Group photo taken at picnic and shoot held at Mr. Smith's farm. The shooting is done and the eating is about to begin.

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2003 Courses:

Dating and Placing Original Longrifles—Wallace Gusler (3 day class)
New for 2003—A three-day lecture and discussion class on the methods of dating and attributing regional styles of original rifles. Designed to appeal to builders who haven’t had the opportunity to really study originals and who want to make a period and regionally correct rifle. Wallace will also be putting the period rifles in their historical context and discussing his research on the development of a uniquely American “rifle culture” before the Revolution. Class is limited to twenty-five.

Forging Iron Gun Mounts and Stocking the Southern Mountain Rifle — Hershel & John House (9-day class)
This hands-on class will begin on Wednesday afternoon at Hershel’s shop (10 miles from Bowling Green) where several forges will be set up. Forge and file the correct butt plate, trigger guard, etc. for the style of southern mountain rifle you will build. Blacksmithing experience is not required. The mount making portion of the class will end at mid-day on Saturday the 1st.
On Sunday morning the class will resume at Western Kentucky University where students will begin to build a basic, practical, iron mounted, southern mountain rifle. Variations include: Appalachian, East Tenn., North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, and early Virginia styles — flint or percussion, straight or swamped barrel, stock of maple or walnut. With the desire to send the student home with as close to a complete rifle as possible, Hershel and John teach their efficient workman like methods to show how to attain a quality product with a minimum of tools. Barrel will be pre-inlet and the ramrod hole drilled. Class limited to eight.
Materials fee: Approximately $495 for a rifle with a flintlock, set triggers, and swamped barrel. With a straight barrel, single trigger and percussion lock approximately $340.

Longrifle Engraving — Wallace Gusler (6-day class)
Learn engraving with hammer and chisel, in the styles found on American Longrifle mounts, patchboxes, and inlays. Wallace will stress learning the basic process but will also include other techniques such as shading and cutting borders. Much of the student's class time will be devoted to repeating designs on practice plates which they will take home as study pieces. Class limited to eight.
Materials fee: Approximately $15.

Making Sheet Brass Mounts — Gary Brumfield (6-day class)
Introduction to forging and shaping patchboxes, thimbles, nose caps, and the techniques for filing and finishing mounts. This class is for the builder who is interested in having more control of the style and quality of his work by making, instead of purchasing, the sheet brass parts of the rifle. Casting of a trigger guard and butt plate will be demonstrated. New for 2003—This class is presented as the first session of a three-year “apprenticeship” in which students will return in 2004 to begin stocking these mounts and again in 2005 to, hopefully, finish the stocking. This should appeal to those students who never find enough time to work on their own between seminars. Class limited to eight.
Materials fee: Approximately $20 for this first year.

Modifying and Tuning the Flintlock— Jim Chambers (6 day class)
Students in this class will start with one of his "Generic" lock kits, the one with the square plate, and go completely through the assembly process, then move on the fine tuning both the form and function of the lock. A lot of the quality can be built in during the basic assembly process if the correct drills, reamers, etc. are used. Some students may also want to modify the lock to be more appropriate for a particular gun they plan to build. The materials fee will cover both the lock parts and a proper set of drills, taps and reamers. Class limited to eight.
Material fee: Approximately $90.

Stock Shaping and Relief Carving — Mark Silver (9-day class)
This class combines the often-requested fundamentals of stock shaping with the ever-popular carving class. In the first few days of this class, students will layout and shape a rifle stock. Beginning with a half-stock length blank and a cast butt plate will allow students to learn the fundamentals of stocking a rifle from a blank—centerlines, cast off, drop, fitting the butt plate, and shaping a stock from the butt plate up to about the rear sight. In the second part they will learn to relief carve the “Quaker gun” (no barrel or lock) they have shaped. Class limited to eight.
Material fee: Approximately $60.

Stocking the 18th-century American Fowling Piece — Ron Ehlert (9-day class)
Beginning with a maple, cherry or walnut blank (with a pre-inlet Getz barrel), the students will fit the butt plate, layout and shape the stock for a fowler style made ca. 1780. Ron will provide an original fowler of the period for use as a prototype in stock shaping, but the students will be encouraged to adapt this design somewhat to customize the gun to their personal needs such as length of pull and gauge. Students should have some experience with files, rasps, chisels, and basic inletting skills. Class limited to eight.
Materials fee: Approximately $450.

Stocking the Trade Gun — Jack Brooks (9-day class)
New for 2003— Jack will lead the students through stocking up an 18th-century style, lightweight, painted-stock, smooth-bore. Though commonly thought of as a gun imported for the Indian trade, these were also owned and carried by those whites that preferred their price, lightness and versatility. Because the originals of this type were inexpensively made, Jack feels the students will be able to work quickly and still produce an acceptable finished product true to the originals. See the Muzzle Blasts article in October of 1994 on Jack’s trade gun and the section on “type G” guns in Hamilton’s Colonial Frontier Guns.
Class limited to ten.
Materials fee: Approximately $300.


Whenever weather permits, the Saturday afternoon of the nine day seminar becomes a time to relax with an informal shoot and picnic where students and instructors share two common interests, shooting and eating, and get to know each other.

Gary loading the rifle he finished in November of 2002. Photo by Pat Walker.



Bart, Tim, & Jim in the flintlock class. (top)

John & Hershel in the iron mounted rifle class.(top)

Charles, Chuck, Wallace & Pete as Wallace prepares to demonstrate inletting a signature plate in a rifle barrel.(top)

John & Mark discuss fitting a butt piece.(top)

Joe is also in Mark's class.(top)

John is another of Mark's 8 students.(top)

Hank is stocking a fowler in Ron's class.(top)

Jack drilling a lock bolt hole as Vickie and Larry look on.
Trade Gun Class [Vickie Swank photo].