Unsigned John Armstrong, Emmitsburg, Maryland ca 1830
John Armstrong needs no introduction as he is one of the most outstanding gunsmiths of the Kentucky rifle era. Starting the gunsmithing business about 1793 he set his standards very high to produce superior rifles with the utmost care and attention to detail. His carving was magnificent, metal work was near perfection, wood to metal fit was precise, and overall artistic quailty was well above standard for the period. Seems that the majority of existing rifles have come down to us in great condition signifying that patrons held his rifles in high esteem. Here is a nice representative example of his later work showing great condition with no restoration but much planer than his usual production. John made smoothbore fowling pieces with little decoration that command relatively high prices today.
Armstrong's characteristic engraving appears on the 4-petal flower patchbox. His engraving was well defined, well composed, and executed to perfection. Another characteristic of his is the wide wedding band on the top extention of the butt plate. Though a plane rifle John carved his fully developed forestock molding along the length of the stock. The rifle retains an old original finish. All parts and wood are original with no losses except for typical errosion of wood nearest the drum and nipple. The wood to metal fit of the patchbox is as perfect as on his highly decorated rifles; characteristic of his high level of craftsmanship. The 43.25 inch rifled barrel is about .45 cal. Few collectors of the Kentucky rifle have an opportunity to own a rifle by John Armstrong since most sell in the $40,000 to $100,000 range. Here is a nice example in excellent condition to fill that spot in your collection.
Available at $5,800.00
Ex Coll. Frank Kobilis, Dan Hartzler