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Picked up a couple of new guns....

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Picked up a couple of new guns....
Well, the barrel and breech plugs for them anyway. Brand new project that I have been wanting to tackle for years. Building two muzzleloaders (longrifles) for next season - 42" .50 Caliber for me, and a 36" .45 caliber for my Girlfriend. I'm not sure who is more excited about building these. I plan to take my time and work on them all spring into late summer before they are complete. I only bought the barrels and breechplugs for now in an effort to keep me from trying to build them in a weekend.

Aren't they beautiful?!?



ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Hope you have some beautiful wood picked out for the stocks.
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
any particular style/school in mind?

they are fun to build and shoot






"Just because the man does not offer you a drink Hastings, does not mean he is automatically guilty of other crimes" Agatha Christie's Poirot
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Brad...you know me, Nothing but the best as far as the stocks go. Looking for some good curly hard maple and/or a really good piece of figured black walnut for the .45. May have to make some calls out of whatever I don't use for the stocks, I'm sure there will be some leftovers.
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Rick...very nice, I assume you built that one? I'm leaning in the direction of the Lancaster School since my Grandfather was originally from that area, but I don't really want to lock myself into anything that would be called a copy, These two are going to be based closest to the Lancaster premise, but they will be customs, just so I can have the freedom of creating what we both want. Can't wait to get rolling on them and make some smoke!
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'

Last edited by:

Steve Steffy: Feb 21, 2021, 3:57 AM
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Steve Steffy wrote:
Brad...you know me, Nothing but the best as far as the stocks go. Looking for some good curly hard maple and/or a really good piece of figured black walnut for the .45. May have to make some calls out of whatever I don't use for the stocks, I'm sure there will be some leftovers.


Here's a question someone on here surely knows the answer to. When and why did walnut (of various species) become the gunstock material of choice? Why don't we see maple stocks--which would be pretty--or ash or oak or any other durable wood. I know some of the early American long rifle makers did use maple, but I don't think I've seen a maple stock on a modern gun.

There must be a reason. Is it functional?

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Steve Steffy wrote:
Rick...very nice, I assume you built that one? I'm leaning in the direction of the Lancaster School since my Grandfather was originally from that area, but I don't really want to lock myself into anything that would be called a copy, These two are going to be based closest to the Lancaster premise, but they will be customs, just so I can have the freedom of creating what we both want. Can't wait to get rolling on them and make some smoke!



yes - that one is my take on one made by Schroyer (York school) - my first was a Lancaster school pattern, I like the stock profiles - less of the "Roman Nose" deep drop some others have


George Shumway's books are incredible research material - https://www.shumwaypublisher.com/...ategory.aspx?catid=2




"Just because the man does not offer you a drink Hastings, does not mean he is automatically guilty of other crimes" Agatha Christie's Poirot
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
 
Steve,

No doubt that you will do a fine job with the two Smokepoles, and look forward to the seeing the rifles. Yer keeping the PA tradition going.

It's good to see them gaining popularity with many clubs having weekly shoots, as there was in the past.


A very good friend lives a couple counties south of you. He has built some mighty fine Smokepoles, squirrel guns, large bore, and Brown Bess, that have taken a good amount of game.

He looks at my old TC roundball, Hawken .50cal. and shakes his head... Wink


Keep yer powder dry.

Best regards
Vince











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Jeff,
I have a muzzle loader from the family that is really old. I don't know the history on it, but the stock is Birds Eye maple. I've considered scrapping the rifle and having a couple calls made from the stock material. The wood is beautiful.

RVZ
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Rod VanZile wrote:
Jeff,
I have a muzzle loader from the family that is really old. I don't know the history on it, but the stock is Birds Eye maple. I've considered scrapping the rifle and having a couple calls made from the stock material. The wood is beautiful.

