Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rekindled interest :)

A book I have been long looking out for, was sent to me. In it is some information about my great great grandfather who was a gunsmith in the 1860's. I found this info out at a time I was trying to build a long term "hobby/job" out of the muzzleloading lifestyle. Over the years family members had mentioned to me about the family history and it never sank in, last year it took hold and has really bitten into me :p

Cooking is my livelihood at the moment and almost pays the bills, plus being allot of fun when I can cook my own way. But I need something away from the kitchen to lighten up with. My other hobbies do help and are good to switch to when things get clogged up, but I always seem to come back to muzzleloading, even though i haven't shot in years. I maintain my current arms and generally get attracted to just about anything from my preferred era, funny as it's also the same time frame as when my ancestor was gunsmithing :p the mid 1800's :) Most of my razors are from this time, coins, so many other interests seem to flow back to this time period. So I think I need to listen to this and get busy with it :)

Granted most of my family roots are back east, my immediate family was the only ones to go west that I know of. So I will be looking to that migration period to form my own interests. The idea of setting up a "Trading Post - BP Gunsmith" focusing on the mid 1800's just seems like a fun thing to do as a hobby business if and when I can retire, plus the idea of having a place away from the house to have my stuff :)

Well time to read some more of my new book, "The Pennsylvania Kentucky Rifle" I'm sure I'll finish it in a month :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Howdy all,

I've been slacken off lately, had some health issues that required immediate attention and the bi product of that has been me getting out to exercise alot more. I've taken up my bicycle again and have been riding alot more than working on my muzzleloaders :p

That said I have a better clue as to what book my great great grandfather is listed in, now if I was smart I would have printed the email... oops... will have to look it up and print it this time...

Till next time :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Patch Knife continued...

Well to my disappointment I found a hairline crack in a 1850's era razor... But not to be down to long... I now have a patch knife piece to make for my rifle :)
This razor would have been a great shaver, if it wasn't for that frigging crack hiding next to that chip. As I was working out the chip I saw a scratch that wasn't going the right direction, being paranoid about these things I checked the other side... yup same scratch... Crap not a scratch... It's a crack, and they never hone out right enough to shave with again... /cry...
So I'll be removing the scales (putting them on a Bell Belfast) and looking for a piece of horn to set this razor in :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Patch Knives

Interesting observation brought up over on my Straight Razor blog. "The use of the Patch Knife" as well as where did the term start from.

I use an old razor for my patch knife, tang is just secured in an antler tip. I think I'll also toss all my busted razors over on my bench and see what ones can be altered into patch knives.

Just my speculation but I think the term "Patch Knife" came about in recent times when you didn't have to carry a small knife everywhere you went for daily chores. Back in the day when you where living off the land your knives where on you and used for everything, and the smaller one would cut the patches as needed. Once we didn't need that knife for everything we did, we stopped carrying it or it morphed into another tool that may not have been thought of to cut patches. Heck by that time we didn't need patches any longer. So now if you step back into the BP era you find you need a small knife to cut the patches.

I'd love to see what others are carrying in their kits, as it gives me ideas on what to make for mine... At the moment my kit is modern junk I scrounged up in the early 80's and just never replaced :p Now I find I want to replace it all with stuff I made myself. Kind of exciting to get working on it all :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

While I'm searching for more experience...

While I'm out and about gathering info and goodies for my muzzleloading addiction I found myself distracted by Straight Razors again :p So much so that... Ya another Blog... It was just easier to keep them all separated and not getting all mixed up :p

So what I have been doing is focusing on the Black Powder era razors. And there are allot of very interesting razors out there that fit the time lines many of us follow. Granted the real early ones, pre 1800, are a real bugger to find. It's almost like a wall has been built at around 1790... you just don't see much before that period, and the few that pop up get fuzzy as to when they really where made. Unless you luck out and get a name that was known to have closed before 1800... than your good :p

