The photo below shows an engraved percussion rat tail lock made by William Border, who was an important gunsmith in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He often signed his gun locks with his full last name, but at least one other example exists that is signed "WB". Click here for biographical information on William Border.
The hammer on this lock has the slender S-shape and forward-curving spur that are distinguishing characteristics of percussion hammers of the Bedford School of gunsmithing. In addition to the classic rat tail, the plate of this Bedford County lock has a vertically oriented fence behind the drum recess that is apparently intended to divert some of the cap flash away from the portion of the stock that is located rearward of the drum. Such fences are present on some, but not all, Bedford County percussion gun locks. They seem like an excellent idea, given the severe wood damage that is present rearward of the drum on a great many antique black powder muzzle loading percussion rifles. (Cap flash tends to make wood turn punky.)
A friend uses investment casting to produce high fidelity replicas of the components of this and other gun locks. Some knowledge of gunsmithing is required to assemble the castings and create a finished lock, such as drilling, tapping, heat treating springs, etc. Click here for additional information, or click on the advertisement below.
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