamlined tail, like so many rifles of the Bedford School employ.
The next photo shows the lateral width of the nosecap, and the axial projection of the barrel from the nosecap.
The next photo shows the muzzle of the Lepley muzzleloader. The bore has seven grooves, and the face of the muzzle is decorated with a circle of punchmarks.
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