Some questions about flintlocks

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Russ T Frizzen

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About a week ago I posted on here about some rifles in a local shop. All sold before I could make my decision which is my fault. I decided that I should probably get a custom rifle and smoothbore compared to a production firearm. That being said I have found a rifle here on the forum that has caught my eye it is a Cherry Stocked .45 caliber rifle. It has a 46" barrel, is this too long ? I want a long rifle like the men on the frontier had and by what I have seen on the internet most are 38"- 48" long on most custom build sites. The second route I was thinking on taking was building a Kibler Rifle however I dont know what style to build, "Southern" or " Colonial" . I guess which ever style wouldve been more prevelant in Maryland in the late 18th Century, if anyone knows which style best resembles that feel free to share your opinions or facts. I dont have a caliber in mind yet as of now for a rifle. As for a Smoothbore, I dont know what bore to get but definitely will want a rear sight. Idk if I will get the smoothbore or thr rifle first. Thanks to anyone who reads this and leaves their thoughts.
Long barrels are not the problem that some say they are. I have a fowling piece with a 48" barrel and have no difficulty using it in our New England forests. And the extra length of the sighting plane is a real benefit, particularly as one gets older. I believe the cherry stocked rifle you mention is a Jim Kibler SMR. You can't do better than that and the price is very reasonable. Go for it!
 

sturmkatze

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Go hold some rifles to your shoulder and see how they feel. Buy a gun that makes you go all breathless ❤️💕 guns should do that. When you hold it to your shoulder, how do the sights line up.

The gun is all about you, not what the next Billy Bob thinks. It needs to make you happy. Oh, and shoot straight.
 
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I've always been comfortable with long barrels.
 

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Rancocas

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"So, in general, before the Revolution smoothbores were prevalent. After the Revolution rifles became the dominate gun in the North American forests. The regional differences, the various "schools" of longrifles, developed after the Revolution."

Where?? Jaegers were imported into the Colonies prior to the 1750s...Deer hides were a major export back to England for protection in the shops that made trade items for the Natives...In the back country, there were plenty of rifles prior to 1779...Rifles were prevalent at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, Saratoga, Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Lindley Mill, etc...

Up and down the eastern seaboard, smoothbores, imported from England may have been prevalent...England could produce them much cheaper than we could in the Colonies and smoothbores were great for geese, ducks, and small game on the coast, the deer population was greatly reduced after over 150 years or so of colonization....But, there were plenty of rifles from Pennsylvania, down through the Shenandoah Valley, through the Yadkin River Valley and even in the Upstate of South Carolina....

Everywhere
I said; "...in general..." Of course there were various kinds of rifles in America, but prior to the 1760's the vast majority of firearms in America were smoothbores.
 
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Kiblers’ Colonial is from the time period you stated, it’s main influence is from a Virginia builder.
And the barrel is swamped, it balances extremely well and not front heavy.
Plus it’s a Rice barrel and Kibler lock, two of the top shelf suppliers today.
 
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Everywhere
I said; "...in general..." Of course there were various kinds of rifles in America, but prior to the 1760's the vast majority of firearms in America were smoothbores.
In my research to be able to make an educated guess re: the kinds of weapons my Ulster Scots/Overmountain Men ancestors carried before and during the Revolution, I noticed a definite dichotomy...With a few exceptions in newly-settled frontier areas like northern Vermont, what few privately-owned firearms there were in the more Northern colonies were mostly old smoothbores and the militia inventory records suggest these were in pitiful condition. As the colonies of that region had been established over a century earlier, a settled English farmer lifestyle and culture was prevalent... Little hunting was done, as meat was grown on the farm, and the great majority of the region was no longer "frontier." What hunting was done likely was mostly small game.
South of Pennsylvania, west of the coastal settlements, and evidently EVERYWHERE in Georgia, things were different. The Piedmont settlements were still fairly new; relations with local Native populations could still be a bit touchy, and the French had outposts
close enough to present a threat. People crossed the mountains to settle (illegally, it seems) in Native territories. The longhunters carried rifles for both hunting and defense; the first wave of pioneers led west by those longhunters armed themselves similarly. The early rifle units, most notably Morgan's Rifles, were recruited from these Southern colonies, where men (and often women) were not only familiar and proficient with rifle guns, they had expertise that comes from years of both "work and play" with them. (The accounts of the impression they made on the townspeople up North on their way to Boston and then Saratoga are quite amusing...)
Of course, this
"Northern smoothbore/Southern rifle" pattern applies primarily to militia and other units carrying their own personal weapons; it also meant, however, that there was a population of marksmen from whom units of regulars to be armed with government-issued rifles could be recruited...
My ancestors turned out to be riflemen at Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, and eventually Yorktown and the Chickamauga Cherokee campaign, so a plain, cherry-stocked Kibler Colonial in .54 cal. seemed to fit the bill. (My first true "build," I think, will likely be a Chambers Virginia Colonial, for the same historical reasons..)
To the OP Mr. Thompson I say, "Have fun with your research and shooting, whatever choices you make!"
 
