Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
The James Beckwourth Rifle
 Login/Join
 
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
posted
I remembered seeing an article in Muzzleloader last year about the rifle that was believed to have belonged to the mountain man, James P. Beckwourth. There were some nice photos.

Today, I was browsing on the computer while taking a break from chores,and discovered this: The James P. Beckwourth Rifle.

In addition to some nice photographs of the gun in question, the text describes how the current owner came to acquire the rifle, and then make his way through the authentication process. It is very likely this piece was originally flintlock, by J. Hawken. The Beckwourth association was discovered by accident. The owner / researcher makes a strong case for authenticity on both counts.

Whether it is an early Hawken or not, whether it belonged to James Beckwourth or not, it is a fine old rifle and well worth a look.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 309 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of wattlebuster
posted Hide Post
I could not get but the top photo to pull up but its a very cool rifle none the less Big Grin


Nothing beats the feel of a handmade southern iron mounted flintlock on a crisp frosty morning
 
Posts: 354 | Location: Heart of DIXIE | Registered: 18 November 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
posted Hide Post
Very cool,thanks for sharing....


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1449 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
posted Hide Post
Very interesting, thanks for posting this. Beckworth was one of the first mountaineers I read about a few years back when I got into this hobby.

One thing is very interesting. There are two pictures of him in the article that caught my eye. The first is a full, standing view of him holding his rifle in an almost “Billy the Kid” pose. And as with Billy the Kid it shows what appears to be a left handed rifle, when clearly the pictures show it is right handed. So, (as with the Kid) possibly this is a tin type photo that was printed backwards. To add to the confusion, there is another picture of him in his later hears seated and the knife in his belt as a left handed man would wear it.

Any thoughts?


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
posted Hide Post
A lot of Lefties are functionally ambidextrous,myself included...I shoot right-handed....It's a right-handed world,ya gotta adapt if'n ya wanta survive. Wink


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1449 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
posted Hide Post
And yes,I also can shoot lefty,my dominant eye is my right one,however.....


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1449 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hivernant
posted Hide Post
Bob:

I had an opportunity to meet the owner, handle the rifle and hear a presentation about it at Bent's Fort last year. Pretty awesome.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: 18 March 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
posted Hide Post
That is so cool....


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1449 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hivernant
posted Hide Post
My son is a lefty but is right eyed weird eh?


"I don't know where we're goin', but there's no sense bein' late." Quigley
 
Posts: 104 | Location: The Beehive State | Registered: 12 April 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
posted Hide Post
I have no doubt that Iche Iia is correct, in that the image in the portrait of Jim Beckwourth is reversed. The rifle he is holding in the portrait appears to be left-handed, but the actual rifle (assuming the one featured is the same one that is in the portrait) is right handed. I think a lot of the early photographs reversed the image in this way. Interestingly, that would mean he is wearing his powder horn and pouch under his right arm with the strap over his left shoulder. I'm right handed and wear my pouch and horn on my dominant side because that's the handiest way I have found to do it. Some of the powder-horn makers now seem to think that left-side carry is "standard."

You really have to be careful in looking at those old sepia-toned images. They can really distort color, too. Yellow, for example, shows up as a very dark shade for some reason. This is significant if you are trying to duplicate old beadwork patterns. There was a nice article about this phenomenon in American Indian Art magazine some years ago.

There is a lot to be learned from all of the images on the website that is linked. The big end of the tapered ramrod, for example, is bare wood, while the distal end has a covered ball-puller. The X-ray photo of the lock appears to show double-lever set triggers, but no half-cock notch in the tumbler. Just about all of the older sporting guns with set triggers that I have taken apart have no half-cock, which would seem unsafe to us now but was probably common practice back in the day.

Getting back to the portrait of Beckwourth... How about that hunting shirt? Would any of us dare wear something like that to an event? It looks a lot like a nightgown my wife used to have...

Best regards,

Notchy bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 309 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
posted Hide Post
Good eye, i missed the x-ray deal. And like you, I carry on the right side as well.

No matter if the pictures are reversed or not. His gun not having a half cock. Any of that really. It's just great that we have at least that much real history that we can look back on and study. As long as we don't try to read too much into it and lose track of the facts.


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
posted Hide Post
Thanks, Iche Iia. Your comments are spot-on, and much appreciated.

Rio, that must have been quite an experience hearing the story and handling the actual gun. I am looking forward to the time when the owner gets his book published. I inquired about it, but was advised that it has not been completed yet.

I think it's pretty cool that these old guns with famous connections pop up from time to time. The Bridger and Carson Hawkens are pretty well known, for example, but the Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly had photos and a feature article about George Frederick Ruxton's rifle not too long ago, and if I remember correctly, John Baird believed he had located Francis Parkman's rifle. Baird wrote it up in Muzzle Blasts when he was doing his Hawken series a good many years back.

It's great when the owners of these guns are willing to share information with the rest of us.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 309 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
posted Hide Post
And who would ever have thought of an x-ray. That was eye opening.


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
posted Hide Post
We have all read about Jim P. Beckwourth and if you have ever met Jeff Hengesbaugh they were/are much alike. Jeff can tell a tall tale as well as Beckwourth or better. If you ever have a chance shake his hand and he'll go off on a story for sure. Jeff has always been a joy to be around that many will tell you. If anyone was to get the Beckwourth gun it couldn't have gone to a better collector.
 
Posts: 13 | Location: Lehi, Utah | Registered: 09 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hivernant
posted Hide Post
I had a chance to meet Jeff and lift that gun up into place on my shoulder a few years ago at Bent's Fort. Pretty cool.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: 18 March 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Iche Iia
posted Hide Post
That would have been VERY cool. Actually holding something from history is special indeed.


Iche Iia

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you."
 
Posts: 378 | Location: Prince George, Virginia | Registered: 04 April 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 


2014 Historical Enterprises, LLC