Do It Yourself
I took it into my head this year to see how much of my hunting gear I could make myself and use in this year's hunts.
Right now I'm using a rifle, knife, shooting bag, lubes, patches, round balls and conical bullets I made myself. Sure feels good to be using it all now, plus I had a whole lot of fun figuring how to make it.
All I'm buying is powder, lead and percussion caps, and since I started recovering the lead I've quit buying that. When I get around to building a flinter I can use local flint (actually chert) and quit buying caps. I never had so much fun building my own cartridge guns, or reloading my ammo and casting bullets for that matter.
Is anyone else getting as crazy as I am about all this muzzleloader stuff?
Just to share a bit of the fun you're missing, I recently finished a "trap spring" knife. I pulled the spring off a #0 trap, flattened it and cut the ring off one end. Then I shaped the blade on one half using a file to keep the steel cool and keep the original temper. Then I cut the bevels using the same file and finally stoned it sharp. The grip is nothing more than wraps of leather around the other end of the spring. The remaining ring is dandy for tying the knife onto a landyard so it stays in your bag.
Total time invested was about 2 hours. After a little use I can tell you that the blade takes an edge about like a Green River knife, but it doesn't last as long. More temper is needed I suspect. But I just dropped a small stone into the bag, and I'm all set with a lot less fuss. Besides, I don't know how to do a good job of tempering, even if I was set up for it.
Looking forward to that little knife doing the job on a deer this year!
I too got bit by the muzzleloader bug. I didnt invest in makeing all my own goods though. I did sew my own leather shooting bag though. I need to drag that stuff out again and give the old .58 another session at the shooting range to sharpen my skills.
Boating and fishing have been the priority lately. But I sure am looking forwad to getting a moose with the muzzleloader, that is if I dont get one with the bow first.
It's sure hard to fit it all in this time of year, isn't it?
Originally Posted by rimfirematt
Let us know how that 58 performs on moose. I've picked up two second hand this last spring (A 26" barrel custom job for tight quarters and a 36" barrel GRRW for pure class and more open country). I've whacked lots of game over the years with a couple of 54's, and there's a big difference in response of the animal compared to a 50 cal. I'm betting that the difference between 54 and 58 will be about as big.
On the bag building side of things, did you start with a kit or with a pattern and a hunk of leather? I'm about 75% finished with a fowler bag working from a pattern and doing my own cutting. In kind of a hurry to finish it, because it's given me all sorts of ideas for another one.
Sounds crazy to be building another bag already, but I really like to have one for each gun. That makes it a lot harder to forget important things on hunts or range trips. Not so much packing and unpacking.
At one time in my life I did all of my hunting with smoke poles. A 32 cal Cherokee for pot critters and a 54 great plains rifle for deer. I even killed a pile of Iowa pheasants with a 12 gauge Newenglander from TC.
I also made many a knife. My dad worked at the Oliver tractor factory and his job was to heat treat parts. He collected all of the disgarded power hacksaw blades and then tempered them and then sent them my way. I also made a couple of nice drop point knives out of wonder bars. I carry one to this day!
Once again I have obtained my early muzzloader deer tag for the nine day season that starts in mid October. My son will be hunting with me and will be carrying the latest and greatest fandagled inline there is and I will be packing a Richmond 50 cal Hawken loaded with Lee mini's that I cast and lubed.
Yes sir BrownBear I certainly share you're zest for the old smokepole and all that goes with them. The youngsters with their 150grain 209 guns don't know what their missing!
Ha! If you want to show him what he's missing, set up a bunch of range sessions for practice beforehand. Be sure to shoot 30 or 40 shots per session. I'm betting that he can't keep it up due to the expense and pain. He'll sure be missing some bucks from all that shooting with expensive primers, pellets and sabots. At around $4 a shot with all those expensive components he's going to be missing over $100 after each session.
Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone
Wanna have some real fun, do all the shooting offhand. I'm betting that at least he'll get a chance to save a little money on targets cuzz there won't be many holes once he moves away from the benchrest!!!
Yeah I'm rotten, but I love messing with kid heads!
