I am Having a Scottish Musket Made

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Tacksman45

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Hi again everyone,

After doing research for more than two years, I have decided to pursue the project of having a Scottish National Longarm made! I am going to make posts periodically to ask for advice from the folks here on the forum! I have read several books including two from my good friend and fellow forum user MacRob, as well as Scottish Firearms by Blair and Savage, and The Scottish Pistol by Martin Kelvin. I have also have talked with Steve Krolic, who has very graciously answered a number of questions I had about the details of this project. I am still doing research for this project but I will layout where I am at on this project so far:

Fellow forum user "Deep Creek" Dale Nincehelser has agreed to build this gun for me. He has built a beautiful Spanish Escopeta for me before, and he does fantastic work!

I am going to base this build off of a musket catalog# LNA32 in the Seafield Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. One of the curators at the Museum was kind enough to send me some photos of this musket in it's display case for reference. The majority of the extant Scottish Longarms are stocked with what is referred to as "Brazilwood." This may refer to any number of hardwoods from South America including Paubrasilia echinata commonly know as Brazilwood or Pernambuco wood, however this wood is endangered and no longer reasonably available. There is at least one example of one of these guns being stocked with walnut however, and I was able to purchase a large enough English Walnut blank from Ron Scott, which I attached a picture of below.

For the barrel I contacted Bobby Hoyt, who agreed to make the custom barrel and breechplug for me. If you are in the market for a custom barrel, I highly recommend him! I decided to follow Steve Krolic's advice and not try to exactly match the dimensions of the barrel since nothing about the guns were standardized. The barrel is 48 inches overall and .75 caliber, as the LNA32 is described in Scottish Firearms. The barrel has the distinctive "step" transition on the top of the barrel, and I will have a wedding band filed into the barrel forward of this (see attached pictures below.) For the lock Dale is going to customize a snaphaunce lock from a Rifle Shoppe parts set.

For the rest of the hardware I am going to branch out somewhat from the original gun. The original gun has a conventional shaped trigger, instead of the "ball trigger" that most of these guns have. MacRob is of the opinion, and I agree with him, that the triggers on these guns which are not ball triggers are likely replacements, and I am going to have Dale make a custom ball trigger for this gun. Another source I am using for this project is the painting of Alastair Grant Mor, Laird Grant's Champion, by Richard Wait. the Scottish longarm pictured in this painting is actually one of the guns in the Seafield Collection but I do not remember which one it is. As is typical for these guns, I am going to omit a triggerguard, and a sideplate. I am going to use three 1/2" dome headed lock bolts, and I may have washers inlet under the heads of the lockbolts to give the wood some extra protection. The painting appears to show brass ramrod pipes similar to the bulbous jaeger type ramrod pipes available from Track, so I am going to these with some slight alterations. The painting also shows a large brass tulip type ramrod tip so I will use one of these one the end of the ramrod. The only other tricky detail is the sights. The LNA32 has a very large rams horns type rear sight, with extensively curled rams horns. Track sells a number of buckhorn type rear sights, however if I use one of these it is not going to look right, so I will have Dale make this sight with some creative license. The original does have a small soldiered front sight, for which I will use standard brass fusil sight from Track. I am going to use standard soldered lugs for the pins.

I will give more updates as things develop!
 

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Making the rarest of all longarms - no problem! I'm sure many will be interested in THIS build! Looks like you have started with some great parts. Looking forward to your progress reports. Do you have photos of what you are having built?

good luck with the build, Mike
or as they say in the old country (according to de gauche google) " Gur math a thèid leat"
 

Feltwad

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There are many stock variations on a Scottish Snaphaunce and I am afraid your stock plank does not represent any it would have been better if you had gone for a walnut plank . The later muskets were more of the normal type of French stock The snaphaunce locks are large in comparison to a ordinary flintlock the inner workings of these locks are more like the workings of the wheel locks .
My advice for your build decide on the design type and the period not forgetting that you intend to use it and stick to that period and do not add parts of other periods because then you have a gun that is neither . Good luck lets see the progress
Feltwad
 

Peter Stines

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Keep us "MC POSTED" Iwant to see it when finished. Part of my ancestry is Scottish (Campbell, Patterson, McSporran, Blair, Smith, etc) and always interested in things Scottish.
 

