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Build a Kentucky Rifle in the Ultimate DIY Mountain Man Project

Experience the satisfaction that comes from building a black powder Kentucky rifle. Use a kit to make your very own "Old Betsy".

Here's a condensed video of the various steps involved with building a Traditions Performance Firearms Kentucky Rifle from a kit. While the video only shows short excerpts of the build process, it does give a quick overview of what is involved.

This is Traditions .50 caliber percussion rifle kit, and it's being built by Rob Reaser. Reaser admits that he's always wanted to build a traditional musket, and the kit was the perfect place to fulfill those dreams. He could do the build with a little testing of his skills and handyman abilities, but not overwhelm himself.

He confesses that the build did test his skill and patience just enough to make it a little bit challenging. For example, he did have to do a bit of aggressive filing on the brass nose cap, shave some wood to make for a proper fit with the sidelock, and carve out the barrel inlet a tad to account for the barrel sitting too far forward for the percussion hammer.

He also admits that he took too much off the rear sight and had to call Traditions Firearms to order a new sight. But overall, nothing was too arduous. The tasks in building the rifle were not difficult, although the were deliberate.

"In all, I found this project to be even more rewarding than I first thought it would be," said Reaser. "The amount of work required was somewhat greater than I expected, but it gave me a real sense of what it takes to build one of these classic American firearms, and seriously enhanced the satisfaction of making something I can use year-round."

I'd strongly suggest that if you're thinking about doing one of these builds, you read Reaser's brief comments in the article. The Kentucky rifle kit cost $319 from Traditions Firearms.

You will have an heirloom that is unlikely to sit in the closet come hunting season.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.


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NEXT: Firing a 10-Bore Flintlock Rifle - a Dinosaur Killer!

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Build a Kentucky Rifle in the Ultimate DIY Mountain Man Project