c1840 mfr VERMONT Antique ASA STORY.42 Caliber PERCUSSION UNDERHAMMER Rifle
New England Rifle from the 1840s
Here we present an antique Asa Story Percussion Underhammer Rifle, manufactured circa the 1830s-1840s in Windsor, Vermont. Windsor was and is a small town in Eastern Vermont. In 1850 there were less than two thousand residents and it isn’t much different today. Its first known gunsmith was Asa Story who began making guns somewhere around 1825 and continued for many years through himself and his sons William and Pascael. Story’s primary claim to fame was to train Windsor’s best known gunmaker, Nicanor Kendall, noted for his making of underhammer rifles.
The Underhammer was developed for several reasons. By having the ignition under the barrel, it was not in close proximity of the shooter’s eyes. It was also safer from flying debris and less distracting. Most debris was forced downwards in a safe direction away from the eyes. Also the location of the percussion cap meant it was out of the weather when it rained. The ignition was also allowed for the spart to go directly into the powder under the barrel rather than a 90 degree bend like most other weapons. Most Underhammers were very simple in their moving parts. Some of the most simplistic designs consisted of only three moving parts, consisting of a main spring, trigger, and a hammer.
The first known documented Underhammer rifle was a flintlock from Germany circa 1740. On the U.S. side of the Underhammer history, in the book “The Pictorial History of the Underhammer” by Herschel C. Logan, he states that the earliest maker is listed a C. Bird & Company from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bird was a gunmaker who dates from 1790 to 1830. Herschel lists approximately 150 American gunmakers who made the Underhammer gun spanning between 1790 through 1900. In the mid to late 1840s, underhammer rifles became very popular in the United States for target shooting and hunting, though they would not become a part of the westward expansion.
The overall condition is very good. Strong action. The bore is in very good shape with nice rifling. Solid stock. “CEK” is engraved on the placard on the left buttstock. Original finish. The rear sight assembly is partially there but absent the aperture.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 22 inches.
Caliber: .42 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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