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Your most 'interesting' muzzleloader transaction ?

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Josephg

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1986, saw a nice rifle I collect in a pawn shop. Asked the man behind the counter for the price, the price tag was turned away. He told me it was a rifle for collectors. I told him I collected that type of rifle, he scoffed and told me he wouldn't sell it to me and repeated, "it's a rifle for collectors". Didn't get upset, went home and figured I'd try again in a week or so, might be someone else behind the counter. There was another person behind the counter alright but the rifle had sold. Fast forward to 2001. I'm on a job where I meet a factory rep who we were installing equipment for. Get to talking, turns out he collected knives. Told him what I collected, he told me he knew where there was such a rifle at a gun shop. I go there and it's the same rifle. Purchased it and still have it. I've had a lot of weird experiences collecting/acquiring rifles. That one had a happy ending. :)
 

Eric Krewson

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I traded for a round ball mold on this site, I was very generous with my side of the trade. The mold I received cast balls so lopsided you could see it with the naked eye, it wasn't a cheap mold. The other guy is a top notch builder and shooter so I don't see how he could have missed the molds flaws but I let it slide. I think he dumped a bad mold on me because he could, some folk are like that.
 

Rawhide67

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It wasn’t my bad experience, but I benefitted. A buddy had a very nice curly maple stocked 40 cal with a swamped barrel, flintlock, built by a fairly well known builder. He was so turned off by the long experience and verbal attacks that he only shot it once, while I was at the range with him. Said he just couldn’t like the gun because of the way he was treated by the builder. I read some of the text exchanges and agree that the builder was obnoxious and abrasive. Long story short, I got a new custom built flintlock for no wait time and a lot less money.
 

Nazgul58

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On another forum, traded a rifle to a gent for a pistol about 1200 miles away. Both were worth $1000+. Shipped the rifle, sent a tracking number. He dropped the pistol off to be shipped, promised a tracking #. He acknowledged receiving the rifle. After a week no tracking # for the pistol. He went to the gunshop who was supposed to ship it, they said it was sent out. I went to the shop that was to receive it and they had it. It was shipped loose, no packing in a shoe box!! No tracking number, no name or ID in or on the box. Fortunately it was undamaged. Called the seller and we talked, it wasn't his fault, he was a great guy so no harm no foul.

Don
 

steg49

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Interesting info. on what can still be found out there. A number of years ago (20 +) I was at a gun show and on one table was a double flint shotgun with the asking price of $400. I snatched it up and my friend who was with me said your crazy to pay that much for an old gun. What I ended up with was a Blair and Southerland 20 gauge flintlock made around 1780 to 1800 in pristine condition. I have made other great buy on antiques firearms and contemporary muzzleloaders but I think this was the best of all. steg49
 

Ridge

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About 2 years ago I was visiting a local gun shop. This shop has about 75 muzzleloaders on the wall, most of which are not for sale. I saw a very nice rifle hanging with a tag on the trigger guard. I seriously considered asking to see it but money was a little short at the time and I knew it would be out of my price range.

Fast forward a year later and I stop by the same same shop. As I walk to the back of the store I see it still hanging in the same spot. I ask to see it and when I get it in my hands I look at the top of the barrel and see the name of one of the most in demand gun builders working today. I try to hide my excitement as I check the tag. It says $2,800. That was the top of my range to be sure, but I have dealt with this man for 30 years so I just hand it back to him and come clean. It's just a bit too expensive for a working chump like myself.

He looks at me and says "If you really want this rifle then you can have it for what I paid. Give me $2.000 and it's yours. I couldn't write that check fast enough. Turns out he bought it at a high end auction site in Ohio. The original owner had it hanging in his den until he died. The gun was essentially brand new. Only a few test marks on the frizzen.

He insisted that I look at the auction paperwork to see that he was being straight with me. I really didn't care. I had a rough idea of the value of the gun. Since I've bought it I've had several offers to double my money. It's not for sale though. I really like the gun.

Probably the best gun deal that I ever made.
 
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Loyalist Dave

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So I keep an eye out for used Bess and Charleville muskets. Even with discounts, a reenactor is looking at a minimum of $1200 for just the musket and the bayonet when it's new. Biggest stumbling block in the hobby is the gun price. :confused: So my goal is to rescue the musket, and get it into reenactor ready condition, and break even by selling it to a newbie for what it costs........

So there are some sellers out there that have "sat" on their musket, not using it much, bought decades ago, and they then see what the new ones go for, and think that knocking the price down to $1000 for the musket will get them a nice profit, without looking at the fact that a "kit" musket costs that much and the warranty is still in effect, not to mention the muskets from India have kept the price of used Pedersoli and Jap muskets down. These overpriced used Bess sit on the auction sites, and get no bids, then..., get taken down, unsold. When I've sent personal messages to the sellers with an offer, they get irate...., oh well.

