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Kibler SMR vs Colonial

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jlutz

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Hi All. I’m hoping, perhaps sometime in 2021, to take one of the NMLRA rifle building classes to assemble a Kibler. I’m new to muzzleloading, but enjoy crating having done a bit of blacksmith/bladesmithing for several years now. I know I’d learn a ton and really enjoy the process.

I was curious if more experienced members had any thoughts to share on which kit they’d suggest? Between the Colonial and Southern Mountain options does it just come down to aesthetics and caliber preferences or are there other things I might want to keep in mind? I would be primarily be using it for target shooting, rendezvous, etc.

Thanks for any input!

Jake
 

GANGGREEN

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I would think that it's mostly preference. Obviously, they're very different rifles. The one thing that's probably the most striking is that the SMR is going to be a good bit lighter if that matters to you and if you like the styling of both of them.
 

Eric Krewson

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My take is deciding what you want to do with your finished gun, small game and targets or larger game like deer. I put together a SMR in .32, I haven't shot it much because my eyesight took a turn for the worst about the time I finished it and I can't see the sights. I have alway shot deer with a heavier rifle, even if my rifle was a .45 it wouldn't feel like a deer rifle to me.

I have killed a lot of deer with a .44 but my .44 has a 42" straight 7/8" barrel and is a heavy son of a gun.
 

Art Caputo

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Also keep in mind that the SMR is offered in calibers of 32-45, while the Colonial is 50-58 cal. The long, slim styling of the SMR will run 6 1/2-7 1/2 pounds depending on caliber, the Colonial, 9-9 1/2 pounds. Both are top quality kits that will shoot well. IMO, from a builders standpoint, if you were inclined to try your hand at stock carving, the Colonial offers a historically relevant canvas to work with which can range from plain to elaborate. Both rifles are quite attractive, and nicely designed. I would recommend that you peruse Jim’s site showing numerous examples of finished rifles.........See which one calls to you.
 

Trot

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The main difference to me would be the time frame they represent. The SMR would be a late flint era while the colonial would be much earlier.
 

Grenadier1758

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Both rifles will work well for target use. The SMR fits more with a 19th century lifestyle and the colonial is more mid to late 18th century for rendezvous purposes. The SMR would be slightly easier to assemble since it doesn't have the sliding patchbox, but since the KIbler kits are fabricated using CNC machining, it all boils down to what appeals to you and your selection of wood.
 

Roughneck

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I would make your deciding factor on what your going to do with it. I have owned a couple of the Kibler SMRs and one Colonial. They are nice rifles. I sold all mine as preferred other rifles I had. If I was going to buy another it would be a Colonial in 58. The one I had in .50 was ridiculously heavy for what it was and I prefer a lighter rifle. Plus I know he is using his own locks now and Green Mountain barrels plus I heard he lightened up the whole rifle a bit so maybe he trimmed some fat off the wood. I haven’t seen a newer one to confirm that but I heard from a builder who has put together a lot of them for folks. Kibler makes a top notch product for sure. If I get another kit to build it’s going to be a Chambers or Dunlap. To me a rifle is all about how it fits cause i usually shoot a rifle well that fits me right.
 

Doc Ivory

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I had the same discussion with myself but settled on the Colonial, just personal preference.
Rumor has it he's developing a trade gun kit along the Wilson pattern. If Jim does indeed come out with a Trade Gun kit, I'll be among the first
to open my wallet.
 

RB POWELL

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I can't really add to what the others have said about the rifles, specifically. I have one of each, 40 & 58. Preference mostly relies on the period of history I'm studying. How's that for rationale? I'd probably lean to the Colonial if push came to shove. Either way you can't miss.
 

hanshi

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Both the SMR and Colonial rifle appeal to me a great deal. I'm especially fond of the SMR guns for their balance and easy handling. I also have problems with rifles that approach 10 lbs in weight. But that's not the deciding factor as far as I'm concerned.

SMR rifles are mostly unadorned and look good, period. The Colonial rifle very much requires a bit of carving, maybe engraving, to look, right, IMHO. Such work is beyond me so my choice would be the SMR. The main thing is to get the one you like best whether it's for looks, handling, caliber and, of course, weight. It's a win-win decision; there's no bad choice.
 

Bill Burgin

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Hi All. I’m hoping, perhaps sometime in 2021, to take one of the NMLRA rifle building classes to assemble a Kibler. I’m new to muzzleloading, but enjoy crating having done a bit of blacksmith/bladesmithing for several years now. I know I’d learn a ton and really enjoy the process.

I was curious if more experienced members had any thoughts to share on which kit they’d suggest? Between the Colonial and Southern Mountain options does it just come down to aesthetics and caliber preferences or are there other things I might want to keep in mind? I would be primarily be using it for target shooting, rendezvous, etc.

Thanks for any input!

