Few people know it, but the Kentucky rifle did not originate in Kentucky, it was not solely used by Kentuckians, and survived long after the Kentucky frontier was well established.

The "Kentucky" rifle was first developed in Pennsylvania by Germanic settlers who had emigrated from their homeland. Initially the riflesmiths made rifles similar to the hunting rifles they had made and used in their homeland. These were big, heavy barreled, large calibre guns with the innovative rifling cut into the bore. They were either very plain or very fancy. They usually had sliding wooden patchboxes. They were relatively short, being about a 30" barrel length. The frontiersman loved the accuracy of the rifle, but were not warm about the weight, the few balls they could carry per pound, nor the amount of powder it took to drive such balls. They asked for and received from the riflesmiths a rifle which was longer in barrel length for greater accuracy and more efficient powder burn, smaller in barrel width and calibre to reduce weight and allow more shots per pound of lead balls and powder.

This then finally developed into what we know as the Pennsylvania Rifle which was such a necessity to our early forefathers in pushing back the country's frontier. A rifle of about 40-50 calibre, about 42" or longer in barrel, slim, carved for enhancement as were the German hunting rifles but not to the finesse. They were WORKING guns, NOT sporting guns. They were used for defense as well as for food gathering when it was necessary to bring meat down with one shot or starve.

- Own a Piece of History -

I have been building custom made Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifles since 1975 when I made my first rifle on a kitchen table! It was meant to be a Lancaster County rifle and rifle it was. It worked. It began my learning curve!

Since that time I have of course become more professional with a workshop, workbench, all required tools, patterns etc. I prefer to make as much of the rifle as I can with only hand tools in order to keep within the tradition of our fore fathers. However, the stock blanks are cut to rough shape with a bandsaw. The customer may choose any type of rifle of any period he desires but I primarily work on flintlock or percussion rifles of the Revolutionary and "Golden Age" period of our history. Price and construction times will depend of style and complexity of the request.

For more information on owning your own custom made rifle please feel free to CLICK ON the link below, or email me via the bar on the left.

Please visit the site of my favorite blackpowder magazine, Muzzleloader Magazine, from whom I borrowed the image for this page. Just click on the link below.

I intend to eventually have pictures of my work scanned and provided on the pics page.


Muzzleloader's Magazine