I decided after last year's hunting season, this tribute would have three phases.
Phase one, 1804 - 2004 the first year, was to hunt with the 1792 Contract rifle
of which I built. I did that but I found out I really need a shorter, easier
handling rifle. So I put forth plans for a "Custom short rifle", this will be used
for phase three, 1806 - 2006. For phase two 1805 - 2005 I built the 1803
Harpers Ferry rifle shown above with my 1792.
This rifle feels good in my hands, it's 33" barrel makes it easier for me to
handle than the 42" 1792.
I have a wonderful book on Harpers Ferry called "The Southern Arsenal" by
Daniel Hartzel and James Whisker. It has some great pictures of original rifles
and I really liked the look of those 200 year old rifles. I'll take that "Antique"
look over a newly made look any day. I was determined to have one of those
200 year old rifles so using the the pictures in the book I built this rifle to look
I used Laurel Mountain browning solution on the lock and barrel. Three, three
hour coats, one twelve hour coat then three more, three hour coats. I carded
between coats. After using baking soda to stop the chemical action, I heated the
parts and rubbed a mixture of bear fat and beeswax into them.
I stained the walnut stock with three coats of Laurel Mountain Lancaster
Maple, then two coats of Laurel Mountain Nut Brown. Hand rubbed three
coats of True oil then steel wooled it off, hand rubbed a final coat.
I like the look and I think when the brass tarnishes some, it will be everything I