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Urged on by your reminder of Berks County Longrifles on exhibit at the Historical Society of Berks County, I headed over to Reading today to check it out. Parking is on the street, and I found a spot directly across from the museum.

The collection of long guns, pistols, and powder horns is well displayed with a mirror behind the butt stocks so you can study the carving behind the cheek pieces opposite the patch boxes.

The four dollars for adults and three bucks for seniors is certainly a bargain when you consider that such a collection will probably never be made available in one place again. Having the opportunity to see the earliest signed and dated American rifle, that built by John Shreit of Reading in 1761, is worth the price of admission itself.

The exhibit closes on Feb. 27, so by all means try to make it to Reading. You won't be disappointed!
 

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There were some earlier PA made guns, but sadly none are know to have survived. There's a Jacob Angstadt rifle there. My great great great great great great grandaddy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
so the earliet rifle that was made in the US was signed and dated is from 1761? I would have thought it would have been earlier. Or is it just still the only the oldest one around
 

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Without any doubt, there were many, many older guns made here in Pennsylvania prior to 1761. This gun is simply the oldest known to be signed and dated.
 

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earliest known (1) signed and (2) dated (3) rifle
Other rifles were signed, not dated, dated not signed, made but not dated or signed, and several fowlers were made that do not count as rifles.

The first Angstadt Gunsmith set up shop Rockland Twp. in Berks county in 1747. But no examples of his work are known to exist. The same is probably true for other early gun smiths. Although, the type of gun the earlier smith's made was probably either a smooth bore fowler or Jager style rifle (short large bore rifle) after the style made in Bavaria when they immigrated.
 

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It is a terrific exhibit no matter what the signing and dating circumstances that may surround these wonderful old long guns. If you can fit it in before the 27th., you won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I went there yesterday. It was a very neat exibit. I was surprised on how many swivel breech guns they had there
 

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Zimmer, the rifle by your great++++++, is an amazing long gun! I couldn't not buy the Hornberger book that highlights each gun in the exhibit, but Mrs. Berks is somehow unaware of this fact.


Other than the beautiful curves of the stocks comb, I was struck with the distance Jacob placed between the front and rear sights. Old eyes need those two points to be somewhat closer.

This beautiful long gun was obviously built for a young customer, possessing excellent vision, and wouldn't it be interesting to know the purchacer's history as well as the gun's.

This is the stuff that keeps me studying these wonderful old masterpieces!

Berks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I wanted to buy the book, but $50 is just a bit too steep for this pilgrim
 
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