Shumway pointed out that there are always "surprises" imbedded in Shreyer/Shroyer rifles. This one is no exception. An obvious stray from his norm is the lack of the typical fleur-de-lis carving so common in his work. The sort of “scalloped” carving around the barrel tang and the elongated beavertail shaped carving at the rear entry pipe with a roped engrailing type detail is unique to say the least. The patch box of this rifle is well done and pleasing, yet the design is not akin to anything I can find by his hand or any other. Though not specifically a surprise, the vast majority of his rifles have a single tricker, yet this one is double “tricked”. The work on this rifle is exceptionally “clean” for lack of a better term. It has been suggested and it does appear that possibly Jacob Sell, while working in the shop with Shroyer might have had a hand in this piece, although I would like to think this piece precedes the time period that Sell would have worked there. Yet, the tendrils of the flowing carving behind the cheek feel more like the work of Sell than that of Shroyer, but it could be something as simple that the client ordered a “capital” rifle giving a monetary incentive for the maker to take a little more time and effort to better execute his work and thus exhibit his talents. Not to mention, that Sell could have learned this style from his master. I feel that so often, that when the luxury of having the opportunity to study multiple examples by a particular artist, it become rather obvious that it is not that the maker did not have the talent to do the work…but rather, that he was not getting paid enough to go to the effort to do it !
This rifle is near mint. It is extremely rare to find a rifle of this period in such un-touched and pristine condition. Using the words of Gary Brumfield, “it’s in amazing condition! The background of the relief carving still shows the individual chisel cuts. Original flint and it has not been fired or carried a lot...” It is obvious this rifle has been treasured and well care for. It still retains its original rear sight shader, which leads me to believe that the rifle has been used for match shooting. I would not be afraid to shoot it today! It's just in that good of shape.
Mel Hankla, Kentucky