Kentucky Rifle, USA 18th and 19th Century

  • Made of cast metal (zamak) and hardwood
  • Can be cocked and dry fired like the original
  • Non-firing replica. Permit free in most countries
  • Excellent for theater and film productions

165

4 in stock

Description of the Product

The Kentucky rifle is a classic American weapon used by early pioneers, explorers, and settlers. This rifle was used during both the American War of Independence (1775-1783) and the Civil War (1861-1865). Kentucky rifles were often carried with a Kentucky pistol, both of which used ammunition of the same caliber. The Kentucky rifle was also Davy Crockett’s favorite weapons.

The Kentucky rifle was also called the long rifle, the Pennsylvania rifle, and the American long rifle, but the Kentucky rifle is the most popular name. These firearms were the first weapons made in America that are clearly of their own style and differed from weapons imported from Europe, where arms production was longer and more sophisticated. Settlers from Germany began making these long-barreled rifles in the early 18th century. Making rifling, spiral grooves inside the barrel, had only just been invented in Germany and some of these gunsmiths had moved to the new world bringing these skills with them. The rifling inside the barrel causes the bullet to rotate, which stabilizes bullets flight, improving accuracy and range of the weapon. Kentucky rifles are good example of the first rifles using rifled barrels.

From the 18th to the early 19th century, European settlements existed only the east coast of North America, west coast being the farthest place on earth one can sail to from Europe. The long journey across the great continent to the west coast was completely unknown and uncharted to Europeans, with the exception of some scattered stories and legends. Frontier explorers and the settlers who ventured there needed a reliable weapon to cope and survive in the wild, where no law yet existed and where violent encounters with the natives were common.

The first Kentucky rifles were made in the 1710s and their popularity steadily rose, so that in the 1750s the Kentucky rifle was a common sight in the frontier. These long rifles remained in use in frontier areas and in the Wild West until the end of the 19th century. The first time these hunting rifles were used in war happened when the Seven Years' War spread from Europe to America. The French and Indian War was fought in 1754–1763 when the English and French battled for the control of North America. Moments later, Kentucky rifles were once again in the throes of war when all 13 British American colonies declared independence and fought against the English in 1765-1783. Britain had naval supremacy, but settlers accustomed to using their long hunting rifles in the countryside held their ground. The U.S. War of Independence was the most significant war in terms of the use of Kentucky rifles, but this rifle was still used during the Civil War nearly a hundred years later in 1861-1865, when Southern troops deployed all possible equipment because of weapon and supply shortages.

The downside of a black powder rifle, compared to a smooth-barreled musket, was slower loading-time. In a rifle the bullet had to be exactly the size of the barrel for the rifling to work and make the bullet spin. Even a small amount of gunpowder residue from the previous shot inside the barrel made it difficult to load a new bullet into the gun. When the barrel became dirty after several shots, charging became impossible and the barrel needed cleaning. However the accuracy of a long-barreled rifle was excellent and the precise range was close to two hundred meters in the hands of a skilled shooter, i.e. double that of the muskets of this time.

The meaning of this gun for US history can be clearly seen in this informative poem from a book called the Kentucky Rifle.
"From a flat bar of soft iron, hand forged into a gun barrel; laboriously bored and rifled with crude tools; fitted with a stock hewn from a maple tree in the neighboring forest; and supplied with a lock hammered to shape on the anvil; an unknown smith, in a shop long since silent, fashioned a rifle which changed the whole course of world history; made possible the settlement of a continent; and ultimately freed our country of foreign domination. Light in weight; graceful in line; economical in consumption of powder and lead; fatally precise; distinctly American; it sprang into immediate popularity; and for a hundred years was a model often slightly varied but never radically changed."
— Captain John G. W. Dillin, The Kentucky Rifle.

  • This gun is an exact replica of the original. The replica matches the original in size and weight. The mechanisms of the weapon are working. The weapon can be cocked and dry fired like a real one. The ramrod is not detachable. The bayonet can be removed and reattached. Due to the materials used, the mechanisms cannot withstand continuous cocking and firing for long periods.
  • Genuine wood and cast metal has been used to make this replica weapon. Zamac differs from steel in many respects, so the structure of the gun does not withstand pressure, it cannot be used to fire bullets, nor can it be converted to a functional weapon by any means.
  • Replica guns such as this do not require permits in Finland, nor in many other countries. However, since the gun looks real, it should not be carried in public.
  • A replica gun is perfect for historical re-enactment, on a theater stage, in film productions, for collectors of historical memorabilia, and as decoration.
  • Length: 183 cm
  • Weight: 2,8 kg
  • Manufacturer: Denix, Spain

Due to the nature of this item please read about shipping options/restrictions if ordering outside Finland.   –More information about international shipping- 

The most famous battle where Kentucky rifles and pistols were used is the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 that was fought between USA and England. About a quarter of the men under Andrew Jackson (he later became a president) was from Kentucky. Brilliant song called Hunters of Kentucky tells about this battle. This song was also used by Andrew Jackson in his presidential campaigns.

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