Pete's random thoughts

Monday, February 23, 2009

What is it with whiny kit-builders?

I've been on a 19th century gun kick lately, so I've been reading stuff online about what is available for caplock guns. Back when I started in black powder, you could get a single shot pistol kit for about $39 and a revolver kit for $79. Nowadays, prices have increased dramatically.

It's not the increased prices that baffle me, it's the whiny people who are building the kits and then writing about it on the internet.

I've probably ready half a dozen "reviews" of Spanish and Italian sourced pistol kits and every one of them is full of complaints about how the builder had to file things to make them fit, polish rough surfaces etc.

I thought the whole point of building a kit gun was to tinker with the thing and learn how to do stuff like that? Instead, it seems like these folks are expecting to buy a kit gun and just assemble a perfectly fitted, tuned pistol. That wouldn't be called "gun building" it would be called "gun assembling".

When I was 18 and built my first pistol, I had to figure some things out. That was the whole point of building vs buying one. One thing is for sure, I certainly wouldn't have posted on the internet (had there been an internet then) about rough-cast parts not fitting together perfectly. (duh--they are rough cast)

Nor would I whine about having to inlet an escution plate for a barrel key into the stock. Nor would i write publicly about how the thread on a nipple was messed up, so I used a different nipple (as opposed to just using a file to fix the unfinished thread on the supplied nipple).

What these whiners do is showcase their own lack of skill and aptitude. Instead of adopting a "can-do" spirit and learning how to actually build a gun from parts, they complain that the company that sells the kits (CVA, Traditions, Dixie etc) sells a "low quality" kit and Squawk that the would expect higher quality control from the kit manufacturers.

Sorry folks, but it is the person who builds the kit that is the manufacturer. The companies that sell the kits are selling you a conviniently gathered set of parts that when properly assembled will be a gun.

If people can't handle building a kit gun without whining, then who are going to be the gunsmiths in 20 or 30 years? It seems like people today just want everything handed to them.

We get calls from "gunsmiths" who need to get a spring for some kind of flintlock. A real gunsmith could just make a spring. There was one guy who had taken in a lock to repair for a friend of his who was having problems with the lock not sparking right. (I.E. worn frizzen) The wannabe gunsmith felt the fix for this was to make the mainspring stronger by rehardening it. He had heated up the spring to a white heat and now wanted to know what temperature to heat it in the oven at to temper it. We declined to get involved in that one.

Then there are the "gunsmiths" who are fixing a friend's musket and seem to think that they need a new frizzen because the case hardening is worn through, and can we send them a new one? Believe it or not, there are many of them that decline our offer to reharden the frizzen under our warranty because they insist that it can't be rehardened because they have tried it.

Some of it is just stubborn male ego. No, pretty much all of it is just stubborn male ego.

For some reason, we are all in a hurry these days and don't want to take the time to stop and actually learn how to do something. And coming back to the kit guns and their "reviewers", we aren't talking about something as indepth as blacksmithing, carving grips from wooden blanks, or making a spring, we are talking about people that think using a file to smooth out machine marks, and a piece of sandpaper to contour 99% finished pistol grips is a major accomplishment. Who are they to write reviews of a parts set?

Maybe I'm getting to be a crotchety old fart, but sometimes certain people just amaze me with the lack of skill that is in direct proportion to their arrogance.

For years now, there has been a standing offer for people (so-called "unit armorers" in particular) to come here and spend a day or two to take a crash course in lock repair and tuning. Since we moved here to NH, not a single person has taken us up on it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Historical Shooting Inc

I wasn't going, but I'm still furious about the Quebec thing in the last post.

On a lighter note, we've been working on some educational shooting-related projects around here that I thought I'd mention.

We've started a new venture called Historical Shooting Inc. HSI for short. HSI's function in life is to hold educational shooting events that will be a step up from "blank firing" reenacting in that participants get to live fire the guns etc. The plan at this time is to hold quarterly events that will highlight specific time periods. We plan to work in as many details, like period correct food, etc.

For instance, the event in January was "The Battle of the Bulge". Participants formed a squad of riflemen and set off on a trek through some deep snow to fire at targets along the way. There was a light machine gun stage, a pistol stage, a rifle stage and a carbine stage. At the end, we all ate our nearly frozen K-rations while we discussed first person accounts of the Bulge from 1944-45.

The next HSI event will be on Sunday, May 17th. This one will showcase the types of weapons used at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

What we have lined up so far are primitive bows, tomahawks, single action revolvers, double barreled shotguns, a 1866 lever action rifle, and a Trapdoor Springfield Carbine.

To keep up to date on what HSI is doing, bookmark this site:

And as a little teaser, here are a few of the weapons that will be used at the Little Bighorn Shoot

This just in...the French won?

I'm reading this news in shock and amazement.

It seems that the Seven Years War is finally over and the FRENCH won. It's the oddest thing.

This summer marks the 250th anniversary of the battle on the Plains of Abraham that ended in the fall of Quebec to the English. Some 3000 reenactors from the US and Canada were going to go and reenact the famous battle that resulted in the deaths of the English General Wolfe and his French nemesis General Montcalm.

In the end, the walled French stronghold fell to the English. Its fact, its history, its indesputable.

Now, two and a half centuries later, some limp-wristed, cheese eating, Paris worshipping "Quebec nationalists" have decided that it was an embarassment to lose. Yeah, losing sucks, but in every conflict there is a winner and a loser. In that one, the French lost. The people who should be embarrassed are the rest of Canada for allowing these blowhard clowns to dictate what anniversaries get celebrated.

Word is out: the reenactment on the Plains of Abraham is cancelled. Why? because of threats of protests and "civil disobediance" by this small group of morons who don't seem to understand that the French actually LOST the French and Indian War.

Here are some quotes from the lead whinebag of the group calling itself "Le Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois" (translates to "The Network of Resistance of Quebecois")

He said that re-enactment ``showed disrespect for Quebecers and our

``It's the federal government that's behind this and they should
not touch the anniversary of this battle in any way,'' he said.

``The celebrations that have been announced were not something that showed
respect for our ancestors. ''

``If it had been the Quebec state that had decided to organize this event
with respect and seriousness, we would not have had any problem with that. But
because it's the federal government that's involved, it's

He said that until Quebec becomes a sovereign state, any re-enactment of the
battle would be disrespectful to francophones.

I guess what this means is that, 250 years later, the French won at Quebec...without firing a shot.

General Wolf must be spinning in his grave right now.