The photos below show an antique half stock percussion muzzle loading rifle with a pewter nose cap and an elaborate patch box. It was made by Samuel Mier (1831-1909) of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. I hope to to eventfully obtain more photographs of this rifle so that other details can be shown.
The first photo, immediately below, shows the highly creative design of the patch box. Samuel Mier is known for the variety and complexity of some of his patch boxes. In my opinion, if this rifle had no maker's signature, knowledgeable collectors would instantly suspect it was made by Samuel Mier just from a quick glance at the patch box design. The wrist area of the stock has incised carving. The profile of the buttstock is very similar to that of a typical Jonathan Dormayer (1826-1885) rifle, click here to see an example. The profile of the buttstock is also very similar to the rifle attributed to John Altfather (1834-1910) on page 42 of the 1991 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties".
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 serrif-type printed "S" and the surname is a cursive "Mier" (Unfortunately, I don't have photos of that rifle). Based on the easily interpreted signature of that rifle, I feel that the distinctive sinuous engraving pattern can be used to help identify rifles made by Samuel Mier.
The following photo shows the barrel signature on this rifle, next to the sinuous barrel engraving pattern shown above. Although it is hard to tell if the initial of the maker's first name is intended to be a "J" or an "S", in my opinion the sinuous pattern of engraving and the fantastic patch design indicate that this gun was made by Samuel Mier.
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