Lehigh Valley Rifles
The original rifle by Johannes Moll that inspired this build is a large and substantial piece, however the excellent architecture and a few building tricks help make it feel quite a lot slimmer than it really is. Moll, a contemporary of Rupp and Neihart, produced a few early and somewhat large guns still in existence today. His work can be seen as a transitional example from the earlier and larger Christian Springs rifles into the graceful and slender Lehigh Valley style. The original rifle has a heavy orange color varnish finish, while this has a red violin varnish madder pigment mulled into my own brew mastic varnish. Originally built "as new", it has mellowed and developed a wonderful patina with age and use, the linseed oil-based varnish darkening with time.
This rifle was based upon a rare example by John Rupp, with a side opening brass patchbox. This little .40 cal rifle is lightweight, easy to handle, and shoulders beautifully without any slap to the cheek bone often associated with Lehigh Valley arms. Though embellished as the original with carving around the tang and buttstock, it's the simple flowing lines that carry this rifle.