Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lisa Crews Pottery

Two pieces of pottery by Lisa Crews of Hickman, Kentucky. Linda bought the small plate several years ago at the Mansker's Station trade fair. I bought the other two years ago at the CLA show. Nice work at a reasonable price.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Shoot

I didn't shoot last Saturday, deciding to watch the new shooters and run the shoot rather than being distracted by my own shooting, and I had just as much fun.

The shooters shot 5 shots at a standard 25-yard bull as a warm-up. Didn't really keep score, but several shooters had pretty good targets; Steven Cannon, Steve Weir, Bisquit and Tom Moss.

Our blanket shoot was a squirrel target with no scoring rings. I explained that I was going to score it as a hunter after the five shots. Head shots got the highest score, then I judged them on where the shots hit the squirrel and how much meat would have been damaged. Bill Shores placed first, Tom Moss second and Dan Creele third. The youngest shooter there, Mitchell Fellows, placed 5th. That's him in the dark t-shirt above. During the match, there was a lot of banter about shooting off ears, tails and toenails.

There was also a string shoot at about 20 yards. A paper bag was suspended by a cotton string. If a shooter cut the string, he won what was in the bag. I think there were 4-5 strings cut. It was a challenge too, because a crosswind was gusting to 25 mph. I had to add extra weight to the bags to keep them from blowing away. The string-cutters were Arnold, Odie, Justin, Steve and either Gary or Dan (sorry, wasn't paying close attention at that point).

The main thing is that we all had fun and introduced three shooters to muzzleloading.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday March Shoot

We had about 13 shooters and 5 guys who hung out and visited. There were 3 brand new shooters.

Seth, the young man in the orange shirt, shot a muzzleloader for the first time, and did well, competing in all of the matches.

Odie and Justin were first-timers to shooting flintlocks. I brought them a couple of my rifles to shoot, and they had a blast. They are avid shooters, and took to the flintlocks with enthusiasm. The middle photo is of them working together to solve an ignition problem (dull flint). I showed them how the rifles worked and loaded, then mostly left them alone. By the middle of the shoot, they were pretty much calling their shots. I have a feeling they will be buying their own flintlocks before long.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, March 26, 2010


I had planned on shooting the Clay Smith rifle again the last two afternoons, but the weather didn't cooperate. On Wednesday it rained, and on Thursday it threatened rain, was heavily overcast and somewhat dark and windy. But last night, I filed some the rear sight down and deepened the sight notch because I don't want to take much more off of the front sight. We'll see how it shoots before adjusting more. I may get to shoot it this afternoon or tomorrow.

I am hosting a shoot tomorrow in the pasture at the farm. I'll likely use my Mark Thomas rifle, since it's sighted in. That's it in the photo. But if I get the Smith rifle close, I may use it too, or let someone else use it.

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Clay Smith Rifle

I got one of Clay Smith's "trade rifles" this year, and got a chance to shoot it yesterday. Clay can build as fancy a gun as a customer wants, but his trade rifle is a plainer gun built for those who don't want to take a high-dollar rifle out in the woods. This rifle is .54 caliber with a straight 15/16, Long Hammock barrel. I will be writing a review for an upcoming issue of MUZZLELOADER, but I was pleased with this first target shot from a rest and wanted to show you. The first 3 shots are at the bottom, as they should be. As I filed the front sight down, after every couple of shots, the holes moved up. I quit before getting zeroed because the afternoon light was failing, and my eyes aren't as sharp as they once were. More, later.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joe Mills Pouch and Horn

I traded with Joe Mills for this rig a few years ago and gave it to my son, Justin. It came with the Southern-style banded horn, a pick & brush set, and a powder measure. To me, it captures the artistry and creativity exemplified in all of Joe's work. Of course, Justin values it highly. Joe lives in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Week

I missed last Friday because I went to help my father-in-law with a project on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

On Saturday, the family had a crawfish boil at his house. Fine eating, Southern style.

This week I'm back at work on the May/June issue. Looks good, so far, and will feature a wonderful new painting by Robert Griffing on the cover.

Otherwise, I'll be preparing to host another small, informal shoot out at the farm on Saturday.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Switzer/Jacobs Roach Belly Knife

This is a hand-forged recreation of a common 18th century trade knife by John Switzer. Actually, the blade was forged by Switzer and hafted by Jim Jacobs of Blue Heron Merchantile. The overall length is 8-7/8". I made the sheath. I've carried and use this knife for a number of years. It was reviewed in "Prime Possibles" back in the Nov/Dec 1995 issue (with a correction/clarification in the Jan/Feb 1996 issue).

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Old Dagger

I traded for this dagger back in the mid eighties. I think it was at the Southeastern Rendezvous outside of Helen, Georgia (the first one). I don't remember who had it or who made it. Obviously homemade, though not perfect is fit and alignment, it's still a kind of neat. The blade measures 10", and the haft measures 4-1/2".

