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Thread: B.P. Hawken Kit Build

  1. #1

    Default B.P. Hawken Kit Build

    So I got my modern gun building fix done (For now...) and caught the blackpowder bug. Bought an Investarms .50 cal. Hawken kit. Any tips, warnings, or sources of info will be much appreciated. Thanks. T


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    All I have to say about flinters is "Thank God for percussion caps".

    I have a CSA 50 cal "Plainsman". I have a devil of a time with ignition. I finally got the frizzen roughed up enough to get a spark but I can't find any ffff down in this part of the world. I've got a big brass meter box and a big brass rod that I use for a mortar and pestle to grind up Pyrodex. It works Okay, but actual ffff would work a lot better in the pan and in the load.

    I could order it but hazmat would take all the fun out of it.

    Use only pure lead balls with a lubed patch.

    The procedure I use is as follows: Determine that the rifle is unloaded. You can do this by running the rod down the barrel, marking the rod at the muzzle then checking the rod against the outside of the barrel. If the rod goes past the flash hole, you're unloaded. Then I run a lubed rag down the barrel then a dry rag. add powder charge (measured powder charge not like Danl Boone dumping straight from the powder horn). Wet a patch with saliva place on the muzzle and start a ball with the starter. Push the ball into the barrel with the ramrod until it stops. Do not RAM with the ramrod. Push the ball tight on top of the powder and check against the outside of the barrel again. If it appears to be okay, put the ramrod back in the barrel and mark the rod to show the proper depth for that charge. REMOVE the ramrod from the barrel and replace it in it's holder under the barrel. If you do that every time, you will never shoot your ramrod. Now, pour a bit of ffff in the pan, lower the frizzen and cock the hammer. You are now ready to go.

    Aim at a target and pull the trigger, continue aiming at the target, it won't happen instantaneously. There is a delay between trigger pull, a giant fire filled smoke bomb going off way too near your right eye (if you are left handed you really need to learn how to shoot the flinter right handed), and the actual boom.

    When the smoke clears, you'll say "Wow! I wanna do that again!"

    Half cock, open the frizzen and blow down the barrel from the muzzle. The moisture in your breath will soften the BP residue and ready the barrel for the next shot. Repeat all of the above until your hands, face and mouth are black and dirty.

    Disassemble the rifle and scrub with hot soapy water and oil well. If you don't do this last part, your next outing with the rifle will be disappointing.

    Alan


    Alan

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I've been wanting to get a flintlock. Thinking about a fusil de chasse or a northwest trade gun. Only tips I can give is go slow, keep your chisels sharp. For a spotting compound I have used prussian blue, lip stick and a spotting compound specifically made for spotting in parts. I prefer that compound, probably got it from Brownells.

    In regards to priming powder, there are some guys that use whatever powder that is used for the charge. I have always thought 4f was for priming. There is a bit of a controversy in the community about priming horns. Some say they existed, some say they didn't. I've been told that the small horns that are typically seen as a priming horn are actually a small horn used for "day use".

    I don't have a horse in that race either way but find it all interesting.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan R McDaniel Jr View Post
    All I have to say about flinters is "Thank God for percussion caps".

    I have a CSA 50 cal "Plainsman". I have a devil of a time with ignition. I finally got the frizzen roughed up enough to get a spark but I can't find any ffff down in this part of the world. I've got a big brass meter box and a big brass rod that I use for a mortar and pestle to grind up Pyrodex. It works Okay, but actual ffff would work a lot better in the pan and in the load.

    I could order it but hazmat would take all the fun out of it.

    Use only pure lead balls with a lubed patch.

