Track of the Wolf Kits

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Crow Choker

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Hello forum-1stpost, have been reading forum for some time, joined last Nov, but just getting around to posting. Enjoy the forum, alot of good info to be found. Have been shooting cap and ball since early 70's, bought, still have TC 45 cal Hawkin, and reload and shoot black in some Colt copy Open Top cartridge revolvers. Love them all. Have wanted a flint rifle since the early days of percussion revolver shooting, but never took the plunge. Have looked at various sellers of kits off and on over the years, but just never got one. Would like to 'bit the bullet' now. Have been looking at various sellers online and have been reading a whole bunch of posts on this forum site about the various sellers and their wares. Have been doing business with Track of the Wolf for a while and have looked at their kits alot. They seem good, have read about a few magazine writers who have gotten Track kits and gave good reviews.

Curious, haven't seen much talk about Tracks rifle kits. Is there a problem with them that everyone is steering away from them. Again, haven't read much from posters here about any 'high fives' with them. I've looked at Kibler's with alot of interest and see they get good reviews here. Only problem I have with them unless I'm not seeing the big picture is that with his Colonial kit, they are offered only in 50 plus caliber. The Southern Rifle kit has available the 36 caliber I desire, but is styled after rifles produced after 1800. I'm looking more for a style produced prior to the Revolutionary War as the Colonial kit is geared to. I don't know if Kibler offers a 36 caliber in the Colonial or not. Anyway, just wondering about Tracks rifle kits. Have looked for some time at Tracks Golden Age, Colonial, and Bucks County rifle kits. Appreciate any feedback.
 

Jaegermeister

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I built their Jaeger kit. I got in a hurry and it shows if you look close. I had zero experience and learned a lot along the way. Mostly I learned that I’m not a “kit” builder.
 

kje54

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Hello forum-1stpost, have been reading forum for some time, joined last Nov, but just getting around to posting. Enjoy the forum, alot of good info to be found. Have been shooting cap and ball since early 70's, bought, still have TC 45 cal Hawkin, and reload and shoot black in some Colt copy Open Top cartridge revolvers. Love them all. Have wanted a flint rifle since the early days of percussion revolver shooting, but never took the plunge. Have looked at various sellers of kits off and on over the years, but just never got one. Would like to 'bit the bullet' now. Have been looking at various sellers online and have been reading a whole bunch of posts on this forum site about the various sellers and their wares. Have been doing business with Track of the Wolf for a while and have looked at their kits alot. They seem good, have read about a few magazine writers who have gotten Track kits and gave good reviews.

Curious, haven't seen much talk about Tracks rifle kits. Is there a problem with them that everyone is steering away from them. Again, haven't read much from posters here about any 'high fives' with them. I've looked at Kibler's with alot of interest and see they get good reviews here. Only problem I have with them unless I'm not seeing the big picture is that with his Colonial kit, they are offered only in 50 plus caliber. The Southern Rifle kit has available the 36 caliber I desire, but is styled after rifles produced after 1800. I'm looking more for a style produced prior to the Revolutionary War as the Colonial kit is geared to. I don't know if Kibler offers a 36 caliber in the Colonial or not. Anyway, just wondering about Tracks rifle kits. Have looked for some time at Tracks Golden Age, Colonial, and Bucks County rifle kits. Appreciate any feedback.
If you have an abundance of patience, some skill and the correct tools or the money to purchase the correct tools then either Track or Pecatonica are great choices. Some of the work can be done by either vendor like installing the breach plug and under lugs, etc for a price, it's worth it if you really don't feel comfortable doing those aspects of the build yourself.
Kibler would be a relatively easy kit for a beginner but no, their Colonial doesn't come in 36 caliber as most pre Rev War long guns would not have.
 

M. De Land

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Hello forum-1stpost, have been reading forum for some time, joined last Nov, but just getting around to posting. Enjoy the forum, alot of good info to be found. Have been shooting cap and ball since early 70's, bought, still have TC 45 cal Hawkin, and reload and shoot black in some Colt copy Open Top cartridge revolvers. Love them all. Have wanted a flint rifle since the early days of percussion revolver shooting, but never took the plunge. Have looked at various sellers of kits off and on over the years, but just never got one. Would like to 'bit the bullet' now. Have been looking at various sellers online and have been reading a whole bunch of posts on this forum site about the various sellers and their wares. Have been doing business with Track of the Wolf for a while and have looked at their kits alot. They seem good, have read about a few magazine writers who have gotten Track kits and gave good reviews.

