Unsigned Jacob Metzger, Frederick, MD Ca. 1800
Though unsigned, this rifle can be attributed to Jacob Metzger who learned his trade in Lancaster, PA and moved to Frederick, MD in 1788. Other examples pictured in Kindig, Hartzler, Whisker, and others firmly establish his style and artistic ability.
The brass patchbox is well designed and engraved in the typical Metzger style. Relief carving surrounds the barrel tang and incised carving appears behind and in front of the cheekpiece. The pattern is unmistakably Metzger’s.
All brass mounts, and silver inlays, except two escutcheons closest the muzzle and one nearest the breech are original. A portion of wood at the toe is restored which is a common area for breakage and loss.
The flintlock, which is original to the gun and of the handmade style, has been expertly reconverted.
Successful butt stock architecture always adds to the beauty and desirability of a rifle. This example has a tall butt plate, graceful comb, and well-formed wrist. The entire rifle is long, slender, and pleasing.
This rifle has suffered some unfortunate changes during its life, but is now nicely restored. About 12 inches of the 45-inch barrel was cut back most likely when it was converted to percussion in the 1830’s. Now restored it still retains its original ramrod pipes and fore end cap. About 12 inches of the fore stock has been added to accommodate the stretched barrel.
Though restored this rifle is a nice example with good architecture, carving, and appeal.