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Everywhere
I said; "...in general..." Of course there were various kinds of rifles in America, but prior to the 1760's the vast majority of firearms in America were smoothbores.
I would love to see someone document this instead of conjecture.

Please see, Friedrich Gerstacker "Wild Sports in the Far West" in the early 1800's he describes a gentleman he meets traveling with a smooth-bore and it is a rarity. (His travels started in New York but spent most of his time in the Ohio, IL, IN Cain-tuck-ee and Arkansas area) Please find a contemporary that describes everyone carrying a smooth-bore and a rifle being a rarity and I might change my mind.

People ASSUME that since the military and most trade guns were smooth-bores and you could hunt bunnies everyone had one, but military guns went back in inventory and did not go back home and if you read Friedrich he wasn't wasting time on bunnies, he was killing deer, bears, panthers turkeys and even ducks with his rifle.
I wonder why Lewis and Clark took rifled guns west when they had no idea what they would find and the general assumption was the mountains in the west were going to be similar to the mountains in the east.

Face it gentlemen, the rifle was the go-to longarm for people venturing into the wilderness. (And yes I love my Caywood type C/D smooth-bore)
 
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Rancocas

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In my research to be able to make an educated guess re: the kinds of weapons my Ulster Scots/Overmountain Men ancestors carried before and during the Revolution, I noticed a definite dichotomy...With a few exceptions in newly-settled frontier areas like northern Vermont, what few privately-owned firearms there were in the more Northern colonies were mostly old smoothbores and the militia inventory records suggest these were in pitiful condition. As the colonies of that region had been established over a century earlier, a settled English farmer lifestyle and culture was prevalent... Little hunting was done, as meat was grown on the farm, and the great majority of the region was no longer "frontier." What hunting was done likely was mostly small game.
South of Pennsylvania, west of the coastal settlements, and evidently EVERYWHERE in Georgia, things were different. The Piedmont settlements were still fairly new; relations with local Native populations could still be a bit touchy, and the French had outposts
close enough to present a threat. People crossed the mountains to settle (illegally, it seems) in Native territories. The longhunters carried rifles for both hunting and defense; the first wave of pioneers led west by those longhunters armed themselves similarly. The early rifle units, most notably Morgan's Rifles, were recruited from these Southern colonies, where men (and often women) were not only familiar and proficient with rifle guns, they had expertise that comes from years of both "work and play" with them. (The accounts of the impression they made on the townspeople up North on their way to Boston and then Saratoga are quite amusing...)
Of course, this
"Northern smoothbore/Southern rifle" pattern applies primarily to militia and other units carrying their own personal weapons; it also meant, however, that there was a population of marksmen from whom units of regulars to be armed with government-issued rifles could be recruited...
My ancestors turned out to be riflemen at Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, and eventually Yorktown and the Chickamauga Cherokee campaign, so a plain, cherry-stocked Kibler Colonial in .54 cal. seemed to fit the bill. (My first true "build," I think, will likely be a Chambers Virginia Colonial, for the same historical reasons..)
To the OP Mr. Thompson I say, "Have fun with your research and shooting, whatever choices you make!"
Uh huh. And what was the time line for those first longhunters to cross the southern mountains? I believe it was about the late 1750's - 1760's. Ten - fifteen years later the "over mountain men" who fought at King's Mountain during the Revolution were, indeed, mainly armed with rifles. Nevertheless, them, and units such as Daniel Morgan's riflemen were the exception.

