Author Topic: Average mans gun...  (Read 17218 times)

Offline Stophel

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2008, 11:37:50 PM »
Is this the gun with the bent barrel?  As of a few years ago, it was in the care of someone in the Jacobsburg Longrifle museum organization.  They had it at the PA German folk festival and had $1600 on it.  I could have (barely) bought it too, but thought it might be a bit too much.
When a reenactor says "They didn't write everything down"   what that really means is: "I'm too lazy to look for documentation."

northmn

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2008, 08:25:36 PM »
As a thought, on the plainer vs fancier.  If you attend a shotgun sport today you start seeing more ostentation than what you see out in the woods.  I do not know how popular shooting matches were, but have heard they were common.  The "Golden Age" guns occurred during a period when we may have had more industrialization (part of the reason we booted out the British) and possibly more wealth per capita.  Trap and skeet guns today get pretty fancy and are far beyond basic needs.  Many are kind of "show off" pieces.  I just wonder if there weren't factors like that that may have had buyers opt for fancier rifles and may have created a larger number of them than we might think.  Those were more civilized times when a man could spend his dollars on important things like his guns instead of frivolities like new couches and carpets to keep his wife happy.

DP

Offline J. Talbert

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2008, 08:38:22 PM »
Though only specution; I like to think that the rifle back then is comparable in a number of ways to the cars of today, especially in regards to its desirability to young men.  I would submit that; just as now, as some young boys (and men) are obsessed with that first (and every) car, and certainly don't always spend what is a wise or prudent amount on it, many young men did much the same with rifles back then.

Just a little more food for thought when it comes to the plain vs fancy, wealthy vs working man's gun...
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic"  Benjamin Franklin

Offline Randy Hedden

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2008, 12:43:03 AM »
It is also possible that demand had an effect on what the builder produced. If he had ten buyers waiting for rifles it is less likely that he would spend too much time beautifying his product so that he could effect a timely dleivery. Economic gain was the major goal no matter how fine a craftsman he happened to be.
Dick

Dick,

The laws of supply and demand haven't changed from the 18th century up to the present time. Let's look at the other side of supply and demand. There are several gunsmiths in a certain area and there is only one potential customer who has set a limit on the amount he will pay for a rifle.  How do any of the gunsmiths get the potential customer to buy his product rather than buy from any of the other gunsmiths? Same as today, the gunsmith would have to differentiate his product from those products of the other gunsmiths. He would have to offer more for the customers money or at least make the customer think he was getting more for his money. Wouldn't the quickest way to differentiate his product be to add some carving and some engraving for the same price? Then when the other gunsmiths start offering  carving and engraving for the same price our first gunsmith has to offer even more carving, engraving and perhaps inlays. I believe this is how the "Golden Age" rifles came about. During the Revolutionary War there were not enough gunsmiths to supply demand so more were trained to fill the demand for arms. After the Rev War there was a glut of trained gunsmiths who found they had to differentiate their rifles in order to draw customers.

Randy Hedden

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northmn

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2008, 03:23:58 AM »
That issue of an overabundance of smiths may have existed, however there were still contracts for such guns as the trade rifles and muskets.  When the western fur trade opened up several plainer rifles were built to satisfy that demand.  Looking at the volume these rifles were produced there is some indication that gun building was getting more technically advanced with indications of manufacturing technology increases.  It is possible as the East became more industrialized that many of the parts were farmed out to related industries.  For instance foundries may have arisen to make hardware in some areas.  There was also more importation of barrels and locks.  This would permit more time to make fancier rifles, kind of similar to todays builders that buy kits.  Simpler rifles from the Appalachian area were totally handbuilt because of little industry.  Another possibility.     

flintman-tx

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2008, 03:24:42 AM »
Some people regard a gun as merely a tool. (true even today). They want results and for most, the cheaper...the better. Some of us regard guns as an extention of our self, as a work of art as something...well, for lack of a better word, sorta " mystical". While we can't pay the really big money the investors and well-to-do collectors can, we will pay as much as we can and sometimes a bit more for something just a little special. If I am the only nutcase that feels this way...oh well!!!

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2008, 04:15:22 PM »
Some people regard a gun as merely a tool. (true even today). They want results and for most, the cheaper...the better. Some of us regard guns as an extention of our self, as a work of art as something...well, for lack of a better word, sorta " mystical". While we can't pay the really big money the investors and well-to-do collectors can, we will pay as much as we can and sometimes a bit more for something just a little special. If I am the only nutcase that feels this way...oh well!!!

I think you are in good company......
De Oppresso Liber
Marietta, GA

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. William Allen White

Learning is not compulsory...........neither is survival! - W. Edwards Deming

rex

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2008, 02:36:42 AM »
Hi: Most of us common folk have our grandfathers guns. they were cheap, to average. Most were hardware store or Sears guns. Fancy could be bought, but cost to much. I think it was the same in 1700, and it is now. Rex

timM

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2008, 04:40:36 PM »
Gibster,......thank you for posting those pic's of your rifles.  I also find them very interesting. I also hope to see more photo's of any or all of those rifles. tim

Mike R

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2008, 03:06:33 PM »
For those of you that have the KRA book reprinting their Bulletin articles v.1-30, there is a fine example of a common man's rifle in an article by Frank Tait.  It is a Dickert owned by John Curry who was a rifleman in ranging companies 1776-78.  It is totally uncarved [no incised either] and has no sideplate. It's relatively plain 4-piece brass box has no engraving.  It certainly is not a "poor boy" nor is it a "Schimmel", but it is plain and utilitarian.