I now have 2 in the 1790-1820 range and they are both great shavers :) But my personal interests run a bit later, 1830 to 1860, both in razors and rifles :)

So when I have something date related I'll bring that razor over here to add to the feel here but for now all my Razor stuff will be at the Cut-Throat of a Different Kind blog :)

I don't have much to report at this time as I have about 25 vintage razors to restore and that's being covered next door :p

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


About 20 years ago a friend traded a .45 Kentucky rifle kit for some reloading I did for him. He has sense passed away and I really want to finish the rifle, just cause :p But it's not a very good kit and in bad shape... I've been dragging my heels getting this done and really should do it just got the memories... But it may never be a good shooter as there is a good deal of pitting that I may not be able to lap out, it's also a cheapie. It makes no sence to me to dump any $$ into it as I don't expect to use it much. But I hate sinking allot of time into a rifle not thinking it will be a shooter.

Arrgghh!! If money was not an issue I'd replace the bad parts and make it real, but alas that is not the case... So close to done and so far lol...

Sorry for the ramblings but I just had to vent a bit about this problem I'm having with myself :p

Monday, April 12, 2010

Skills... Oh my...

As I go about my usual routine I find tidbits of interesting info that tend to tie allot of loose thoughts together. Say for instance, as I posted earlier, how people are loosing the ability to feed themselves from scratch , and a story from a search and rescue writer about how people react when under survival issues. And some interesting comments here . A loss of basic skills that not to long ago was common knowledge, seems to accelerate as we become more tech savvy. Problem is that that High Tech life style is so fragile. Look at all the natural disasters that have happened in the past few years that have really shocked the world. How many of these people could take basic care of them selves in these situations?

How does this all tie into this Blog? Well I'm glad you asked :p Ok the echo's can stop now, darn crickets...

Muzzleloading as a hobby is returning to the basics of shooting and marksmanship. Once we get used to the way a muzzleloader (ML) works we start looking at different styles of ML. We find the flintlock, Now we don't need to rely on a cap to fire the rifles charge. Than we start looking how to knapp our own flints. What I'm getting at is that without thinking about it we are starting to learn a skill that will help us outside of our hobby. By learning some Primitive Living skills, say from an interest in colonial living shows. Your also learning a few vital skills that will help your odds of surviving a catastrophic collapse, be in a natural disaster or a laps of direction in the woods at the wrong possible time. Being able to make shelter and a fire from what you can find around you is a HUGE first step in surviving till help finds you, or strengthens you so you can go find help.

The more I dig into my interests in muzzleloading and primitive living the more I feel at peace with my surroundings. So if I get into an accedend going over the mountains, a trip I do all the time, I know I'll be able collect myself shortly and get stabelized enough to hang in there overnight or a few days. The news is full of stories about someone that let panic rule them and they didn't survive, only a short distance from help.

Sorry for the public announcement here, we will now return to our regular ramblings about muzzloaders :)

For those interested in reading more

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ages of period razors

Here are a few of my razors. The one that looks like a sharpened popcicle stick is from 1790's and the one with deep finger grooves is around 1830-50 (ish). The pic with 3 blades shows 3 era's pre 1800, 1850's, and post 1900. As can be seen not alot changed in the basic shape of tang, spine, shoulder, and blade. Only refinements of these structures as the machine age took over. Lucky there are alot of modern knife makers moving over to make straight razors, I'm tempted to commision one from as early as I can find :) see what happens...

I'm still waiting for a razor history book at the library so I can start getting some more accurate info on makers you can do searches for and posable cherry pick some goodies out there. The pic with 3 blades is how I won them off Ebite for next to nothing :) Ya that was a good buy... not so lucky on most of my bids haha.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shaving around camp

Funny how hobbies can overlap at times. I have been a straight razor shaver for 3 or 4 years exclusively now and it just dawned on me that I'm using a few razors that where around during the early days of the American long rifle. Well almost, my oldest one is from the 1790's and a few more from the early 1800's.

