Thoughts on Patch Boxes - or lack thereof - on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age (and Colonial Age)

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75 Cal.
May 15, 2011
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North Central Connecticut
I wonder how many inexplicable mistakes were made by the apprentice and the rifle sold as it was. Probably a more efficient practice than restocking the parts.

Also wonder how many of the examples of some bit of poor taste or workmanship were added to the gun after it left the shop by the owner or other smiths.
It is a good question...
My guess is not many. Mostly because I think craftsman of the time took great pride in their work. This lasted until the 1960's apparently.
Since then, the "screw it, it's good enough," attitude has taken over.


32 Cal
Jun 8, 2022
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This is a pretty good source although some of the photos are a little blurry.
I'll bet the maker of the rifle had a few [email protected](7%[email protected]! moments when he noticed the engraving foulup.
Bought that book back in the 80s and still have it. It's what got me interested in building long rifles instead of the kit CVA and TC guns everyone else I knew were building. I never get tired of picking it up to read and get ideas.
Oct 10, 2004
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Florence Alabama
All I build are what I call "working man's" rifles that are going to accumulate a lot scratches and patina from countless hours of being used in the woods chasing game. For me installing an ornate patchbox on one of these rifles would be like engraving an intricate hunting scene on the side of an axe head, pointless.

I agree wholeheartedly that a brass patchbox without engraving just doesn't look right on a gun.

I do like a slim banana patchbox on a TN rifle, browned or aged, any engraving on a patchbox like this would look totally out of place to me.

This is the only patchbox I have put in a gun so far.

I am currently installing a Hawkens style patchbox in a Lyman GPR, actually I am trying to straighten out the mess my nephew made, he had never inletted anything and attempted to inlet this patchbox with a Dremel tool. My fix is looking like a jigsaw puzzle from all the patches I put in but I oriented the grain correctly on each patch and I bet I can hide every one on the finished installation.

TN rifle;

squirrel rifle done 009.JPG

GPR start, I have started straightening out the rear part, You can see by the front part what a mess it is, I still have still a long way to go. I have never worked with walnut as splintery as this wood is, this makes the repair that much more difficult.

wes patchbox mess.JPG

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