Online T.C.Albert

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2008, 08:38:54 PM »
I may be totally wrong..(as usual)...but look at the car you drive today.
Is is a bare bones work mobile...a beater but dependable farm truck that hauls feed everyday...or a pampered new Lexus with all the bells and whistles...or maybe you have all of the above??? then think about what kind of gun or guns you and the family were likely to have had as well along those lines...

Anyway, thats how I sometimes think about it...for what its worth.
T.Albert
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visit: www.thehuntingpouch.com

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2008, 05:09:15 AM »
Average can cover a lot of territory. The Haymaker rifle could be "average". Its certainly far less fancy than those Virginia guns in Guslers carving video.
The wood PB Becks with just some carving.
Now the POOR people might have much plainer guns. But what would "average" be in 1770-1780?

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Mike R

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2008, 03:43:31 PM »
Average can cover a lot of territory. The Haymaker rifle could be "average". Its certainly far less fancy than those Virginia guns in Guslers carving video.
The wood PB Becks with just some carving.
Now the POOR people might have much plainer guns. But what would "average" be in 1770-1780?

Dan

Poor.  Poor would be the average man then.  It was a time of few rich and many poor [and few "middleclass" as we know it].  Poor is a relative term, however, and often as not dependent on how one views himself.  The middle class of my youth would be considered definitely poor today when viewed in terms of ownership of material "stuff", extra money [money available to spend over and above necessities of life], and free time.  My father had a college degree, a law degree and was an FBI Agent.  His starting salary with the FBI was $4000 a year.  The "average" guy makes that much a month now [yes, I know, there has been alot of inflation].  The average man of the 18th cent made a few dollars a month if he was lucky.  A typical plain rifle of the period cost about 6-7 dollars, whereas a fine rifle cost more like 12-15 dollars [twice as much].  Let's see,  I have a wife and three kids and a dirt farm with a few rows of corn and a cow--yeah, I'll spring for that 12 dollar rifle...yeah....
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 03:46:15 PM by Mike R »

Mike R

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2008, 04:03:30 PM »
P.S., remember, a "plain" rifle can shoot as straight as a fine rifle.  The market hunter or poor backwoods farmer who added to his larder with a gun did not need carving and inlays to "get'r done".  Even today, with all of our excess [spendable] incomes, the blue collar guy will more likely have a plain factory gun in the field, whereas a corporate VP may be toting an engraved fancy wood-stocked gun.   It has always been that way.

Offline JTR

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2008, 06:22:58 PM »
I wonder what happened to Teun, the new guy that started the thread?
John
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 06:23:29 PM by JTR »
John Robbins

Offline Stophel

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2008, 06:49:57 PM »
$4000 a month?  That's definitely way above "average" for me!
When a reenactor says "They didn't write everything down"   what that really means is: "I'm too lazy to look for documentation."

Mike R

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2008, 12:11:55 AM »
$4000 a month?  That's definitely way above "average" for me!
....yeah, that's why I put it in quotes.  My schoolteacher son makes about $3000 a month.  A minimum wage dude would make a third that....

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Average mans gun...
« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2008, 02:17:39 AM »
$4000 a month?  That's definitely way above "average" for me!
....yeah, that's why I put it in quotes.  My schoolteacher son makes about $3000 a month.  A minimum wage dude would make a third that....

Early 60s Dad was making about 1.75 an hour as a construction worker and I think this was teamster scale.
I fully understand the comments on the amount of money people had, especially on the frontier. But carving of some short was almost standard on firearms of the time. Military muskets had carving around the tangs.
So we have to then ask what did a really cheap rifle consist of.
Then we must address that fact that the Native Americans would not usually buy a base line rifle. See "British Military Flintlock Rifles" by Bailey.
According to orders for Wilson Indian Trade rifles in 1781 of the 312 rifles there were 3 different types ordered in these quantities. Cost was what the British gov't paid.
156 Best Rifle Guns wood boxes moulds & cases.  52/6
108 Best Rifle Guns with brass boxs moulds & cases. 53/6
48 Rifle Guns wood boxes moulds & cases  50/
Prices are in Shillings. 20 shillings = ₤1.
This from pg 81.
Surviving rifles from Wilson are invariably carved to some extent and had a forend moulding. I have no idea what the lowest grade rifle was like but it was apparently not very popular.
Apparently the Natives had come to see a carved rifle as typical. If the vast majority of rifles in the frontier were uncarved I cannot see this being and issue. I would further point out the Bailey states that the rifle armed natives were for the most part armed with American made rifle and the English imports were just a small part of those actually in use until 1778 at any rate.
He further writes that George, John and James Girty had new rifles costing ₤6, ₤7.10.0 and ₤8.10.0. These were late 1775 to early 1776. I seriously doubt they were trade rifles.

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman