Friday, January 29, 2010

New Rifle for Review

I received a new rifle this morning from Clay Smith. Now Clay is a top-flight gunsmith who trained and worked in the gun shop at Williamsburg for many years. He was let go in staff cutbacks last year. Clay is building guns on his own, and really makes some beautiful firearms. He is also a shooter and a hunter and knows that not everyone wants to take a high-dollar rifle out to the woods to get soaked by rain or scratched up. Since there are not many good flintlock production guns on the market, he introduced a plain rifle that is well made with high quality parts. He calls it his Trade Rifle, and he based it on Indian trade rifles of the early 19th century.

Though not carved and decorated, Clay does his usual first-rate job on the fit and finish. The rifle I just got is a .54 caliber. I plan to shoot it as soon as it warms up a little, and then write a review on it for an upcoming issue of MUZZLELOADER. I haven't taken pictures of my new rifle yet, so the picture above is from Clay's website.

More on this later,
Bill Scurlock

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Work in Progress

Still working on finishing American Tradition this week, mostly in the evenings. During the day, I'm working on the March/April issue of Muzzleloader, among other things. The next issue of Muzzleloader is looking good with regulars Mike, T.C., Rex, Tony and Jim. Peter Alexander is back after missing a few issues. He has some nice photos of the Masonic rifle he built for a raffle. Gerry Barker is back in with a piece on frontier farming. Mike Nesbitt also sent a short piece on an accident he had while shooting this winter. He's not hurt, but it is an opportunity for him to share a learning experience with the readers.

Should be a good issue.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, January 25, 2010

American Tradition magazine

Here are a couple of images from the new CLA magazine, American Tradition. As I said in the last post on the 23rd, this is a gorgeous magazine for members of the Contemporary Longrifle Association.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Past Week

Yes, I've been busy. Spent most of the week (day and night) working on the layout of the first issue of American Tradition, a new magazine/journal for members of the Contemporary Longrifle Association. I'm part of a committee (all volunteer) that has worked since last year's show in August to get this publication off of the ground.

This is going to be a fine publication featuring full color photos (and lots of them) of contemporary guns and accoutrements. In addition, there are a number of photos of original guns and stuff that have inspired today's builders and craftsmen. This magazine is going to be worth the cost membership in the CLA. It will be 48 pages + covers, on enameled stock, and will be published twice a year. The first issue should be mailed in a couple of weeks.

Membership in the CLA provides other benefits, like entrance into the annual show in Lexington, Kentucky, and the right to sell things on the CLA website. A one-year membership is $50.00. You can get more information or join by going to or call 540-886-6189. The mailing address is PO Box 2097, Staunton VA 24402.

When I have a little more time, I will post a couple of images from the upcoming issue.

Bill Scurlockl

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tree Planting

My father-in-law, Ernest Cook, and I finished planting some pine trees this morning on a little farm we have west of Texarkana. We had a crew plant about 16 acres last week, but ran out of trees before we got to the end. So Ernest got hold of a few more trees, and we finished it.

A lot of y'all have met Ernest at muzzleloading events over the years. We were muzzleloading buddies, shooting and hunting together, before I even knew that he had daughters. He has travelled with me to the CLA Show, Friendship, the old Tennessee Longhunters Rifle Frolic, the Western Rendezvous, the Eastern Rendezvous and lots of other places. We have muzzleloading hunted together in Arkansas going on 30 years and duck hunted in Texas and Arkansas countless times.

Ernest is a forester by trade and a man of many skills and much knowledge. He's also a top-flight camp cook. Just ask Joe Mills or Mike Lea, who enjoyed Ernest's culinary skills a few years ago at the Eastern.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Hunting

Last weekend was my last chance to duck hunt with Jacob this season. Justin couldn't go because he had his wisdom teeth cut out on Thursday. So Jacob and I hunted hard on two mornings. Early Saturday morning, they weren't flying in the area we were hunting. After an hour or so, we got in pirogues and went scouting. We found approximately 100 mallards on the water in flooded cutover oak brush. We shot a couple of times at ducks going away. I knocked one down, but Kate (the dog) could not find it. She was hampered by the thick brush and floating debris, so she couldn't systematically search the entire area as she normally does. We spent the rest of that morning scouting the area and cutting a trail into it with a machete so we could get back to it in the dark the next morning.

Sunday morning we jumped some ducks going in. Of course, it was still dark. Our plan was to set up and catch them coming back in to that spot. Only three came back before we left at 10 o'clock. I didn't have an opportunity, but Jacob shot and missed a couple of times. He's shooting a new gun, and hasn't got to shoot it enough at ducks to get the feel for it. We did see a lot of wood ducks flying past early in the morning. Fun to watch, but they weren't in range. It was a tough area to hunt. When the mallards were down in a spot, they weren't moving. And we couldn't move without great difficulty. And because of the brush, we couldn't spy ducks at a distance and slip in on them.

We've had a lot of more successful hunts, but it was great to be out with Jacob and at least seeing some ducks and getting to shoot a couple of times. Standing in thigh-deep water with Jacob, with Kate on her tree stand between us, while ducks fly up the river was a great way to spend a sunrise.