Tacksman45

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More info on the build:

This is the longarm from the National Museum of Scotland I am working off of:

1610473062745.png


This is the diagram of the barrel which I drafted for Bobby Hoyt:

1610473226082.png

Scale overlay I did before I bought the blank from Ron:
1610473627560.png
 

Tacksman45

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There are many stock variations on a Scottish Snaphaunce and I am afraid your stock plank does not represent any it would have been better if you had gone for a walnut plank . The later muskets were more of the normal type of French stock The snaphaunce locks are large in comparison to a ordinary flintlock the inner workings of these locks are more like the workings of the wheel locks .
My advice for your build decide on the design type and the period not forgetting that you intend to use it and stick to that period and do not add parts of other periods because then you have a gun that is neither . Good luck lets see the progress
Feltwad

Feltwad,

Thanks for your reply! The shape of the stock blank is not the same shape as the stock of the finished longarm will be. I did a to scale overlay to get an idea of how this blank would work. You are correct that snaphaunce locks are larger than flints, the lock I am using for this build is a snaphaunce lock from The Rifle Shoppe. I completely agree with your advice about not adding parts from other periods. This build will be based entirely on the existing longarm in the National Musuem of Scotland, and a few other details taken from primary source material such as other existing Scottish National Longarms, and the painting of Alastair Grant Mor. Thanks again for wishing me luck, we will definitely need it on a custom snaphaunce build! I will post on the progress of this project as it develops.
 
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Feltwad

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That is a awkward shape of the original I know it will take some positioning but for strength you will need most of the grain running through the full length of the stock that's why I suggested a plank it gives you more scope and once in position can be cut with a bandsaw that's I have done my builds in the past
Feltwad
 
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Dear Tacksman I wrote you a long PM no reply to date . Having made three such long guns plus four lemon butt Scots pistols I think I know a bit about them( well one was all steel issue rams horn ) plus two dirks and ananticedal dudgeon dagger Oh and a big duck gun snaphance mostly finished . 'Brazzil' wood could be any thing .I went with ' Wanit tre' Your barrel forms might serve but they oft as not had more complex form and one Snaphance 45 cal I made I went with a thisle muzzle . Your posts are interesting .Other than one piece with an orig old brl that I updated to' English lock' They all are of the earliest form. got a pair of wood fishtails started yonks ago if you look up' Rudyards curiositis' kindly sent in by Lawrence you will find a pistol lemon butt its only a prop due to laws here & I havn't counted it .
Regards Rudyard
 
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Tacksman45

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Feltwad,

I see what you mean, I will run that by Dale before he starts on the build. I talked to Allen Martin about cutting a custom blank from a Black Walnut slab for me, but I decided to go with this blank since I was able to find an English Walnut slab large enough for this build.
 

Tacksman45

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Dear Tacksman I wrote you a long PM no reply to date . Having made three such long guns plus four lemon butt Scots pistols I think I know a bit about them( well one was all steel issue rams horn ) plus two dirks and ananticedal dudgeon dagger Oh and a big duck gun snaphance mostly finished . 'Brazzil' wood could be any thing .I went with ' Wanit tre' Your barrel forms might serve but they oft as not had more complex form and one Snaphance 45 cal I made I went with a thisle muzzle . Your posts are interesting .Other than one piece with an orig old brl that I updated to' English lock' They all are of the earliest form. got a pair of wood fishtails started yonks ago if you look up' Rudyards curiositis' kindly sent in by Lawrence you will find a pistol lemon butt its only a prop due to laws here & I havn't counted it .
Regards Rudyard

Rudyard,

I received your pm from Friday, and I apologize for not writing you back. Your collection is very impressive (I remember you sent me some pictures of it a while back), and I am glad you enjoy my posts here on the forum. I appreciate your help and advice on this build!
 

