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Author Topic: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please  (Read 966 times)

Offline sclearman

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tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« on: January 21, 2022, 09:46:21 PM »

I think I have a feel for the fur trade era, by that I mean most of the folks heading west would be carrying long rifles and until the later years all of them would have been flinters.  I understand Leman trade rifles would have been sold to companies or other resellers.  What I would like to know is who was likely to buy the Leman percussion trade rifles?  Who was the guy that finally ended up with that as 'their' rifle.  Would these be folks headed west in the late trade periods? or folks headed west in migrations?
Just wondering who for the most part ended up with those percussion trade rifles.

Thanks ahead of time
Scott

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2022, 10:21:23 AM »

Henry Eicholtz Leman made many rifles during his 53 year career, from 1834 until 1887, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He is best known for his Indian Trade Rifles.

Another source says this:  April Henry E. Leman was the last of the great Lancaster Pa. gunsmiths. He worked as a gunsmith in Lancaster from 1834 until 1887. His factories turned out large orders of commercial quality guns as opposed to higher quality made-to-order pieces for individuals. Most remaining Leman guns are from the percussion ignition period. Leman was born in Lancaster March 8, 1812. At the age of sixteen in 1828 he was apprenticed to Lancaster gunsmith Melchior Fordney. In 1831 Leman moved to Phila. to work in the Tryon gun factory. He returned to Lancaster in 1834 and started his own gun business, located at Mifflen Street west of Duke. In 1861 he built a new factory at East Walnut and Cherry Street, and then in 1873 moved to an even larger factory on James and Christian streets until it closed in 1887. Henry died May 12, 1887.

A longer, more detailed article is located here  https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Rocky+Mountain+Rifle+Works+Leman+rifle.-a03705659
And following that is a product review of a modern made Leman rifle.

So, who used them?  Well, based on the info above, I'd say most everyone.
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Offline sclearman

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2022, 12:19:23 PM »
I like the look, and it's seems a bit more historically accurate to imagine a everyday guy heading west would have one of the percussion trade rifles than a Hawken that we all love.

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2022, 06:08:26 PM »
Scott, A lot of that boils down to the affordability of the Leman rifle vs the Hawken.  If I understand this correctly, the Hawken was a rather expensive, one at a time rifle, whereas the Leman was built in more or less as a factory procedure.

Quote
His (Leman's) factories turned out large orders of commercial quality guns as opposed to higher quality made-to-order pieces for individuals.

FWIW, about 30+ years ago I acquired one of JP Gunstock's full stock percussion Leman's.  It was a very comfortable rifle to shoot and it was scary accurate.  Stupidly, like so many of my rifles, I sold that to a fellow back east.  I heard tell he converted it to flint and sold the percussion lock.  What a waste!!!
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Offline sclearman

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2022, 08:23:44 PM »

Thank you for the information.  I have to admit that historical accuracy is not my first priority. Having said that, if it is possible to historicaly accurate with what I like and want that is great.  I think that having a percussion Leman in 50 or 54 with a 42' full stock barrel would be a lil more historically accurate.  I can pretend I'm headed west with a good rifle to get away from all the folks back east and make my own way with a historically accurate rifle a lil more so than with my GPR or Uberti Hawken.  I tend to lean toward the 'everyman' type of persona, assuming one needs a persona to enjoy.

Frankly I've always wanted a full stock rifle, every since seeing Bear Claw Chris Lapp and his.  Back in the day the only ones I was aware of were the CVA Kentucky rifles wth 2 piece stocks and even to be back then it seemed like blasphemy to me. 

Would this be a good time and place to ask about the relative merits of say a 36" vs 42" barrel in the same 50 or 54 caliber?

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 12:27:53 AM »
Well, Scott, do you like your ladies tall or shorter?  A lot of it is just personal opinion. Then there is always the thought of going for a 39" barrel, get right in between.
Benefits of a longer barrel:  1) longer sight radius should improve accuracy a bit;  2)  Gives the powder a longer time to burn, so your muzzle velocity would be a bit faster.
Disadvantages:  1)  If you are planning on hunting with it in brushy country, it is a little more awkward to get around in;  2)It weighs a bit more so there is a bit more fatigue factor there;  3)There are bound to be more ideas both ways, just cannot think of them now.
And then, the style of the rifle dictates barrel length as well.  For example, an English Sporting rifle really would not look right with a longer barrel.  I always liked 32" barrels on mine.  And on the other end is the thought of a nice southern mountain rifle would not look right with a 24" barrel.
IIRC, my Leman had either a 36" or a 39" barrel and it balanced very nicely.
John (Bigsmoke)
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Online Ohio Joe

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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2022, 09:49:32 PM »
Scott, I built a couple 42" barrel flintlocks - and on a calm day (little to no wind) they shoot great. But,,, they're devilish to hold on target out in the open even on a semi-windy day. I prefer my 36" barreled rifles (and also like my 28" and 32" barreled rifles on any day with wind over 10 mph. Most of my shooting 99% of the time is offhand - and we have no shortage of wind in Northwest Nebraska.  :shake

Now when talking about your "persona" - who's to say your rifle barrel didn't have to be shorten because of some sort of damage? You don't get rid of a good barrel just because of damage - you shorten it / or have it shortened, and move on West...
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Re: tell me about Henry Leman Percussion trade rifles please
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2022, 05:31:30 PM »
I like the look, and it's seems a bit more historically accurate to imagine a everyday guy heading west would have one of the percussion trade rifles than a Hawken that we all love.

Those 2 names are well known, along with the Derringer Trade Rifle and many many lesser known, Penn, Ohio , Indiana, and Illinois smiths who produced rifles of the mountain type on spec, 12 years ago I visited a friend of my Dad's who started collecting BP rifles while in high school in the late 40's in Chicago , his collection of original rifles and smooth bore and shotguns number around 220 amazing stuff, many rocky mountain style or " hawken style" guns by lesser or obscure rifle makers. Most were plain Jane, iron furniture, no patch box and a few never had a butt plate on them more like a barn gun but 50 cal of larger!
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