I recently was in a conversation with a few reenactors that wanted to get a period correct shave kit set up. And that got me thinking I should look at what I have and see if I could set up my own gear. Granted I'm not much of a PC lawyer but it would still be interesting to group some of my guns with other goodies from the times.

If more are interested I'll post some pics and go from there, heck I just bought another one that looks to be a mid 1800's french razor that should clean up to shave ready. We shall see when it arrives, my first french blade :p

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Patch Material

Don't let the sewers in your life know about this...

If you have ever bought pre cut patches lately you know the $$ has gotten crazy. Years ago I bought a yard of cotton twill (sales lady said what it was, I have no clue) and it lasted FOR EVER :) but i can't remember the cost than. Well I just bought 1 yard of patch material and half a yard of cleaning patch material, with tax $12.50... Compared to the pre cut bag of 100 patches at $7.95 locally YIKES!!! You can also "hover" around the sewers and grab up the scraps of any all natural fiber fabrics they use :) , this makes good testing patches. If you find a fabric that works for you, buy more :)

One thing you need to look for is 100% natural fiber cloth, While I haven't shot a poly blend myself I have been at the range with someone that did, melted patches don't shoot well... When you get your new material home you will want to wash it to get the sizing stuff out of it. This gives you a better feel for it's thickness, thickness is very important and takes some testing to get right.

Patch thickness is yet another cog in the machine of accuracy. There is no magic thickness, it's part of the "Patched Round Ball (PRB)" chain that needs testing to find the right combo that works for you and your rifle. PRB chain consists of your lube, patch and round ball of choice. Some barrels like different things and you have to be flexible and test products to find the "load" that works for you. More on lubes in another topic :p

If you already use a pre cut patch that works for you, say Ox-Yoke brand, they should have had a patch thickness on the label. This will give you a starting point to getting your fabric at the store. Remember that the stuff has a sizer in it and that flattens the fabric a bit. Take the patch with you and ask the counter helper to direct you to something close to that material. Get as much as you need, smallest amount for testing, wash it, and cut into strips or squares as you like. Hit the range and blow smoke :) Find and read your patches to make sure things are going well.

I'll get another post on reading patches in a bit. Have to wash this batch of cloth :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Here are the before Pics I mentioned. As can be seen the wood and a few heavy machine markes will need to go away. I will finish the handle just casue while I make a new one for it out of nicer wood.

These pics are from my only camera, IE my cell phone :p I took some more pics but they didn't come out well. I'll have to try a better light source...

CVA 1851 Navy .36

I just recieved a Kit for a CVA (Connecticut Vally Arms) 1851 Navy .36 caliber revolver with a brass frame. CVA is not known for it's high quality but it's affordable and a good way to get people interested at a reasonable cost. I've got to get my Pics taken before I start so I can document all the changes I do to this revolver. I've only just taken it out of the box and find I have no parts list or any kind of paperwork so I'll have to take apart my other revolver to check the parts with :p Never fails haha. One thing I'm hopeing to change is the wood grip. It's a soft wood and not looking to good. I'm going to play around and see if I can make a better one. All else fails I get experience in making wood grips :p

As Pics and steps in the making get done I'll post them. Next pics will be how things look out of the box....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Working on the shop plan

Well I'm now at the planning stage, writing my buisness plan :) That will keep me insane for at least a week :) Than off to the SBA for some free counseling on the subject. After that I'm sure I'll be recovering from the heart attack that meeting will cause lol...

Already found a great piece of wood to start making some inventory items. I'll need that to keep from going nuts and to unwind.

Thats all for now...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Memories of a hunt

So far my best memory for hunting squirrels was at my folks ranch before I left for the Army, 1987ish. A friend had long ago purchased a Hatfield 36 caplock with all the beautiful woodwork. At this time I had never seen anything short of kit guns and my TC Hawken, the TC Hawken being the top of my experience at the time. He let me use the Hatfield for a few days while I went after bushy tails for a stew. I took it over to my known distance shooting area and was pleased that the sights and my load liked each other 350 RB with wonder lube over 40 gr 3F. 3 shots touching at 50yds... good enough for bushy tails.

