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Thread: American Long Rifles

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    American Long Rifles

    I'm interested in studying the construction of American Long Rifles. I have a copy of 'The Gunsmith Of Grenville County'. This was recommended to me as a great starting point. As I prefer to have multiple perspectives, are there any more references anyone can recommend?

    Thank you for your time, and hope your day is pleasant.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    You may want to look at this forum and ask questions of the very knowledgeable folks there: http://www.americanlongrifles.org/forum/

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Thank you! I'll do that.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Kindigs (I believe that is correct) books offer great photographs of original specimens. Check with the NMLRA as well as I'm not sure what publications they may have available.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Squeeze's Avatar
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    this one is pretty old, Ive watched it a few times now. Ive always found Wallace Gussler's talents amazing, and a fascinating watch.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    This is a very informative video. I thank you very much.

    That said, it is just work. Hard work, but basic work. Where does one go from here?
    Last edited by Hannibal; 06-25-2017 at 05:42 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    So. The gunsmith makes everything except hacksaw blades and files?

    Now I understand.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Dryball's Avatar
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    try Thoughts on the Kentucky Long Rifle
    Domari Nolo

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Thank you for posting the video .

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Doug Shumway books are great sources. Massive amount of pictures.

  11. #11
    "The Art of Building the Pennsylvania Longrifle"
    by Chuck Dixon
    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not
    "Thomas Jefferson"

  12. #12
    Boolit Master taco650's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maven View Post
    You may want to look at this forum and ask questions of the very knowledgeable folks there: http://www.americanlongrifles.org/forum/
    They are very knowledgeable but also purists when it comes to custom muzzleloader rifle building. And like most purists, they will also have no problem giving their opinion and telling you if they think you're wrong.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Only thing unusual I can remember about the long rifles was that most stock makers stained the Maple wood with tobacco juice rather than any common wood stain.

    I have made my own walnut stain by leaving walnuts from my trees with the hull still on in plastic bags till the hull decomposes and releases a thick goop. I then wash the goop off the plastic with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol which I can then use directly to wipe down the wood. I make more stain by putting the decomposed walnuts with hulls in a pot wit holes punched in the bottom and pouring scalding hot water over them. The water is then put in a shallow tray and left to dry in the sun. The residue left in the tray is then dissolved with rubbing alcohol and the mix is poured into old jelly jars and sealed for future use.

    Its been many years since I made this home made walnut stain.
    The scalded stain has a reddish tint while the stain taken directly from the bags is darker and with little or no reddish tint.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    Been buying reading books over the years also. Two years ago came across this one... Flintlock Fowlers The first guns made in America by Tom Grinslade. Well written and more good executed photos than words. Roughly covers 1700-1820.
    If I only had one book about the colonial era this is the one I would go for.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  15. #15
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    Quote Originally Posted by Multigunner View Post
    Only thing unusual I can remember about the long rifles was that most stock makers stained the Maple wood with tobacco juice rather than any common wood stain.

    I have made my own walnut stain by leaving walnuts from my trees with the hull still on in plastic bags till the hull decomposes and releases a thick goop. I then wash the goop off the plastic with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol which I can then use directly to wipe down the wood. I make more stain by putting the decomposed walnuts with hulls in a pot wit holes punched in the bottom and pouring scalding hot water over them. The water is then put in a shallow tray and left to dry in the sun. The residue left in the tray is then dissolved with rubbing alcohol and the mix is poured into old jelly jars and sealed for future use.

    Its been many years since I made this home made walnut stain.
    The scalded stain has a reddish tint while the stain taken directly from the bags is darker and with little or no reddish tint.
    Aquafortis was the most common stain used. I have tried tobacco juice, unsatisfactory. Yesterday I stained a stock using ferric nitrate, which is what you get with aquafortis, after fortifying it with iron oxide. I then blushed the acid to neutral with heat, to achieve the desired color. For maple, I find it gives a nicer color with first wiping down the stock with a very strong black tea solution (tannin), then vinegar to add acidity, then the stain.
    The advantage of using an acid stain is, it is color fast. I have found that in using dyes on maple, it tends to fade somewhat over the years. Not a lot, but noticeable if you pay attention to it. I will still use it on occassion, to achieve a desired color.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  16. #16
    Boolit Master taco650's Avatar
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    Aquafortis... going to Google that one.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Excellent video.Have seen it a couple of times.Still most interesting.Thanks for posting.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
    People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war,or before an election.
    Otto von Bismarck

  18. #18
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


    waksupi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taco650 View Post
    Aquafortis... going to Google that one.
    Go with ferric nitrate. It is made from aquafortis by adding oxidized iron to reach solution. Exactly what you have to do if you start with aquafortis, and is safer to handle. You can get enough off Ebay to do a half dozen guns easy for around $10.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  19. #19
    Boolit Master





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    Hershel House's videos of making a rifle.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    The most intimidating thing I see about making a rifle the 'old school' way lies in the barrel forging. There's no way I could swing a 3 or 4 pound hammer long enough to do even half of that process. And I know of no one who would/could help me.

    And then to proof test with a 4x overcharge and hope it doesn't split, only to start anew if it fails?

    Incredible. I just don't have enough time, let alone patience to master that skill.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check