First Flintlock & Builders

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Hammond79, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. Feb 9, 2019 #1

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

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    Looking to get a custom or semi custom flintlock rifle soon. I have a fair amount of experience (25 years off and on) with caplocks but this would be my first flintlock. I am left handed but shoot a right handed cap rifle. Thing is I'm not sure if I should get a left or a right handed rifle. Seems like a waste to have a cheek peice carved to never use it. On the other hand a righty is more historically authentic. Maybe a righty with no cast off is an option?

    Also who would you recommend for an economical longrifle? I'm interested in hearing especially about rifles from Steve Losey, Sitting Fox, and TVM but information on others is surely welcome.

    As far as rifle style, I'm looking for something approximately like the J.J. Henry American/Lancaster pattern trade rifle in 54 caliber with a barrel 36-38". Something that might be found west of the Mississippi in the 1820-1840 range.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Feb 9, 2019 #2

    cositrike

    cositrike

    cositrike

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    To be HC, I believe a right handed trade rifle would be the way to go. I’ve shot right handed flinders for years, (40+) left handed and have found no problems. Some others find trouble with the lock on the face side, so to speak, but I’ve never found it a problem. Might be a good idea to shoot a right handed flintlock before you come to a decision. You’ll then know if it suits you. Not sure about builders as I’m in the UK.
     
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  3. Feb 9, 2019 #3

    Sparkitoff

    Sparkitoff

    Sparkitoff

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    Do you want a fully custom rifle? What about a high quality kit or components with a skilled gunmaker to put it together the way you want it? You can get a Chambers, TVM, Curtis, TOW and many other kits that have nice wood, high quality locks and excellent barrels. Then there are several very skilled smiths out there that can turn the "parts" into what you want. A cheek piece could easily be removed if necessary. As far as right or left, with a flintlock you will have the discharge of gas from the vent hole. It would be in front of your face, but it will be close. I've not personally shot an "opposite-handed" flintlock so I do not know all the possible consequences (if any). You'd have to be real comfortable with the spark and vent discharge on "your" side of the rifle.
     
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  4. Feb 9, 2019 #4

    cankeney

    cankeney

    cankeney

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    I agree with cositrike. Right handed guns are more hc, and shooting them as a lefty has never bothered me in the least. But other left handers report that shooting right handed flinters is a horrendous ordeal. Better to try one out before making that investment.
     
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  5. Feb 9, 2019 #5

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

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    Thank you Gentlemen, I appreciate the advice.

    As far as kits go, what are the advantages to using another smith to finish the rifle? I assume turn around time would be the primary reason. I expect builders are fairly busy and wait times are measured in months.
     
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  6. Feb 9, 2019 #6

    Sparkitoff

    Sparkitoff

    Sparkitoff

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    As far as I know, Chambers are only available in kits. If you get one from TOW or another supplier there is no option of having it finished at point of purchase. You can get a TVM kit and the only advantage I can think of is time and maybe a few dollars savings. You can also shop on Ebay or somewhere and get a good barrel and appropriate lock with hardware, then get a stock at Pecatonia River. For example: If you had a T/C Hawken stock with hardware, you could find a Green Mountain barrel and an L&R Lock. Then order a Pecatonia River full stock in your choice of wood. Send it all to a builder and have the wood finished the way you want, the metal finishing the way you like and whatever sights you desire. You can custom the stock dimensions. There is some savings in having all the parts so that fitting is not from scratch but more fine inletting. This is just one example of a set of parts that can be made into a nice rifle. Barrel on Ebay $200, L&R lock $185, Hawken stock with hardware $150, Pecatonia full stock $240 = $775. There are some good assemblers that can complete the project for anywhere from $250 and up. Your at $1050 already and might get a TVM completed for nearly that much if you can wait a year. There are a lot of pre-owned custom rifles that are priced good as another option and then you could have the stock re-finished and altered to your liking. I use a guy in Nebraska for kit assembly that charges $250 to complete the inletting and finish the stock. Metal bluing or browning is a few more dollars. Lots of options.
     
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  7. Feb 9, 2019 #7

    Comfortably_Numb

    Comfortably_Numb

    Comfortably_Numb

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    Wait list for most of the good builders is measured in years. You should consider Jim Kibler's Southern Mountain rifle kit and make it yourself. It will fit the time period you're after too. They are the easiest to make and you'll be happy with the end result. Google him.
     
