Traditional percussion

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NorthFork

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No. Unless you count the RMC flintlock that seems to come and go. Quite frankly no one in this country gives a blankety blank about traditional muzzleloading. We are a VERY minute number of shooters. A company would not generate enough sales to stay in business. An American company cannot compete with the lower labor costs of Spanish and Italian makers.

edit- I would estimate the retail cost of a typical T/C like 'hawken' that was American made to run north of $1250. Anything even remotely H/C would be $2500++++ Not many shooters willing to pay those prices.
 

Notchy Bob

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I don't think it's likely. Possible, but not likely, in my opinion. Lots of businesses seem to get started with a lot of energy, and then lose momentum. Thompson/Center had a really good thing going, with a nice lineup of side lock muzzleloaders. They had a tremendous customer base. Then they had that fire, and as far as I know they did not find it cost effective to rebuild. They left a void in the market and the foreign countries jumped in to fill it.

We are fortunate in having some custom and semi-custom builders here in the USA who can build anything you want, if you are willing to pay for it. Gunsmiths have to eat, too! I think in early times, a firearm was a large and costly investment, for the most part. Cheap, imported trade guns being exceptions. If you think about it, that's kind of where we are now. I think startup costs for American companies who can mass produce quality guns (like T/C did) on American soil may be too costly.

So, I think T/C's involvement in "traditional" side lock muzzleloaders has come and gone, much of their tooling was lost, and I don't know of anybody with the right combination of vision, motivation, and capital to start anything similar from scratch. Gosh, we don't even have anybody to step in and take over the facilities that are available. I don't think anybody has acquired North Star West, for example, after it was closed due to the proprietor's illness. I believe Danny Caywood has been voicing a desire to retire one of these days (I think he's in his sixties), and I haven't heard of anyone expressing an interest in his business. It would seem that the now defunct Green River Rifle Works could have been resuscitated, but I think that opportunity was lost long ago.

So, I hope those who can will support the individual gunmakers we have, and I hope we can expect adequate quality for the cost from the importers, for those who can't or don't want to go with a custom build. We just have to keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for.

I do think forums like this serve a valuable function. Whenever somebody gets a gun, looks it over and tries it out, and then posts a knowledgeable and objective review, it helps the rest of us understand what's available and whether it's worth the cost. Too often, we see posts by people who are ecstatic with the quality, or totally unhappy with the product. We need to see more reviews of "average" gear, telling us what is good and bad.

I don't know if it is really feasible to put up a "Product Review" section on this forum. I think it would require some guidelines, and those who submit the reviews may need to have some sort of qualification.

Anyway, those are my rambling and digressive thoughts on the topic. I will look forward to reading what others have to say.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

NorthFork

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@Notchy Bob

The problem with product reviews in our case here on this forum is two fold.

1) Experience of the shooter who is doing the review. What might be great in the eyes of a 'newbie' might not be up to snuff for an experienced shooter.

2) Difference of opinion on what constitutes an acceptable muzzleloader in terms of h/c and p/c.

For example, I think my Pedersoli Indian Trade Musket is very good. I'm satisfied with it. Does what I need for it to do. That said many folks on this forum despise that musket simply because it lack a couple of h/c features and is an import. I think it's just fine in terms of function and it's " in the spirit " enough to satisfy me (I'm quoting Sam Fadala here).
 

Nutnfancy

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I bought a .50 cal. Thompson Center Renegade kit (made in the USA) in the early '80's and gave $170 for it, a factory assembled started at $225 - $250. The same plain Jane style rifle kit today start around $350, aren't the quality of T/C's and their not made in the USA.
Renegade_50_kit.JPG
 

Kansas Jake

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I agree with Boomerang and Notchy Bob regarding a Kibler. $100 in 1970 is equal to $681.63 today. So the $150 TC in 1970 would be close to $1000 today. That isn't too far off from Jim Kibler's kits and you are getting a much more historically correct rifle. Even someone with minimal skills will end up with a pretty good firearm and someone skilled could have a great one.
 

JB67

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No. Unless you count the RMC flintlock that seems to come and go. Quite frankly no one in this country gives a blankety blank about traditional muzzleloading. We are a VERY minute number of shooters. A company would not generate enough sales to stay in business. An American company cannot compete with the lower labor costs of Spanish and Italian makers.

edit- I would estimate the retail cost of a typical T/C like 'hawken' that was American made to run north of $1250. Anything even remotely H/C would be $2500++++ Not many shooters willing to pay those prices.
If Ruger and Hi Point can make a semiautomatic rifles for a couple of hundred bucks, and others make modern inlines equally cheap, I see no reason a decent traditional muzzleloader kits can't be made for less than $500. Especially with modern machining.
 

mooman76

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Yes they can, they just don't want to. CVA started making their own instead of importing but they dropped the line of Traditional MLs, unfortunately.
 