    The procedure I use is as follows: Determine that the rifle is unloaded. You can do this by running the rod down the barrel, marking the rod at the muzzle then checking the rod against the outside of the barrel. If the rod goes past the flash hole, you're unloaded. Then I run a lubed rag down the barrel then a dry rag. add powder charge (measured powder charge not like Danl Boone dumping straight from the powder horn). Wet a patch with saliva place on the muzzle and start a ball with the starter. Push the ball into the barrel with the ramrod until it stops. Do not RAM with the ramrod. Push the ball tight on top of the powder and check against the outside of the barrel again. If it appears to be okay, put the ramrod back in the barrel and mark the rod to show the proper depth for that charge. REMOVE the ramrod from the barrel and replace it in it's holder under the barrel. If you do that every time, you will never shoot your ramrod. Now, pour a bit of ffff in the pan, lower the frizzen and cock the hammer. You are now ready to go.

    Aim at a target and pull the trigger, continue aiming at the target, it won't happen instantaneously. There is a delay between trigger pull, a giant fire filled smoke bomb going off way too near your right eye (if you are left handed you really need to learn how to shoot the flinter right handed), and the actual boom.

    When the smoke clears, you'll say "Wow! I wanna do that again!"

    Half cock, open the frizzen and blow down the barrel from the muzzle. The moisture in your breath will soften the BP residue and ready the barrel for the next shot. Repeat all of the above until your hands, face and mouth are black and dirty.

    Disassemble the rifle and scrub with hot soapy water and oil well. If you don't do this last part, your next outing with the rifle will be disappointing.

    Alan


    Alan
    Enjoyed your POST-Alan, having myself never fired a cap and ball rifle before. I did shoot a cap and ball pistol. After loading and placing wax over the front cylinders to keep a fire/spark from firing prematurely the other cylinder ball. It was fun and YES, I did shoot the other cylinders. I do not know anything really about the old cap and ball guns. Just and old read from I think was Chris Kiles, a book called America Guns. Where it may have said something about the old saying people used saying "DON'T RUN OFF HALF COCKT" As the old flintlocks were not constructed in one place. The horseshoe maker or stables would construct the still parts and the carpenters would construct the stocks and another place for the third part-oh yes clockmakers to construct the triggering mechanism. Truly enjoy his book but again not sure truly where I read this as it was so long ago.

    Wonderful read thanks for sharing. Something new to try just once.
    The Wilderness for myself has always been a place, I can escape to and discover my stronger self. A true builder of self-confidence and skills, I never knew we're possible within me to achieve. A tough taskmaster breakdown my self-limits and barriers. I have overcome and found my inner self, leaving behind only the old skin, blood, and sweat, having won a newer stronger self. The Wilderness shows me a better reflection of myself.
    by Dogman.

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    Cap and ball (percussion rifle) is a lot easier to shoot than a flintlock. Lots of things have to be working correctly in sequence to send a roundball downrange with a flintlock.

    and,

    Keep your powder dry.

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan R McDaniel Jr View Post
    Cap and ball (percussion rifle) is a lot easier to shoot than a flintlock. Lots of things have to be working correctly in sequence to send a roundball downrange with a flintlock.

    and,

    Keep your powder dry.

    Alan
    Alan, Black Powder weapons I'm unfamiliar as we did not bring any of the old stuff to the ranges in Fort Benning or any other firearms ranges where I instructed around the world. I shot on and instructed others in the use of firearms. But Not any cap and ball. It was just a long gun, handguns, and some larger, not for everyday usage. I'm thinking 5-shot. Had to load each cylinder through the barrel and put a kind of red wax-like grease over the cylinder once loaded. You had little caps the fit on the back of each cylinder. I say cap and ball as that was what the young man had stated it was. I know having read some of the History as a calvary captain wanted to be able to shot more than one round. The young man came to the range to show it off. But I asked him to wait until everyone had departed and he could shot first. His was a remake of the originals and after came the rechange able cylinders for even faster reloading of the weapon. I believe the first bullet came along in 1856, yes before the civil war. Truly you can see how the US GOVERNMENT overruled the seating President to keep the cheaper Black Powder or whatever they were called in 1863. READ Chris Kyles Book American Gun. https://www.amazon.fr/s?k=american+g...ref=nb_sb_noss

