COMING IN MAY 2020
EXQUISITE & FINEST KNOWN JENNINGS BREECH LOADING RIFLE.
inv # 01-17090
Not only is this rifle in magnificent condition, retaining virtually all of its original finish, it was purchased by the famous early collector A.E. Brooks directly from one of the original principal manufacturers Richard S. Lawrence (1817-1892). Lawrence was master armorer at Sharps Manufacturing Co. in Hartford when Brooks most likely obtained this rifle. These rifles often show up in the marketplace as muzzle loading conversions, generally in very poor condition. No doubt, this is the only near pristine example known. This gun was the precursor for the Volcanics & later Henry & Winchester rifles. There are numerous articles from various texts describing history. This particular arm was made in about 1850 & shot the patented “Rocket Ball” cartridge which was loaded through the right side of the frame. The ring trigger operates the breech & the automatic pill primer device mounted on top of frame w/ rnd. cover. Gun measures 44 1/2″ overall w/ 26″ rnd. browned bbl. having engraved scrolls on top at breech & near muzzle around brass blade front sight. Forward section of breech, which is rnd., retains a blued fixed rear sight. The frame is case colored w/ engraved scrolls en suite to bbl. marked on left side of frame in 2 panels “ROBBINS & LAWRENCE / MAKERS / WINDSOR VT.” & “O.P. DIXON AGENT / NEW YORK / PATENTED 1849”. Mounted on straight grain varnished American walnut is crescent shaped case colored buttplate w/ scroll engraving on top. Trigger guard is engraved en suite & fire blued. The rectangular loading gate door & rnd. pellet priming door are also fire blued. The hammer is case colored, engraved en suite w/ distinctive 1 1/4″ tapered extension for striking pill primers. It is interesting to note that Flayderman in his monumental guide to American firearms states this example was made after the experimental Jennings repeating rifle but Brooks in his 1899 catalog states that this was the first gun made in 1849 “soon after this rifle was made it was conceived that there could be attached to it a magazine that would make this a repeating rifle, carrying 20 charges & a new model was made”. Remember Brooks did obtain this gun from Richard S. Lawrence while he was in Hartford. Regardless, this is an exemplary example that has no peers & would complement the finest early American rifle or Winchester collection. Listed on page 73 of the 1899 A.E. Brooks Collection catalog as item 450, it is also noted , which is the # stamped on the buttstock.