At the beginning of the F&I War, because of the French threat west of the Southern Appalachians, that you mention, British troops together with a civilian core of workmen, and some wives and children, did march up country from Charlestown, South Carolina about 1756. It took them nearly three months to make it over the mountains to the Little Tennessee River where they built Fort Loudoun as a deterrent to French influence filtering in from the Mississippi River areas. Those British troops were armed with the "Brown Bess". For the most part, the civilian workmen were unarmed.
Relations with the Indians deteriorated, and in 1760 the Cherokee laid seize to Ft. Loudoun, starving out the British garrison and eventually killing most of them. But that is another story. (Yes, there is also a Ft. Loudon in Pennsylvania)

Roger's Rangers, during the F&I War, were known to be armed with the "Brown Bess". A very few might have had their own rifle. The famous "Battle on Snowshoes" was fought with smoothbore muskets.

During our American War for Independence, the vast majority of Continental Army troops, the British and Hessian troops, the French troops, Continental Navy sailors and marines were all mainly armed with either the British "Brown Bess", or the French "Charleville" muskets, with some Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and other smoothbores - whatever they could get their hands on. The marines in the "fighting tops", up on the masts of the ships had the job of picking off the officers, helmsmen, and gunners of enemy ships. Our first marines with the Continental Navy were at first armed with whatever weapons they could find for themselves, but they were issued French Charleville muskets as soon as they became available.

However, my reading leads me to believe that even in the south prior to the 1760's smoothbores were the most common firearm.

Smoothbores, whether they be military muskets, or civilian fowlers, were cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy, plus they were easier and quicker to reload. Because of being able to load with either round ball or shot they were, and still are, a more versatile arm than any rifle.

Furthermore, I would bet, although I know of no way to prove it, that many of those first longhunters crossing the mountains in the 1750 - 1760 period were actually armed with smoothbores. It would be interesting to know what gun Boone was carrying the first time he passed through the Cumberland Gap.
 
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Uh huh. And what was the time line for those first longhunters to cross the southern mountains? I believe it was about the late 1750's - 1760's. Ten - fifteen years later the "over mountain men" who fought at King's Mountain during the Revolution were, indeed, mainly armed with rifles. Nevertheless, them, and units such as Daniel Morgan's riflemen were the exception.

At the beginning of the F&I War, because of the French threat west of the Southern Appalachians, that you mention, British troops together with a civilian core of workmen, and some wives and children, did march up country from Charlestown, South Carolina about 1756. It took them nearly three months to make it over the mountains to the Little Tennessee River where they built Fort Loudoun as a deterrent to French influence filtering in from the Mississippi River areas. Those British troops were armed with the "Brown Bess". For the most part, the civilian workmen were unarmed.
Relations with the Indians deteriorated, and in 1760 the Cherokee laid seize to Ft. Loudoun, starving out the British garrison and eventually killing most of them. But that is another story. (Yes, there is also a Ft. Loudon in Pennsylvania)

Roger's Rangers, during the F&I War, were known to be armed with the "Brown Bess". A very few might have had their own rifle. The famous "Battle on Snowshoes" was fought with smoothbore muskets.

During our American War for Independence, the vast majority of Continental Army troops, the British and Hessian troops, the French troops, Continental Navy sailors and marines were all mainly armed with either the British "Brown Bess", or the French "Charleville" muskets, with some Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and other smoothbores - whatever they could get their hands on. The marines in the "fighting tops", up on the masts of the ships had the job of picking off the officers, helmsmen, and gunners of enemy ships. Our first marines with the Continental Navy were at first armed with whatever weapons they could find for themselves, but they were issued French Charleville muskets as soon as they became available.

However, my reading leads me to believe that even in the south prior to the 1760's smoothbores were the most common firearm.

Smoothbores, whether they be military muskets, or civilian fowlers, were cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy, plus they were easier and quicker to reload. Because of being able to load with either round ball or shot they were, and still are, a more versatile arm than any rifle.

Furthermore, I would bet, although I know of no way to prove it, that many of those first longhunters crossing the mountains in the 1750 - 1760 period were actually armed with smoothbores. It would be interesting to know what gun Boone was carrying the first time he passed through the Cumberland Gap.