    TRULY NOT MY THING.
    Last edited by DogMan635; 07-10-2020 at 10:43 PM.
    The Wilderness for myself has always been a place, I can escape to and discover my stronger self. A true builder of self-confidence and skills, I never knew we're possible within me to achieve. A tough taskmaster breakdown my self-limits and barriers. I have overcome and found my inner self, leaving behind only the old skin, blood, and sweat, having won a newer stronger self. The Wilderness shows me a better reflection of myself.
    by Dogman.

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys. My inspiration for going with flintlock instead of caplock was a friend and Alafia Rendezvous. While they allow different ignition systems, the flintlocks seem to gain more respect at the range. It also took me into a time period that interested me greatly. The "lifestyle" of a pre-1840 'vous got me into the history. I think the flintlock will keep me interested for a long time. T

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    Shooting a flintlock or percussion rifle or a cap and ball revolver will certainly give you a new perspective and appreciation for what our predecessors had to contend with in their day. I read once (don't ask me to cite the source) that the Comanches, upon attaining the horse and the gun (flintlocks) opted to keep the horse and discard the gun as bows and arrows were more reliable and easier to shoot from horseback.

    The hardest thing for me to learn to do was hold my aim after pulling the trigger. We are used to the near instantaneous response of modern centerfire ammunition. Comparatively, there is a huge delay with a flintlock. You get a "Click-foosh-boom", if you're lucky, in about the time it takes to say that. The flash from the frizzen and flash pan is a little distracting too. I can hit a paper plate about half the time at fifty yards. Percussion rifles are a little easier to shoot, as ignition is quicker.

    Cap and ball revolvers (I normally call them pistols regardless of being scolded to do otherwise. I've been married for 44 years so being scolded has little or no effect on me) are another "fun" activity. You certainly want to guard against chainfires, which DogMan mentioned. There are little wax impregnated wads that can be loaded under the ball and on top of the powder to prevent that from happening. Loading is slow and accuracy is pretty much a short range thing.

    As with any cast lead projectiles these types of firearms are picky about their bullets. They will have different diameter bores and different types of rifling.

    Personally, I only shoot pure lead. I want plenty of wiggle room when the BP explodes.

    Alan

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    Alan, Just a suggestion here, and I'm sure a few members in this forum would be interested in knowing and learning more. I think madmax and others would join your group. A GROUP in this form for whatever you would want to call it, say something Pramative Shooting Skills.
    The Wilderness for myself has always been a place, I can escape to and discover my stronger self. A true builder of self-confidence and skills, I never knew we're possible within me to achieve. A tough taskmaster breakdown my self-limits and barriers. I have overcome and found my inner self, leaving behind only the old skin, blood, and sweat, having won a newer stronger self. The Wilderness shows me a better reflection of myself.
    by Dogman.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    OK fellows I have to put in my two cents.

    I was a reenactor for 40 years, and built most of my own gear, from clothes to shelters and guns. I honestly have a for sure 'nuff Masters Degree in Cowboys and Indians hanging on the office wall.

    I honestly can not tell you how many BP firearms I own. I have not hunted them all down and counted them in years.

    The era I reenacted was the colonial and settlement in Middle Tennessee, KY and NC, and all of that was in the days of the flintlock. Anything else I own was just for fun shooting. I think I have bout 8, maybe 10 flintlock rifles/smoothbores and several flintlock pistols, and there are calibers from .32 up to .75 and at least one cannon, we won't talk about that. All of them I built by hand and historically accurate to their date of use.

    The first one I built I used the instruction in the Foxfire 5 volume, where they followed Hershal House through the building of one of his rifles. That was before You Tube was even a dream and you had to read and follow instructions. I latter became a friend of Hershal and the other House folks. they held a primer rifle shoot and Rhondy on their property for years.