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joseph Teague Axe

This belt or pouch axe was reviewed in "Prime Possibles" in the July/August 2003 issue. Joseph Teague from El Paso, Texas, made this neat little axe. The head measures 4" in length.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rick Duvelius Wallet

I got this wallet from Richard Duvelius and published a review in "Prime Possibles" in the Nov/Dec 1999 issue. Rick is a gifted cordwainer, and I purchased several things from him over the years. This wallet has three compartments for papers and such, a blank paper booklet (with a marbleized paper cover) and a metal lead holder (writing stick) that fits in its own compartment. When folded closed, it measures 6-3/4" X 4-3/4". A useful and practical 18th century wallet.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, March 12, 2010

9 Tongs Forge Strikers

These are the strikers reviewed by Mike Nesbitt in "Prime Possibles" in the March/April issue. Good looking strikers.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Building Naval Artillery

I reviewed this book in the March/April 2010 issue of MUZZLELOADER. Good, easy-to-follow instructions for building a naval carriage.

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

George Ainslie Axe

Here is the belt axe by George Ainslie of Prairie Elk Forge, which is reviewed in the March/April 2010 issue of MUZZLELOADER. Nice guy, excellent blacksmith and top quality work.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sometimes Only Horses to Eat

This is another one of the books reviewed in the March/April 2010 issue of MUZZLELOADER. I enjoyed this book, and when I took it to deer camp last fall, I ended up selling 5 or 6 to folks at camp. There was a lot of campfire talk about this book throughout the season.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wally Peters' Blacksmithing

Mike Nesbitt reviewed this talented blacksmith in the March/April "Prime Possibles." Wally Peters lives in Winlock, Washington, and attends many events in the Northwest.

Bill Scurlock

Friday, March 5, 2010

Following the Drum

Linda reviewed this nice book, written by Nancy K. Loane, in the March/April issue of Muzzleloader. This book is about the women at the Valley Forge encampment. I haven't read it yet, but she says it is "a wonderfully readable account of that cold, winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1777-1778 from the point of view of the women who shared it with the soldiers." It's definitely one I want to read.

Bill Scurlock

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Amber Flints from Heritage Products

Here are pictures of the French amber flints reviewed in the March/April 2010 issue. They're good flints.

Bill Scurlock

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Deer Behind the Office

On Monday at about 5:30, I was driving from the office to the house and came upon a nice buck (either 6 or 8 points with a nice spread) in the field beside the pond. He just stood there about 40 yards away while I grabbed by camera. About the time I got the camera in hand, he turned and headed away. I snapped one photo, with the window still up, and it's not very good, but if you look close, you can see a red oak tree, and to the right is the deer's tail and antlers. If he had stood still a minute longer, I would have had a much better photo. I got out of the truck and followed him because he went behind the levee of the pond. Thought I might get another shot at him. I did get close (about 25 yards) but as soon as I saw him, he saw me and bolted. I didn't even get the camera up and on him that time.

Bill Scurlock

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March/April Issue Mailed

The March/April issue of MUZZLELOADER was mailed on Friday, February 26. That is about 5 days later than we wanted, so please be patient. It may arrive a little late. We were a couple of days late in getting it to the printer, then they lost a couple of days in production because of minor problems in their shop. Together, we were about 5 days behind in getting it to the post office.

It is an excellent issue, beginning with the cover by Barry Powell. Barry is new to our cover and I expect you will see more of his work in the future. This one is entitled Morning Attack and was done with colored pencil. I think it makes a nice cover and will be available at some point soon as a print.

I will be out of the office today because I am working at the polls at our primary election. I was asked to help, and since I think that voting is one our most important rights, I could not refuse.

Bill Scurlock

Monday, March 1, 2010

Saturday Shoot

About 20 of us had a good time at the shoot on Saturday. Several guys came out just to watch and visit. Gene brought his son and grandsons and a beautiful new rifle that Matt Avance made for him. A couple of guys shot flintlocks for the first time. We warmed up with a 5-shot match at a standard 25 yard bullseye.

Next we shot a 3-shot match at a "Mike Fink" style paper target (a mountain man with a tin cup on his head). Only shots touching the tin cup counted. If you hit the man anywhere, you got no score. Only two guys hit the cup at least once and didn't hit the man. I had two forehead shots. That's the winning target shown on the left.

Then we shot 5 shots at playing cards taped to cardboard backings. It you hit the cardboard, you got 1 point. If you hit the playing card, you got two points. In the case of ties (there were several) the tape on the playing card is cut and the card is turned over. The higher card wins the tie. Steve Weir (that's him in the photo) and I tied in points, but my 9 of clubs trumped his 6 of clubs, so I won. That was our blanket prize shoot, and I chose a turkey-wing-bone call as my prize.

At this point, some of the guys had to leave or had done enough shooting, but a few of us took some shots, without keeping score, at a metal deer target at about 75 yards.

One of the neatest things about shooting muzzleloaders is that you can shoot about 20 shots over the course of a couple of hours, mix in a lot of visiting and helping other shooters with their guns, and enjoy a full afternoon of fun that didn't cost a lot.

Bill Scurlock