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Colonial Long Rifle vs Kentucky Long Rifle

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I don’t know that labor was cheap. Black slavery became a thing because too many whites left their indentured service via leg bail and could simply blend in where as blacks were easy to spot.There was a cry out for manpower all over the colonies and later the states
It depends on the era, but black slavery was simply the most expensive form of labor of the time. I don't have the reference at hand, but I've seen accounts that claimed one slave cost about the same as 10 Irish immigrants working at starvation wages, who would do a significant amount more work per person than a black slave.

This phenomenon reoccurred in Nazi Germany, when large scale slave labor was used again, with horrific cost per labor unit of production. A human being will work their butt off for nothing, if that work is the result of their choice.

Relative to modern times, labor was cheap.and materials were expensive, which led to the affordability of ornamentation.
 

BadDaditood

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Those names, colonial, Kentucky, Southern Mountain, late, early Ect are all make believe names. Makers made rifles, and adapted design to what the market wanted.
For instance, German rifles tended to have shorter barrels. Most of the men buying rifles in America were British French or Dutch. They seem to like longer barreled guns. So German American makers made longer barrels.
Colonial guns tended to look like German guns with longer barrels. After the revolution deer and smaller game became the rifles target. Smaller bores became common, so slimmer guns and common .
Styles became important just for looks. The French ‘calf’s foot’ design would show up on some Pennsylvania guns.
Germanic, Scandinavian and British descended folks in the old north west leaned to inlays that could serve a real purpose like protection around pin holes or no purpose like a silver heart behind the lock.
French and Celtic people in the south tended to plain, but flowing lines.
All of our names are just an artificial grouping of many guns made in an area at a time. Even though there were exceptions to the rule, and out of style guns would continue to be used and moved in to new areas.
Why do we call them “Kentucky rifles”?
From what I’ve gathered, at the time everything west of Philadelphia was “Kentucky “ ;)
 

tenngun

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It wasn’t so much the cost as the ability to keep the worker. A black slave had a real tough time running away.
A poor runaway Irishman could just blend in to other poor immigrants. Blacks much harder. Many ran and would join Indian tribes, or become a landsman aboard a ship that was always hungry for a hauly-pully man.
The big influx of irish came during the Industrial Age and so many came there was a sudden glut of poor unskilled labor.
 

tenngun

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Why do we call them “Kentucky rifles”?
From what I’ve gathered, at the time everything west of Philadelphia was “Kentucky “ ;)
Military companies that were armed with rifles were often called rifles
Jackson’s Kentuckians at the battle of New Orleans were the Kentucky Rifles.
after New Orleans there was a broadside published praising the Kentucky Rifles and their Kentucky rifles. I understand this was the first known use of the word.
So it became the name of the rifle in the same way a big knife became a Bowie or a small pistol became a derringer.
 

JB67

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Sounds interesting; I've a Maine connection.

Where did you get/find it? Thanks.
There are several sources online. I think I got the only one Amazon itself had, but there are other sellers on Amazon that have it. Originally published in the 1970s, there's also an updated edition (which is what I got.) It was published by the Friends of the Maine State Museum, so it's not around in great quantity, and prices vary. I paid $50 for mine.
 

Art Caputo

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Why do we call them “Kentucky rifles”?
From what I’ve gathered, at the time everything west of Philadelphia was “Kentucky “ ;)
I have read that the label “Kentucky Rifle” wasn’t coined until a couple of decades into the 19th century and was used generically to describe a flintlock rifle, likely one of the ornate, brass laden, carved samples which became popular at by the turn of the century. This label had no bearing on where it was actually produced, and still doesn’t.
 
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Hi,
The notion that plain guns dominated during the 18th century is not backed up by any evidence. Of course, it depends on your definition of plain. If you mean no carving, engraving, and very simple hardware, there is not much evidence they predominated. If you read the day book listings from the Moravian gun shop at Christian's Spring published by Bob Lienemann in his 2 volume history of Moravian gun making, you find that the shop was making guns with a spread of price ranges but none predominated. Many surviving Rev War period rifles are fairly plain but virtually all have some carving. They also show extensive use indicating they were not wall hangers. Many, if not most, surviving long rifles that were originally flintlocks were converted to percussion ignition. Even the most ornate. Many, if not most, of the surviving carved and decorated flintlock rifles that you see in the books were converted to percussion and later converted back to flint. There is no reason to convert a rifle to percussion if it was a wall hanger. Davy Crocket's purported first gun is a beautiful carved York County rifle. Decoration was common and the buyers could afford it. Finally, the notion that styles and "schools" are a modern invention is not accurate. Longrifle "schools" derived from important local makers that had distinct styles of architecture and decoration. They taught apprentices who carried on those styles sometimes changing and developing them after experiences as journeymen with gunsmiths outside the areas in which they apprenticed. However, the distinctions carried on through time and can be identified today by knowledgeable students of long rifles. The labels we now give them may be a later invention but those styles existed and were recognized at the time.

dave
There's also the thought that "plain" working guns, the everyday hard-use guns, did not survive at a high rate; the fancy, prized, "glitzy" rifles would be more likely to have survived over the centuries. Thanks for your interesting comments.
 