    One of my proudest moments in life was the afternoon Frank House picked up the rifle I had built out of the rack at camp, thinking it was his. Someone told him he had the wrong rifle. I still remember his words, "Damn! Has Hershal seen this?"

    Frank House built the rifle used by Mel Gibson in The Patriot.

    The greatest problem most people have with flintlocks is that they are shooting modern made flintlocks from a factory in Spain or Italy and the guns are actually percussion guns converted to flintlock.
    Very badly converted!

    The percussion guns they make are a half @$$ effort and the flintlocks are even worse!

    There is no trick to a flintlock, no witchcraft or wizardry. You are putting powder into tube that is closed at one end. There is a hole in the side of the tube. You apply a spark to the hole in the side and the thing goes boom! Some Chinese fool figured that out back around 1000ad.

    The people that build them have been trying to figure out how to keep that from happening ever since. Some do an amazing job and build things that simply will not work, giving joy to the antigun people world wide. They do things like make the flash hole so tiny you have to have "priming powder", the ball/patch/bore combination so tight you have to hammer the charge down, and the muzzle so sharp you cut yourself trying to start a ball.

    Just remember that the flintlock system was in use for 200 years before the complexity of percussion caps came along. Percussion was only in vogue for about 30 years before cartridges made it completely obsolete. They had the system pretty much figured out by the time they got to the American Colonial frontier and nothing was really an improvement until cartridges allowed you to shoot faster and not necessarily better.

    Many used their flintlocks long after the caplock was standard due to its reliability and simplicity (three moving parts and three flat springs). The Hudson Bay Company put in its last order to the Belgian factory for a batch of flintlock long guns, (That old NW trade gun Randy mentioned) in 1913. They would have ordered more in 1914 but a war interfered with production. In the Canadian wilderness the flintlock was preferred. As long as you had powder and lead you could shoot.

    If your parts are right, and you assemble them properly, and load them properly, they will work every time you pull the trigger, they will fire as fast as a caplock gun, and they will be as accurate as a modern rifle out to 100 meters, or a bit more sometimes.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
    So I got my modern gun building fix done (For now...) and caught the blackpowder bug. Bought an Investarms .50 cal. Hawken kit. Any tips, warnings, or sources of info will be much appreciated. Thanks. T
    OK I had my rant in the last post so I will be a good guy and actually answer Max in this one.

    First thing to do is check your parts inletting alignment. Make sure the barrel breech block with its hook for the barrel is far enough back to allow the hammer to properly fall onto the nipple of the barrel. You often have to move the barrel back in the stock as much as 1/8" before the hammer will fall onto the cap squarely. You may also have to drill a new hole for the tang screw to go through and catch the trigger plate. Everything on a muzzle loader is connected and dependent on the proper location of other parts.

    That means that you will need to inlet the lock properly to get a fix on the proper barrel location. Don't go too deep, the lock should just touch the barrel and be solid in the wood recess and not slop around. You don't know exactly how deep until you seat the barrel. (see the catch 22 there)

    It easier when you build them from scratch, you get to decide all of this before the first cut. With a kit you have to repair the factory's mistakes.

    Everything else is now a case of making what the factory did wrong work in spite of itself. Seat the barrel in its grove, inlet the trigger in its spot. Hawkins usually have a double set trigger and that requires that you have a flat surface front and rear for the base plate and plenty of room for the parts to work inside the rifle. Make sure the triggers, both front and rear, hit the sear lever and have clearance in their slots inside the rifle. If you don't do that you will have a 500 pound trigger pull or the set trigger will not work at all.

    Speaking of the set triggers, check them before you install them to insure they work. that way you know that if they stop working it is swollen wet wood or some hindrance in the woodworking. I have bought some good rifles cheap because some one messed with the set triggers and gave up on a rifle because the lost a tiny screw.

