Group photo 2011


Seminar 2011
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30th Anniversary of the NMLRA Gunsmithing Workshop and Seminar:

Class and Registration Information

 2011 Classes at a glance:

3-Day Classes (June 1-4)

Drawing and Design for the Longrifle—Gary Brumfield

Evolution of the American Longrifle: 1740-1780—Wallace Gusler

6-Day Classes (June 5-10)   

Lock Assembly, Tuning, and Polishing ClassJim Chambers

Longrifle Engraving—Wallace Gusler

9-Day Classes (June 1-10)

Indian Trade Guns—Jack Brook

Longrifle stock Architecture, Shaping, and Inletting Mark Silver

Stocking a Fine Holster Pistol—Ronald Scott



This is the 30th anniversary of this seminar which, thanks to the support of Dr. Terry Leeper, will again be held at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky in June just before the Spring Shoot at Friendship on Saturday the 11th. A variety of three, six, and nine-day classes will be offered. Pre-registration will determine which of the proposed classes below are taught.         

2011 Classes

3-Day Classes  

Drawing and Design for the Longrifle —Gary Brumfield

        This will be a hands-on drawing class with the goal of helping all the students, even those who say they can not draw, improve their design work. This class will focus on learning to create Baroque and Rococo designs like those typically found in longrifle decoration. The class will not be school specific, but general in the study and drawing of eighteenth-century designs for carving, engraving, and patchboxes.

This class will provide excellent preparation for those taking the engraving or carving class. Bring a notebook, sketchbook, several pencils, and a good eraser. Class size limited to 16.  Materials fee: None.  

Evolution of the American Longrifle: 1740-1780 —Wallace Gusler

            The class will explore the evolution of the American Longrifle from the Germanic hunting rifle. The examination of early documentary evidence and study of the earliest examples will cover this transition from the 1740s to the American Revolution. The influences of imported English, French, and Germanic guns —from fowlers to Indian trade guns— will be discussed. A detailed tracking of the evolution of the hinged metal box will also be an important component of this study.

            The class will feature the study of several original firearms: seven pre-revolutionary rifle guns; five early English & French Indian trade guns; several English fowlers; and two 17th-century pistols. In addition to these guns, segments of the manuscript and selected pictures from the manuscript Rifle Guns of Virginia and the Great Wagon Road Culture, Wallace’s forth coming book, will be presented.

Students will want to have a sketchbook. Photography for personal use is permitted. Class limited to 16. Materials fee: None.


6-Day Classes  

Finish What You Started — Bob Elka & Joe Valentin (This class was offered but did not fill.)

            Returning from 2008! This class provides former seminar students with the opportunity to have Bob and Joe help them complete, or at least make a lot of progress toward completing, any longrifle, fowler, Jaeger or pistol that they started in any previous class here at the NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar. We know there are projects out there collecting dust. Now there is no excuse so dig it out of your closet and get to work.   

Lock Assembly, Tuning, and PolishingJim Chambers

            Students in this class will start with one of Jim’s "Gunmaker’s" lock kits, the one with the oversize 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 $85.

Longrifle Engraving—Wallace Gusler

            Learn engraving with hammer and chisel, in the styles found on American longrifle mounts, patchboxes, and inlays. Wallace will stress learning the basic process and controlling the cut 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 ten. Material fee: Approximately $30.

Relief Carving for Longrifles —Gary Brumfield (This class was offered but did not fill.)

            Learn to carve by working on a machine shaped longrifle butt stock, “Quaker gun,” that will go home with you as study piece and reference. Pick any style of relief carving. Topics covered will include selecting and sharpening tools, various methods of outlining, removing background and sculpting, etc. Although beginners carvers are very welcome, this class in traditional carving techniques probably best serves those who have some experience in wood working so they can prepare the practice stock for carving. Class limited to eight. Material fee: Approximately $75 for a pre-turned maple practice stock.


 9-Day Classes ($990 plus materials) from 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1st to 1 p.m. Friday, June 10th.

Indian Trade Guns Jack Brooks

            New for 2011!  This class will provide students with an opportunity to study, and stock from a blank, an Indian trade gun like those used in 18th century America. These light-weight, mostly smoothbore guns were imported from England, France, and Germany to trade for the American furs and skins which were quite valuable in the European market. Historical evidence shows that these guns had a wide distribution and were used by both settlers and Native Americans. Parts from these trade guns were often reused or restocked, especially on the frontier. Trade guns also influenced the style of American made guns during this period.

            Each student will be given the choice to make an English, French, German, or American restock of one of these Indian trade guns. Jack will help students obtain the correct materials (barrels, locks, mounts, and wood) ahead of time.  Choices of wood for the European stocks will be walnut or beech.  American restocks can be done in cherry, walnut, or curly maple.  Students will learn to hand inlet barrels, locks, and mounts as well as drilling ramrod holes.  Simple engraving and decorative carving will also be taught. Jack will bring photos, drawings, and some old parts for study.

Class limited to eight. Materials fee: Will vary with the student’s choices of  barrel, stock wood, lock and mounts, ranging from approximately $570 to $1075.

