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4: Full-Stock Percussion Rifle Attributed to Abraham Ho

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Full-Stock Percussion Rifle Attributed to Abraham Honaker of Virginia 

.40 cal., 43" octagonal flared barrel, with seven grooves, buckhorn rear sight, blade front sight. Double-set triggers. Double-set triggers. Double tang screw. Four-piece iron patchbox, iron triggerguard, iron buttplate, iron ramrod ferules {called "thimbles" in the period], iron nosecap. Barrel held to stock by four wedges. Engraved lockplate marked Joseph Golcher. Maple stock with cheek piece and molding with incised carved molding lines.

This original percussion iron mounted rifle dates to the 1830s and could have been made by several Honaker gunsmiths. It probably originated in the Pulaski County, Virginia shop of Abraham, but could have been made by any of his sons - grandsons of Hans Jacob Honaker.

Like the Abraham example, this rifle has finely forged and filed iron mountings with exceptionally fine forged and filed iron mountings with exceptionally fine fore-stock stop fluted moldings. Like many examples from this family, it has four thimbles, however they are the most unusual known. The thimbles are graduated in increasing length; from the second thimble out, they get proportionately longer. Quite exceptional is the graduation continuing to the iron nose piece. The graduation appears to have been designed by using the length of the second thimble to form the long side of a golden mean rectangle. The length of the third thimble is established by the diagonal line of the rectangle. This process is repeated on the fourth thimble to establish the length of the nose piece. At least two of the Honaker gunsmiths were also carpenters and the use of classical methods of design would have come down in the apprenticeship system from Europe.

This rifle is an exceptional example of fine design and workmanship. While most iron mounted rifles have triggerguards held by wood screws, this example has tenons and pins following the usual technique seen on brass guards. 

Selections from the Wallace Gusler Collection: Found near Roanoke, VA by Michael Tuccori; J. Roderick Moore;John Ashworth to Wallace Gusler, 2003.


Barrel is a deep dark brown with wear to the high edges, with pitting around the percussion drum and nipple. Lock is dark brown with some pitting under the drum. Stock is excellent and does suffer some burn-out behind the right side of tang. Stock does have some nicks and dings but still retains a very nice untouched patina. This is a rare opportunity for a collector to obtain a very rare rifle.

Lot Passed

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Estimate $15,000 – $25,000
Starting Bid $15,000

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