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This is my hodge-podge gun recently put together without worrying about any certain style. Just had a 45cal CVA Kentucky barrel, L&R Flintlock, Leman half stock and a bunch of Iron Furniture I wanted to put to use. Turned into a favorite and a great shooter. I too like Chambers- Siler Locks & RE Davis triggers best. I'm starting to like this high pivot trade gun trigger better than a double set one, This L&R Lock sparks great too but not as smooth as Silers without some internal polishing. I build what I like unless I really want or need a certain period or specific style gun. I rushed it together and will go back and refine the stock some later.
Does anyone know if Gene Davis, who founded RE Davis over in Ohio, is still living?
 

mikesto44

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I've always built a rifle to what I want. I dislike kits. Except for the kiblers. They are not only historically accurate but super easy to put together. But you are not building a gun . Everything is done for you except staining and final finish.
I just like making them from scratch. Except I buy the barrel and lock. The stock blanks I have already.
 

Rancocas

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Yeah the Hawken thing is way overdone and when I tried to learn what a "real" Hawken was my mind glazed over! That being said I actually really like the half stocked Jonathon Browning rifle that I have that I think is supposed to be a Hawken-like rifle. That is what drew me back to the Jaeger as I like the stock better. Getting used to the pointy butt thing but still not a huge fan of it!

I am slowly being drawn to the long rifles but with a propellent such as black powder what are you really gaining with that long of a barrel? Just like a lot of things I think the Germans had it right with the faster twist to shoot bullets in a shorter more manageable rifle.

I always king of thought that originally the rifles were longer for bayonet usage during battle. As soon as guerilla tactics came into play, rifles got shorter.

Ok now let the tar and feathers fly!

I think many are overlooking the fact that early on in the colonies locally made black powder was inferior to what was generally available in Europe. So, that is probably the reason why American gun barrels grew longer than the European jaegers. Longer barrels were needed to fully ignite the poor quality gunpowder.

Look at the Hudson Valley Fowlers. Talk about a lo-ong barrel. It has been said that these or similar fowlers were probably the first firearms made in America. A long barrel being necessary due to the poor quality gunpowder.

By the time Hawkens came around the quality of our gunpowder had improved.

Of course, now with our modern, highly efficient powders, the longer barrels are not needed. But, oh, what a beautiful, graceful long arm are those longrifles!

Further, the American longrifle, call them Kentucky Rifles, Pennsylvania Rifles, or whatever, were made strictly as a hunting rifle; never meant for the attachment of a bayonet.
 

dylan84

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That is interesting on the black powder quality @Rancocas . They couldn't just order high quality potassium nitrate and sulfur off the internet. I like the long barreled stuff but the way my whitetail hunt went yesterday morning my Hawken-like Jon Browning did a fantastic job. I was stalking a smaller buck as I thought this other guy was long gone and met him and his entourage of does face to face over the crest of a hill! Quick point and shoot. Nice 9 point 200 pound buck. That was pretty cool to hunt with my own awesome performing black powder and my own home made balls!

I think a long rifle would have been fine but I do move through a lot of wooded areas and open areas so the shorter is better.
 
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I think many are overlooking the fact that early on in the colonies locally made black powder was inferior to what was generally available in Europe. So, that is probably the reason why American gun barrels grew longer than the European jaegers. Longer barrels were needed to fully ignite the poor quality gunpowder.

Look at the Hudson Valley Fowlers. Talk about a lo-ong barrel. It has been said that these or similar fowlers were probably the first firearms made in America. A long barrel being necessary due to the poor quality gunpowder.

By the time Hawkens came around the quality of our gunpowder had improved.

Of course, now with our modern, highly efficient powders, the longer barrels are not needed. But, oh, what a beautiful, graceful long arm are those longrifles!

Further, the American longrifle, call them Kentucky Rifles, Pennsylvania Rifles, or whatever, were made strictly as a hunting rifle; never meant for the attachment of a bayonet.
I think you're wrong on most of this.
 

dylan84

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I think you're wrong on most of this.
It would make sense that by the 1700's black powder would be something that would be known how to make well. Not sure how they were getting sulfur back then but compost and urine is all you really need to make good Potassium Nitrate. There were studies up into the 1960's of the use of different charcoals in black powder.

