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Maiden Voyage Of The Kibler Colonial Long Rifle - Video Below

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Mar 20, 2023
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It is finished!
Thanks - Many thanks to those who most graciously answered my numerous questions as I built my first flintlock rifle kit.
I've named her "Charlene" (I name all my rifles), and she's a pretty gal.

The Kit - The wood and parts provided by Kibler were of excellent quality; the stock required additional inlet tweaking, which challenged my limited woodworking skills and tools. But what a sweet piece of curly Maple.
When I started, I didn't really know what curly Maple was, but Jim's excellent videos and the gracious folks here were educational.

Living in Maine, I didn't know too many local folks were into building flintlocks, so good folks in this forum coached me through that, and I am very happy with how the rifle turned out.
It's a work of art, a connection to my patriot ancestor Moody Howes Sr. who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Along the way - It taught me a number of new skills and led to many new friendships!
I completed it three months after we started back in March, working only a few hours on weekends.

Learned - A lot about patience, as I filed down the casting sprues on the brass buttplate, you'll know what I mean.
The wood finish was the "Tried & True" linseed oil recommended by Jim, four light coats seemed to have done the trick.
The barrel and lock were carefully treated to a coating of Jax Black, and I was very happy with the results.
The last steps were to fabricate and finish up the steel retaining pins for the barrel and ramrod pipes.
I also used the ScotchBrite to relieve some of the Jax Black on the barrel to give her a more worn appearance; I am very happy with how that came out.

Goal - My goal always with this kit was not to make something shiny and polished to hang above the fireplace. I was after more of a “working“ rifle that I could use regularly at the range.
I wanted to do the very best job that I could, and understand the legacy skills, so I could begin to learn and apply them.
I’ve now ordered another Kibler rifle kit, the Woods Runner, and I’m much more confident in building that.

Along the way, I’ve honed my metal filing skills, refined my word finishing skills, and learned a huge amount about the historical construction and design of muzzleloading rifles.
In other words, this was all one big history lesson.

Firing - Monday was the first time I ever fired or loaded a flintlock rifle, so I took great care in measuring the powder and the loading process—60 grains with the .535 ball.
A few shots off the barn porch to settle things in. Then a 45-yard standing shot onto the handy dueling tree in the backyard.

No one was more surprised than me when I heard the steel ring out—a second shot to confirm with impact, which upon examination, to be in almost the same spot.
I will call the rifle sights adjusted and leave well enough alone.

Same with the powder charge, 60 grains seems to be the magic number, at least for work at 50 yards.
Observation - the slight delay between the flint striking, a flash in the pan, the loud sizzle, and the ignition of the charge in the barrel was most interesting.
In contrast to a center or rim fire gun, where the firing time is almost nonexistent.

The next learning point is recoil with black powder vs. traditional gunpowder.
Despite shooting a .54 caliber round, I could best describe the recoil as a gentle push, quite unlike my .308 or .338.
Again, different, but not bad. I suspect that the black powder burns slower.

Math Matters - On loading the rifle, I discovered my .535 round balls and .018 ticking cloth patches were too thick for the barrel fitment, especially with the rifling.
So I loaded with powder, a ball, and a wadded-up patch to hold things in place. It worked remarkably well. I've since ordered .530 balls and .010 patches to create a workable load.

That’s A Long Barrel - I also discovered that my close-eye focus has difficulty resolving the front sight. It's a long way down that 43" barrel for 50-some-year-old eyes. Ah, the joy of being mortal.

Salute At Dusk - After the morning's initial firing, I wanted to catch the rifle's firing in low light.
So, an additional salute shot at dust to catch the fireball which results in low light.

Summary - All in all, it’s been a tremendous experience; I met a great group of people who clearly care about keeping traditions alive and helping those with similar interests.

Thank you!


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40 Cal
Sep 29, 2021
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You want to try some .15 thick patching with the .530 ball. The .10 thick patching may be some what on loose in loading.
Jan 12, 2005
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There is absolutely no way that a .535 ball, and .015” patch is too thick.
whether it’s green Mt., or Rice, they will shoot great with a .005” undersize ball, and a .020” patch.
Guaranty it will shoot well with that configuration.


36 Cal.
Sep 24, 2008
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Beautiful work! But you shouldn’t hear any sizzle between frizzen strike and main ignition. Strive for practically instantaneous ignition.
Here’s a short video of my Jaeger’s ignition. I’m sure some have faster flintlocks but this is pretty quick.

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