The photos below show a percussion half stock rifle that was made by one of the Mier gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania (see side plate engraving) and photographed in Somerset County.
The first photo, immediately below, shows the unusual shape of the patch box. Samuel Mier is known for a creative variety of patch box designs. Although this patch box has no piercings, it is still a very complicated design.
On many Mier rifles, it is hard to tell if the cursive initial of the maker's engraved first name is intended to be a "J" or an "S". The next photograph shows a distinctive sinuous pattern of engraving that appears on the barrel of this rifle, near the maker's signature. This sinuous pattern is found on the barrels of several Mier rifles, including one where the initial of the maker's first name is a very clear serif-type printed "S" and the surname is a cursive "Mier" Click here to see that rifle, which has a signature with the same "ier" and the same three heavy dots as this rifle. Based on the easily interpreted signature of that rifle, I suspect that the distinctive sinuous engraving pattern can be used to help identify rifles made by Samuel Mier.
The next photo shows the lock bolt plate of the Mier half-stock rifle. Because of sinuous engraving pattern shown and described above, and because the beginning stroke to form the first initial starts on the left and moves to the right, I interpret the signature on the lock bolt plate to be that of Samuel Mier.
The following photo shows the brass lock plate of the commercial Golcher percussion lock that is mounted on this Mier half-stock rifle. It also shows a lock panel that is clearly influenced by the Bedford School of gunsmithing, in that the rear of the periphery is pointed, and very little of the panel is filleted to the adjacent portions of the stock. The photo also shows the fancy grade of curly maple used in making the gunstock, and shows that the top of the forestock has been repaired with non-matching wood. You can also see that the rifle has a set trigger.
The following photo shows the design of the underside of the brass trigger guard.
The following photo shows the cast-in-place nose cap, and the repair to the wooden forearm.
The following photo shows the configuration of the top of the crescent-shaped brass butt plate.
The following photo shows the pointed breech plug tang that is common to many rifles from the general region where this half-stock rifle was made.
In the following photo, the barrel pin appears to be a round-headed nail.
The next photo provides a full view of the left-hand side of the half-stocked antique Mier muzzle loading black powder rifle. The stock has no decorative carving and no barrel pin escutcheons.
The following photo of the muzzle of the Mier rifle shows how heavy the octagon barrel is compared to its caliber.
The following photo highlights the left-hand side of this Mier half stock rifle, showing the buttstock, trigger guard, and lock bolt plate regions. Note the shape of the rear of the stock panel for the lock bolt plate.
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