When I tell people what I do, they invariably ask how much I would charge them to make them a longrifle, shot pouch or powder horn. Usually, they are disappointed once I tell them. The sad truth is that good custom work costs a lot and the craftsman still doesn’t make much money. I am currently only charging $10/hr when I figure the price for a custom gun. I charge a little more an hour for the smaller items.
Most projects will be unique and I will calculate the cost for each project based on the individual customer requirements. That said, I can give you some ballpark figures. An un-engraved powder horn is going to cost between $75 and $200 depending on the type, with ones having applied bands and tips costing the most. Engraved horns are going to be significantly more. The average shot pouch is going to cost between $150 and $200. The cost of my average pouch and horn outfit is going to be around $400.
For guns, the price will depend on the cost of parts with the quality of the wood being the greatest variable. The typical parts set (including a stock blank, barrel, lock, set triggers, butt piece and trigger guard) will run roughly $700-$1400. The cheapest gun I am willing to stock from a blank is an undecorated flintlock with cast mounts and no patchbox at about $3000. All other guns will run in the $3500-$5000 range. An iron mounted gun with hand forged mounts will cost about $440 more than a gun using commercially a available brass castings. An aged gun will cost more than a gun finished as new. Basically, the more details, the more decoration, and the more hand work, the more the gun costs.
The prices above are for stocking from a blank, hand inletting all the parts, and making many of the mounts from sratch. There is another option. I could build a gun around a machine shaped and inlet stock that can be found in some better parts kits. Such a gun would typically be $1000-$1500 less than a hand stocked gun.
I know that the costs given above are high; but we are talking about works of art that are labor intensive; and everyone involved in their production deserves to make a decent living. Think about what you make, and what it costs you to live. I believe that I offer you a good value for your money, if you value traditional hand work. The same applies to most traditional craftspeople and artists.
To discuss a project use the Contact form to send me an e-mail.
Mark E. Elliott