Notchy Bob

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I don't know a thing about muskets from Scotland, but I'm looking forward to learning more.

I am a bit familiar with pernambuco. This was called "brazilwood" (pronounced brazzle wood) back in the day and was much sought after for use in making red dyes. It is also the wood of choice for violin bows. A buddy of mine is a professional archetier, or violin bow maker. He has given me some of his pernambuco scrap, which I have used to make assorted small stuff like knife handles and pistol rods. While it has a lovely color and takes a beautiful finish, pernambuco is the hardest, heaviest wood I have ever worked. It is now on the CITES listing and is very difficult to find. A plank large enough for a gunstock, if you could find a suitable piece, would be worth a king's ransom and would be extremely heavy. It was not cheap back in the 17th and 18th centuries, either, and (no offense intended) with the Scot's legendary thriftiness, I would think it an unlikely choice for his musket stock.

There is a very similar wood, in the same genus, marketed as "chakte viga" or "Mexican pernambuco." I have some of this, also. While I'm sure there is some variability in color from one tree to the next, the chakte viga I have is a little lighter color than true pernambuco. I understand chakte viga is plentiful enough to be used for fence posts in Mexico, but what is imported is pretty expensive.

Many things are possible and life is full of surprises, but I would think pernambuco or "brazilwood" would be a very unusual choice for a musket stock.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on this interesting project, and hope you'll keep us informed of your progress!

Notchy Bob
 

Peter Stines

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Dear Tacksman I wrote you a long PM no reply to date . Having made three such long guns plus four lemon butt Scots pistols I think I know a bit about them( well one was all steel issue rams horn ) plus two dirks and ananticedal dudgeon dagger Oh and a big duck gun snaphance mostly finished . 'Brazzil' wood could be any thing .I went with ' Wanit tre' Your barrel forms might serve but they oft as not had more complex form and one Snaphance 45 cal I made I went with a thisle muzzle . Your posts are interesting .Other than one piece with an orig old brl that I updated to' English lock' They all are of the earliest form. got a pair of wood fishtails started yonks ago if you look up' Rudyards curiositis' kindly sent in by Lawrence you will find a pistol lemon butt its only a prop due to laws here & I havn't counted it .
Regards Rudyard
I'd like to see the guns you've built. I'd love to have an all metal Scotch pistol.
Saw the ones made in India 😖.
Thought about a parts set from Rifle Shoppe but the castings are rough and they are soooooo slooooow with delivery. They do a poor job hardening frizzens.
 

Tacksman45

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I don't know a thing about muskets from Scotland, but I'm looking forward to learning more.

I am a bit familiar with pernambuco. This was called "brazilwood" (pronounced brazzle wood) back in the day and was much sought after for use in making red dyes. It is also the wood of choice for violin bows. A buddy of mine is a professional archetier, or violin bow maker. He has given me some of his pernambuco scrap, which I have used to make assorted small stuff like knife handles and pistol rods. While it has a lovely color and takes a beautiful finish, pernambuco is the hardest, heaviest wood I have ever worked. It is now on the CITES listing and is very difficult to find. A plank large enough for a gunstock, if you could find a suitable piece, would be worth a king's ransom and would be extremely heavy. It was not cheap back in the 17th and 18th centuries, either, and (no offense intended) with the Scot's legendary thriftiness, I would think it an unlikely choice for his musket stock.

There is a very similar wood, in the same genus, marketed as "chakte viga" or "Mexican pernambuco." I have some of this, also. While I'm sure there is some variability in color from one tree to the next, the chakte viga I have is a little lighter color than true pernambuco. I understand chakte viga is plentiful enough to be used for fence posts in Mexico, but what is imported is pretty expensive.

Many things are possible and life is full of surprises, but I would think pernambuco or "brazilwood" would be a very unusual choice for a musket stock.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on this interesting project, and hope you'll keep us informed of your progress!

