Rifles photo

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As this story from thedailyreview.com about a Pennsylvania rendezvous recounts, custom rifle maker Dave Williams had a humble start. He tried to order a rifle from a custom gunmaker almost 40 years ago. The man was too backlogged with work so he said (I think in a kindly and encouraging way): “Build your own.” Williams bought a book and started making rifles.

You can see from the picture that Williams makes stocks out of a huge blank of wood, no doubt one reason he only builds a couple of guns a year. His customers include Hank Williams Jr. and his rifles cost $3,000 apiece.

Since the closest I come to making my own hunting and shooting gear is reloading shotgun shells,* I am always very impressed by people who make their own muzzleloaders, gunstocks, and so on. I did start in muzzleloading back when rifle kits were very popular. My cousin built a Hawken rifle from a CVA kit.

I borrowed it from him and shot a doe with it. Eventhough I had nothing to do with the building of the rifle, it added to the satisfication of the hunt to know the gun started out as a bunch of pieces that my cousin put together and finished. (It helped, too, that the .45 caliber round ball did a very effective job of killing the deer). So, I’m curious: who here has built their own muzzleloader and hunted with it and/or gone to a rendezvous and why?

*My son and I did build an AR 15, but that requires nothing in the way of woodworking skill and we had plenty of adult supervision.

Photo by Eric Hrin