Sold For: $1,715.00
Make: The last 4 letters of the name on the lock plate are covered, we believe it to say “Franz Seiffner”, from Vienna Austria.
Model: Jaeger Hunting Gun
Serial Number: The upper tang is marked “2”, which looks to be an arsenal rack number.
Year of Manufacture: Our research has seen similar rifles having been made from the mid 1700’s to the beginning of the 1800’s.
Caliber: .65 Caliber Ball
Action Type: Single Shot, Muzzle Loaded Flintlock Rifle
Markings: The rear top of the barrel has a series of three bound leaf clusters, seen again on the right and left shoulders of the barrel. The top of the barrel has two copper inlaid items, one has a crown and appears to read “10 / SEPH / WIS / TAL / ER”, which may be an abbreviated name, just aft is an embossed deer insert. The upper tang has a finely engraved “2”. The lock plate is marked “FRANZ / SEIFFNER / IN WEINN”. The upper wrist has a coat of arms in brass inlay, which has two eagles among swooping features. The stock has absolutely beautiful carving patterns that turn to semi-scroll and floriated elements. Please see our pictures of this stunning rifle.
Barrel Length: 32 ½”, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade, dovetailed onto the barrel, there is no rear sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is nearly full length with a finely fit brass nose cap, three ram rod loops, a sling swivel bar on the forend and rear sling stud on the belly, the stock shows beautiful carvings that fit the metal well. The left side of the butt has a cheek rest, the underside has a flat belly, the trigger guard appears to be integral to the stock, its underside area has a brass tang and knob towards the end, going all the way forward of the guard, continuing as one piece, flowing into nice carved elements in the wood. The forend was broken and repaired forward of the rear barrel band, there is a chip loss on the left. The wrist has a repaired crack, small chip losses are seen on the cheek piece. There are dings on the belly and throughout the other surfaces, most evade notice until close review. The LOP measures 12 ¾” from the front of the trigger to the back of the brass butt plate. The stock rates in about Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel is blue, the smaller fixtures are brass and the barrel has bronze inlay.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mid gray with a few darker spots; we were able to clean the bore out to its present form and it should continue to improve with a proper cleaning. The rifling is strait with 8 grooves, the rifling shows mild wear but is still defined. There are spots of surface oxidation and instances of pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: The barrel retains a large portion of its blue finish which shines with high luster. The barrel has spots of dark surface erosion and horizontal marks under the finish that appears to have been left on the metal surfaces before finishing. The brass items have a few darkened corrosion spots, the left side plate has scrapes and dings. The lock and frizzen items have dark spots of erosion and mild pitting. The screw heads are generally well formed with light tooling in the slots. The markings are crisp. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Two leather straps for retaining the flint are included, no flint is included. Included is a wooden ram rod, looking to be about the same age as the rifle, showing mild marks, with light tarnish to the brass elements, in Fine condition.
Our Assessment: From http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/rifling-history.html “The inventor of a rifled barrel is alleged to be one of two inventors, both of them German-speaking. According to The Gun and its Development, one was Gaspard Kollner of Vienna, sometime in the 15th century, others allege that his grooves were straight in nature and the first spiral grooves came from Augustus Kotter of Nuremberg in 1520. Regardless, a lot of the early rifling development came from German speaking areas. The Germans already had a history of manufacturing crossbows that would spin their bolts in flight (either by shaping the arrow head, arranging the feathers of the arrow slightly off center, or by passing the arrow through a tube with grooves in it to impart spin), so they were aware of the basics of rifling and its benefits, even before they started manufacturing firearms. So while the British military took until the 1850s to start issuing rifles to their forces (British troops used the venerable Brown Bess smoothbore musket for a very long time), the forces of the Landgraf of Hesse were already using rifled weapons by 1631 and Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, had several troops using rifled arquebuses by 1640. In the early days, most infantry commanders of other countries did not like rifling because it was harder to clean gunpowder recidue which got into the grooves.” This rifle looks to have been built for royalty sometime in the 1700’s, with strait rifling and is simply beautiful. All who passed by during the write up had to stare in awe. In the realm of firearm makers, we were unable to source a Franz Seiffner, but there was a very famous clock maker in Austria of the same name in Budapest, around 1800 who would have been familiar with intricate wood and metal work (http://www.andreewitch.at/Dachluhr_Laterndluhr/wiener_uhren_dachluhr_laterndluhr.html) We believe the crest on the wrist and crown on the barrel point to a noble purchase, we could not find information on “SEPH WIS TAL ER” which is bronze filled on the barrel, it may be an abbreviated first and last name or family motto. The stock is cracked at the forend, though it may have been intentional, or else how would it have broken in one area without the barrel having been damaged? We have seen examples of this in military surplus ‘bring home’ guns, where the barrel was removed and the stock broken at the forend to fit in one’s ruck sack. Whether this rifle came to America from a G.I. that had just raided a rich Baron’s palace towards the end of the war or from immigrants finding a new life while retaining a family heirloom, no one can tell. It certainly stands out from the crowd and will spark conversations for generations to come.