Author Topic: Close to Ferguson Time  (Read 5926 times)

Offline davec2

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Close to Ferguson Time
« on: May 17, 2009, 04:51:10 AM »
I have started measuring the progress on my several gun projects in "geological time".  Life and work are really starting to cut into my 18 to 20 waking hours each day.  Nonetheless, I have finally progressed to that point on a new rifle where one starts to accelerate as the finish line begins to come into view.  I purchased parts for this Ferguson from TRS several years ago now and I have been very slowly working on one part or another as the spirit moved me....and the spirit didn't move me very often.  Still,  I was starting to make some headway when D. Taylor completely tumbled my gyro (i.e. destroyed my concentration) by posting pictures of his very decorated version of the Ferguson.  I was now mentally "in irons" and being set on a lee shore.  For a long time I couldn't decide whether to finish it as a military arm or add the engraving, carving, etc. that made Taylor's version such a standout.  I still haven't decided, but I have progressed this far.









If Taylor had not thrown me such a curve ball, I'd be shooting this thing by now !
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 06:26:54 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 05:01:59 AM »
I'll tell you Dave - it's been worth the journey!!  What a great looking rifle!!!  I'd finish it up just like that, and get shooting it.  Marvelous polish on the steel.  I appreciate your extravagant words of praise.
D. Taylor Sapergia
www.sapergia.blogspot.com

Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline davec2

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2009, 06:17:24 AM »
Taylor,

Did you case harden the trigger guard and the trigger plate?  I can't really harden the trigger plate now - I don't like pinning a triggers so I made the bolster shown below and silver brazed it to the plate.  So, hardening the plate is not an option any longer, but I could harden the trigger guard.?  I also didn't want to pin the rear sling swivel, so I used a screw from inside the lock mortice to hold it in place.


« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 06:26:33 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2009, 06:59:22 AM »
Dave, the only things I case hardened were all the screws and the breech tang.  Sometimes I do the lock bridle too but not on this rifle.  The inlet for the rear swivel was a little rough, so i added a little brass escutcheon plate around it.  If I remember right, the swivel stud is a coarse screw.  I did not pin mine internally.  Frankly, I had virtually no information about this famous rifle - only a few pictures. 

D. Taylor Sapergia
www.sapergia.blogspot.com

Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline J. Talbert

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2009, 07:09:50 AM »
Dave,

After seeing Taylor's, I can sure understand your dilema.  I'm glad I don't have to make that decision, but it'll be a darn nice gun either way.

Jeff
There are no solutions.  There are only trade-offs.
Thomas Sowell

Offline Benedict

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2009, 04:42:31 PM »
After seeing both, I understand the dilema about which to build.  But the answer is simple, make one of each.  LOL

Bruce

Offline Dave B

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2009, 05:21:58 PM »
I like your project. You've done a fantastic job on the metal. I have always been fascinated with the Ferguson rifle having read Louis La Amour's novel where the hero ends up with one given to him by the Man him self. I would agree with Bruce on making one of each.
Dave Blaisdell

Offline davec2

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2009, 07:02:51 PM »
Taylor - thanks for the info on how you built your Ferguson.

I am not really much of a collector, but I have made it a point, over the years, to acquire at least one of each of the major military arms used by or in  the United States since the Revolutionary War.....Brown Bess to AR-15.  I was also not completely thrilled with the quality of the TRS parts - they are OK but not outstanding.  So, I think I will take the advice offered and finish this one as a military arm and build another sporting version more in keeping with the ones pictured in Neal and Back's book "Great British Gunmakers 1740 - 1790".  And, having started four other rifles and a pair of gold mounted pistols (coupled with my geological time line for completion), I have all the engraving and carving work I need for a while. 

Besides, I am anxious to shoot this thing and see if it blows my hat off.

Dave C
« Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 07:04:04 PM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline smart dog

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2009, 07:48:39 PM »
Hi Dave,
You did a marvelous job.  Well done!! Of course Taylor's version is the standard to which we all can aspire. I always enjoy seeing photos of that rifle. Attached are some photos of an ordinance version that I built a few years ago from a plank of English walnut. It is simple but still a bit finer than most of the issued versions.  Perhaps it was built for an officer.  I hardened the trigger guard and trigger plate but did not case harden them.  Because the steel the TRS uses has enough carbon, I simply heated the parts to red and quenched in water that had a surface layer of oil.  I then tempered everything back to deep blue. I did that mainly for corrosion resistence, not wear. Anyway, if I were going to build a decorated civilian version I would file off all of the Tower markings on the lock, eliminate the sling swivels altogether, and slant the trigger guard handle to the rear slightly.

dave





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Offline davec2

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 11:09:58 PM »
Dave,

Thanks for the info on hardening.

I think I will add a little basic carving around the tang, lock, and side panels like my blunderbuss and Dragoon pistol below.  I may also add a standard issue Dragoon thumb piece to the wrist area.

How did you finish your stock?  I know how Taylor did his.






« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 06:26:01 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline smart dog

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2009, 12:15:37 AM »
Hi Dave,
Nice blunderbus and pistol.  The engraving is super. I almost always finish guns first by sealing the stock with a mix of 25%polyurethane, 25% tung oil, and 50% turps. I slobber it on until the grain really starts to fill up. Then I just use a 50/50 mix of tung and linseed oil that is hand rubbed into the wood. If I want a glossier finish I increase the tung oil.  I finish everything off with a coat of wax that contains beeswax and carnuba wax. I have used this formula for 20 years.

dave
"The main accomplishment of modern economics is to make astrology look good."

Offline Benedict

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2009, 12:40:13 AM »
I read this thread this morning and then found myself at Kings Mountain National Military Park( where Ferguson was killed) this afternoon.  Now I am thinking that I might want to make a Ferguson (or 2) for my self.  By the way, they do a nice job of telling the story at Kings Mountain.  Unfortunately it was raining and I ran out of time to walk out on the battle ground itself but I will next time.

Is TRS the only source of Ferguson parts?

Bruce

Offline davec2

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2009, 01:10:36 AM »
Dave,

Thanks for the info on finishing the wood.  I will give it a try.

Benedict,

TRS is the only source I know of except for Ernie Cowen in Chambersburg Pennsylvania.  Ernie makes the guns with his own parts but doesn't sell parts that I am aware of.  I spoke to him in February.  A complete gun from him would take a couple of years and about $12,000.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Ionian

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2009, 02:47:49 AM »
All of you have posted beautyfull rifles, but can someone explain how a Ferguson works? Was it a breach loader?

Nick

Offline smart dog

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Re: Close to Ferguson Time
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2009, 03:25:03 AM »
Nick,
The Ferguson was a breech loading flintlock developed by Major Patrick Ferguson from an earlier design by La Chaumette (and maybe others). Ferguson was an officer with the British Army during the American Revolution. They produced a small number of military issue rifles for an elite company of riflemen lead by Ferguson, which saw action at Brandywine.  If you look at my photos you can see the threaded breech plug. When the trigger guard was turned, the plug lowere opening a hole in the top of the barrel. One turn of the trigger guard was sufficient to allow placing a ball and powder within the chambe in front of the plug. The chamber had a shoulder so the ball would ram up against it like a modern bullet and on firing the ball would fill the rifling lands to make the gas seal (instead of needing a lubed patch). The gun was effective and accurate but its two major weaknesses (fatal ones with respect to its wider adoption) were that it was expensive to make and the stock was very weak under the lockplate near the breech plug. If Ferguson had designed a solid metal lock and breech area like they had on many of the turn off pistols of the times, I think the gun would have been truly revolutionary.

dave   
"The main accomplishment of modern economics is to make astrology look good."