“OLD KILLDEER” FAMOUS GOLDEN AGE WOLFGANG HAGA FLINTLOCK RIFLE.
Bbl. 44 1/4″ oct.
Overall length 60 1/2″.
This is among the most famous of all Kentucky rifles, having an entire chapter dedicated in Captain John Dillin’s pioneering 1924 text “The Kentucky Rifle”. The gun is in remarkable “as found” condition. Dillin states that in 1921 this rifle was used to shoot pigeons, starlings and sparrows at 30-35 yds. fired from offhand position. Dillin was amazed at the accuracy of this well-made flintlock rifle & published photos of the targets shot from 100 and 200 yds.
The legendary Wolfgang Haga whose rifles are never signed is one of the 4 earliest makers of the Berks County, Womelsdorf school. We know Haga was working there from 1767 into the 1780s and the other 3 makers all sign their guns; Bonewitz, Fichthorn, and Reedy. Joe Kindig, who has written more on Haga than anyone, authenticated this rifle as Haga’s work in 1965, when first seeing this gun in person after being published 41 years earlier.
This gun is exemplary, unaltered, among the best provenance of any Kentucky rifle. Barrel has inset front brass blade sight and fixed notched rear sight, a filled dovetail shows position of an earlier rear sight. Hand-forged lock with bridled frizzen, flat unsupported serpentine cock, rebated tail. 3-piece patchbox, simple rugged engraved brass mounts, toeplate finial shaped same form as patchbox. Haga’s characteristic low relief engraved scrolls on buttstock, rear of tang and rear of ramrod thimble. Beavertails carved rear of lock and sideplate.
PROVENANCE: Capt. John Dillin purchased from “Kauffman” about 1920; T.W. Demarest collection; Herman P. Dean collection; William G. Crews collection 1952; Dr. Howard Engle 1962.