Curious, haven't seen much talk about Tracks rifle kits. Is there a problem with them that everyone is steering away from them. Again, haven't read much from posters here about any 'high fives' with them. I've looked at Kibler's with alot of interest and see they get good reviews here. Only problem I have with them unless I'm not seeing the big picture is that with his Colonial kit, they are offered only in 50 plus caliber. The Southern Rifle kit has available the 36 caliber I desire, but is styled after rifles produced after 1800. I'm looking more for a style produced prior to the Revolutionary War as the Colonial kit is geared to. I don't know if Kibler offers a 36 caliber in the Colonial or not. Anyway, just wondering about Tracks rifle kits. Have looked for some time at Tracks Golden Age, Colonial, and Bucks County rifle kits. Appreciate any feedback.
I did one of their(TOTW) SMR kits last winter ( a year ago) and it was a lot of work but enjoyable. I think it came out really nice for my first flint kit gun but am a Gunsmith so have the tools and training for things like breech plug fitting and flash hole liner making etc. I watched Kimbler put one of his kits together and the TOTW kit requires quite a bit more work than his does. For me getting the keys level and correctly positioned was quite the challenge and I'd say the next difficult was getting the nose cap level and true with no gaps of any consequence to show up.
The barrel channel was well cut but the tang and breech had to be set back about a quarter inch to get the pan to line up correctly with the flash hole.
The ram rod hole was cut so I didn't get to try that. I chose .45 cal straight GM barrel in 13/16s across the flats 36 inches long an am delighted with the accuracy, ballance and look of the gun.
I spent the eight bucks to get a full set of plans so as to get the build sequence and stock shapes and furniture placed right. I had about a grand in the kit and had to wait six months to get the maple tiger stripe stock which is only fair to midland in character.
I don't care for the dark aquafortic look so went with Winchester red stain and True oil finish sealed with spar varithane. It really made what Tiger stripe there was stand out nicely.
The barrel was bored nice and straight as most all GM are and the sights line up right down the center on both ends. It shot well from the get go with no patch cutting and I won a match with it two months ago.
The flint guns are the real ticket now with the dearth of percussion caps.
 
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With the exceptions of Kibler and Chambers everyone sells the same kits. They are not kits, they are parts sets from which you can make a rifle. Track and others purchase parts from multiple smaller vendors and bundle them as a kit. None are better than anyone else. The stocks can be unusable, you won't figure that out until you start work and then you own it. I strongly suggest you do not get the lock inlet done for you for that reason. They take lots of experience and skill. I have built several of them, they can make as good a rifle as any other. But then I have been mucking with this stuff for 40 years. It would take extraordinary man to make nice rifle out of one on the first try. Don't let that stop you, you have to learn on something! Have fun. : )
 

Art Caputo

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The comparison between the Kibler and the TOTW(and many others) kits are like comparing apples and oranges. A lot of the “heavy lifting” is taken care of with the Kibler through extensive use of computer aided machining/ fitment with competitive prices due to standardization.....the reason for the limited offerings/choices. For a novice(like myself), Jim makes if very easy to produce a nice finished product in a relatively short period of time, particularly using his video aides. For an experienced builder, using Kiblers high quality “canvas”, one can focus on carving, engraving, and finish if that is the desire. On the other hand, should you have the skills, enjoy the process without time restraints, and/or desire a specific rifle/caliber that is not offered by Kibler, the offerings from TOTW and others can result in a top quality finished product that has the potential to look and perform with the best. IMO....
 

Tom A Hawk

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I have built three from TOW. A half stock Hawken, a Lancaster and a full stock Hawken. The half stock was my first and I had nothing to compare it to. I was pleased and satisfied well enough with the Lancaster. The barrel channel on the full stock Hawken was not inletted well. Normal thickness on one side and paper thin on the other. Since those I have purchased two stocks from Pecatonica and have been delighted with their quality and value. I competed a Tennessee with interchangeable barrels last year and and now working on an Isaac Haines. The lock mortice on the Haines required the least amount of fitting I have experienced to date. The swamped barrel channel was perfect.
 

Grenadier1758

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As mentioned, there's Pecatonica with a little more variety than Track of the Wolf. Most kits are a collection of parts. Most will require a fairly large collection of hand tools and a drill press to complete.