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  8. Feb 9, 2019 #8

    58 Caliber

    58 Caliber

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    I'm a right handed person so no help there. I have a southern mountain rifle built by Steve Losey and highly recommend him. You would not go wrong using him. In fact if you go to his website I believe the fifth one down under southern mountain rifles with the bean style patchbox is mine or a twin. Good luck.

    http://www.loseyfirearms.com/southern-mountain-and-tennesse-type-guns.php

    Dave
     
  9. Feb 10, 2019 #9

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

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    This subject always becomes an argument from those who seem to want everyone to shoot a RH rifle just like they do. Well you got just as much of a right to shoot a LH rifle as they do a RH. When I started shooting there were no/few LH rifles available so I can shoot a RH as good as anybody. But now that I'm grown up with years of actual experience I own 5 Left Hand rifles. If I can't get a true LH lock in a rifle then I don't need that rifle.
    You have already spoken about the cheek piece, and about cast off whereas cast on is what you need. Good call. As a lefthander I would never even consider a rh rifle when the proper choice for you is readily available.
    If you aren't completely sure of yourself building a rifle correctly then I recommend Tip Curtis, Tip Curtis
    P.O. Box 203
    Cross Plains Tn. 37049

    615-654-4445
    email-tipcurtis@bellsouth.net
    I will also recommend a Lancaster, specifically Isacc Haines style rifle. The stock on these rifles make them easy shooters and the straight stock and wide buttplates really generate less recoil than some others. Isacc Haines built his rifles in approx. 1770 to 1780 time frame. Many of the longrifles of the period were carried west and were not uncommon there.
     
  10. Feb 10, 2019 #10

    Trot

    Trot

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    Clay Smith makes a Lancaster style Trade rifle with a 38" barrel. His only go up to .50 caliber though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  11. Feb 10, 2019 #11

    cositrike

    cositrike

    cositrike

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    I don’t see it as an argument. The OP was asking the question and also considering a HC trade rifle for the period. Not many left handed JJ Henry rifles in the 1820-40 period. If the OP goes with a lefty, that’s fine. His choice, but less HC. I was just stating that I’m happy shooting right handed guns, to help him see that it can be done. I am actually right handed, but my right eye is no good.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2019 #12

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    We can argue about the historical correctness of a particular rifle all we want, but from a modern period acceptance, we really should accept left handed rifles in non-military usage. Since Hammond 79 is looking for a custom or semi-custom build, he should get the left handed rifle. I would accept a shooter at a period correct event who is shooting a left handed rifle. I know Mike Miller built a left handed rifle for Mark Baker, who is well known for his historical penchant for authenticity. Note: Let's keep the discussion to the OP's desire for obtaining a left handed gun to acceptance of a rifle built according to the historical style. A left handed rifle is not a disqualifying item on the juried list for the Fort DE Chartres Trade Faire in April.

    I would try Tip Curtis or TVM for left handed gun availability. Clay Smith has a great reputation and is worth looking at his rifles. Yes, get a rifle that will be comfortable to shoot. Learning to master a flintlock can be trying enough, so get one that is comfortable to shoot and has the best lock you can order.

    Too bad left handed gun kits are not available from Jim Kibler, but the cost to set up for manufacture would be high for a modest pay back.
     
  13. Feb 10, 2019 #13

    cositrike

    cositrike

    cositrike

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    The OP was asking for advice on various issues, which included left, or right handed. Advice given. OP to decide. There is no argument
     
  14. Feb 11, 2019 #14

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

    Hammond79

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    I thank you all for your advice and insight. You have brought up some outstanding points and several things I haven't thought of.
     
  15. Feb 11, 2019 #15

    54ball

    54ball

    54ball

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    Here's some facts about left handed rifles.

    First,

    without getting into all the "Devil's Hand" Baloney....enough left handed rifles, guns and pistols exist; some being very early, to justify the historical provenance of a left handed gun.

    1. Early/Mid 18th Century French Trade gun, grave found in Louisiana. (An extremely interesting find !! It raises lots of questions. This gun is featured in Hamilton's book.)
    2. HH RisingSon Kentucky Rifle Prior to 1825 Circa 1820....This rifle still exists as far as I know. (A fine example of a pre- 1825 American Longrifle)
    3. JP Beck left handed pistol...built as a mirror image of it's mate. As far as I know the pair has been separated...( Did Beck Build this..."Tongue in Cheek"?")
    4. Double Guns of all types.
    5. Left locked right handed guns
    6. Late "Ohios" with double cheeks (right and left side...as far I I know these are right handed rifles with a cheek on each side)

    Secondly...... Shooting

    Not everyone is me! A lot of arguments and even bad advice results from people thinking everyone on earth is just like them.
    I an a left eye dominate left handed shooter....Primarily;)
    I have the ability to switch to right eye, right hand shooting if I have too.
    Not everyone can do this!!
    I can switch hit. I have found this to be useful in the following situations....In the military Musket line....I operate through the drill right handed.
    In hunting, I shoot left most of the time unless I can only shoot right....so I practice both ways.
    I prefer right handed guns...I just do.:rolleyes:
    If I was investing in a full house build, I would recommend a left handed rifle that fit well!
    Since I can shoot off either side.....I can shoot my only Left handed gun right handed if need be.
    A fine right handed gun (even with cast off) feels good...some very good or at least comfortably functional off the off side.o_O
    What I'm getting at is, I have no qualms about using a fine right handed rifle off the off side. If I found a good deal on a used right handed rifle....I would sure get it.
    One of my favorites was a used custom built right handed rifle.