Bill Scurlock

Saturday, January 16, 2010

1761 Pocket Watch 2

The two winding keys were made by Chris. One fits the winding post on the back, and the other fits the square post on the front.

I can’t remember who made the watch box seen here. I bought it sometime after Linda gave me the watch and Chris suggested I get one. It was made by a friend of Chris’s up in New England. The watch box is handy to display the watch, but it is also practical in that while the watch is running, it needs to hang vertically, not be set on its back. And it will run for over 30 hours on one winding.

This was a great and unexpected gift. The watch keeps excellent time, losing about 10 minutes in 24 hours. But it’s consistent, so it’s easy to reset each morning when it is wound.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, January 15, 2010

1761 Pocket Watch

This is a 1761 watch that Linda bought me a number of years ago. She got it from Chris Gilgun, who used to by old watches and boxes of old watch parts. He would use the parts to get the watches running again and then sell them.

We know that it is a 1761 watch because of the hallmarks that the silversmith stamped in the case. There are four hallmarks inside the case. One stands for England, one for London and another for the smith (I think). One hallmark is a stylized “F” that indicates the year of manufacture. All English silversmiths used the same year stamp, and it changed each year.


Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Berks County Longrifles & Gunmakers

This book was reviewed in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. It's a very nice book with full color shots of many historic and beautiful guns made in Berks County, Pennsylvania, from 1750-1900. Most of the guns pictured are from the flintlock era, including the earliest signed and dated Pennsylvania rifle known to exist (seen in the 2nd image above). It can be purchased from our online store.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deer and Coyotes 2

As I neared the levee of the pond, a coyotes streaked off of the wooded levee, across the trail and into the dense woods. I couldn't get camera or pistol up in time for a shot. In a few more steps, another coyote streaked across the trail. This one's coat was wet. So I knew where the deer was. I slipped up the back side of the levee and stuck my head up. The deer was back in the middle of the pond and looking right at me. This time I got some neat photos as the little nubbin buck got nervous and left the pond.

He certainly had picked a safe place. In that depth of water, the coyotes could not touch bottom and therefore could indefinitely be kept at bay. But only one coyote had chosen to swim. The other had stayed on the bank to await his chance. My coming along had spoiled their hunt that day.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, January 11, 2010

Deer and Coyotes

This is a story from 1 year ago. Our house is 1/4 mile down a gravel road behind our office. Last January I was driving my truck from the house to the office after lunch, so it was about 1:00 pm. As I topped the rise by the pond, located about half way between the office and the house, there was a deer standing in the middle of the pond, up to its chest in the water. There is a high spot out in the middle of this 1 acre pond. I stopped the truck, grabbed my camera from the back seat and changed the lenses to the zoom lens. The deer started moving out of the pond, and I started shooting photos, but the camera was on auto-focus so all of that group of photos was of the pine trees and limbs between me and the deer. So I figured that I missed that moment. Since I couldn't see any horns, I thought that it was a doe who was trying to escape an amorous buck or something.

As I drove on and got near the office, I looked back over my shoulder down a lane through the trees and brush, I saw a deer standing in the opening. Got the camera again, switched to manual focus and started taking shots. I could see the deer was moving back and forth in the opening, and I could see that there was more than one animal. I finally figured out that the other animal was a coyote and that they were sort of chasing each other around. You can see that the deer was all bristled up. After a couple of minutes, they left the opening heading back toward the pond. I got out of the truck with my camera and a pistol (in case I got a shot at the coyote) and started down to the opening.

To be continued...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Magazine File Boxes

Mike Nesbitt reviewed these in "Prime Possibles" in the January/February 2010 issue. We don't usually run reviews on our own products, but Mike ordered some for his own back issues, and liked them so much that he insisted that I publish his review. Thanks, Mike.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, January 7, 2010

George Ainslie — Blacksmith

I reviewed a these hand-forged items in "Prime Possibles" in the January/February 2010 issue. The folding-handle skillet and the gun wiper are excellent examples of George's workmanship. Ainslie has been blacksmithing for many years under the business name of Prairie Elk Forge.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hudson's Bay Camp Knife

This knife was reviewed by Mike Nesbitt in "Prime Possibles" in the January/February 2010 issue. Made by Montana Americana, this 7-1/8 inch knife is sold by Dixie Gun Works.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dave Crisalli Flintlock Charms

These silver charms were reviewed in "Prime Possibles" in the January/February 2010 issue. Dave does beautiful work and the charms can be used on a variety of jewelry pieces.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, January 4, 2010

Log Cabin Long Gun Case

The Log Cabin Shop introduced a 62-inch long gun case that I reviewed in "Prime Possibles" in the January/February 2010 issue. This is a nice case at a reasonable price. The rifle in the photo is my Mark Thomas rifle with a 44 inch barrel and a 13-1/2 inch pull. For more information, see the review.

Bill Scurlock

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Missouri Bullet Company

I've been talking some time off and not posting regularly over the last week or so. Now I'm getting back to it.

Mike Nesbitt wrote a "Prime Possibles" on these round balls from the Missouri Bullet Company in the January/February 2010 issue. He likes the quality, and the target proves that they shoot well.

Bill Scurlock