So what I do is I figure, based on the photos posted, what I am willing to pay for the musket, including shipping. If it's in poor shape (rusty, etc) I bid less, as I will have to overhaul the piece to bring it back to "reenactor ready"..., and what I do is a LONG way from what Dave Person does with a factory Bess. ;)

So I saw this rusty Bess with a dark brown barrel, and a very dark lock. So looking further, the lock read "Grice", but the engraved date wasn't clear, and I saw the previous owner had swapped out the flat sideplate for a rounded one, similar to a LLP Bess. I figured it was a Pedersoli. So I placed a bid, and was high bidder (at that moment). Usually folks outbid me, as I've done this dozens of times, and not won. I figured that as I had scrounged several months before, a never used Pedersoli Bess barrel, if the barrel was roached on the auction-site Bess, I at least could add the musket to my collection by replacing the barrel.

I won the darn thing...., $750 bucks including shipping 😶

The money went into a money order, and a week later, the musket arrived. YUCK it was rusty...., no wonder I won, but it looked like surface rust. So after ensuring the musket wasn't loaded, I dunked the barrel and ramrod into my "barrel tank" (a PVC pipe with one end sealed, and filled with Evaporust). The lock (in pieces), the sling swivels, and the butt plate screws went into a ziplock bag full of Evaporust. Twenty-four hours later, I fished out the metal, rinsed, and did a light polish with emory paper and oil. The interior of the musket barrel got 4-0 stell wool on a cleaning brush at the end of a cleaning rod and power drill. Put it back together, and what did I see?

I had a Pedersoli Bess, which somebody had spent money and installed an after-market butt plate, with a longer metal portion on the comb, and had installed a rounded side plate. Further, they had corrected the lock with an earlier date than the incorrect "Grice 1762". This was a Bess upgraded for use in F&I events, to be closer to what an F&I Bess should look like, and the metal was fine, having only had surface rust. The bayonet fit well and cleaned up too. So pretty much I got a Bess & bayonet, that cleaned up would probably have gone for $1000... for $750.

FIRST AND ONLY TIME that I've been that lucky, and THAT Bess is lovingly stored in my collection. 😇

Here's the musket when it arrived

VINTAGE Pedersoli before MUSKET.jpg


Here's the lock, close-up, just out of the box...,
VINTAGE Pedersoli before LOCK.jpg


Here's the lock cleaned up and reinstalled....

VINTAGE Pedersoli after LOCK.jpg


Here's the butt plate and the side plate

VINTAGE Pedersoli after BUTT COMB.jpg
VINTAGE Pedersoli before SIDEPLATE.jpg


For some reason I didn't shoot a photo with the barrel finished. OOPS!

LD
 

zimmerstutzen

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I did once put a deposit on a gun at a shop, got my signed receipt showing the stock number and model and caliber of the gun. I told the clerk I had to go to the bank first thing in the morning and would be back with the rest by 10:30 am. Well I got to the store and the gun was gone. The clerk was not there. Shop owner was. Excuse me, I was in yesterday about the old K-22 masterpiece. Sonny you should have bought it, it just left. I pulled out the receipt and said I did. He looked at the receipt and I could see him turning red and the anger building up was concerning me. He grabs his phone and dials and asks "did you take a deposit on ..... well WHERE is the money. There was no receipt, no note and the money was not in the till last night. Tell your momma why you got fired". and he slammed the phone down. He turned around and took a deep breath. He apologized for his "step son" and told me he would refund my $100 deposit or give me $200 off any gun in the place. I spent 20 minutes going through the store inventory and ended up with nice Dixie Southern Mountain rifle for another $50 bucks.
 

Greg Blackburn

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I did once put a deposit on a gun at a shop, got my signed receipt showing the stock number and model and caliber of the gun. I told the clerk I had to go to the bank first thing in the morning and would be back with the rest by 10:30 am. Well I got to the store and the gun was gone. The clerk was not there. Shop owner was. Excuse me, I was in yesterday about the old K-22 masterpiece. Sonny you should have bought it, it just left. I pulled out the receipt and said I did. He looked at the receipt and I could see him turning red and the anger building up was concerning me. He grabs his phone and dials and asks "did you take a deposit on ..... well WHERE is the money. There was no receipt, no note and the money was not in the till last night. Tell your momma why you got fired". and he slammed the phone down. He turned around and took a deep breath. He apologized for his "step son" and told me he would refund my $100 deposit or give me $200 off any gun in the place. I spent 20 minutes going through the store inventory and ended up with nice Dixie Southern Mountain rifle for another $50 bucks.
Such thievery is fairly common. I once left a job because I found out the assistant manager (newly appointed) was stealing cash out of the register. He must have had some major dirt on the manager because she wouldn't do anything about it. Cash was going missing on every shift. One girl was forced to pay $100.00 that went missing! $8.00 went missing on my shift. The manager told me I owed it. I told her I'd pick up pizza and drinks and she and I could spend the next day going through the 8 hours of security footage. She declined that and said she'd pay it herself. I got out of there.
 