    Your results may vary....
    [​IMG]

    Thirdly....
    Having one built.
    Here's where we get into some trouble....
    For whatever ever reason....:rolleyes: if a customer is going to default on a Custom order, that person will be left handed a great majority of the time.
    It is what it is.
    Maybe some artistic left handers are flighty dreamers?

    Many Gunsmiths are reluctant to build a fine left handed rifle, because of the customer defaulting...lack of funds....does not like the gun....ect...ect...ect....
    The only people that want a Left Handed Rifle are...left handed (even left handers like myself prefer right handed guns for special historical guns) so a smith cannot sell a left rifle as easily as a right one.
    The smith could and many have lost their butt on a Left handed build that was defaulted....
    Another reason....There are very few really good left handed locks!!
    The Catch 22...For that reason many will not build a left handed gun. Never ever ever....give any gunsmith ( I don't care who it is) all the money up front...never do this!

    With that said, Most really good gunsmiths will build a left (Isaac Haines) Jim Chambers kit for you as the Chambers sets are very good reducing labor. Others.....not so much.

    In closing....
    Left handed guns do exist historically.
    If you can shoot a right handed gun well, don't overlook good used right handed customs.
    If you desire a certain historical piece, a Bench Copy... a right handed gun may be your only option.
    You may have trouble finding a Gunsmith for a high end left gun.
    The Jim Chambers Isaac Haines fits your criteria and it is offered in left hand with a Very Good Left Handed Lock.
    Most good Gunsmiths will assemble a Chambers kit for You even if they shy away from a full custom.
    The Haines makes a beautiful plain rifle.
     
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  16. Feb 18, 2019 at 11:17 PM #16

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    IMO, pick the style you want, then piece a kit together yourself as time and money permits. You can spread out costs, and save some money doing so. There are plenty of suppliers out there who sell individual parts , so there's really no need to pay somebody else to put a kit together for you. Sine you will most likely have to do some work to inlet the parts, its not going to be a problem if you buy a lock from one place and a stock from somebody else, etc.

    I put together my own kit from parts I bought from the following;

    Pecatonica River ( I highly recommend these guys).
    Muzzleloader Builders Supply. I cannot say enough about these guys. Great people to deal with).
    TOTW. I can't remember how many parts I've bought from them. Again Highly recommend them.
    Rice Barrel co. Again great people.
    Dixie Gun Works.
    etc.

    As to a left handed flintlock. I am a lefty as well, and I will not shoot a right handed gun. I don't care about historical accuracy because lets face it, not many of us are shooting antique muzzleloaders, and we are not living in the 18th century. Besides that, why adapt to the right handed world when you don't have to.......On top of all that there is the safety factor as well. And to those who will say "oh you won't be able to sell it". My response is, I don't plan to.... ever.
     
  17. Feb 19, 2019 at 12:07 AM #17

    Huntschool

    Huntschool

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    A left hand shooter in todays environment should shoot a left handed gun. We do have some originals out there. Its your money so why not spend it on something that is correct for you. There are quite a few left hand locks from which you should be able to choose a style of gun that fits your wants and needs.

    There are other facts as mentioned above in reference to custom builders and I can not disagree with the thought train that some builders dont want to risk a build that may be refused and then they are stuck with it. My retort would be for the buyer to agree and pay the builder all the bucks up front if said buyer is satisfied with his or her decision to use said builder. That is a confidence builder..... For both parties.

    I, as I am sure others here have seen some really fine left handed guns. I see no reason the OP should even remotely consider a right handed gun. The options of the build are numerous and should be worked out by the OP and the builder. I shoot right handed and build my own guns but have had several built by others. In most cases I furnished the hardware, lock, barrel and even the wood all up front and even at that paid a hefty deposit to the builder just to keep them happy.

    JMHO
     
  18. Feb 19, 2019 at 2:16 AM #18

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    Couldn't agree more. I will just add that in today's world, we south paws are lucky in that we have the option of a left handed muzzleloader. Why more lefty's don't opt into that is beyond me. There was a time when we had no other choice but to either use right handed scissors or cut our paper with a pocket knife. Not so anymore. Why still use right handed scissors?
     

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