Have you obtained any of the gun building books or tutorial videos available? Good books are "The Art of Building a Pennsylvania Long Rifle", Art of Building the Pennsylvania Longrifle, an illustrated instruction manual, by Dixon, Ehrig, and Miller - Track of the Wolf or "The Gunsmith of Grenville County", The Gunsmith of Grenville County, Building the American Longrifle illustrated instruction manual, revised edition, spiral bound, by Peter A. Alexander - Track of the Wolf.

You can look for the video series by Bill Raby. You can choose from his series on Lancaster Rifles. Bill Raby - YouTube

Good choices for kits include Pecatonica River Long Rifle Supply, Pecatonica River Long Rifle Supply (longrifles-pr.com) , TVM, SHOWROOM | tvmsite (tvmnatchez.com), Jim Chambers, Jim Chambers Flintlocks , Caywood (mostly smooth bores), SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN RIFLE (caywoodguns.com),

Do learn about locks and what parts would be best for the build. German locks on an English style rifle or Colonial Style rifle are out of place.
 
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"The barrel channel on the full stock Hawken was not inletted well. Normal thickness on one side and paper thin on the other."

If you figure out the stock is junk before you cut, send it back. Ask for return postage.

The agreement in the hobby is that they will swap you two times and then provide a square blank. It's happened to me. I got two bad ones in a row from a vendor. I gave up and fired up the bandsaw. I broke my heart to throw away fine fiddleback maple. The parts bundler does not cut the stocks. They get them from outfits that specialize in that aspect. The quality control can be spotty. The less they do for you the better.
 

Cattywompuss

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Yeah, the longrifle "kits" of today from big muzzleloader supply places are not kits like the ol T/C stuff. They require a lot of work. Which if you are looking to build a gun can be great. If you want to assemble a gun and be shooting very quickly, Kibler. Most of the very time consuming and fiddly work is done already on Kiblers stuff to a very high level of workmanship. He has revolutionized longrifle "kit" quality.

If you got time and tools though, and want to learn the building process, TOW, Pecatonica, Sitting Fox. All good enough for government work. TOW seems to have thr most general unfinished stuff with less choice than Pecatonica.
 

Crow Choker

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While I've never built a rifle from scratch or kit, I've done alot of "gunsmithing" and work over the years, which includes wood refinish, bluing (other than just cold), alot of revolver tuning, rifle and shotgun work, and some on semi-auto pistols. Have some of the needed tools for a kit build, but lack alot of the needed info and skills to accurately do some of the needed functions that many of you have penned for a flinter. I wouldn't have any problem with a Kibler kit if as if what I've read on his site, others, and this forum. I usually look at something ten different ways before doing so it's done right. As I penned in my first post, I've done alot of searchin in the some 400 pages of this section looking at info and search for TOW info on their kits. Can understand Kibler's not offering anything less than 50 caliber in his Colonial kits due to his process of producing them. I've watched and read several reports by a well known gun writer and facebook poster of the progress of several of his builds using TOW kits. Some of the various aspects I'm a novice at and wouldn't want to mess a part up by not fully understanding what is what. I'm fussy about my work and want to do it right and not just hurry it or slam it together and call it good. The Kibler kit sounds like it would be a good first starter.

Gettin down to brass tacks, I probably would be happy with the Kibler Southern rifle, even though it's geared after styles post 1800, it's a nice lookin rifle. It'd boom, make smoke, and send a ball down range as well as a 1700's version, but have always had the want and vision of a pre-1800 rifle being a fan of early Colonial America and the Revolutionary War . I'm not a real stickler when it comes to complete and total accuracy when owning and shooting a firearm from a particular period. "Period Correct" as some of my fellow cowboy action forum members and shooters call it. Despise that term and some of the attitudes referring to it. Wouldn't have a problem having a Kibler style Colonial rifle calibered in 36 if available even though as one of you posted wasn't common in the 1700's, although I always thought and have read that some rifles of that day were in calibers under 50.