Jake
 

Bill Burgin

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I am in the last phase of building the Kibler Colonial Longrifle (.54 cal). This is my first rifle CONSTRUCTION and there has been a lot for me to learn. However, it has been a joy to apply Kibler’s Utube video instruction to the actual rifle kit. With patience, I find I can apply his techniques with good results. The kit is marvelous! The quality and customer service is exceptionally good and the opportunity to ask Jim Kibler questions has given me confidence in the build. I am fortunate to have a good collection of quality chisels that I have used to try and replicate the more basic carving and that has made the process even more enjoyable. I am pleased with the results. If you like do delve into researching original gun designs and doing a degree of woodcarving, then I would recommend the Colonial Rifle as your first flintlock rifle. I have a Kibler Southern Mountain on order now. Best wishes.
 

vezePilot

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I have decided that I won't order a Kibler Colonial until I cleanup my garage/workshop. I won't ... I won't ...
And of course a foot of snow today doesn't help ...
 

oreclan

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Hi All. I’m hoping, perhaps sometime in 2021, to take one of the NMLRA rifle building classes to assemble a Kibler. I’m new to muzzleloading, but enjoy crating having done a bit of blacksmith/bladesmithing for several years now. I know I’d learn a ton and really enjoy the process.

I was curious if more experienced members had any thoughts to share on which kit they’d suggest? Between the Colonial and Southern Mountain options does it just come down to aesthetics and caliber preferences or are there other things I might want to keep in mind? I would be primarily be using it for target shooting, rendezvous, etc.

Thanks for any input!

Jake
As an 18th Century re-enactor I bought a Colonial kit in .58 cal. Compared to a British long land pattern (Bess) it is light. I am changing out the side plate and carving it to resemble an Andreas Albrecht style.
Remember an early style rifle can be used for later period events, but a later style can not be used for earlier periods.
 

vezePilot

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I was reading about the John Cookson fowling piece on Jim Kibler's .NET site. This antique flintlock appears to be very much like what Jim has provided us with in the Colonial Kit. And the evidence suggests that the Cookson fowler may have been built before 1710. So it seems that the style and furniture of the Colonial may in fact have been common even in the late 17th century. This is one of the things I like about the Kibler Colonial ... it is representative of a very early flintlock.

It is also interesting in how Jim Kibler arranges purchase of the Lock on the Colonial: for whatever reason, it is billed, if not provided, separately from the rest of the rifle. This in itself is also representative of flintlocks in the early 18th century. While the rest of the firearm was built in Colonial America, the locks were still imported from England (and elsewhere).
 

jlutz

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Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts. It’s been very informative!

I can see the Kibler SMR rifle is based on an example from the 1820s. I’ve done a bit reading online regarding similar rifles but it seems there is not a clear agreement on when such rifles originated in the States. I thought I’d defer to those with more knowledge and ask: for the Kibler SMR, what’s the earliest timeframe that it would be reasonable to use it with were I to put it to use in re-enacting as well as shooting? Thank you!
 

vezePilot

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Well this rifle which is featured and described at the Contemporary Makers blog seems to be very similar to Jim Kibler's SMR. It is the David Cooke (1780-1842) Rifle and Bag. You could speculate that if it was the first and only rifle that Cooke ever had, he may have acquired it about the age of 20 or earlier.


And this would place the gun's building right at the turn of the century. I don't believe the article linked here says as much. Anyone else more familiar with the earliest makes of the style Jim Kibler has replicated in the SMR?
 
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I too want to learn a bit about rifle building, but that is why I shied away from the Jim Kibler sets. They aren't really kit's, they are more guns ready in-the-white. Just finish and shoot. Just something to consider.

As for style, I already had the time period I found most interesting. I simply chose a style that more or less would fit in that time period.
 

Art Caputo

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Both the SMR and Colonial rifle appeal to me a great deal. I'm especially fond of the SMR guns for their balance and easy handling. I also have problems with rifles that approach 10 lbs in weight. But that's not the deciding factor as far as I'm concerned.

SMR rifles are mostly unadorned and look good, period. The Colonial rifle very much requires a bit of carving, maybe engraving, to look, right, IMHO. Such work is beyond me so my choice would be the SMR. The main thing is to get the one you like best whether it's for looks, handling, caliber and, of course, weight. It's a win-win decision; there's no bad choice.
In anticipation, about 6 months prior to purchase of the Colonial Rifle I decided to try my skills at carving with the observation that, like yourself, most of the early Colonial Rifles had carving. It’s much harder to do then it appears, particularly for someone like myself that has little artistic ability. After dozens of practice samples I felt that I could come very close to the more basic examples I studied. Interestingly, during this process. I found of Colonial rifles(original and contemporary) that had little, if any carving, and found them to be much more appealing to my minimalistic tastes. Whether this aspect, my lack of carving confidence, or both, I ended up leaving my Colonial Rifle un-carved except for the utilitarian thumb notch in the patch box cover. In hind-sight I’m very happy with this decision. The simple elegance and styling is quite captivating, and I suspect my several other rifles will become dust collectors.
53B59EBA-0A07-4DC6-85ED-B10A56D2A9C0.jpeg
 
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oreclan

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I was reading about the John Cookson fowling piece on Jim Kibler's .NET site. This antique flintlock appears to be very much like what Jim has provided us with in the Colonial Kit. And the evidence suggests that the Cookson fowler may have been built before 1710. So it seems that the style and furniture of the Colonial may in fact have been common even in the late 17th century. This is one of the things I like about the Kibler Colonial ... it is representative of a very early flintlock.

It is also interesting in how Jim Kibler arranges purchase of the Lock on the Colonial: for whatever reason, it is billed, if not provided, separately from the rest of the rifle. This in itself is also representative of flintlocks in the early 18th century. While the rest of the firearm was built in Colonial America, the locks were still imported from England (and elsewhere).
Like other kit makers (barrel billed separately, etc.) I think this is mainly done to avoid legal problems.
 
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