Premier Firearms Auction
May 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2023
An Incredible Masterpiece: John Ennis’ Third Rifle A High Art Kentucky Type Long Rifle With Superb Carving, Engraving And Style.
This wonderful rifle was unveiled at the 1983 Western Kentucky University gunmaking seminar. The instructors included Dr. Terry Leeper, Hershel House, John Bivins, Wallace Gusler and Lynton McKenzie. They and all others in attendance were blown away by the meticulous workmanship, attention to detail and incredible artistry exhibited by this stunning rifle.
It has 40″ octagon barrel fitted with exceptionally well done file decorated “U” notch rear and blade front sights as well as a decorative boss between rear sight and patent type breech plug with platinum touch hole. Patent breech has inset stamp of an urn surrounded by foliate and floral engraving. “Jno. Ennis” is in flowing script on barrel in front of rear sight. Manton style flintlock with rebated square tail is fitted with serpentine cock, waterproof pan, roller frizzen and feather spring with bulbous finial. Lock engraved with traditional feather bursts and scroll along with the initials “JE”. Rifle is fitted with double set triggers. Stock made of a truly fine piece of hard maple with exceptional curly grain is brass mounted and has many silver inlays. Stock also exhibits superb raised carving. Decoration has a phoenix theme. The exceptionally fancy patchbox has a large perched phoenix as its finial. Patchbox cover is domed and sideplates are shaped with large acanthus scrolls. Patchbox shows many piercings and is beautifully engraved with classic motifs of bearded men, flowers and leaves. Matching toeplate has three piercings and phoenix finial. Traditionally styled sideplate is also scroll engraved. Silver inlays include a very attractive phoenix perched on a ring as decoration for cheekpiece. Silver swags act as decoration under cheekpiece, behind barrel tang and as escutcheons for barrel retaining bolts. Small silver inlays accent the carved mouldings around lock and sideplate as well as the exceptionally fine raised carved scrolls and acanthus around cheekpiece.
Other features of note are the swirled flutes that are filed into brass nose cap and the fine fan carving at rear of trigger guard tang and left side of toe. Mouldings along ramrod channel end in graceful volutes. Hickory ramrod with horn tip and steel tail with worm is held by two multi-beaded and intricately faceted pipes and matching thimble.
Ennis’ mastery is also evident in the fine rich brown finish found on barrel and lock as well as temper blue found on patent breech and breech iron.