I get our magazine(Muzzleloader) and every issue has some-one who builds these engraved,xtra fancy guns. My question is: Am I the only that feels left out because my gun didn't cost thousands of dollars? I bought mine to supply food with many years ago,but who would carry a $ 7-10,000 rifle to brush pop with?
Maybe cause I live on disability I cannot afford these guns,,but all the years I was working,I could not have afforded one neither. So either there are alot more rich folk out there ,or somebody just likes to rub our noses in it.
What say you?
I think you're right on; rich, alright. I had to sell all my modern guns just to get a few plain flinters.
*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
I have never paid that much for a gun and I don't think I would if I could. I have good guns, but they are not extravagant, and like Hanshi I sold modern guns and scrimped and saved to get them. And I don't think the animals I've taken with them would be any deader if the guns were fancier or more expensive. My Northwest gun and my Lancaster were built by a couple of my friends and they mean more to me than a $10,000 gun built by a stranger ever could.
I think there are very few among us who could afford one of these guns, but there probably are a few. I am not one of them. However, I think the magazine articles are intended to show us what the gunsmith is capable of doing, rather than make us feel as if we need to own one of these extravagant firearms. I think this in itself is traditional, in that a journeyman craftsman would eventually build a "masterpiece," to demonstrate that he was a master craftsman, as well as some "showpieces," to show what he was able to produce.
As for the people who can afford to commission these highly embellished guns, I don't think we need to put them down. They are helping to keep the gunbuilders in business, preserving a traditional craft. Some of the originals were pretty extravagant, too.
With all of that said, I don't crave one of these guns, and I don't feel left out because I don't own one or can't justify the expense. A well designed, well balanced firearm doesn't need to be fancied up to be appealing. A lot of the featured rifles are just gaudy, like a pretty gal who puts on too much makeup.
Just one old dude's opinion...
"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."
from The Antelope Wife
Also as a demonstration of those who can and do build in the 'old way' forging all metalwork down to screws, and making barrels rather than as those builders we can afford to do: buy them. I'm thinking about the Williamsburg Gun Shop in Old town Williamsburg, VA. Their arms are beautiful and while this is from conversation around the fire at club shoots, I understand that a five year + lead time isn't unusual. I've also heard of truly astounding costs discussed... like around $20,000 for one of their 'made from scratch' rifles. I couldn't afford get a quote.. hehe
Agreed. Mostly sold modern guns to afford my flinters. And selling stories about hunting with them basically let me come out even. My Southern Mountain .50 doesn't even have a butt plate. Howsomever, I surely love to look at those fancied up ones. And I'm glad for those who can afford to own them. And I'm glad for those who have the unbelievable ability to build them. I'm grateful for getting such a good look-see at Jolasa's over and under---my eyes were like fried eggs by the time I was done starin'. It's all a marvelous part of our hobby/craft/sport. Like Notchy said, building those may be what keeps some of our gun makers in business. And I'm pretty sure that building them is historically correct. They became gifts to politicians, visiting monarchs, etc.
But I'd surely hate to go out stump-knockin' around in the woods with one. Ain't likely they ever make much meat. When it comes right down to it just hand me my faithful ol' She Dog the Bluetick Fowler made by Jackie Brown down yonder across the Mississippi from these ol' hills. Ain't no brass ner curl in 'er nowhere, but heist 'er to your shoulder and she's yar . . .
Hey 'Mike, what is your'n, anyway? Hard to tell in that teensy picture. A piece that's faithfully made meat for so long oughta step into the light y'see. That's what makes us scooch up closer to the fire and look'n'listen. (Gimme time to waller my stump up nearer, first. There . . . thankee . . .) There's guns whut make us bug-eyed, then there's guns with a passel of stories to tell. There's guns whut make us think of museums, then there's guns whut make us think of 'loins'n'red-eye gravy . . . like your'n . . . and most of us here . . .
As long as there's Limb Bacon a man'll eat! (But mebbe not his wife...)