TNGhost

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If Ruger and Hi Point can make a semiautomatic rifles for a couple of hundred bucks, and others make modern inlines equally cheap, I see no reason a decent traditional muzzleloader kits can't be made for less than $500. Especially with modern machining.
Several problems there. First the "quality" of a lot of Ruger's, Highpoint's and other's stuff is not what it was at the peak of American firearms production Lots of plastic, stampings and investment castings. And I say "quality" in quotes, because these guns are reliable, function well and are fully capable of doing the job intended. The molded plastic, stampings etc, combined with numbers, are what lowers the price point and makes them affordable,. but the materials and techniques leave them lacking in fit and finish.

This materials and techniques that make them affordable do not translate well to traditional styled muzzleloaders and the market is small, and even further it is very divided. so the market for that kind of cost cutting production isn't there. The Ruger Old Army is an example, fine gun, well made, with traditional materials, making it expensive to produce, and a lot of the market wasn't interested because it wasn't true enough to the historic originals. Hence it hasn't been produced in over a decade.
 

TNGhost

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@Notchy Bob

The problem with product reviews in our case here on this forum is two fold.

1) Experience of the shooter who is doing the review. What might be great in the eyes of a 'newbie' might not be up to snuff for an experienced shooter.

2) Difference of opinion on what constitutes an acceptable muzzleloader in terms of h/c and p/c.

For example, I think my Pedersoli Indian Trade Musket is very good. I'm satisfied with it. Does what I need for it to do. That said many folks on this forum despise that musket simply because it lack a couple of h/c features and is an import. I think it's just fine in terms of function and it's " in the spirit " enough to satisfy me (I'm quoting Sam Fadala here).

I think #2 there pretty much hits the nail on the head. There is just too wide a range in too small a market to make it profitable for mass production
 

mooman76

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Sure they could do it and make money but would you rather gear up for something that makes allot of money, or barely makes money.
 

Tinhorn

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Possibly Henry could do it, they seem to understand the customers like us. JMO, of course. Tinhorn
 

mushka

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A major problem for startup companies in this county is government intervention with too many taxes, rules and regulations. People just aren't willing to bear the extra cost and compliance requirements a lot of the time.
 

SDSmlf

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If Ruger and Hi Point can make a semiautomatic rifles for a couple of hundred bucks, and others make modern inlines equally cheap, I see no reason a decent traditional muzzleloader kits can't be made for less than $500. Especially with modern machining.
They could, using modern manufacturing processes and materials, with design changes to allow use of those processes and materials..... And don’t forget economy of scale. And no price break until fixed cost are covered by sales volume. Ruger on average sells more than 150,000 10/22s per year for example. How many traditional guns of a specific model do you think a company could sell year after year? Believe Ruger has sold well over 7 million of those pesky 10/22s since they started building them. A lot of volume to spread their investment costs over.
 

RB POWELL

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I have a TC "Hawken" I built from a kit in the early 70's. I think I did a good job on it. Never been fired. I gave it to my father for a birthday present. It is mine again: a safe Queen till now. Don't know if I should shoot it, or sell it. It is the only half-stock I own.
 

Rudyard

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At the risk of being a positive snob, I could never see TC affairs as traditional. No doubt sound enough and close enough for the market, but not in the hunt compared with say the Kibbler offering for' traditional' style . In New Zealand we had a one man band (well two some times ) self taught engineer turned gun maker in the late Tony Hawkins who produced the TC of NZ black powder shooters with his Hawkins ' Hawken' style rifle in kit or complete not remotely traditional beyond a cursery semblemce BUT had first class accurate barrels and sold at a price the then greatly expanding market interest in BP shooting could afford "To get the Jokers Shooting" as he put it & it did in the 70s But today there just isn't the interest and very few are as keen today and mostly older men & there hasn't been any similar firm produce any thing similar since. Just the few' roll your own' makers like myself who mostly catered to the US ,Canada, Australia , & UK market in a custom way & I don't even know of any maker in NZ that does any thing like the numbers I produced . My home market is trifling . I'me my own best customer ! . There are but .250.000 Liscenced firearms owners in a population of 5 million rough total .(A plus in the Covid control) might be 5 per cent have any serius interest in Muzzle loading shooting & at a wild guess could be less than 100 hunt with BP .There are No seasons All large game is without protection as their pest proportions & not native considered 'Noxious animals ' .NO one could want a cheating inline abomination there are no separate seasons .Most pig hunters use dogs and go in with a knife so as not to deafen the dogs .Quite medieval apart from the pickup & forestry roads bit . Anyway I seem to digress ,I tend to.
Regards Rudyard
 

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