    One of the things that I have seen over the years is that the kit guns were first designed with flaws in the pattern, and the flaws were never corrected,. they just kept making the same badly engineered product, changing names along the way. The Traditions two piece KY rifle kit made today is the same kit with the same problems that it had as the Jager kit in the 1970s, as the CVA in the 1980s and 1990s and still has today. Same thing with the Investarms of today. It has the exact same flaws they had as the CVA or any of the dozens of brands it was sold as since back when Jeremiah Johnson froze us all back in the the '70s.

    When you get it working and inletted remember that if you are doing period correct work then a polyurethane finish is not appropriate. Sand the wood down progressively to 800 grit and use a vinegar and rusty nails stain sanded between applications, followed by as many coats of boiled linseed oil as you can stand, then apply more linseed oil now and then over the years.

    If you run into problems along the way give me a yell. This would not be my first "kit gun".
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-11-2020 at 12:08 PM.
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  12. #12

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    Thanks kyratshooter. From talking to to at that one camp I was hoping you'd chime in. The "instructions" (har har) are very simplistic. It also says to finish the stock with the brass parts mounted. Seems bassackwards to me but I'll see when I get to that point. I will try and stay period correct with your suggestion of finish. What about the barrel? I need to do something quick. It's raining lot here in the Smokies and we're under a thick canopy. We're off grid here so no climate control until winter in FL. Even my modern guns need a lot of care here.

    l

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    Max, I think you got more than two cents worth from the last two responses. We probably all did.

    Alan

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    Max, the barrels on the originals were furnished in two ways, either charcoal fire blued (yep they heated them till they turned blue), or in the white.

    The barrels left in the white are where everyone gets the idea that they were "browned". The fresh bright barrel rusted a little today, and you rubbed it with bacon grease. Then it rusted a little tomorrow and you rubbed it with more bacon grease. Within 6 months, in most areas of the eastern U.S., the barrel would be a nice rust brown and well greased. The builders hardly ever did the browning. That was considered a charge for something that was going to occur naturally anyway, why pay for it.

    So you can chemically brown it, cold blue it, or just leave it alone and grease it down. lets face it, where you live it is probably going to rust anyway and nothing you can do about it, especially after it has been fired a few times. I have seen them rust on the way back to the tent from the shooting range!

    Your brass is probably going to need a lot of filing and polishing off the rifle. Usually there are lots of mold lines and casting slag intrusions. You might want to install it for the last sanding with 800 grit if you want it stained a bit. If you want it bright you need to finish the rifle and brass separate.

    Keep in mind that the stock wood you have is some kind of European Beech and not really a pretty wood. If you want it historically correct plan to stain it deep, deep dark, like near black. That rusty nails boiled in vinegar stain will do that for you with several applications. Many of the originals were stained with with the rusty nails stuff, and with soot mixed with linseed oil and rubbed in.

    Common guns were left unfinished most of the time to save cost. The shooter stained, painted or just let them collect dirt as they aged and the grease was rubbed in.
    \
    The PA Dutch settlers even painted some of their guns with milk paint. I have a couple like that that I made with strong German influence. The painted guns were sometimes done in bright colors too, like yellow, light blue, with the Dutch hex symbols painted on them.

    I have one Lehigh Valley rifle I did with a Dusseldorf carved on the butt stock rather than a patch box. I did that one in better wood than they would have used on a common rifle.

    Only the really fancy display pieces were were done in select woods and pristine finishes. The fancy guns you see are the prized possessions of rich farmers, preserved perfectly for 200 years, not frontier guns.

    Frontier guns got worn out, torn up, and used up and then they were parted out and the pieces recycled.

    I saw an origional in a museum down in Alabama once that had a Spanish Minquet lock, a marked British Brown Bess barrel, a bent horn trigger guard, a sheet metal butt-plate held on with square nails and the wood had been tested and found to be persimmon.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 07-11-2020 at 11:08 PM.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    You guys have flung a guilt trip on me. I have a near finished rifle that has been sitting in the corner for two years that I need to get done. This one is a .32 with a 42" long barrel, but it is only 3/4" across the flats. The stock is walnut and it will have iron hardware, and of course it will have a flint lock.