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Only once with a muzzle loader did have a hard time on a build with the .62 smooth bore, researched the builder got good reviews commissioned the gun with a 1 year build time paid up front trusted the guy well 3 years later and one very hard time received the gun, Every time I could get a hold of him there was a different excuse, nice build and satisfied with the work but never again. Actually I believe these folks should be identified to protect future buyers from the lies and bull s@@@ that goes on with these things. I was taught that if you tell a man something you live up to it, if you really think about it all a man really has is his word.
 

jonathan butcher

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I agree. The problem I think is the litigious nature of some folks, something a web forum would understandably rather avoid. But I agree with the sentiment; eBay has a SELLER rating system for that very reason. Burn folks on a transaction, your rating gets a very public ding. Other potential buyers then can make decisions with a little more insight into the SELLER, rather than completely blind.

Only once with a muzzle loader did have a hard time on a build with the .62 smooth bore, researched the builder got good reviews commissioned the gun with a 1 year build time paid up front trusted the guy well 3 years later and one very hard time received the gun, Every time I could get a hold of him there was a different excuse, nice build and satisfied with the work but never again. Actually I believe these folks should be identified to protect future buyers from the lies and bull s@@@ that goes on with these things. I was taught that if you tell a man something you live up to it, if you really think about it all a man really has is his word.
 

zimmerstutzen

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Years ago, I knew a guy who made Grandfather clocks. Made everything, cut the gears, pinned the pieces of the workes together. fashioned the springs himself. made the cabinets and painted the faces himself. Gorgeous clocks, which in the late 1960's were bringing about 2 grand a piece. I remember a guy coming to his shop and putting a deposit on a clock and once the receipt was written, adds and I will need it by Thanksgiving. Well, Bill was a really cranky old buy, he looks at the fellow and said listen up. I make the clocks in batches of 12. It takes me about a year to do 12. I have 32 people ahead of you on the list. Do you want your money back or do you want to wait three years because that is what is written at the top? Back around then, a co worker ordered a custom long rifle, pretty much the same thing. At the outset, he was told it would be a year, then it stretched into 18 months and the coworker was getting miffed. About 21 months into it, he called the builder and asked about progress. The fellow said, it will be done in about two weeks. If you want your money back, that's ok, I got a higher offer from somebody else for the gun you ordered. The gun was done in 2 weeks and there was a note about other guy who wanted to buy it and how to contact him.
 

rickystl

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Early this year there was an auction that I won a Pedersoli 1859 Sharps Berdan Infantry Rifle, in new unfired condition. Incredibly, there were no other bidders. Couldn't believe it. So I got it for $425.00. Believe the current List price is near 4X that.

Back in the early 1980's I picked up an excellent condition Miruko Brown Bess from a pawn shop in Denver, Co. for $125.00. (Should have kept that one).

A few years ago a co-worker (now retired) brought in a gun to see if I could ID it. Said it had been in his family since his grandfather, but unknown before that. So he walks into the office holding an ORIGINAL Northwest Trade Fusil !!! I was trying to be calm while filling my pants. LOL It was in Fair condition, but complete. So I ended up buying it for $500.00.

So, once in a great while, you get a home run. LOL

USPS: Somewhere, recently, I read where there is some big changes happening with the Post Office in an attempt to try and turn a profit. Even at the height of the virus delivery seemed pretty much normal. It's just the last 2-3 months I've noticed First Class and Priority packages are taking longer to get delivered - sometimes much longer depending on the origin. My Brother (now retired) was a private contract over the road driver for USPS till two years ago. The guys he worked with are telling him the amount of over the road routes have been cut back considerably. They tell him this (not the virus) is the primary reason for the delays. Proof Positive: I ordered a sweater (only $40.00) that was shipped by the seller First Class Mail, with Tracking on 09/28. I just received it yesterday, 10/24.

Rick
 

Nazgul58

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Saw a fullstock/ Hawken/Plains rifle for sale on a local forum. Price was $2000, which did not seem out of line looking at the pictures. Always wanted one that style, but out of my range. Had a cartridge revolver that was collectible, hadn't shot it in 5 years. Offered it to the guy in trade, he accepted. The rifle was as nice as the pics and shoots very well. Oh, I paid $450 for the revolver......