Notchy Bob

Bob,

Thanks very much for your reply! You are correct about Pernambuco wood being very hard and dense. The term "Brazil wood" in historical context could refer to any wood from South America, although I have a feeling it likely referred to Brazilian Teak wood. You are correct about Scot's thriftiness, however only very wealthy Scots, probably with English titles or connections, could have afforded a gun such as the one I am having made. Scottish clansmen did use guns if they could get their hands on them, however these were often old pirated French, Dutch, and Spanish guns, and sometimes English muskets which were taken as loot. Imported wood would have had to be purchased by gunmakers at tremendous cost, however it was frequently the only way they could have gotten wood suitable for stocking guns, as Scotland was largely devoid of forests, especially hardwoods like walnut. Thanks again for your input!
 

Tacksman45

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I'd like to see the guns you've built. I'd love to have an all metal Scotch pistol.
Saw the ones made in India 😖.
Thought about a parts set from Rifle Shoppe but the castings are rough and they are soooooo slooooow with delivery. They do a poor job hardening frizzens.

Rudyard actually posted some of his collection on my previous thread titled "Thinking About Having a Scottish Musket Made" here on the forum.
Were you thinking of putting it together or having someone put it together? They do take a while to get their set delivered (I know I have ordered a parts set from them), but I would encourage you to get one if you want one. They are the only folks I know of making a correct Scottish pistol.
 
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Well, I can't really "add" anything for your project. I have very little knowledge of Scottish made guns. And the historical information seams as scarce as the guns themselves. LOL

Rick
 

Peter Stines

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Rudyard actually posted some of his collection on my previous thread titled "Thinking About Having a Scottish Musket Made" here on the forum.
Were you thinking of putting it together or having someone put it together? They do take a while to get their set delivered (I know I have ordered a parts set from them), but I would encourage you to get one if you want one. They are the only folks I know of mak

I'd lean towards having it built. Getting it engraved would have to wait til more $$$ were available. I had one of the Navy Arms "Blackwatch" pistols but there were a ton of things wrong with it. I see one of those for sale now and then but not crazy about having to fix all its problems.
 

Notchy Bob

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Some time back, I had ordered a few odds and ends from the National Museums of Scotland Shop, including this book:

SA&A.jpg


I'll have to admit, I haven't actually read it... just looked at the pictures, became distracted by some other interest, and put the book on the shelf. I pulled it out today just to see what it might have on Scottish muskets, and there isn't much. Just a photo of one snaphaunce long gun dating to 1599, with a brief caption. However, the text did say that in Edinburgh and Canongate, fruitwoods were generally used for stocks on long guns, but in Dundee, brazil wood was the norm! Brazil wood was evidently being imported in quantity by various artisans for dyestuffs, and was readily available to the gunmakers.

Despite the limited information on long guns, this interesting little book does show a good many Scottish iron-stocked pistols, at least nine by my count, with pretty good detailed photos of both sides of each gun, as well as detail shots of locks for a few of them. The author suggested that the Incorporation of Hammermen (a blacksmithing guild formed as early as 1483) may have imposed restrictions on blacksmiths doing woodwork. So, rather than contract the stock work out to carpenters, the clever blacksmiths made their own stocks of iron. I had often wondered why the Scots favored iron-stocked pistols, and I guess that explains it.

I ordered my copy of the book directly from the National Museums of Scotland (NMS) a number of years ago. I'm not exactly sure when, but it is evidently out of print at this time. I looked the book up online, and prices for used copies will shock you. The NMS is evidently closed for the time being, due to the pandemic, and I was unable to even get in to the online museum shop. Interested persons may try to contact them to see if they might have a copy or two left over for sale. However, the bottom line, as far as this discussion is concerned, is that there is very little in this book to add to the fund of knowledge with regard to Scottish muskets, other than the note about woods used for stocking these interesting weapons.

For what it's worth...

Notchy Bob
 

Sam squanch

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I imagine most Scottish muskets were collected and destroyed by the English after 1745. Pistols were probably hidden away .
 
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