View Full Version : Info on Joseph Golcher/Old muzzleloader

January 5, 2011, 08:58 AM
I am new to this forum, and hoping for some info. I have a very old muzzle gun that belonged to my grandfather who was born in the late 1800's.It is pressumed to be one of two from a matched set.There is a name engraved on the barrel.(see pix) It also has Greensboro.Pa. on the barrel by his name. Any insight appreciated! Thanks

January 5, 2011, 09:00 AM
more pix

January 5, 2011, 09:02 AM
2 more pix

January 5, 2011, 10:41 AM
That is a very interesting looking rifle you have there. Apparently, it was built to be a target rifle, what with the very heavy, straight barrel, aperture rear sight, and globe front sight. Also, is that tunnel along the barrel permanent or removable?

I believe Golcher was a lock-maker (could have been a rifle maker, too, but I don't know myself). Your rifle appears to be in the Vincent/Ohio style of the early-to-mid-1800's, what with the deeply curved butt and shape of the trigger guard. Can you post more pics of the whole rifle in profile. Does it look anything like this?


As far as when it was actually built, I'm not much good at identifying that, but I'm sure someone here is. You might also check with www.muzzleloadingforum.com. Lots of very, very knowledgeable builders there.

Mike Irwin
January 5, 2011, 10:41 AM
If I remember correctly, Golcher was a maker of locks. He didn't make complete guns, he specialized in locks for sale to gunsmiths who either didn't have the time or the skills to make their own locks.

The name on the barrel is most likely the rifle's actual maker.

Mike Irwin
January 5, 2011, 10:44 AM
Hey hey hey!

L. N. Donham MAY be Lewis Newton Donham.

I just found a geanology for the family that mentions him:


The time frame and location are correct.

January 5, 2011, 10:48 AM
Lewis Newton Donham (April 1, 1833-August 6, 1902) was a gunsmith in Greensboro, PA. He apprenticed under Barney Engle, his uncle. Engle died in 1887.

Donham is listed as a gunsmith in Monongahela County, PA in 1876 in Kauffman's book "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle".

By the way, your photographs are excellent!

EDIT: Dagnabit, Mike!

Mike Irwin
January 5, 2011, 11:16 AM
My googlefu is mighty! :p

January 5, 2011, 01:07 PM
Wow. Thank you guys so much! You are amazing!! And yes the copper sun shield is removable!

January 5, 2011, 10:06 PM
dennyrue - that is one fine looking and interesting rifle - as stated, Goulcher was a lock manufacturer and his locks can be found on rifles made by literally hundreds, if not thoushands of rifle makers. That is an exceptionally high quality rifle - excellent craftsmanship and design to say nothing about the embellishments. It looks lke you have the original flask, mold, etc. which is great. Don't ever let anyone talk you out of that rifle - it belonged to your grandfather and now you have it - it belongs in your family and that is where it should stay . . . as I always say to folks who have something like that . . . . "you don't own it, you're just the caretaker until it's time to pass it on to the next generation".

January 5, 2011, 10:26 PM
Here's mine.

January 5, 2011, 11:46 PM
What bedbugbilly said - I've got a small collection of guns that have been handed down since the Civil War. They're just waiting for the kids...and their kids...and so on.

January 6, 2011, 09:55 PM
Thanks guys...I appreciate all the input. I would like to keep all these, however my wife is goofy about guns, and my son has minimal interest in guns.I have lots of other cool stuff of his, including his entire WW1 uniform, helmets, ,.45, along with army- issue ammo,war binos,dog tags papers etc.Lots of cool pistols too.

January 6, 2011, 09:56 PM
Gehrard, how old is your gun?

January 7, 2011, 09:34 AM
Coming in late here. Yes, Golcher lock. Target rifle that probably has a lot of great stories. You have a treasure there.
It needs some TLC in the breech/drum area to prevent more corrosion. Do try to find an expert muzzle loading gunsmith to look it over.
Probably still usable, I would love to take it to the range.
What caliber is it?

January 7, 2011, 09:46 AM
I understand what you mean about your wife being goofy about guns. It was a few years after my wife and I started dating and got married before she was totally comfortable with having them around. Try framing this as a piece of history and a family heirloom, rather than a weapon.

January 7, 2011, 05:44 PM
I like the framing idea! I clean the gun and wipe it down twice a year,wont framing it effect that?

January 7, 2011, 05:46 PM
Rifleman1776...I am pretty sure it will still work.I think it is 50 cal,but maybe 32? I dont much about muzzle guns though.

January 7, 2011, 09:44 PM
Sorry, I meant "framing" as in "describing" or "pitching" as a way to get your wife to see it in a different light. However, you certainly could come up with some kind of actual frame or other display that is not going to alter the rifle at all. It would look very nice.

January 8, 2011, 10:07 AM
Easy enough to measure bore.
But do find an experienced traditional muzzle loading shooter to look it over, clean and advise before you try to shoot.