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I have read that the label “Kentucky Rifle” wasn’t coined until a couple of decades into the 19th century and was used generically to describe a flintlock rifle, likely one of the ornate, brass laden, carved samples which became popular at by the turn of the century. This label had no bearing on where it was actually produced, and still doesn’t.
They were the rifle one TOOK to Kentucky...made in Pa., taken into Kentucky with hunters & pioneers.
 

dave_person

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Hi SA,
Of course, but my point in mentioning the day books from Christian's Spring is they show rifles of various levels of decoration being made but no category dominating. In other words, they were not making a bunch of cheaper plain guns and a few fancy ones. Bob Lienemann was able to link some of the invoices to surviving guns providing evidence linking cost to levels of decoration.

dave
 
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Hi,
The notion that plain guns dominated during the 18th century is not backed up by any evidence. Of course, it depends on your definition of plain. If you mean no carving, engraving, and very simple hardware, there is not much evidence they predominated. If you read the day book listings from the Moravian gun shop at Christian's Spring published by Bob Lienemann in his 2 volume history of Moravian gun making, you find that the shop was making guns with a spread of price ranges but none predominated. Many surviving Rev War period rifles are fairly plain but virtually all have some carving. They also show extensive use indicating they were not wall hangers. Many, if not most, surviving long rifles that were originally flintlocks were converted to percussion ignition. Even the most ornate. Many, if not most, of the surviving carved and decorated flintlock rifles that you see in the books were converted to percussion and later converted back to flint. There is no reason to convert a rifle to percussion if it was a wall hanger. Davy Crocket's purported first gun is a beautiful carved York County rifle. Decoration was common and the buyers could afford it. Finally, the notion that styles and "schools" are a modern invention is not accurate. Longrifle "schools" derived from important local makers that had distinct styles of architecture and decoration. They taught apprentices who carried on those styles sometimes changing and developing them after experiences as journeymen with gunsmiths outside the areas in which they apprenticed. However, the distinctions carried on through time and can be identified today by knowledgeable students of long rifles. The labels we now give them may be a later invention but those styles existed and were recognized at the time.

dave
Of course, there must have been many small, unsung, plain-Jane, workaday shops making common inexpensive rifles? The Moravian was kind of a high-quality shop, was it not, but there had to have been many small, (now unknown), makers cranking out utility guns. All such research as you mention is of great value to historians of these uniquely American-crafted pieces. Very interesting!
 

rich pierce

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Of course, there must have been many small, unsung, plain-Jane, workaday shops making common inexpensive rifles? The Moravian was kind of a high-quality shop, was it not, but there had to have been many small, (now unknown), makers cranking out utility guns. All such research as you mention is of great value to historians of these uniquely American-crafted pieces. Very interesting!
Why “of course”? Interested in some evidence.
 

Coot

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Of course, there must have been many small, unsung, plain-Jane, workaday shops making common inexpensive rifles? The Moravian was kind of a high-quality shop, was it not, bu
t there had to have been many small, (now unknown), makers cranking out utility guns. All such research as you mention is of great value to historians of these uniquely American-crafted pieces. Very interesting!
Common inexpensive guns were trade guns imported from England where due to a labor excess, they could be made & imported much cheaper than they could be made here where there was a shortage of both skilled and unskilled labor.
 

Cosmo

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Hey Starman, did you get an answer to your question..? Or you more confused than before?
 

starman

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It sounds to me like just about every kind of long rifle was available during Daniel Boone’s day. What you had was simply what fit your taste and budget. I also found an interesting video on You Tube of the Gunsmith in Colonial Williamsburg. They made fairly plain rifles with some brass embellishments. It appears that whatever I purchase will be appropriate for the Colonial or Daniel Boone era.

Starman (Jack)
 

BadDaditood

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It sounds to me like just about every kind of long rifle was available during Daniel Boone’s day. What you had was simply what fit your taste and budget. I also found an interesting video on You Tube of the Gunsmith in Colonial Williamsburg. They made fairly plain rifles with some brass embellishments. It appears that whatever I purchase will be appropriate for the Colonial or Daniel Boone era.

Starman (Jack)
Get a Kibler Colonial and put it together yourself... they’re so nice even I can do it.
Or have someone build it for you, plenty of us out there
 
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