Don
 
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Payment in full up front has kept me from ever commissioning a custom rifle with an extended build time. As in your case sometimes stuff just happens. Failing health is a biggie. Many a skilled and honest craftsman have gotten sick. Or fallen down. Or any number of other every day mishaps that make payment up front not a viable option for me. I get it though.
That's EXACTLY why I won't commission & pay up front on a build either. Too must time, too much risk & scammers out there..
I'll just buy a finished one with cash on hand for an gun I like. No problems then. Everyone is happy.
 
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I recently bought a rifle from a guy who described it as "really nice" and "appears to have been shot every little." The pictures he sent didn't show anything that gave me serious concern (pictures lie). We exchanged several emails and I told him I wanted the rifle and would send payment.

The first indication the purchase was not going to go well was when the day after I sent him payment, he told me he was away from home for the next week and a half and would send the rifle when he got back. He did eventually send the rifle, but it wasn't insured as he stated it would be.

Well it definitely isn't "really nice", and has been shot so much the lock is worn out and needs to be repaired or replaced. For example, the frizzen is so loose it smacks against, and leaves marks in the barrel when stuck by the flint, the sear spring is cracked. The hammer is so beat up that even with a small flint shoved as far back into the jaws as possible, with the hammer all the way forward the flint strikes the pan. And the best I could get it to shoot is a 3" to 5" group at 50 yds. I typically shoot 1" to 2" groups at 50 yds. with my other flintlocks.

I asked for my money back in exchange for the gun, but that went nowhere. He took no responsibility for misrepresenting the rifle's condition and later admitted to have never shot the gun. He even had the audacity to suggest I call the rifle's maker and ask for advice on what to do with it.
That's EXACTLY why I won't buy from pictures only. Too easy to put a better picture in the ad. Too much risk & scammers out there..
I'll just buy a finished one with cash on hand for an gun I like. No problems then. Everyone is happy.
 

Rifleman1776

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When I first responded to this "most interesting" thread I had to juggle between the Jackie Brown story and another. The other was the build of my Little Fella flint rifle by Dave Person. Dave posted progress reports with pics as he built it. The detail and knowledge put into that project, I now believe, takes the top in my "most interesting" ml gun acquisition stories. If not, it is certainly the "most happiest" for me.
 

zimmerstutzen

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That's EXACTLY why I won't commission & pay up front on a build either. Too must time, too much risk & scammers out there..
I'll just buy a finished one with cash on hand for an gun I like. No problems then. Everyone is happy.
And the flip side of that is finishing the rifle and the customer that ordered can't come up with the cash. The builder then sometimes must carry the thing for months waiting for somebody to buy it. The steady income depended on by that sale fell through, so now the builder is also out the money for the parts until he sells it. It is not so much a problem with a usual rifle, but an odd order can make the gun virtually un sellable. Suppose it is a chunk gun with a false muzzle. Most matches don't allow false muzzles.

Similar problems come up when there is a partial deposit and the buyer can't complete the payment, Make the deposit non-refundable? that just causes the buyer to bad mouth the builder. It becomes a can of worms. An ideal thing would be to have an escrow hold the funds with a deadline for completion, but even then people get sick, people die, estates want to cancel the sale and get the money back, etc. The builder has to protect himself. He has no big company with thousands of customers to ensure a steady income, that he won't be stuck for $700 in parts, etc. No one is going to pay his salaray anyway because an order fell through.
 
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jonathan butcher

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I have no doubt that I’ve missed out on some wonderful custom rifle opportunities due to being unwilling to take the leap of faith of full payment up front. Like it or not our interest in muzzleloading arms is pretty confined to persons ‘of an age’, otherwise known as senior citizens. I myself fit in that category.
The point being the older the custom rifle maker the more chance there is of order interruptions due to poor health among other things. I therefore restrict my purchases to the already made variety.
 

Kansas Jake

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I have made some good buys at gun shows and pawn shops where I got a real bargain. I guess one of my best deals came from listening to a local radio stations "shopper program" on morning. A guy called in and wanted to sell a couple of cap and ball revolvers. He was from a town about 60 miles away. On a whim I called and he had a 1860 Colt repro and an 1858 Remington repro. I made arrangements to go look at them that evening. They were in very good condition for 1970s vintage pistol and were in a nice pistol case with a few extra. I made the deal a very reasonable price. He then said I have a couple of other muzzle loading pistols and will just throw them in on the deal. One was a flintlock juke pistol and the other a brass frame 1851 Colt in 44 caliber. The 1851 had been bobbed to a 4" barrel and appeared new. He also let me handle an original Scofield and probably would have sold it, but I had already blown my gun budget for a few months.
 
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