Maybe it was whoever had the most ridiculously long gun was the coolest? lol
 

Montgomery

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You really have to wonder why the "american" longrifle is , well, so long! Most Muskets etc of the day were a decent length for use of a Bayonet against ground troops and cavalry. DID it just carry over into civilian firearms on its own? I don't know, but I am certain of one thing. If you had a rifle with a shorter barrel and it was as accurate etc as the long barreled rifle, there would be more of them made/bought/used every year. There is no value in dragging an extra foot of "iron pipe" and the associated stock etc through the woods, if a shorter firearm would give the same results.
 

dylan84

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Even with a fast burner like black powder the longer barrel does give you more velocity. They might have just been trying to squeeze as much performance as possible out of their projectile of choice. People have shortened up rifles for convenience and not performance. With the Jaeger rifle they probable came to a good compromise with barrel length vs effective terminal ballistics using a faster twist and a longer projectile. The ballistics are not very impressive by today's standards with my "Hawken". Getting a 180 Gr ball moving 1700 FPS accurately enough with a barrel length of 31". Kills deer pretty good though. I have got over 1800 but I don't believe that to be an accurate load. Need to do some more testing as usual!
 

dylan84

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This does state something that I hadn't thought about. They mention that the old growth forest around that time had less undergrowth which would have made getting around with a longer rifle easier. In the past I had also read that the native population kept a lot of their hunting territory well kept and manicured to provide habitat for game and preferred plant life. They were far from the "wild savages"!
 

Mas Casa

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One can look at Tom Grinslade's book on Colonial Fowlers or Kevin Gladysz' work on FdC and FdT to get an idea of barrel lengths. IIRC, Grinslade refers to imported barrels being generally 42" on the short end. By comparison, Gladysz book has several contemporary illustration showing natives with guns as long as they are tall and has dimensions of guns (to include barrel lengths) imported from France.

One case in point as to why barrels were as long as they are involves the Fusil de boucanier. They had barrels averaging from 44" to 60" and it was assumed they had greater range. This idea prevailed until someone tested the theory around 1750.

There does seem to be a relationship between a larger bore and shorter barrel (e.g. jaeger) and a longer barrel and smaller caliber (from transitional rifles up to Pennsylvania rifles). But, there are jaeger rifles out there with barrels 35"-42" as well. It probably had to do with a combination of hunting from horseback, overall portability of gun and powder and ball/shot, size of game, average shot ranges, what components could be gotten, and quality of powder. There are a few flintlock trade rifles in DeWitt Bailey's British Military Flintlock Rifles with an appendix that lists barrel lengths as from 43"-45" and calibers from .55 to "a quite worn .63".
 
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I am sure back in the period covered, a major proportion of working guns contained some recycled parts.
Restocking and rebuilding or altering guns was common. In the goods taken to rendezvous were not only new guns, but gun parts, especially locks.
Looking at old guns one finds a lot that weren’t’schools and had mismatched parts
 
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A lot of the early gunmakers were German and the Germans at that time were making bayonets to fit their hunting Jager rifles ,the bayonet was either carried in a pouch or in a trapdoor in the butt plate . Maybe the long barrels were made so the unloaded firearm could be used as a club , or because eye glasses were in short supply to enable the sights to be set out further to help compensate for decreasing vision . or used as a walking stick , or for improved balance , or to keep tomahawk wielding enemies at a distance .
Why ever , I for one am glad they did , giving the World one of the most graceful firearm designs of all time .
 
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Has anyone just carried on with the early American way of taking what they liked from different rifle designs and just built their own? I mean most of these reproductions and kits aren't really that historically accurate anyway. Seems also there was a variance between gun makers and even differences in the same rifles as each was hand fit.

Was interested in building a Jaeger type rifle but most kits have something different I don't like. I am in the beginning of learning the ins and outs of these rifles. I would about rather just start with the best lock, barrel, and triggers then shape to fit with some nice wood I find.

Just curious if anyone has taken this approach and if you have would love to see pictures!

Thanks
Dear Dunk I have a variety of Jager mounts if in brass but some regions like Austria used brass if most seemed to be iron mounted . I've an old one brass mounted if c1799 but the form stepped wrist is scarce different to many years earlier I did make a few Germanic pieces like the one in last Ted Rogers auction & got up a 20 bore c1670 Rhine valley piece After Fred .r Bickle from Shumways booklet mostly iron but I couldn't resist putting a brass dragon side plate If Anyone's going over like Jason Ile bring stuff to show you .Or pop in if you're going to Nelson the River road is probably faster & safer anyway & Ime not far off route 6 down stream from Kahatu '
Cheers Rudyard PS
I see I got the posters mixed up so its not you wanting a Jager Oh well see you anyway R
 
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I've just read over the long barrel stuff My pet rifle mid 18th English' Provincial' (Like Me) has a 26" swamped taper round 50 cal & weighs a whole 5 pounds . I have made numerous & once lugged a' long rifle' but would never choose any thing to hunt with over 6 pounds as for Hawkens & Ive made them ,Well if you cant say anything nice don't say anything seems to fit. From being Bairds"Gotta get a Hawken "mania to being almost the hall mark of a Tyro at Big R vous . Eastern ones at least .A florist once pointed out there is no such thing as bad taste like beauty its all in the eye of the beholder '.
Regards even if you do like Hawkens Rudyard
 
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