    I probably should be working on it on these hot days when I am confined under the AC.

    Here's a start off tip for you Max. Go out in the shop and find a piece of flat stock. Grind the end to the width of your barrel across the flats. Grind and file flats on the end and relieve the edge to form a scraper. bend the end down to form the scraper and drag that down the barrel channel until you can drop the barrel in.

    No real need to be fastidious either. Hawkin, Leeman, Derringer and most of the makers of the plains rifles were making production guns, not hand made treasures. The rough work was done by 10 year old apprentices, the details were done by journeymen gunsmiths and the master smith collected the money and seldom touched a gun unless it was one of those fancy expensive pieces.

    The outside of those original guns usually is passable but the insides often look like they were hacked out with a hatchet. Perfect inletting is almost unknown. They also used hide glue just like we use epoxy filler today. They even stained the glue to match the wood.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Now that's the stuff I was looking for. Thank you. A fellow on another forum is sending me an old copy of a bp book. He says it's accurate and has a lot of history in it.

    My persona is definitely poor frontiersman. So rust and bacon grease on the barrel it shall be. Rusty nails and vinegar I have.

    Cut some nice maple, hickory, poplar, and elm clearing an old logging road on the land. The black locust is going for bow staves. I'm going to try and recreate a smoothbore that would fit in with the local diy guns period correct for here as best I can next. Stock mainly. I'd love some suggestions for hardware for it to look for at Alafia next year. I think Track of the Wolf had Green River barrels on sale too.
    Last edited by madmax; 07-12-2020 at 08:19 AM.

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    I have wanted a rifle by Hacker Martin. I have read that he wasn't a great craftsman. I think he built a rifle about as close as accurate as could be for the times. I loved reading his letters to Muzzleblasts during the 1950s, they are a hoot.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Hacker Martin was a product of his time. He was available and willing to work on guns when no one else would touch an old BP gun. He was not a historian, scholar or craftsman, so he repaired and replaced parts created from his imagination and what he had seen around him as a kid. Historic accuracy was not even a consideration.

    He remembered the tail end of the ML period as a kid and carried that into the 20th Century. The area he lived in was a haven for the last of the old "hog rifles and squirrel guns". The ones he had seen in use were patched and repaired and the wood and parts replaced over and over. He had patched and replaced a lot of them himself.

    That was only possible during the 1920-1960 era when no one else knew how to repair any of these trinkets. There are actually guns in the Smithsonian that Hacker built from scratch and are on display as original when all the museum sent him was a rusty old barrel and he built everything else.

    There are also several fancy guns in the Smithsonian with ivory inlay he did using cow and hog bone to fill in 90% of the missing ivory!

    Someone would send him a lock with a missing hammer or frizzen and he would make a replacement. No one knew if it was right, no one cared because the gun now worked. That gun was then set in a rack and studied as an original, sometimes copied and used as a reference to what was fact.

    And he was known as one of those people spoken of before, that butchered the inletting but made a "pretty" gun so they could get by. They did not call him Hacker for no reason. He was just all there was so he gained a reputation and people sent him work.

    Hacker was also only a part time gunsmith. His real vocation was the owner of a gristmill. He only worked on guns when the creek dried up and there was no water to power the mill.

    Now Max, if you want a working gun for a poor farmer, or the hardware for making such a gun, the look to the surplus gun market. Surplus military and militia guns were cheap as chips on the frontier market and one of the most common types.

    That is true to the point that most of our favored smoothbore types of today are decended directly from those forms, with the Brown Bess being 10 gauge, the Charliville/Springfield pattern being 12 gauge, The French Cavalry Carbine being 20 gauge,,,,do you see a pattern forming??? Those gauges were set during our Rev War and have stayed with us.

