Rate kits on difficulty: TVM, Chambers, Kibler, Pecatonica...

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slaptrigger

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Really glad I saw this thread as i was pondering the same thing as well. I have a hankering for a .58 and was thinking about a Kibler colonial. I have zero wood working tools but definitely want to get into tinkering with flinters. What tools would I need to complete a Kibler rifle.

ps I could post on another thread if need be, not looking to hi jack a thread.
 

MTCossack

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Really glad I saw this thread as i was pondering the same thing as well. I have a hankering for a .58 and was thinking about a Kibler colonial. I have zero wood working tools but definitely want to get into tinkering with flinters. What tools would I need to complete a Kibler rifle.

ps I could post on another thread if need be, not looking to hi jack a thread.
i don't think that's hijacking my thread at all. If some of those who have experience could chime in - What tools would a builder need for a kibler kit?
A Chambers kit? A TVM kit?...
 

Grenadier1758

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Watch Jim KIbler's You Tube videos. He shows the tools and how to build one of his kits. Its basically chisels, mallet, fitting compound (Prussian Blue, soot or ?) and a vise to hold the stock while working on it. A Pattern maker's vise is nice but a functional vise can be made using wooden handscrew clamps and a bench vise.
 

moleeyes36

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As another responder to your post said, the Kibler rifles are really the only true kits, other than the mass produced ones from Pedersoli, Lyman, Traditions, etc. The other "kits" like Track, Pecatonica, TVM, Tip Curtis, Chambers, Muzzle Loaders Builders Supply, Dunlap, etc. are actually parts sets regardless of what they are called. These take at a minimum a basic collection of small chisels, rasps, gouges, files, drill bits, electric drill, and taps. If the butt plate isn't inlet and the forearm is left unshaped, you will have a lot of work doing it with just those basic tools. A good thing to get a handle on what is involved is get the DVD from Chambers showing how to build one of their kits. Also as mentioned above, Jim Kibler has made several videos on making his guns and put them on YouTube. They are excellent and free.

I'm a pretty serious amateur builder, so when the Kibler SMR came out, I built one for sale. I used a few chisels to clean up the inletting around the tang, some small files to put a draft on the tang, trigger guard, and lock plate for easier fitting and to clean up the cast trigger guard, butt plate and lock plate, an electric drill to drill the hole in the lock for the lock bolt, trigger plate (and taps for tapping those holes), drilling the holes in the under lugs on the barrel and the tabs on the ramrod ferrels. While Rice barrels generally have a pretty good external finish, you may want to draw file the barrel. I find a good quality 8 or 10 inch fine cross cut file from the hardware store to work fine for draw filing. I believe Jim Kibler has done some of the drilling and possibly tapping on his later kits. You can call him and speak to Katherine or Jim and they will tell you what you want to know. Their contact information is on their web site. While the information on building one of Jim Kibler's kits makes it sound like a lot of work, it really isn't as you'll see if you watch his videos. I suspect you'll not need more than a very few days to build one, even with no prior gun building experience.

I don't intent this to be an all encompassing reply, just a top level answer to your post. But whatever you build, don't rush it or you will regret it.

Don Richards
NMLRA Southeastern States Field Rep Coordinator
 

Jim Evans

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i don't think that's hijacking my thread at all. If some of those who have experience could chime in - What tools would a builder need for a kibler kit?
A Chambers kit? A TVM kit?...
You would need a good 1/4 chisel, 8 inch mill file and a vise,,hammer,1/16 punch, side cutter ,vice grips, drill and 1/16 drill bit ,hacksaw
70Y+2POGSuuJoClqQLmTTA.jpgfullsizeoutput_8b3.jpegKqXGOI0qTWamW+9WmCKfYA.jpgfullsizeoutput_91b.jpegwould be the bare minimum tool.
here is a few photo of my set up.
This in the Kibler .54 Colonial
 

terrydull

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I’ve built a few Pedersoli kits. My budget only allows $600-$800 to be spent on hobby items like this. Their kits are “Level 1” and are “in the white” meaning just some very minor fitting of parts it required.
 

