|Project by RogerBean||posted 12-30-2015 06:46 PM||1742 views||4 times favorited||41 comments|
“And now for something completely different!” Many may remember this oft repeated line from the old Monte Python skits. Perhaps it’s time for a little change of pace.
Most of my project posts have been boxes, but I also enjoy making other things. This rifle is one I made years ago – one of a number of muzzle loaders I’ve made. I’ve always had a strong affinity for the beauty of line and detail of the classic Kentucky Rifle.
This one is not a direct copy of any particular rifle, but rather a rifle made in the style of Christian Beck; a Lancaster County PA gunsmith; a rifle he “might” have made. While it uses a modern barrel and lock, it remains quite true to it’s heritage.
The stock is curly maple. The barrel is a 42” straight (not swamped) .45 caliber 1/66 rifled barrel from Douglas. The lock is from L & R, their Durs Egg model. The double set triggers, trigger guard, and butt plate were from Dixie Gun Works. The engraving was done by me with a hand graver.
The original (high end) rifles, were often carved with modest recocco motifs. My carving was all completed with a single set of small Mittermier palm chisels, the only ones I had at the time. Creating a Kentucky rifle from a blank takes a bit of careful planning, and a lot of very careful shaping. Power tools are of little value, as the cut too fast, and will quickly get you into trouble, hence chisels, files, rasps, spokeshaves and scrapers become the tools of choice. In places, like the area at the bottom of the barrel and the ramrod, the thickness is little more than 1/16” thick. In fact, the entire forestock section is very fragile without the barrel to support it.
It’s finished with a dark walnut NGR dye followed by numerous coats of Sutherland-Welles polymerized tung oil. This rifle is testimony to all the reasons for NOT using NGR alcohol soluble dye. It is not light fast. This rifle began as a very dark reddish brown, and over the years has lightened considerably. I no longer use anything but water soluble dyes, which do not fade.
It shoots extremely well, and being only a .45, it offers practically no recoil at all. The flash, crack, boom and smoke are rewards in themselves. Mostly, it just graces my wall these days. I love these old rifles, and hope to get back to using some of the large stash of parts I still have on hand to make a few more. lol
Thanks for looking in. My current mahogany Newport tall clock is slowly progressing.
-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)