I went down just below the earth dam where the trees are thick and marshy, always see greys there and today was no different. I have a favorite rock I use as a seat, flat and has a bit of shelf to the side, enough to put my possibles bag. As I sat there waiting for the buggers to get used to me being there I almost forgot why I was there. Calm day clear sky (what I could see of it lol) and clear air... intoxicating... Not long a wait I saw the buggers running around again.

The Hatfield was a LONG bugger, longest I had played till that time, and had trouble with holding it straight out. Once I got the hang of it I was fine, I think I developed a dislike of full stocks and long Bbls at that time... However when I got under the buggers, with them up in the trees I was very happy with the rifle. With the weight coming straight down on my shoulder the rifle seemed to not move at all. This rifle had full buckhorn sights, When I got the squirrel "In the TV screen" poof... down came bushy tail. I would slid it down to my foot and reload getting ready for the next lul to catch them in the open

I got 3 for dinner that day and we both had a great stew thanks to that rifle. The owner of the Hatfield as sence passed away and I don't know the fate of this rifle. I will not soon forget it.

Not long after I traded for a shorter 36 caplock that turned out to need ALOT of work... that rifle has been dragged ALL over the states and AK for the past 20 some odd years waiting for me to wake up and fix it. Well this year has been an awakening for me and I will get it done as experience for my goal of becoming a muzzleloader gunsmith like my great great grandfather I have a mission

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Projects are lining up...

As I get more involved in getting my knowledge built up I find more projects to get going. 2 more have just taken shape, and if things go well I may have all 3 done in the next two years time. The first project, in the post prior to this one, should be done by June July area. So the next two will be gong after that one.

#1 is a 36 flinty that will come from my family roots. Looking up family history to see where we where in the lat 1700's. That area will be that pattern of rifle I build :)

#2 is going to be a Pre1840 Hawken in .58 or .62, I like em BIG :) I like this idea as my mother was the only part of our family to head west, so my branch of the family will be tied to that rifle.

I'm going to try and get both stocks from the same tree if possible, ya long shot there but ya never know till you try.

Ever get that feeling that you have been in a fog for so long, that when you find a clearing you just loose it :p and you never want to let it go again? Shooting and Black Powder has been that way for me. For YEARS I have buried this interest not willing to let it go but not daring to look at it. Well I have looked at it this past year and I'm not going to loose it again. All the things I was going to do, before I shut the door on this part of my life, are going to be explored... Guess this is my mid life crisis, who knows, but I'm going for it and see what it brings me :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Project as it stands

Well things are lining up for me so far, short of being in CA... Thats another issue all together...

I'm currently looking for a Case Colored G2 frame and because in CA you seem to have to buy a Bbl now to get a frame (looking deeper into that one) I will also be ordering it with a 50 ML tube, and walnut stocks. I don't know how much that will set me back but I have decided to sell off my coins and get a new frame set up

By the way, this poor thing will not look the same when I get done with it

I'm replacing the recoil pad with a brass butt plate. The forend will be reworked totally, no longer using screws but will have brass keys, also with a brass nose cap. The Bbl will also be stripped of it's finnish and browned. I'm still playing with the idea of redoing the sights as well.

If I'm going to learn to play with an In-line It's going to be on my terms

As much as I really want to get my Preditor project done, this has stuck a chord in my that hasn't let up yet. In my mind this will look great, lets hope I'm not completely insane HAHA

Monday, February 15, 2010

BlackPowder Gunsmithing

After a long day at work (cook on V-Day...) I got it in my head that I really needed to look into this. 25 years ago I had the fortunate experience to work with Hans Vang in Southern California. My interests at the time would have propelled me to follow in his footsteps had I not talked myself out of it all those years ago... I spent years burying that interest as I just couldn't afford to keep it going. Not that I can afford to do now :p but I have a career in the kitchen and I can now accept that this is something I REALLY wanted to do for SOOOO long.