RVZ


Yes. I've read about quite a few early American long guns with curly or other figured maple stocks. And that makes sense with how common sugar maple was in our woods. But it seems at some point the gunmakers started making walnut the standards for everything from bespoke double guns to off-the-shelf lever action rifles and pump shotguns. The only exception came late in the 20th century when some makers started selling their least expensive models with "hardwood" stocks. (On my 870, this appears to be birch, but I am guessing. It's sure not curly or walnut.) Just thinking about hard woods used for furniture, I'd think maple, walnut, and cherry, at least, would all be durable and attractive.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Jeff, I'd be guessing but a lot of early guns were maple. I am thinking that that was a function of availability and workability. Gunmakers in New England would have had greater access to maple. The range of black walnut tends to be further south and west than the northern hardwoods of New England. Walnut is easier to work than sugar maple. The figure on maple can be beautiful but it requires sharp tools. Walnut is more dramatic and I'd rate it as more workable. Now why not cherry? I'd bet that some where along the line walnut became the "preferred" gunstock wood so other wood was only used when walnut was too expensive or rare.
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
That makes sense. A nice piece of cherry would make for a pretty stock.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
I've read that fruit woods (apple, pear, cherry) were used, but I've never come across one. Woods like oak and ash tend to be straight grained and split pretty easily when fully dry so would be poor choices to handle recoil. I would imagine with the westward expansion more and more guns were imported from Europe and England to outfit settlers. At some point the lightbulb went off in someone's head that there was a whole lot of native walnut all over the place that might make a decent stock.

Last edited by:

Nick Taxiarchis: Feb 22, 2021, 12:22 PM
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Jeff...I've only seen a maple stock (curly) on one modern firearm. My buddy in Ohio has a predator hunting rifle made from curly maple. It is a fine piece of wood, but it seems a bit odd and out of place on his gun. Likely because it has a lighter finish to it...in lieu of the darker finish found on most maple guns. It just looked weird to me. I would have to put a darker finish on it if it were mine.

As far as when walnut came into play...I don't have a definitive answer to that; however, I think Brad may have been onto something. Just like our beloved decoys, rifle makers of the day used what was predominantly available to them. That just happened to be maple more often than not. I also read somewhere that walnut was used by apprentices working in the shops, easier to work and still plenty strong with nice straight grain.

Yet, another piece I read was that walnut began being used by the military and it took off from there. The wood guns we see on the market now are indeed birch with a darker walnut stain to them, much cheaper, not nearly as durable and well, I don't care for those stocks at all. I'll be searching high and low for that perfect stock blank. I'll be sure to post it up here when I find it.
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Rick...I like those schools much better too. I do have the Longrifles of Pennsylvania book and also picked up Schumways Pennsylvanis Longrifles of Note....great color pictures in that book. I'm sure I'll be picking up plenty more reference material in the coming weeks.

Are you still building guns? How many did you build over the years?
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Thanks Vince...I appreciate your confidence. Is that friend a retired State Police Trooper named Ron ?? I'm pretty sure his first name is Ron...the same guy that used to set up down at the Pymatuning Show? If so, he does make some outstanding rifles. I'd love to chat with him again.
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Ron...I know a guy if you decide to scrap the stockWhistle

Not that I'm looking to make any calls, but if you decide you want to give me a shout.
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Nick...you got that spot on. Hickory, oak, ash are tend to be prone to tear out when worked. I have seen some gunstocks made from ash that were amazing, though not all too common. Hickory and oak, I've never seen any. Cherry is another commonly used wood for custom gunstocks.
ADK 46R #9464
7/46W
NE 115 55/115
Mt. Rainier - 14,410'
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Re: Picked up a couple of new guns.... In reply to
Steve Steffy wrote:
Rick...I like those schools much better too. I do have the Longrifles of Pennsylvania book and also picked up Schumways Pennsylvanis Longrifles of Note....great color pictures in that book. I'm sure I'll be picking up plenty more reference material in the coming weeks.

Are you still building guns? How many did you build over the years?


not lately -

I was a French and Indian war reenactor for many years, and did a lot of black powder target shooting and hunting (in period garb) as well back then-

i finished three - two longrifles and a fowler.

I have another LONG rifle (47" custom barrel) that has been about half built for a awhile - meant to be an early Beck style - need to get back to it

any of the Shumway books are good reference or the CD's of pictures or books from the Kentucky Rifle foundation are also great
http://kentuckyriflefoundation.org/

there is an annual Longrifle gunmkers fair in Kemton Pa http://www.dixonmuzzleloading.com/# -if the virus allows it is an incredible resource

can't find a good pic of the fowler - here is the other longrifle - Lancaster school with a sliding wood lid patch box







"Just because the man does not offer you a drink Hastings, does not mean he is automatically guilty of other crimes" Agatha Christie's Poirot