FAQ: Answers to Your Questions


FAQ:  Black powder is getting hard to find. Can I use the more easily obtained  black powder substitutes in a flintlock or percussion gun?

NO! Black powder barrels are made for BLACK POWDER USE ONLY! The use of any other powder can result in serious injury or death. The barrel steel is not made to handle the higher pressures of synthetic black powder substitutes. They are hard to ignite and have a different burn rate, making them not suitable for use in any gun offered on this site. Don’t take the word of some store clerk. Powder obtained on their shelves is there precisely because it is difficult to ignite. A good rule of thumb on loads is to use the same # grains as the caliber to start. IE; a 45 caliber gun should use about 45 grains of FFF. Small calibers work best with FFF while calibers 50 and up work well with FF. FFFF is for priming only.  Most black powder shooters obtain their powder thru local clubs who buy in quantity. Your local NMLRA field  rep can direct you to the one nearest to you. You may reach your rep by calling 812-667-5131 or thru their website at nmlra.org 

FAQ: How do I take my barrel out to clean it, if I don’t have a hooked breech?

You don’t need to. Most long rifle, full stock barrels are secured with 3 pins in the stock. They are not meant to be removed except for repairs. Frequent removal of the pins may damage the wood forend or even splinter the stock if not removed correctly. To clean, simply pad the butt and place the gun in a sink with the vent aimed at the drain and use a squirt bottle to shoot HOT soapy water (or your favorite cleaner) into the barrel and swab until clean. Run dry patches and then oil.

If repairs are necessary, barrel removal is done by carefully driving out  the pins with a punch, removing the lock bolts and lock, and removing the tang bolt. The rifle is then turned upside down and tapped on the butt to free the breech and release the front.

FAQ: Your guns often don’t use a vent liner …..Why?

Vent liners are not necessary. A properly drilled and coned vent at the “sunrise” position above the pan is extremely fast since it basically cones the outside closest to the FFFF prime instead of the inside charge which most likely FF. Most liners are installed to ease cleaning. That is NOT what they are designed for. They are NOT meant to removed EVER. Gas erosion, and corrosion weaken the threads and constant removal damages the threads creating a dangerous situation for anyone standing near you. If your vent liner still has a slot for removal it probably was not installed correctly. These heads are meant to be filed off flat to the barrel wall and filed flush to the rifling inside. that doesn’t leave much thread surface left. A properly drilled vent is about half the barrel wall thickness and will last several thousand shots. If the hole ever becomes too large it can be drilled and tapped for a vent then.


FAQ:  Do you have a store front open to the public where I can look and browse?

Sorry, NO. We are strictly a workshop and office environment but we are always available by phone to answer questions.

We love to meet our customers face to face and can do so at many scheduled events we attend. Our favorites include:

NMLRA spring National shoot in Friendship IN. in JUNE

NRLHF Eastern Rendezvous in September

NRLHF Midwest Rendezvous in June

Alafia River Rendezvous in Fla. in  January

Big Cypress shootout in Fla. in February

FAQ: Most of your pictures on the site show a piece of wood in the jaws of the lock instead of a flint……why?

Most guns are sold as “new, unfired” unless stated otherwise. A piece of wood in place of a flint allows us to test for function of the triggers and lock without scaring the frizzen face and making the gun appear used. Testing without a striker will damage or break the top jaw screw or frizzen. This way you can play with it with no worry and get used to it. 

FAQ:  Can I order over the phone?

Yes, you can, however we would rather use the “Estimate Worksheet” tab on this site.

It asks a lot of questions but gives you the chance to give us the specs on exactly what you want. It also gives us your contact and shipping information.

You may send this to us as an Email or by mail and we’ll get you back a build sheet showing costs, options and a firm estimate and time line. A check or money order gets your order processed.

FAQ: How do you grade your wood? 

CM-1 Little or no curl in the wood 0-25%  curl 

CM-2 Curly maple with 30-60% curl @+$25

CM-3 Curly maple with 70-80% curl throughout @+$50

CM-4 Curly maple with 90-100% curl throughout @+ $80

CM-5 Tight grained curly maple 90-100% curl @+ $100

Cherry ash or walnut priced the same as CM-3 maple

Premium grades of wood subject to availability. Call for pricing

FAQ:  What is the preferred method of payment?