But I don't have as much drive to work on modern firearms, I want to focus on muzzleloaders, and I am not going to talk myself out of it. I'm going to study what skills I'll need, what tools, what licences, so on and so forth. I may need to take a few classes and I may have to get certified somewhere.. or something... Who knows, but that is what I'm going to find out. I'm giving myself a few deadlines on research and a project that must me made.

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows my feelings on in-line or "the Modern" muzzleloader... Ya I don't care for them much... at all... SOOO my project is to convert a popular model using my current skills into something of a flagship muzzleloader that those that like in-lines would be ok in purchasing as a conversion. Whether I sell that one or convert others is not my current goal. Getting it made, using it on a hunt, and having that peer group critique it. If it's a favorable endeavor, and something I can afford to produce at a reasonable cost than I'll start with that project. Ether way I'll end up with an In-line that I can stand to have around and it will tell me if I have what it takes to continue this endeavour :)

I'll be posting my project as it comes together. Till that time it will have to remain my little secret :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Traditionalist in the land of in-lines

Sux to be me at times. I'm a "traditionalist" type shooter, I use Goex black powder, not a substitute powder. Using a sidelock Percussion or flintlock standard rifle set up. Patched roundball is my prefered projectile with the occasional mini ball if needed.

No 209 ignition, substitute powder pellet, sabot shot, stainless steel barrel, scoped rifles for me. That may as well be a cartrige gun in my eyes. Yes I'm in the minority here and I am told that regularly, by those that use the above mentioned thingies... Seems the people making the laws are ether ignorant (most likely) or don't like traditional shooter/hunters. Because here in California there is something called a Lead Free zone, no lead projectiles can be used to hunt large game. So what you say? Or "sounds good, not having all that lead in the animales we hunt" and I'm inclined to like not having lead particules in my food... However has anyone tried to use a lead free round out of a traditional muzzleloader? Blind people are more accurate than these rounds out of the slow twists used in a traditional muzzleloader. Round Ball rifling (traditional Bbls) is around 1:60 twist (0ne full twist in 60 inches) while the sabot style rounds do best in a 1:28 twist... So you ether have to buy another Bbl and get it all broken in to shoot sabot or get another rifle entirely, both are expensive prospects in todays market.

So I'm currently on the fence as to what I'm going to do... I really don't want to shoot sabot rounds as I feel that not what muzzleloading is all about, so I can no longer hunt legaly in my area using what should be used in the muzzleloading season... Oh well...

Champain interests on a "on sale" beer budget

What can I say, I'm a cook and we just don't make the big bucks. This post and many that will undoubtedly follow are as much for me to track my ideas as they are out there to help or gain help from those that read this. So I shall begin...

One day I will have a Hawken that is "Period Correct" pre 1840's, till that time though I will make due with T/C's Hawken line of rifles. I'm always on the look out for these rifles when I find a shop that actually stocks muzzleloaders, yes a rare find indeed... My current TC Hawken is a early 80's 50 cal Perc with nice walnut wood, I've also had the muzzle flowered as I find that to beautiful "Art Form". You just don't see that very much out there.

I'm still looking for at least 2 more T/C Muzzleloaders, that are not collector items, a flintlock Hawken (any caliber) and the T/C Big Boar 58 monster. I came across one years ago in the Bay Area and talked myself out of it... I have regretted that choice ever sense...

Why do I like the Thompson Center Hawken line so much, well it just fits me. When I pick it up and shoulder it, the sights are right in line. Not many rifles fit me that well that easily. While it's rifling is a bit of a bugger, 1:48, mine has kept tight clover leafs at 75yds when I do my part. So I pretty much stick to that load.

New beginings...

Well as my other interestes waken other hobbies I find the two topics just don't need to be on the same blog. So I make one here from my interests in Muzzleloading.