I just started with a chunk of leather and an idea. The bag is pretty rough, but probably turned out about how some old mountain man would have done it anyway. Ill post a pic here in a bit.
I still have enough leather left over to give it a shot at making a nicer bag.
Im real tempted to spend some divedend money on gun building parts.
I may order a instructional DVD first and see if I want to procceed. I wanted to build a gun last year, but man the expense of it is pretty steep.
You are SOOOOOOO hooked!!!
Originally Posted by rimfirematt
Looking forward to the photos, cuzz I'm waiting for a leather shipment so I can take on another too. Right now my aim is a separate bag and full kit for each gun. It's just too easy to forget stuff when switching between guns on a range trip, and worse if you do it on a hunt.
I know what you mean on the gun build. I'm ready to build another, but trying to think it through on just how much work and expense I want to take on. Then there's the question of style.
Any idea yet which gun you want to build?
Im leaning towards a tennessee poor boy in .32 or maybe a trade gun in 20 ga. Either way I want to build a flinter.
I saw Dixie gunworks has their cub carbine on sale for around 550.00 in flint. For that price its going to be hard to pass up and put that money towards tools and gun parts.
My garage is such a mess with all my other hobby stuff too. NOt sure if I can cram a woodshop in their too!
I built that AK last year and that wasnt that much work, but it still took some tools, time and frustration. Building a muzzloader after that would be like going from building canoes to 30 foot sport fishers.
Looks like we're reading from the same page! I'm also thinking poor boy in 32 or 36 and a fusil or trade gun in 20 gauge, both flinters. Though mine will have to be lefties.
Originally Posted by rimfirematt
I bet you're in for a nice surprise. Unless I'm mistaken the Dixie kits are complete with the exception of wood and metal finishes. You won't have to buy any additional parts. I bet you already have all the tools you need somewhere in your garage. If yours is like mine though, sometimes it easier to buy a new tool than to find one in the mess!
Wherever you go for your "kit", read the fine print and know the difference between a "parts set" and a "in-the-white" gun, which is fully inletted and ready to assemble after final stock shaping and metal prep. Parts sets require a whole lot more time and care in building, while an in-the-white kit (which I believe is what you get from Dixie) can be ready to go with only a little work using common hand tools.
If you haven't looked there yet, Tennesee Valley Manufacturing and Sitting Fox Muzzleloaders have wide selections at pretty amazing prices. Track of the Wolf gets into my pocket with some regularity, and they have a long list of gun kits too. With all of those check the details to learn how much work will be required for building their guns.
I want to build my gun completely from the ground up. After seeing my freinds guns that he built from scratch, and how nice they turned out, that is the way I want to do it. I really need to take pictures and post them. Ill see what I can do about that.
Granted he didnt make the barrels or locks or anything crazy like that, but he did form his stocks from blanks, cut out his own inlays, breechplug, ramrod hole ect. He even made the long drill bit to drill the ramrod hole. But most important it is his style that is in the gun.
That is my hesitation for the most part, biting off the whole taco in one bite!
Also, I want to give my gun its own style. But it will be pretty close to origanal production guns.
But I look at building a muzzloader as an art, and Id like to give it my own personal flair if Im going to do it. Pretty much how I made my shooting bag. I brought that to the shooting matches and showed it around. Everyone thought it looked nice but in a round about way lots of folks were dissapointed that it wansnt an exact copy out of the history books.
Ill check out those links right now Thanks!
If you are looking for particular styles I can recommend some other part sources, so keep us posted on what direction you're heading.
Well I ordered the tennessee poor boy plan from TOW today. That kit over at Tennesse manafacturing was pretty decent and at a good price. I might just order that and save the cost of the woodworking tools. Im a little concerened about the 48 inch barrel though. They dont mention cutting it down some upon request.
UGGGH> Im not sure what I want, full blown do it your self or just get my feet wet and enjoy shooting
If you haven't tried it before, I'd be tempted to go with a more finished kit as a trial run, then decide on the full build from parts. I'm betting you can find an excuse for two guns. Surely! I mean, haven't we trained you any better than that? :-)
Originally Posted by rimfirematt