Gun #10 – Augusta/Rockbridge Virginia Longrifle

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge Virginia Longrifle Full Right Side

Sketches of thimbles and other details.
Sketches of thimbles and other details.
This is a 1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge County, Virginia longrifle based on the two rifles documented by Wallace Gusler in the Journal of Historical Arms Making Technology, Volume II (JHAT II). The patchbox and its engraving is an original design extrapolated from the boxes on the guns documented in JHAT II as well as those by John Davidson. The lock is a Chambers Early Ketland, filed, polished and engraved in a manner typical of most imported English locks with heat blued screws.. The 50 caliber, 44″ long, Bivins profile Getz barrel is polished amory bright. 
Moulding termination details.
Moulding termination details.
A White Lightning liner is installed. The rifle has modified Davis double set triggers that have been heat blued.   The butt piece and guard are neatly filed from yellow brass castings from Reeves Goehring. The rest of the mounts, including the one piece nose piece, are hand made from sheet brass. The stock is carved from a blank of very curly, stump cut, quartersawn,  hard maple from Freddie Harrison.   The barrel is hand inlet using gouges, period gunstock planes, and rasps. The stock is entirely scraped and burnished and the rifle is generally finished in a workman like manner.
Details of forearm moulding.
Details of forearm moulding.
The forearm moulding and buttstock moulding were cut with a custom made scratch stock in the original manner and show the characteristic ripple from scraping very curly wood. Period correct tools and techniques were used with files, rasps, chisels, and planes being used for most of the work. The stock is stained with aqua fortis and finished in oil.  I have fitted the scraped hickory ramrod with a plain sheet steel ferrule on the breech end that accepts a hand turned wiper made for the rifle. The wiper is in the patchbox.

If you are interested in the templates and layout guide I used to create this rifle, they may downloaded on this Gunmaker Tools page.

This Virginia longrifle was awarded a Judges choice ribbon in the Master class at the 2009 Dixons GunMakers Fair.

The length of pull is approximately 13.5″ to the front trigger.  The drop is a little more than 3″ and the cast off is a little less than .25″.

The technical details:

Stock: Very curly, stump cut, quartersawn, Surgar Maple
Lock: Chambers Early Ketland
Barrel: Getz “Bivins”, 44″, 50 caliber with Chambers White Lightning liner
Trigger: Davis double set triggers
Mounts: Reeves Goehring sand cast yellow brass butt piece and guard, all other mounts made from brass sheet

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle full left side

Full length photo of top of 1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle.

Photo showing full length of bottom of 1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle.

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Half Right Side

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Half Left Side

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Half Top

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Half Bottom

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Tang

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Lock

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Patchbox

1775-1785 Augusta/Rockbridge VA Rifle Cheek


11 thoughts on “Gun #10 – Augusta/Rockbridge Virginia Longrifle”

  1. I was wondering if you mind me asking which buttplate that is from Reaves? I have a project I would like to do and am having trouble finding a buttplate and that looks pretty similar. Thanks

  2. Cory, It is a #10. The guard is the Wallace Gusler Virginia rifle guard. Just about everybody uses the same butt piece and guard for all early VA rifles. It is kind of funny, but there just aren’t a lot of mounts from Virginia rifles being reproduced. I am just about ready to start casting my own as I need them. The Wallace Gusler guard is one that he made up years ago for the rifle he made in the 1969 film. I hope that helps. I have also used a butt piece that came from Dixie. People forget about Dixie these days but they still have a few things you can’t get elsewhere.


  3. That helps a lot Mark thanks. You are right most companies stock the Klette guard or some variation. Do you know the dimensions of this guard off the top of your head? I will look at Dixie, I was checking them out the other day for something else and did not even think about the buttplates.
    I appreciate the information.

    Cory Joe Stewart

  4. Mark, I just joined the ALR forum last July and have to say this is a very attractive rifle. I have always preferred to have the lines and wood quality speak for themselves rather than inlays on everything.

    I do have one question however, why is there no toe plate on this rifle? Is this a style of this particular school? I don’t intend to find fault but , “he who ask will know he who doesn’t may never know” Thanks Doug

  5. Doug,

    The rifle upon which #10 was based did not have a toe plate. Most early (1775 or before) rifles did not have toe plates. If you have a rifle with a relatively flat butt piece, then it will probably not have a toe piece. If you don’t believe me, look through Rifles of Colonial America by George Shumway.


  6. Hello Mark, I lived in Williamsburg from 1962 until 1999 and visited the Gunsmith Shop on many occasions, and remember talking to Wallace Gusher and Gary Brumfield. Maybe I met you also. I am finally starting a Virginia Rifle, and need a scratch stock plane for the Forestock Molding. Do you sell these? If not, do you have a pattern for sale? Thanks for your help.

  7. Ed,

    While I have been mentored and instructed by Wallace Gusler and Gary Brumfield, I never worked with them at the CW gunshop. A number of people seem to have gotten the mistaken impression that I worked at the gunshop. Both men taught and Wallace continues to teach at many venues and both were very generous with me as well as many other builders.

    As to the scratch stock, I don’t make any tools for anyone else. The scratch stock I made for my own use was based on one described in the Journal of Historical Armsmaking Technology (JHAT) Volume II pages 84-91.

  8. Mark –
    I want to thank you for all that you have done for the American Longrifle. Your guns and your site are terrific. I drool every time that I look at your shop and tools. What an investment you have and such a beautiful shop to work in. Work is a pleasure in a good environment. You do beautiful work, true pieces of art.

    The are a number of places that you have made reference to John Bivins. Mr. Bivins spelled his name with i’s and no e’. I noticed this as I have recently contacted the Winterthur Library who has all of the John Bivins’ Collection 1940-2001, including the eight Houston Harrison’s Rifle drawings. I have received the paper copies and they are great to have. The library sent the electronic copies in a Photo Suite Image which would have been fine but the copies were made… however, but came out terrible, horrendous. They are not usable.

    Mr. Bivins and Mr. Harrison were amazing men. They were the leaders of the contemporary longrifle movement from the fifties and sixties. Again, I enjoy your work immensely. Take care. Chris de France

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