I'm going to keep up the investigation of what is what, who offers what, reading info on this forum and getting a book or two on flint rifles (history and function). Would like to do a build and be able to make smoke and boom with one before winter sets in, maybe it will be a winter project. Thank you for all the info and responses. In case anyone is curious where 'that guy' is breathing air, I'm in Northcentral Iowa. Ifin' I could throw a rock around 35 miles it would land in Minnesota. Thanks again for the info!!!
 

billraby

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The fusil-de-chasse video series that I did shows every step of building a Track of the Wolf kit from start to finish. The other series that I have done show every step of building from a blank. I would definitely say that building from a blank is easier. Problem with it is that it SEEMS like it would be harder if you have not done it before. Biggest advantage of working from a blank is that you are not limited. You can build any rifle that you want.


You have to decide what your goal is with this. If the goal is to have a great rifle, then get a Kibler kit. If you want to build a rifle then go with one of the other kits or build from a blank. A Track of the Wolf kit or blank is going to take much longer than a Kibler kit. Difference is that it is finished you have learned how to build a gun. You can build anything you want after that. Is the end goal the rifle or the experience of building it? Decide from there.
 

toadboy65

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The advantage of the TOW grade kits is that you can use it to learn the basics, without a huge investment in time or money. I built a similar one in high school, and I learned enough from the experience to know that I wanted to get serious about it.
Others in this thread have mentioned books on the subject, and I want to add one- Foxfire 5 Foxfire 5: Ironmaking, Blacksmithing, Flintlock Rifles, Bear Hunting, and Other Affairs of Plain Living (Foxfire Series): Eliot Wigginton: 9780385143080: Amazon.com: Books
In college, I bought a green mountain barrel blank, some rough lock castings, and used Foxfire Five to make everything else I needed to make a good rifle that I am still proud of. I also still have that first kit gun, which I can look at to see how far I have come.
 

EC121

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I have a Colonial in .58, and it balances great and weighs 8.6lbs. A 43.5" barreled Colonial .36 would be muzzle heavy.
 

Darkhorse

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I have built 2 rifles from TOW. Both of them Isacc Haines, one is a .54, the other is a .40 which was built as a turkey rifle since hunting them with a ML rifle is legal in my state.
I don't want a Kibler. I want more of the rifle building experience, something I can be proud of, or dissappointed in my efforts, but good or bad it's mine to do.
I have considered building another IH from TOW, this one with the B profile in .50 caliber. However I've been thinking of the Dunlap kits because you have a greater choice of wood from Dunlap. Plus I can get a C profile in .58, should be a little lighter and a well balanced rifle for hunting.
I don't think it matters much whose kit you get because they are mostly the same. One thing about the TOW kit is there is enough wood there for you to make it fit you better.
I'll try not to use the word Kit again as these "Parts sets" are a far cry from a simple kit. I think I have 200 or so hours in each of mine. I'm not in a race.
One reason I decided on these parts sets is I had/have never seen or handled a real american longrifle and it's possible to get close if you build carefully.
One thing I did have is very high scores on the Mechanical aptitude tests I have taken in the past and a career as a Tool & Die maker with the Air Force. I am very good at making small parts with a file and sandpaper.
This is all to say that building one of these parts sets is no piece of cake. There are a lot of unfinished kits in closets and corners out there that overwhelmed the builder. So be aware it does take some skill to get a good rifle out of this.
I have never been satisfied with my first one, the .54. I left too much wood in many places. But it's a tackdriver and is able to put all shots into one hole at 50 yards. And it has become my main hunting rifle over the past 20 odd years.


The second one, my .40, came out much better and it's closer to how the American longrifle actually looked. I almost scrapped it because the stock was full of warpage that had to be dealt with but I stuck with it and finally got it all out. Now this rifle is one of my favorites. I built it 15 years ago. Notice it has set triggers. TOW said, told me, set triggers would not fit this rifle but I made them fit and they work great. I spent a lot of time learning all I could about the function of the flintlock then applied it to tuning my locks to suit me. My locks now are slick and fast. Bottom line is you can do almost anything if your patient. A little skill doesn't hurt either.
My rifles are hunting rifles. And I don't settle for less than the best.
 

necchi

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Hello forum-1stpost, have been reading forum for some time,
Welcome to it,, and keep on readin,, ;).