Hey Sticks!! mine is a NorthStar West 20/62,she's rock fired,beautiful full stock curly maple, I love that one,cause I can stalk any critter out there iffin I just tame down the powder & shot,and most important to me she is like my missus,,light in weight & easy on the eyes.
Like many of you here...I sold...traded....and worked extra jobs to get my muzzleloaders and gear when I started this addicton...errr...lifestyle...hobby..lol
I like all traditional muzzleloaders....be they a off the shelf model...to a full custom gun.
Having bulit a few guns myself its always good to look at the works of others, both new and antique...to see what I can lean and use in my next build.
Follow me I am the Infantry
I'm another poor working stiff who can't afford much. My North Star West trade gun was financed by selling a couple modern guns and saving up for a few months. The really fancy carved and inlaid guns don't represent the majority of guns from that period anyway. The few surviving examples that some craftsmen try to copy I believed survived because they were wall hangers of some rich guy way back when. Bought for the occasional hunt or match to show off his status. The working man's plain guns were worn out from every day use and so there are fewer ones left.
Most of my muzzle loaders are ones I've collected over the last 30+ years. The majority are off the shelf CVA (and 1 T/C) guns that have always done the job as well as the fancy ones. My Chief's Grade trade gun is in fact the fanciest muzzle loader I own. I'm considering selling my 2 Webley revolvers to finance a pistol in matching bore size to go with it as a companion.
On another note I consider some of the modern made guns covered all over with carving to be rather gaudy as a matter of fact. I much prefer looking at a uncarved stock with lots of figure and with no patch box or a wooden patch box showing the same figure in the wood.
I mostly agree with Larryp. And I think that's the reason most of the surviving guns are engraved and carved. they never made it into the woods all that much. The plain guns did make it into the woods and that's why they are under represented in the list of survivors.
*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
My one and only muzzle stuffer isn't too fancy,but I paid what is to me a large amount of money,however,I like it a lot,it's got character.It's possible,as I get further into this sport,that I may try to acquire others.
I really enjoy looking at the beautiful works of art that come from some builders,and am glad some folks are able to finance the efforts of the better builders even though I may never be able to afford one myself.I admire those who can not only afford to buy these works of art,but who can also overcome the "new car" paranoia that would keep one hung on the wall in my house,to prove they are actually functional,as well as pretty....
Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
It is enjoyable to see examples of the almost unbelievable craftsmanship that some artists are capable of. But it doesn't bother me that I will never own such a thing. I do appreciate them for the talent that they represent. The documentation of some examples of fine guns indicate that some were definitely used. I have never had a gun or anything else that I could keep from using and if by some freak happenstance I came to possess such a gun I would take it hunting, regardless of the cost.
No different than pickups, some can afford a stripped down 2 wheel drive, some want a fancy, 4wd, 4 door, diesel duallie. I'll freely admit I learned to make 'em because I can't afford, or want, to spend the $ for a fancy gun. I like the fancy ones, though, and don't hesitate to beat the brush with them.
Hey Mike, do you read Playboy and complain the women are too pretty, too?!?!
I guess I don't really understand the question?? Are we asking if we shouldn't admire a beautiful custom rifle? If we should feel guilty or be wallowing in self pity for admiring, desiring, wishing for or otherwise being unable to afford such a fine firearm? To those that can afford and wish for such a piece, I say good. Why should I decide they can't or shouldn't have one?
Sorry, again I don't understand??
MtnMike, I recalled that you purchased what I would consider an absolutely beautiful flinter awhile back, and searched the archives for the photos you posted to confirm. I must say that I would be very proud to own such a fine piece!
Osprey,,I am afraid your ideal women is a sight different than mine,that a women would do them pictures says tons about her character and morals.
Walk,,yes I do have a beaut of a smoothbore,couldn't ask for more BUT she was used and she certainly didn't sell for a foolish amount of money,or the other gent would still have her.
Ah well first. I'm glad that a person who is preserving the skills necessary to produce a shootable piece-of-art is getting paid what would be a good down payment on an SUV for me. It encourages youngsters, and even some oldsters, to try their hand at building, and that's how we'll perpetuate the pastime.
