Friday, July 31, 2009

An American Tradition Longrifle Project

The American Tradition Longrifle project of the Contemporary Longrifle Foundation and the House brothers were featured on the Outdoor Channel-American Rifleman TV last night. This fabulous longrifle will be auctioned off at the annual Contemporary Longrifle Associaton show in Lexington, Kentucky, in August. The rifle was completely handmade, including the barrel and all furniture, by Hershel, Frank and John House. It is truly a unique firearm and it is absolutely beautiful. The CLF is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win the gun as a fundraiser for the organization. You can purchase tickets at the CLA's website, or, and you DO NOT have to be present to win.

If, like me, you did not know about the show on the Outdoor Channel, perhaps you can catch it on a rerun. And don't miss your chance to purchase tickets for the rifle!

-Linda Scurlock

(Just a disclaimer: All board members are ineligible to purchase tickets. Bill is on the CLA's board and thus we cannot participate in the raffle.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Powder Horn Proof Copies!

We got proof copies of the new book by Tom Grinslade, Powder Horns: Documents of History today, and they look great! Full color throughout and the printer has done a great job reproducing it correctly. The photos are clear and sharp, so the details just leap off the page. Looks like everything's on schedule for shipment on August 17, as posted on our website and store. Haven't seen the hardcovers yet; the binding on them takes a bit longer. We expect to have them with us at the CLA show in Lexington in August.

Hope to see all of you there!

-Linda Scurlock

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Critters in the Bird Food

Lately, we've had quite a battle keeping the critters out of our bird food can at night here at our office. It's a metal trash can and we've got a bungie cord holding the lid on, but the rascals keep chewing through the cord. Bill's been baiting two live traps with birdseed and so far he's carried off a fair number of the furry rodents. You'd think he would be making a dent in the population by now, but you'd be wrong, apparently. Bill's taken to calling himself "editor and chief of rodent control."

Speaking of critters, last evening Bill and I saw an anterless deer down the hill behind the office. I thought I could see another one, possibly a young one, just beyond the larger one, but it was pretty dark and hard to make out. We're pretty sure the larger one was a doe, although we have seen several bucks in the area in the past. Bill's getting fired up for hunting season, which is a good thing since the venison is getting low in our freezer.

-Linda Scurlock

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Campfire

As I mentioned in my last post, The Campfire is our online discussion forum, or as we prefer to refer to it, our online black powder community. We're a little stricter than many online forums, apparently. Because we are trying to foster a helpful and family-oriented site, we don't allow "flaming" or bad language. We also prohibit "ads" from users trying to sell things. Sometimes this has resulted in misunderstandings, but, as I like to point out, we ourselves do not exploit The Campfire to try to build our own sales, so it's not too much to ask that other members refrain from doing so also.

All in all, we're just trying to keep things friendly and open. The members are really a bunch of helpful folks, particularly to newcomers to our sport. They are always willing to give advice and try to steer someone in the best direction based on their own experiences.

Today there's a pretty active discussion about the right leather to use for leggings and one member has posted some pictures of one of his guns. So if you're new to muzzleloading or historical reenacting, don't hesitate to come visit The Campfire. Chances are you'll find a discussion of interest to you!

-Linda Scurlock

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Editing for Sep/Oct Issue

Today I've gotten some more editing done on articles for the Sep/Oct issue. The last one was by Fred Stutzenberger and Brian Turpin examining the differences between round-grooved and square-grooved rifling in barrels. As always, very technical, but certainly understandable and will I think bring forward some interesting points for discussion in the muzzleloading community.

Speaking of communities, I would like to encourage all newcomers who are interested in learning more about muzzleloading to check out our online discussion forum, called The Campfire. You can most easily access it through a link on our homepage at To contribute to the discussions, you will need to "join" but it's free and we don't spam our members! No advertising is allowed (not even for Scurlock Publishing or MUZZLELOADER!), so it's really just a great place to learn more and ask questions from those more experienced. You don't have to join to read the posts, however, so by all means check it out!

-Linda Scurlock

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sept/Oct issue

I've finally been editing articles for the Sept/Oct issue. Rex Allen Norman's cooking over the campfire again, and it really made me hungry reading it! As always he has some beautiful drawings to illustrate his work. It comes at a good time of the year and will surely inspire some experiments over the cook fire at upcoming hunting camps. He covers some old favorites and has an interesting bit on boudins.

Also in the Sept/Oct issue will be a piece on the Watauga settlements by Jim Crutchfield. Jim has a way of finding interesting and little-known, or at least often-overlooked, episodes in history that I particularly enjoy. Often, I think, our view of history gets somewhat stale or static, and revisiting these lesser-known episodes helps reawaken our awareness of the atmosphere of the times. It helps us "put ourselves" in the time period and imagine better what it would have been like to live then. I always appreciate Jim's pieces for that.

