A Very Rare 70 Bore Percussion Seven Barreled Goose Rifle by H. Nock, Gunmaker to His Majesty, circa 1789-1805, Converted from flintlock, with twist leaf-sighted barrels, signed along the rib between the two top barrels, each barrel cut with seven spiral grooves, case-hardened breech-block with gold line and engraved with a starburst on top, border engraved tang decorated with foliage and a Britannia shield, and with a starburst in the sighting groove, signed serial numbered flat bevelled lock with stepped tail. Highly figured half-stock with cheek-piece and chequered grip, border engraved blued steel mounts comprising butt-plate (rust patinated) decorated with hanging game on the blued heel tang, trigger-guard (loss of finish on the tang) with a recumbent stag in a landscape on the bow, trigger-plate with large pineapple finial, rear ramrod-pipe en suite, silver barrel-bolt escutcheons, original brass-mounted ramrod, and some original finish: in original lined and fitted oak case with accessories including rare brass charger, gang mould for fourteen balls, three wooden ball holders, brass-mounted powder-flask with bevelled elongated body, and leather flint wallet, the interior of the lid with illustrated trade label (minor damage and old stains) for circa 1789-1804, the exterior with flush-fitting carrying handle, London proof marks. Barrel length 49.5cm, overall length 90cm.
Provenance: Piers Mostyn, Bt. (sold in the sale contents of Bredfield Hall, Woodbridge, Suffolk in about 1944) W. Keith Neal Collection, C204 Christies London, Fine Antique Firearms from the W. Keith Neal Collection, 8 November 1995, lot 37
Seven-barrel rifles were made popular by Colonel Thomas Thorntons A Sporting Tour through the Northern Parts of England (1804) and A Sporting Tour through France (1805), where he described their use on roe deer as well as birds. Thornton even commissioned a fourteen-barrel example, preserved today in the Musée dArmes in Liège.
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