As for me, I don't think I'd take a rifle into the woods that cost more than $3000. I could see one day having one that cost these days $2000... and by the time I'll have that kind of money, they will probably be running around $3k...if price increases hold...that should be when my youngest gets out of college. I can't see ever owning more than one, AND right now I can't see any reason for my owning such a rifle....
OK so right now, I have two flint rifles, one trade gun, and two muskets that I shoot. Total cost $3800. Divide that by five and the average cost is $760... divide that by 10 years or so that I've had them...$76 per year per gun. (That's cheaper than golf in my area.)
The real questions are... how well does what you own shoot? Do you hit paper well... and in my case, does it do well when making meat??? How often do you get to go into the woods with what you own?
Who is "richer"? The fellow who works the high paying, high time demanding job, and gets one Saturday afternoon on the range to check his sights, then one weekend out of 52 each year to go into the woods, with his $3500 rifle.... OR..., The fellow living in a double-wide on a concrete slab on property that backs up to the Monongahela National Forest, with his debts paid, and nothing but a used fowler... yet goes several times each month into the woods, and has a couple freezers loaded with venison, ducks, geese, rabbit, squirrel, quail, dove, partridge, woodcock, and a wild hog?
HINT: It was a trick question
Last night I watched the Duck Dynasty marathon, and Ol' Phil Robertson when hog hunting with a $250 NEF Single Shot rifle, with a scope. Not a Merkel, Kimber, or a Tikka. Phil is a multi-millionaire and could easily afford a Merkel or a Kimber.
Moral: Don't fret what you shoot if you can shoot it straight.
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
I use plain home made rifles,nothing fancy,but the same parts high dollar guns use with plain not fancy working fowler's and rifles. A common mans hunting gun. Its not the rifle its the man behind it.
Great responses and outlooks. I have a couple of custom. took 25-40 years to get em all plus a few ready mades along the line. Favorites are SMRs w good wood and iron furniture cause that's what I like. Saved for several years mostly by buying parts when I could afford em. Bought used trucks and drove them a long time after they were paid off (now have a '97 Expedition 4x4 w 190k)and no golf. Then took the parts to friends and said please put my gun together here's $100 and will send more as I get it.
Great point that they cost less than green fees and they are appreciating and not eating anything unless I shoot em.
What I carry is dependent upon what I am participating in. My fanciest arm is an English style rifled fusil in .54 caliber. Brass mounted on flame maple with a pierced patchbox, 44" Colerain oct to round barrel, built by Thom Frazier. I traded a powder horn I built, shot bag and a handful of J Wilson knives, plus a Type D French trade gun for this rifle. I carry this when I am playing 7 years war/ long hunter. I have a steel mounted 20 ga. English fusil I carry for the same era up to early fur trade. This gun was built by Ed Beavers and is one of my favorites. Bought it straight out for my 60th birthday. If I am doing Western fur trade, which is most often because of where I hang my hat, I carry a Southern mountain style .54 caliber rifle which I built in 1995. Maple stock with some figure, Iron furniture, 36" straight Oct barrel by Montana Barrel CO. Late English double throat flintlock. This is my go to Elk rifle. If I am back in Kentucky hunting squirrels, I carry my .40 Southern Mtn rifle built by Tom Hall of Winchester, KY. 42" straight Douglas XX barrel, large Bud Siler flinter, iron mounted. I traded Bud Wells a .50 cal T/C kit gun I built, a Winchester 1200 12 ga. shotgun and cash for this gun in about 1980! Lastly, Because I live close to the
Santa Fe trail, and because I had one in the 70's which I subsequently traded off or something, I found and purchased off Gunbroker.com a mid 70s CVA Big Bore Mountain rifle Kit. US made, I replaced the lock with a L&R rpl lock, poured pewter nosecap Hawken style toe plate, modified trigger guard, looks like a typical plains rifle ala Charles Hanson's book.
"touch not the cat without a glove"
"Much of the social history of the western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. . ." Thomas Sowell
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