Wm. Britton Rifle

Wm Britton - Full Right

Shown here is an original rifle attributed to William Britton of Hampshire County, West Virginia.   It is published on page 64 of Gunsmiths of West Virginia by Lambert and Whisker.    This rifle has been re-converted from percussion to flint.   The Maslin lock shown is not original to the gun and is poorly fitted in the lock mortise.  The forearm has been replaced forward of the rear thimble.   Otherwise, everything else appears to be original.  The best features of the rifle are the incised carving in the wrist and buttstock and the engraving of the side plate, toe plate and patchbox.

  • Overall Length:  61″
  • Barrel Length:  46″
  • Caliber: 50

Wm. Britton - Full LeftWm. Britton - Top FullWm. Britton - Full BottomWm. Britton - Half Right showing fancy pierced brass patchbox.Wm. Britton - Half LeftWm. Britton - Half TopWm. Britton - Half BottomWm. Britton - Lock - a Maslin lock that is obviously a replacement - it doesn't fit the lock mortice.Wm. Britton - Side PlateWm. Britton - Tang - spear shaped with simple incised carving around it.Wm. Britton - Trigger GuardWm. Britton - Toe - showing a rectangular patchbox release button in the toe plate.Wm. Britton - Patchbox - a fancy, four-piece, pierced brass box with a stylized adelweiss flower in the finial and extensive engraving.Wm. Britton - Cheek - showing simple incised carving typical of the Winchester, VA area.


2 thoughts on “Wm. Britton Rifle”

  1. Mark, I wondered if you would possibly have any imput on a 19th c. Terra Alta (formerly Cranberry Summit) W. Va. gunmaker by the name of Ezra D. Benson? I recently viewed a cap & ball half stock (tiger maple) signed on the barrel “E.D. Benson Cranberry, W. VA.”
    Any info you might offer would be of great appreciation.
    Best Wishes, Clint

  2. Clint,

    I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I found the following in Whisker’s Gunsmiths of West Virginia.
    Ezra D. Benson (1836-1909) gunsmith. A son of James and Sara (Lewis) Benson, Ezra was born on 12 August 1836. He was a gunsmith at Cranberry Summit, Preston County during most of his adult life. In 1869 he had a brief partnership with A.M. Chidester. The Terra Alta newspaper carried several interesting entries. On 9 September 1887 it reported that Benson had attended a shooting match in the Canaan VAlley to try out a new gun he had just made. On 8 November 1889 he won a shooting contest at Mount Lake. The tax list of 1881 showed that he owned 30 1/2 acres on the Brandonville Pike valued at $1238 and a quarter-acre lot with a shop valued at $440. Exra died on 13 July 1909 [tax, US Census, family]



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