Sunday, October 1, 2017

A very ornate, back action Pennsylvania style percussion rifle of the 1830s-1840 era.

The right barrel flat is stamped "W. PANNEPACKER" at the muzzle, the only markings on the barrel. The location of the marking suggests a Pannepacker made barrel on a rifle built by another maker.

It varies significantly with identified Pannepacker rifles; however, it matches attributes of rifles by Joseph Douglass Sr. of Huntingdon Country in Western Pennsylvania. You can see a nearly identical patch box on the Douglass rifle in figure 122 in "Kentucky Rifle Patchboxes: All New Volume 2" by Chandler and Whisker. The same eagle inlay on the forend has also been seen on other Douglass rifles. 

William Pannepacker Sr. and Jr. (1785-1872 and 1818-1878) operated their family's mill in Mohnton, Berks County, Pennsylvania, along Wyomissing Creek. William Sr. is known to have produced complete rifles and barrels in 1808 to 1858 while the son is believed to have only produced barrels. Advertisements for their "superior barrels" were run by a merchant in Pittsburgh in 1838, and their barrels were no doubt sold to builders in multiple locales. The rifle features a "WILKES" marked lock. Note the full length engraved comb plate.
(recently sold at auction for $7,475)