Flintandsteel

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Not sure if this matters to you, but of all the "kits" shown above, only the Chambers and the Kibler have an appropriate lock for the style of rifle they are purported to be.
We've kinda beat this one to death already, so I'm out.
Good luck.
 

billraby

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Believe it or not, it is actually easier to build from a blank than a kit. Except for a Kibler.
 

sosoeddie

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Gosh, where do I start. I bought a Chambers Early Lancaster component set several years ago before Kibler was offering kits. Being retired but traveling a lot, I kept putting off building the longrifle until the virus hit about one month ago. When the virus hit, I dug in and started my project. I was over my head on many occasions, so I looked at tons of Youtube videos and did a lot of reading in the Gunsmith of Grenville County. Kibler’s videos were the best. Jim is probably the best builder on the internet. He has an incredible talent on every aspect, no matter how small, on building a Kentucky rifle. And, he is such a nice guy. He helped me even though I was building a Chamber’s set. Here’s the bottom line: if you like putting legos together, get a Kibler kit. You will have very few decisions to make or lessons to learn. On the other hand, if you want to experience what it’s like being a real Kentucky rifle gunsmith, get a Chamber’s kit. Today, I spent all morning trying to figure out where to drill the hole for the trigger. I studied every engineering aspect of that mechanism. I was happy with my choice of where to drill my hole, but then, I spent all afternoon filing the trigger until it properly fitted the sear. With a Kibler kit, you put the pin in the hole and you are done. Placement of the trigger and getting it function properly is just one small example of decisions a real gunsmith faces, and proper execution provides immense satisfaction. When this rifle is finished and a question is asked about my experiences building it, I can provide hours of real-life gunsmith experiences on how to do this or that, and I will be way more prouder having suffered through those learning experiences. Jim Kibler is the best, and so is Jim Chambers. You can’t go wrong either way
 

TFoley

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To see what actually goes into the making of a rifle that is NOT a Kibler or a Chambers, take a look at Mike Beliveau and his so-far 20-episodes on Youtube of building such a rifle. Mike seems to be have a pretty average skill-set, and gets all the good and bad down in his little tutorials. TBH, watching his progress is a lesson for anybody thinking about the process of building any long rifle.

I'd like to try my paw at a Kibler kit over here in UK, but the mechanics of getting one over here, and the sad and sorry facts of life regarding the importation of a gun in kit form that would be shootable when complete, is putting it on the 'never-going-to-happen' list, like pogo-sticking up Mount Hood whilst playing a banjo. You guys cannot possibly imagine how much those of us over here envy you over there, who can just walk into a store and walk out with an HTG real gun kit that you can go shoot when you've built it, without any kind of documentation or restriction...sigh. Heck, for most of you a BP muzzleloader isn't even a real gun!!
 

Buckskinn

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I'd like to try my paw at a Kibler kit over here in UK, but the mechanics of getting one over here, and the sad and sorry facts of life regarding the importation of a gun in kit form that would be shootable when complete, is putting it on the 'never-going-to-happen' list, like pogo-sticking up Mount Hood whilst playing a banjo. You guys cannot possibly imagine how much those of us over here envy you over there, who can just walk into a store and walk out with an HTG real gun kit that you can go shoot when you've built it, without any kind of documentation or restriction...sigh. Heck, for most of you a BP muzzleloader isn't even a real gun!!
I wish every gun owner in America would read the words above... We take it for granted in so many way.
 

Whisper

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If you have limited tools don’t get one from Sitting Fox. I purchased a NW Trade gun from him and I was surprised that there was only one page of instructions which mentioned only the bolt through the tang. I have a good collection of tools and was lucky enough to have a friend that had the Track of the Wolf full scale plan. I had him inlay the lock but it still required a lot of wood removal to get the lock to fit. It was a great learning experience but I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner with limited tools and craftsmanship. 7CBA1672-3FFD-4AEA-AD26-7E87454B06E0.jpeg
 

Rifleman1776

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TF, more than one Brit has acquired a kit gun from the U.S. by having the parts shipped separately at different times. That way they could be labeled like "piece of wood", "mechanical device", etc. I have an antique barrel sent to me by Squire Robin that has not been proofed. It was shipped as "steel tube" with no issues.
 