Military usage is a non-starter, Washington notes that men showed up with rifles for our war of independence and he switched them to smooth-bores, this indicates that they were using rifles in the fields before showing up. What was good for volley fire in formation was not for hunting and again, those belonged to the military, they were not personal weapons.

Cheaper to produce so more produced, but yet, fewer survive. Oh well they were used up where rifles from the period were not. Nope not buying it. Rifles were used so much the barrels were freshed out sometimes more than once. Let me know how many shots it takes to wear out a rifle barrel.

More versatile, but yet Friedrich above hunts everything from bison to ducks with his rifle gun, how versatile is that.

AND.... with all that said I give an example of a hunter (and if you read the book he was first and foremost a hunter) that says smooth-bores were a rarity and Lewis and Clark who grew up in the 1700's chose rifles not your versatile smooth-bores for their expedition and you give more conjecture.

Your reading indicates........ Please give examples of period writing that bolsters your argument.
 

Rancocas

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My reading indicates otherwise. Of course there were rifled guns since very early times. I've read that there is a recorded instance of a successful rifled gun in 1498. However, I've been trying to get across the point that the 1760's was the approximate turning point from dominant smoothbores to a preference for rifles. So, prior to that time it was mostly smoothbores. After that time we turned into a "nation of riflemen".

I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. What does it matter anyway? I use both.
 
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I would tend to agree that, prior to the 1760's, fowlers and muskets would have been more prevalent, as the immigration of Moravian and other Germanic/central European populations with a history of rifled hunting guns in Europe had by then reached a point that their gunsmiths were beginning to produce a large percentage of the Colonial-made firearms. While rifled long-guns had been being made for decades here already ( I recall a post from last year with documentation of the ENTIRE VA Colonial militia in 1690 being armed with RIFLED muskets,) and the case could be made that the VA rifles start out more as fowlers made with rifled barrels, the majority of the newly-birthed American longrifles owed their invention to the adaptation of jaeger-rifle techniques to the needs of the new frontier... longer sighting plane and lighter weight.
An oft-forgoten factor in the technological shift is the advancement in blackpowder making, with higher pressures that made smaller projectiles ballistically more efficient than the .69+/- caliber balls of 20 years earlier.
The combination of these immigration and innovation factors does make the 1750-1770 era a technological and cultural watershed in which rifles became both more desirable and more AVAILABLE to the people moving to the west.
 
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Hi,
In your original post, you wrote that you wanted a gun most like what someone might carry on the frontier of MD during the late 18th century. The answer is a brass mounted long rifle from PA, northern VA, or western MD. Then you mentioned you don't like brass or muzzle caps so you perhaps you are not really keen on having the kind of gun commonly found on the frontier in MD? Given your preferences, I would make an English fowler but perhaps with a rifled barrel and sights if a rifle is important for you. English fowlers were imported to every colony and every early US state so they were ubiquitous and would certainly show up on all frontiers. I am not referring to cheap trade guns but a good quality English fowling gun.

dave
 

Uncle Miltie

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I would love to see someone document this instead of conjecture.

Please see, Friedrich Gerstacker "Wild Sports in the Far West" in the early 1800's he describes a gentleman he meets traveling with a smooth-bore and it is a rarity. (His travels started in New York but spent most of his time in the Ohio, IL, IN Cain-tuck-ee and Arkansas area) Please find a contemporary that describes everyone carrying a smooth-bore and a rifle being a rarity and I might change my mind.

People ASSUME that since the military and most trade guns were smooth-bores and you could hunt bunnies everyone had one, but military guns went back in inventory and did not go back home and if you read Friedrich he wasn't wasting time on bunnies, he was killing deer, bears, panthers turkeys and even ducks with his rifle.
I wonder why Lewis and Clark took rifled guns west when they had no idea what they would find and the general assumption was the mountains in the west were going to be similar to the mountains in the east.

Face it gentlemen, the rifle was the go-to longarm for people venturing into the wilderness. (And yes I love my Caywood type C/D smooth-bore)
Assumptions can of course be drawn from the non-existence of gunmakers west of the Alleghenies at that time.....
 
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