Lepley Oval Cap Boxes, Somerset County, Pennsylvania

These two 19th century cast rifle cap box blanks were found in a bucket of old Lepley gunsmithing hardware at the Alonzo Lepley estate auction that was held in the early 1970's at his Southampton Township, Somerset County PA farm.

The longest of these two cap boxes measures 5.445" long. They are made from non-ferrous material. I suspect that they may be of a type that was available to gunsmiths commercially by mail order, late in the percussion era. In other words, this style of cap box cannot be used to positively identify a Lepley rifle. For example, this exact same cap box shape can be found on some Henry Leman rifles.

These rough castings are no where close to being finished parts. The gunsmith would not only have to clean them up and drill them for mounting screws, but would also have to make and fit a leaf spring to hold the door in the fully closed and fully open positions. A photo comparison indicates that these cap box castings are a stylistic match to the finished cap box that is installed on a rifle that formerly belonged to the late Mr. Coffey of Tennessee; click here to see what they look like when finished.

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