We don’t take credit cards, so a check or money order works just fine. For your convenience we now also offer PAY PAL, so you may use your balance in your pay pal account or your credit or debit card or bank transfer. Check out our new ORDER page for details. 

Kits usually go out rather quickly, so payment in full plus shipping gets it on its way.

A deposit of approximately half down will get an order underway and of course you may pay in full to speed things up when ready to ship.

FAQ:  How do you ship?

We ship UPS, FED EX and USPS and we’ll give you a tracking #  so you call tell when it will arrive. A signature is now necessary, so we’ll know when it got there, but it’s a big 60x10x3” box you won’t want it sitting on your porch. Most shipping is $50 east of the Mississippi and $60 west. Canadian shipping and Alaska are about $85. Smaller, lighter boxes can ship by USPS insured and we can track them too. We try to use prority shipping when possible. We recycle our boxes so it may have a little extra packaging tape and wear to show for it, but helps keep our costs down and the landfills cleaner.

FAQ: What if something arrives damaged, missing or broken?

Call us immediately or return unopened if you’re in doubt. If it’s damaged in shipping we may need to file a claim, so take pictures and don’t throw away anything. Leave it just as it is and call us.

We, as the shipper, will need to initiate any claim. It may take a while so in the meantime we’ll get you a replacement ASAP.

 FAQ:  Do you offer guns in left hand versions?

Yes. In fact we try to have several on hand both as kits and as finished guns. Many stocks are machine cut and inlet and most are available in left hand versions. It make take longer to get them if we have to wait for a production run. You are only limited by lock selection and there is a pretty good availability on that too for almost any style. Virtually any Trade Gun, Fowler, or smooth rifle with no cheek rest can be made in a left hand version.

FAQ: How do I know if I have enough skill to build the gun of my dreams?

Check out the “BUILD INFO” tab at the top of the HOME page.

It out lines the tools you will need and the steps you will need to take to complete any of these projects. You be the judge of your abilities. The more inletting your kit has, the easier it will be to complete.

FAQ:  Can I get some of the hard work done so all I have to do is basically assemble it?

Yes. Many of our kits are machine cut and offer 95% pre inlet stocks.

One of our popular options (#1) is offered for those kits that are not yet inlet for the lock or trigger. We will inlet the lock, breech the barrel, install underlugs and sights, locate the trigger and cut the butt to the profile of the butt plate at your length of pull.

This option starts at $135. Check out the “SERVICES” tab for details.

We can do as little or as much help as you need.

FAQ:  Do you have builders who can assemble a gun for me to finish?

Yes we do. We refer to them as assembled “Guns in the White” RTF (Ready To Finish). We have good builders in several states that can assemble your project for you, so you can do the final wood and metal finish. Check out the “Finishing A Gun In The White” section under the BUILD INFO tab on this site for details. Prices start at $500 for basic assembly and we can add carving, inlays, patchboxes and engraving as you want. We can do as little or as much as you want.

FAQ:  Can I order a finished gun built to my specs?

Absolutely! We’d be happy to build a custom gun for you just the way you want. Use the Estimate work sheet to give us your specs and contact info or give us a call so we can discuss details and get you an estimate.

FAQ:  Do you offer a warranty?

All parts are fully guaranteed and we take pride in our workmanship, so if you’re not happy, we’re not happy either.

We’ll work with you to resolve any problems and if all else fails, send it back and we’ll refund your money.

FAQ:  What if I order a kit and later decide I really just can’t do it myself?

It happens! Circumstances change. Send it to us and we’ll assemble it for you as a gun in the white or completely finish it the way you want. If you’ve really messed something up we’ll either repair it, if possible, or replace what ever needs to be replaced at a fair price. Let us look at it first and be sure to include all the parts and pack it good. Call or email first and we may have it send directly to one of our builders for evaluation.

FAQ:  What if a part breaks?

We deal with US manufacturers and suppliers and all have excellent reputations and stand behind their products. We keep all spec sheets on file so we can direct you to the right source. If it’s our fault we’ll fix it or replace it.

FAQ:  What if I really screw something up?

Gun building is a humbling experience!

There’s not much you can screw up that we haven’t already screwed up, at some point, and usually found a way to fix it. Call (989-574-5726) with your sad tale of woe and we’ll try to make you feel better and help you out of your dilemma. 


How to Load a Muzzleloader