Curious, haven't seen much talk about Tracks rifle kits. Is there a problem with them that everyone is steering away from them.
This is the correct response found above,,
With the exceptions of Kibler and Chambers everyone sells the same kits. They are not kits, they are parts sets from which you can make a rifle. Track and others purchase parts from multiple smaller vendors and bundle them as a kit. None are better than anyone else.
TOW are good people, no problems. But as said they are simply a distributor of assembled parts as are others. The key is to call them (or others) and ASK if they have ALL of the kit parts available in stock,, beware of "yeah, we have it but XXX part is back-ordered". They are just like anyone else,, and have to get in-line to get the part,, just to pass it on to you.
Good luck with your chosen supplier, again the key is "available" parts,, +/- a $50 won't matter much with the total cost when you want to assemble a kit and your waiting for part that matters!
 

PathfinderNC

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As mentioned, there's Pecatonica with a little more variety than Track of the Wolf. Most kits are a collection of parts. Most will require a fairly large collection of hand tools and a drill press to complete.

Have you obtained any of the gun building books or tutorial videos available? Good books are "The Art of Building a Pennsylvania Long Rifle", Art of Building the Pennsylvania Longrifle, an illustrated instruction manual, by Dixon, Ehrig, and Miller - Track of the Wolf or "The Gunsmith of Grenville County", The Gunsmith of Grenville County, Building the American Longrifle illustrated instruction manual, revised edition, spiral bound, by Peter A. Alexander - Track of the Wolf.

You can look for the video series by Bill Raby. You can choose from his series on Lancaster Rifles. Bill Raby - YouTube

Good choices for kits include Pecatonica River Long Rifle Supply, Pecatonica River Long Rifle Supply (longrifles-pr.com) , TVM, SHOWROOM | tvmsite (tvmnatchez.com), Jim Chambers, Jim Chambers Flintlocks , Caywood (mostly smooth bores), SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN RIFLE (caywoodguns.com),

Do learn about locks and what parts would be best for the build. German locks on an English style rifle or Colonial Style rifle are out of place.
Didn’t know about Caywood before. Thanks for your review and info.
 

Crow Choker

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The fusil-de-chasse video series that I did shows every step of building a Track of the Wolf kit from start to finish. The other series that I have done show every step of building from a blank. I would definitely say that building from a blank is easier. Problem with it is that it SEEMS like it would be harder if you have not done it before. Biggest advantage of working from a blank is that you are not limited. You can build any rifle that you want.


You have to decide what your goal is with this. If the goal is to have a great rifle, then get a Kibler kit. If you want to build a rifle then go with one of the other kits or build from a blank. A Track of the Wolf kit or blank is going to take much longer than a Kibler kit. Difference is that it is finished you have learned how to build a gun. You can build anything you want after that. Is the end goal the rifle or the experience of building it? Decide from there.
Thanks again to all the info and sites to obtain rifle kits and parts. Had a full weekend with grandkids and other things so just getting back. 'billraby' your video series was very interesting and informative. While I didn't watch every minute of every episode, I skimmed them all the night after you posted and spent 3 1/2 hrs to almost the midnight hour watching. Hope to get back and watch them in full, very good series. Also watched some of Mike Beliveau's video's on both building a rifle from kits using precut blanks and full ones. While I'm not completely helpless with rifle stock work, I'm not ready yet to build a rifle from a full blank or even one with some of the cutting already performed that still needs alot of fitting.

The more I read about Kibler's kits, the more I'm interested in doing one with one of his Mountain kits (36 or maybe 40 cal) as I don't want a rifle of 50 caliber plus (Kiblers Colonial), at least right now. Some of what is available I equate to sort of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together having a picture to go by or by doing one with 1000 pieces and having no idea what its supposed to look like or just an idea and winging it.. Cheap analogy, but the best I could come up with right now, figure a kit with less work will teach me the basics and knowhow what to do with a more complicated kit where more background is needed. I like Track of the Wolf, have been doing business with them for sometime, like what they offer, and they're only a 3 1/2 hr drive north of me where I could just stop in and see, talk with them, and order/buy in person. The only drawback is according to what I've read here and observed on various video's, Track's kits are a bit more needed in TLC in putting together than I want to attempt at present.

Going to be looking at getting several books soon to digest info. Little squeamish on getting the lock just right to meet the touch hole in the barrel, getting the alignment right. Know the pitfalls of removing to much metal and/or wood. It just doesn't grow back overnight. Some of the other sellers have what seem to be excellent, quality kits, they may be a touch more advanced in work than I want to attempt at present. I realize that doing is a way to gain experience, but I know from experience in other areas of firearms work, inexperience has its pitfalls. The interest is growing. Nice looking rifles 'Darkhorse'!!!
 

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