The Essentials 

Every serious builder of American longrifles should have the following five books in their library.  Fortunately,  all five are currently in print.  The three books  from the Longrifle Series can be purchased directly from  George Shumway Publisher .   Their toll free order line is 1-888-Shumway (1-888-748-6929).  While I have singled out three, there are many more fine Longrifle Series books available from George Shumway Publisher.  Be sure to check out their online catalog

The Gunsmith of Grenville County by Peter Alexander is the latest and most complete book on building American longrifles, and may be purchased directly from Scurlock Publishing Co., Inc..  The phone number for Scurlock Publishing is 1-800-228-6389.  Also make sure to take notice of the other excellent books published by Scurlock Publishing.

I consider these five books an essential package for the serious longrifle builder.  The three gun building books should give you a foundation in the process and techniques of gun building.  A study of Rifles of Colonial America and Kindig's book should get you started on a more thorough understanding of the complexities of architecture, design features, and decoration from region to region and builder to builder.  I say started, because the next step is the organized and detailed study of originals.  

The books are just a starting point.  Your real education will begin after you have made a few rifles from a blank and started studying original guns.   There is so much detail to be seen and felt on the original that cannot be conveyed in a photograph.   There is also so much more complexity to be appreciated by a comprehensive study of originals than you will find in any book.  The books are just the starting point for a lifelong avocation.   

The Art of Building the Pennsylvania Longrifle by Chuck Dixon available from the Dixon Muzzleloading Shop, Inc. at (610) 756-6271.   Chuck has written a good primer on the construction of Pennsylvania style longrifles suitable for the novice and advanced builder alike.  Chuck's book includes some details on basic construction techniques not included in The Gunsmith of Grenville County or Recreating the American Longrifle.  Assuming that most builders will start with a kit, I think this should be the instruction manual.   

The Gunsmith of Grenville County - Building the American Longririfle by Peter A. Alexander. Peter Alexander, building on the work of William Buchelle and George Shumway as well as many other scholars and artisans, has produced the most comprehensive work to date on building the American longrifle.  There is no question that every serious builder should have this book on their bench.  This book may be ordered directly from Scurlock Publishing Co., Inc..

Recreating the American Longrifle by William Buchelle, George Shumway, and Peter Alexander.  This book is highly recommended to the new rifle builder. For decades, this was the the best book available on the production of historically accurate longrifles.  You should still have this book in your library along with The Gunsmith of Grenville County by Peter Alexander.   This book  may be ordered directly from George Shumway Publisher.

Rifles of Colonial America, Volumes I & II by George Shumway.  George Shumway's two volume classic is a must have addition to Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age by Joe Kindig Jr..  Rifles of Colonial America is filled with hundreds of high quality black and white photos that very nicely complement  Kindig's book; giving the owner of both books a comprehensive picture of  Pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, and Golden Age longrifles.   The detailed photos and specifications in this book provide an excellent reference for the serious builder.  This book is currently in its second printing and may be purchased directly from  George Shumway Publisher.   

Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age by Joe Kindig Jr.  With its publication in 1960,  Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age revolutionized the study of the American longrifle.  It set the standard for scholarship and the pictorial representation of longrifles in future publications such as Rifles of Colonial America described above.  This extensive pictorial study of the longrifles of Pennsylvania and Maryland is an important reference book that no student, collector or builder should be without.  A new edition is available from George Shumway Publisher.

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This page was last updated on 11/22/03 .

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