Longrifle Stock Architecture, Shaping, and Inletting—Mark Silver 

            Using the c. 1770-75 Rockbridge Co. Va. style rifle Mark built during the filming of his 2008 American Pioneer Video as a guide, participants will utilize the redeveloped 18th century techniques, period style tools and approaches that he believes closely duplicate 18th century approaches and practice.  The style of this piece relates well to many other types of period longrifles while the balance and handling qualities have proven to be very fast handling and steady for either hunting or target shooting.

 Starting with a maple blank and pre-inlet swamped barrel, students will use handsaws, planes, spoke shaves, chisels, and gouges to recreate the period architecture and primary inletting of the rifle, in the efficient direct manner found on original 18th century pieces.  Participants will be responsible for purchasing a correct style swamped barrel and Chambers early Ketland style flintlock and having the barrel inlet prior to class.  Mark will supply correct sand castings for the butt piece and guard for a nominal cost.   Several appropriate barrel lengths will be available to choose from and dimensions for a suitable stock blank will be supplied. 

Materials fee: approximately $500 to $650 depending on grade of wood selected.

            Any of the students from Mark’s class last year who wish to bring those projects for continued work are encouraged to do so. Total class registration is limited to eight.


Stocking a Fine Holster Pistol—Ronald Scott

            New for 2011! Ron Scott has acquired a nicely preserved pair of unmarked Holster Pistols to serve as models for this class project. The pistols will be available for examination and study during the class. Having a pair of pistols will provide a unique opportunity to study the construction details of a disassembled  pistol alongside the assembled mate. Part of the class goal will be learning to create a drawing of an original firearm and detailed notes for reference. We will make moulds of the stock carvings and cast plastic study models during the workshop.

            Materials will include castings for the highly detailed brass mounts and the lock. Ed Rayl will make the custom octagon to round thirteen inch barrel. Students will begin class with a European walnut blank with the barrel inlet, ramrod groove cut, and hole drilled. When registration is final, Ron will provide information on barrel inletting services. A highly detailed photographic CD as well as the plastic study casts of the carving will be part of the materials package. Materials fee: Approximately $310. Fancier grade stocks and/or a barrel with a milled rib are available at extra cost.

            In addition to this pistol project, any of the students from Ron’s previous seminar Jaeger rifle classes who wish to bring those projects for continued work are encouraged to do so. Total class registration is limited to eight.

General Information


For a session to be held it must have a minimum number of participants registered and with their deposits paid by the Friday, February 18th deadline. This early deadline is essential in allowing time to order materials and parts.

            You may begin to register immediately. Do not delay! We ask for a first, second, and third choice but we have, in past years, been able to place over half the students in their first choice. Telephone, fax or mail your registration to Brenda Hooten in the NMLRA offices in Friendship. Call at 800-745-1493 Ext 223. Fax at 812-667-5137. Mail to NMLRA Seminar Registration, P.O. Box 67, Friendship, IN 47021.

Registration for classes is on a first-come first-served basis. Registration for all the classes closes February 18th and, after placing 2nd and 3rd choices in available slots, class rosters will be mailed to the instructors and students about March 4th.

Class Schedule

            Except for the first Wednesday, which starts 1 p.m., classes usually start at 8 a.m.— take a break for lunch — and the instructors shut down the class rooms and gun display room around 7 p.m. Those students who want more shop time can make arrangements to work through the lunch break or stay late. Individual instructors may decide to alter this schedule.

Lodging & Dining

            The Red Roof Inn on Scottsville Road, at I65 exit 22, will be our primary motel and they will be holding a block of rooms. Call for a reservation and mention that you are part of this group. (270-781-6550). There are also some campgrounds in the area. On campus dining is limited in the summer but Bowling Green has restaurants for every taste and budget. Inquire about a microwave and refrigerator when you make you room reservation as well.

Picnic and Shoot

            Weather permitting, there will be a fellowship, picnic, and very informal shoot, at Dr. Leeper’s farm late in the afternoon of Saturday, June 4th.  Targets will be metal gongs at unknown ranges in a pasture field. Traditional muzzleloading rifles and pistols only. Strict safety rules are enforced. Directions to the farm will available from the instructors or at the front desk of the hotel. The cost of the barbeque is included in student registration. Spouses or guests will be $15 each paid at the picnic.


            Some of the instructors have sent more detailed course descriptions to Brenda Hooten in Friendship. Once registration and class assignments are finalized, questions about tools and materials will be answered by the individual instructor for each class.



PICNIC & SHOOT at Dr. Leeper's farm on Saturday afternoon

As usual there were more spectators behind the firing line than shooters

Joe dressed in period attire for the shoot--this picture shows the huge field in the river bottom.

Waiting their turn to shoot

Curtis nailed the bear 5 or 6 times at 140+ yards--from the recoil it looks like a bear load


Darin shooting a rifle he made

The gathering is as much about hanging out with new and old friends as shooting

Watching the shooting and chatting

More visiting behind the firing line

Jack Brooks brought a Jaeger he recently made



Terry & Jim check out Jack's Jaeger

The catered picnic at the end of the shooting is really a tailgate event.

John Duvall and his wife provide the food and drinks









This group studied original rifles, photographs, and slides as Wallace lead the discussion and provided period documentation that will be in the first volume of his yet to be published book.




Longrifle Engraving