MI MAN

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To see what actually goes into the making of a rifle that is NOT a Kibler or a Chambers, take a look at Mike Beliveau and his so-far 20-episodes on Youtube of building such a rifle. Mike seems to be have a pretty average skill-set, and gets all the good and bad down in his little tutorials. TBH, watching his progress is a lesson for anybody thinking about the process of building any long rifle.

I'd like to try my paw at a Kibler kit over here in UK, but the mechanics of getting one over here, and the sad and sorry facts of life regarding the importation of a gun in kit form that would be shootable when complete, is putting it on the 'never-going-to-happen' list, like pogo-sticking up Mount Hood whilst playing a banjo. You guys cannot possibly imagine how much those of us over here envy you over there, who can just walk into a store and walk out with an HTG real gun kit that you can go shoot when you've built it, without any kind of documentation or restriction...sigh. Heck, for most of you a BP muzzleloader isn't even a real gun!!
 

MI MAN

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Sorry to say a good percentage of the young people in the US have been influenced by academia to hate firearms with the exception of air rifles.
 

TFoley

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Call me insensitive if you will, but coming from a totally different perspective, I'm totally at a loss as to how 'a good percentage of the young people in the US' can actually 'hate' firearms - to me, that's like hating trumpets or greenhouses, fire hydrants or typewriters. It is irrational, to say the least.
 

stikshooter

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I've been looking at possibly doing a kit while I'm stuck at home and even have a want ad going in the classifieds. *-/+
I've never built a kit before. I have some tools and a bench, but not a lot of woodworking experience.

I've been offered a new Chambers kit that I'm thinking hard on. I've also looked a lot at the Kibler kits, and know that they come highly recommended to beginners. However, based on price, styles offered, and difficulty, I've been wondering about a few other makers.

I saw a video of an unboxing of a TVM Tennessee rifle and was surprised at how much of the inletting was already done - the barrel was already fully in place and the lock fully inletted. Would a TVM kit be accessible to a beginner? Would it require more or less work than a Chambers kit?

Where do other kit suppliers, such as Pecatonica or Sitting fox, fit in the spectrum?

Thanks!

A list of least-to-most difficult would be helpful to me, and possibly to others.
My money went for a premium walnut stocked Kibler 45 cal SMR and I needed easy cause I never did this before .When I had a problem (caused by me) Jim explained what I missed and sent a replacement part , when done its the slickest well balanced 45 you could ask for . The amazing thing with help from Jim even I could build a really pretty round ball shooter/Ed
-+-0*-
 

stikshooter

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Really glad I saw this thread as i was pondering the same thing as well. I have a hankering for a .58 and was thinking about a Kibler colonial. I have zero wood working tools but definitely want to get into tinkering with flinters. What tools would I need to complete a Kibler rifle.

ps I could post on another thread if need be, not looking to hi jack a thread.
When you order from Jim ask he has tools selection down to a science and it isnt much. Best part is go on you tube and watch him show you how and what you need . He also sells most every thing needed
 

TFoley

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Sorry to say a good percentage of the young people in the US have been influenced by academia to hate firearms with the exception of air rifles.
I've been rethinking my response to this post, albeit with some degree of puzzlement and concern. Academia in THIS country concerns itself with academic subjects, not the brainwashing of fresh young minds with a personally-held political opinion. When I was at school politics were what happened in the big old building across the street from us - the Houses of Parliament - NOT in a classroom. Not only were we never told what our teachers thought of politically, it was not a subject for discussion - ever. We were all too busy learning stuff to ask, TBH, five and a half days a week, 8:30 till 4:30 and then 6:30 till 9 at night, and Saturday mornings. I learned a lot of things, but hatred of anything, let alone a gun of any kind, was not one of them.
 
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