Samuel Spangler rifle

The photos below show are horrible quality 1920 and 1921 public domain photos of a rifle then in the Marc Woodmansee rifle collection (Des Moines). This rifle was mislabeled as being made by Joseph Golcher in Volume III of Charles Sawyer's 1920 book "Our Rifles", and that's where some of the photos are from. The other photos are from Horace Kephart's article "Early American Rifles De Luxe" about Marc Woodmansee's collection in the December, 1921 issue of the "All Outdoors" magazine.

I'm 99% certain this rifle was made by Samuel Spangler for Jacob Ruslin, because the 1921 article mentions the name Jacob Ruslin on the barrel. That's where Spangler supposedly put the owner's name on rifles he built. The comb matches a mule eared rifle Spangler made for "John Jacob Rusley", and of course the patchbox, tear drop, lock plate, and hammer are typical Bedford County, PA style. According to the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties", Samuel Spangler was a gunsmith in Stoystown, Somerset County, Pennsylvania before moving to Wisconsin in the mid-1840s.

This rifle has silver furniture. Even though the 1920 and 1921 photos are fuzzy, it's clear that the frizzen spring is still present. According to the 1921 article, somehow the frizzen spring is used in regard to a cap protector, which is unique. It looks like the pan may still be on this old lock plate too.

This is the rifle pictured on page 42 of James B. Whisker's 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania". I am sorry to report that the photos in that book show a flintlock rifle, which means that we may never get to see clear photos of the percussion conversion, and the interesting cap protector that used the flintlock frizzen spring. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I'm not impressed by flintlock reconversions. To me, a percussion conversion is an authentic part of the history of a rifle and the rifle should should be preserved in that authentic working state. Oh well, what fun would life be if we never got to gripe about anything! Given that this rifle was originally a flintlock, it was probably made in Somerset County, Pennsylvania before Spangler moved west.

I suspect this rifle is included in Robert Wilson's 2015 book "THE HISTORY AND ART OF THE AMERICAN GUN: THE ART OF AMERICAN ARMS", but I haven't seen Wilson's book yet.

The three images that follow are from Sawyer's 1920 book:

The next three images are from the 1921 article:

The next image is from the 1953 book "American Gunmakers", and seems to incorrectly describe a rifle Spangler built for Ruslin:

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