A Frontier Firearm

Lot 287: John J. Wurfflein Rifle

NVSN, .50 caliber, 35” barrel measures 1 1/8 inch from flat to flat, Plains Rifle by John Wurfflein, Philadelphia. Half stock, double keyed, small oval patch box, German silver furniture, double set triggers, barrel and back action lock marked “J. Wurfflein, Philada”. Heavy ram rod rib with 2 iron ferrules, patent breech; total length 54”, total weight 13.4 pounds, circa 1840s. With the rifle is a note stating, “J. Wurfflein, Philada, John J. Wurfflein, Brought across the plains in 1850 by John Zumwahl Willows, Calif.” CONDITION: The bore is remarkably bright, 6 wide flat lands and groves, iron is chocolate brown thinning to silver, stock is thick wristed and has a very neat and very old repair of a sliver of wood along the fore arm; barrel sight has been moved back 5 inches, German silver furniture are an aged dusty silver color, greased patches still in patch box, mechanically excellent, overall a great rifle.

Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction - January 23, 2015
Sold $2,300

Frontier Firearms
The size of all things in the West (distances, animals, etc) demanded a new firearm. The Hawken bothers are the best known makers of what became the “Plains Rifle”, the “Mountain Rifle” and sometimes the “Buffalo Rifle”. They were so instrumental in the development that the genre was soon dubbed “the Hawken Rifle”. But there were many gunsmiths outfitting the trapper/trader of the era. Wurfflein, Slaughter, Gemmer, Dimmick, Deringer, and J. Henry all contributed to the legend and are no less desirable.