-Linda Scurlock

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spreading the Word

Yesterday Bill got an interesting email from one of our readers. Seems a television outdoor show wants to do a piece on traditional muzzleloading but didn't know anyone who uses and hunts with traditional muzzleloaders. Our reader suggested that the show contact us about a positive role model for traditional muzzleloading. Nothing has been arranged yet, but Bill was glad to correspond with them about the idea and make some suggestions.

We see this as a great chance to counteract the negative ideas that many have about traditional muzzleloading, i.e. that the guns are not accurate, etc. Thanks to our reader, we may have a chance to demonstrate the positive aspects--and the accuracy--of traditional muzzleloading to a new and wider audience.

I'll keep everyone posted on this as and if it develops!

-Linda Scurlock

Monday, July 20, 2009

Great Northwest Fur Trade Book

Another neat new book has recently crossed my desk, The Great Northwest Fur Trade: A Material Culture 1763-1850 by Ryan R. Gale. Mr. Gale also wrote A Soldier-Like Way: The Material Culture of the British Infantry, 1751-1768. Both are neat books, but this one, The Great Northwest Fur Trade, seems like it will be more widely enjoyed, simply because its focus is much broader. The book includes chapters on Native Americans, the trade, transportation, the voyageurs, the officers, the forts, diet and health, winter and conflict.

Again, the text is clearly written and generously illustrated. Many of the photos are of actual artifacts and many are shown actual size. Several period illustrations are included and all photos are in full color. The text includes numerous quotes from actual period sources, so the reader can draw his own conclusions, rather than merely rely on the research of the author. Many of the period illustrations, particularly those from Canadian museum collections, were new to me.

The book retails for $33.95 and is available on our store at, as well as other online bookstores.

-Linda Scurlock

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, Vol. 3

Got a chance to look through the Museum of the Mountain Man's new journal yesterday. There are really some interesting chapters in this volume. I was especially interested in the ones on the Taos whiskey trade, Spanish saddles and early efforts to save the bison herd. Another one that caught my eye is about the Delaware mountaineers. Several of the authors are well-known in the muzzleloading/living history community, including Clay Landry, Barry C. Bohnet and Ken Zontek. All in all, another worthwhile edition in their series and certainly a good value at only $25.00.

-Linda Scurlock

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dixon's Gunmakers' Fair

Today I thought I'd pass along some information about a great event for anyone interested in learning about building black powder arms, which is Dixon's Gunmakers' Fair. Dixon's Muzzleloading Shop in Kempton, Pennsylvania, hosts this workshop every year near the end of July. This year's seminar will be July 24-26, from 9:00 to 5:00 daily. Each day will feature seminars on gun building skills and techniques by some of the top contemporary gunmakers. It's a great chance to learn from the best in the business.

Many black powder businesses will have tables in the sales area, selling everything from gun parts and accessories to books and videos/DVDs on gun building.

In addition to all of that is the competition for prizes. Entries are accepted in three classes: apprentice, journeyman, or master. Within each class are several categories, such as pistol, engraving and carving. Best of show prizes are awarded in the journeyman and the master class competition.

All in all it's a terrific weekend for the aspiring or experienced gun builder. If you can't make it this year, be sure to put it on next year's calendar.

-Linda Scurlock, Managing Editor

Monday, July 13, 2009

CLA Show

For those of you new to the muzzleloading world, let me introduce you to the CLA, or Contemporary Longrifle Association. The organization was started to support and promote the work of artisans who create contemporary re-creations of early American firearms, accoutrements and collectibles. The annual show is in August each year in Lexington, Kentucky. you can learn more at We will be at the show, so if you come be sure to stop by and say hello!

-Linda Scurlock, Managing Editor

Getting Started on Sept/Oct Issue

This morning we are getting started with the Sept/Oct issue of MUZZLELOADER. We're running a little behind schedule, because we've been working on our next book, Powder Horns: Documents of History by Tom Grinslade. We're really excited about this book. It's loaded with beautiful full-color photos of antique powder horns, most of which have never been published before. It will be available in both limited-edition, signed and numbered hardcover and in softcover.

Grinslade's emphasis in this book is how powder horns are in and of themselves historical documents that shed light on times and places in our history. This is a perspective that's never been examined before in a book-length format.

We have sent the book to the printer and should have books available at the Contemporary Longrifle Association show in August. We had hoped to finish sooner but just weren't able to get it done. It's worth the wait though!

-Linda Scurlock, Managing Editor

Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome! We are starting this blog to introduce newcomers to our sport, muzzleloading, and to our publications. We have been publishing our magazine, MUZZLELOADER, six times yearly since 1974, and we are the only independent publication devoted exclusively to traditional black powder firearms. You can find out more about our company and publications on our website,

A big part of the fascination with black powder arms for us is the history associated with them. Thus the history of the black powder era is a big part of what we publish. Every issue of MUZZLELOADER has articles about the history of the firearms or of the times in which they were used.

Also very popular with our readers are how-to articles. Most readers like to try making their gear themselves, so almost every issue of MUZZLELOADER will have at least one hands-on article.

Our other publications are all books connected with our love for early American history, from firearms and other collectibles to historical reenacting.

-Linda Scurlock, Managing Editor