    I read a census for 1790 in the Nashville,TN records that listed the family members in each household and how many firearms that family owned. That was important to know in the middle of the second Cherokee War. They listed two guns for each person in the settlement with about 2/3 of them being "muskets". knowing the loose definitions of those times I take that to mean about any smoothbore, but speaks for the generic commonness of the military musket on the frontier.

    That also means that when the wood broke or rotted out from oil and grease or worms they replaced it with what they had and recycled the iron furniture. They also used a lot of bone and horn where we would use plastic or metal. Horn muzzle caps, butt plates and trigger guards were common. I have also seen carved wood trigger guards. Lots of the poor folks had no metal on the gun except the lock and barrel, and perhaps one thimble for the ramrod. Metal was scarce on the frontier. It was heavy to transport and difficult to make locally. Unless you lived near a population center you had few extra bits of metal about for gun parts. I have seen saws and knife blades made from military surplus trigger guards and butt plates, so someone valued the metal more for its use than its adornment value.

    Down in your area there was Spanish influence, French influence and English trade, but when it comes to guns the English always won out. The main reason was that in the extremely early years the English demanded that even the cheap trade guns be proofed when no one else did. What you find at the archaeological sites is the remains of English guns holding French flints in their jaws and loaded with undersized French precast balls wrapped in buckskin patches or grass wadding.

    Yep, many of the Indians were buried with loaded guns as grave goods! Usually lots more locks than complete guns, it is suspected the locks were used as their version of a Zippo.

    The Indians would buy their powder and balls (Balls were shipped in huge barrels precast to fit the french trade guns. Yes, the French had standard gauges and interchangeable parts.) from the local french trade post, but they would travel long distances into the English colonies to buy their guns at high price.

    French guns were favored only deep in the French areas where there was no access to anything but French goods and the quality varied constantly due to lack of proofing. That is why the Fussel de Chase became the standard reenactment French hardware. They were better quality and a few of them managed to survive in the hands of French settlers and museums, so they are our French pattern.

    The Spanish only allowed the trade of very small bore guns to the natives, and there were very few "Spanish" settlers to demand better quality or more power. The Spanish were mostly soldiers armed with issue muskets, and clergy. The Spanish guns in the Florida territories are often as small as .40 caliber, which is very small for a frontier gun. They have found some of those up into the Cherokee regions all the way into Virginia. The first traders going into the VA/TN/NC tribal areas reported that the Cherokee already had Spanish guns as early as the 1670s.

    What wood to use??? A poor man would use/have better wood than you might think. They considered American walnut a trash wood, so any stock blank you buy in walnut would do. They also used a lot of fruit wood. Cherry of course but also a lot of apple and persimmon and American Chessnut, but that has been extinct for 100 years so that is out unless you have an old bedstead or cabin rafter lying about.

    Whatever you pick, if you are starting from a rough blank, pick a wood that carves easily and is not fibrous when cut across the grain. Inletting the hardware is almost impossible in soft woods, they tear out badly, and a really hard wood is equally difficult to shape properly. I have one that is super hard maple that I started back in 1996 and I may get it finished one day. I keep wearing chisels out on it.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

  19. #19
    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I've been looking at a brown bess "kit" from IMA. Just don't know what to think about shooting a 200 year old gun.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

  20. #20
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    I would only go that route if I wanted a wall hanger Randy. No way to tell what shape the inside of that barrel or the screw threads on the breech plug are in. Plus that would be the "India Pattern" that was only used in the U.S. in limited numbers during the War for Texas Independence by Santa Anna's army.

    There was some outfit in Canada that was importing new manufacture with no touch hole drilled at one point so they could sell them across the border as decorative guns.

    They even come with the touch hole center punched so you know where to drill.

    Here I found them, it was Middlesex Village Traders.

    http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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