Southern Mountain Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Front
Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Back

Most of the southern mountain shot pouches shown on this page were copied from Jim Webb’s book Sketches of Hunting Pouches, Powder Horns, and Accoutrements of Southern Appalachia. I made the first, heart shaped, shot pouches pictured here exactly as shown on pages 18-19; approximately 7.5″wide x 7.5″ high, using 3-4oz  vegetable tanned cowhide and linen thread.This shot pouch design consists of a one piece back and flap with a front panel attached via a 1″ gusset that goes around the entire pouch and attaches to the strap.  The strap can  generally be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

Back of heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Back

The shot pouch is assembled such that the flesh sides are stitched together without a welt, and the bag is not turned. This results in the gusset folding inward. It is an unusual arrangement, but that is how the original was constructed. I used an iron buckle on the strap to allow for seasonal adjustment. The leather was stained with vinegar and iron. The strap is about 60″ and can be shortened as much as necessary just by punching new holes for the buckle.

Southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Front

The attached powder horn is based on several original powder horns from Southwest Virginia. It is about 13″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/2″ base plug. It is hand scraped and filed with a turned walnut base plug attached using hand forged nails. A turned walnut stopper finishes the horn. The horn is dyed yellow with aquafortis and appropriately aged.

Below is a heart shaped pouch with a slightly different horn.  This horn has an turned applied collar instead of integral rings, and is based on the horn on pages 228-229 in Jay Hopkins book Bone Tipped and Banded Horns.    It is about 12 1/2″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/4″ base plug.   

Bag #24, Horn #24 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Back
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Back

 

 

Below are two heart shaped shot pouches with plain powder horns  that are much more typical of what you would find in the southern mountains.  The bottom outfit uses linen cord and chain to attach all the accouterments, much as it would have in the period.

Pouch #27 and Horn #28 - A typical southern shot pouch and powder horn outfit.
Bag #27,  Horn #28 – A heart shaped shot pouch with a plain carved throat powder horn
Horn #3 - Bag #8 -  A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch.
Bag #8, Horn #3 – Another heart shaped shot pouch with a very plain powder horn

Typical One Piece Shot Pouch

Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

This is a very typical one piece rectangular shot pouch based on the one shown on pages 14-15 of Jim Webb’s book. It is just one piece of leather stitched up the sides with a welt and then turned inside out. I added the welt since the pouch was to be turned. The original did not have one. The pouch measures about 7″ wide by about 8″ high.  The strap can generally  be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

The attached horn (#29) is very similar to Horn #24 shown above.    It has a turned base plug and an turned, applied collar.  It is about 13 1/2″ around the outside curve (button to stopper) with an approximately  2 1/8″ base plug.   

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The leather is stained with vinegar and iron for a blue-black color and finished with mink oil and black shoe polish.  

Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

Small Two Piece Shot Pouch

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

This shot pouch is shown on pages 16-17 of Jim Webb’s book.  It is a very simple two piece (back with flap, and front)  pouch flat sewn along the bottom and up the sides  with a brass button holding the flap closed.  It is little under  7″ wide  x 6″ high.  The strap is a maximum of about 54″ top of bag to top of bag and can be shortened as necessary.  It is basically just large enough for your hand, and I would only expect to  carry a few balls, some patch material, and maybe a measure and a couple flints.      I imagine it being carried with a squirrel rifle and paired it with a very small banded screw-tip horn for just a few shots.   

The horn is about 10 1/2″ around the outside curve (staple to stopper) with a base plug about 2 1/8″ in diameter.  It is straight so it can be correct as either a left or right hand carry, and has been setup as a right hand carry.  I figure it might hold 10 shots worth of powder for a small caliber rifle.   

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The strap is about 53″ top of bag to top of bag, but can be shortened as much as you like.   The leather is stained with vinegar and iron for a blue-black color and finished with mink oil and black shoe polish.  

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

Bag #25 above is for sale for $95 plus $15 shipping and VA Sales tax, if applicable.   Use the Contact Form to let me know if you would like to purchase Bag #25 or one like it or a horn like Horn #27.

Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch

Shown here is a very practical pouch made from pillow ticking and a bit of leather for the flap.   The bag is approximately 8″x 10″ and fully lined in that there are no raw edges showing on the inside.   A leather reinforcement has been placed on the inside of the bag and stitched to the flap.   The leather strap is stitched to the flap and internal reinforcement and is adjusted by an iron buckle.   The strap is a maximum of about 57″ top of bag to top of bag.    It can be shortened as necessary for the eventual owner.  

Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Back
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Inside
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Inside

The pouch above is for sale for $95 plus $15 shipping and 5.3% VA Sales tax, if applicable.   Use the Contact Form to let me know if you would like to purchase Pouch #31  or one like it.

Bespoke Pricing for Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

Bespoke Pricing for items like the ones shown above is as follows:

  • Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch (like #11) – $125 plus shipping
  • Southern One Piece Shot Pouch (like #26) – $120 plus shipping
  • Small Two Piece Shot Pouch (like #25)- $115 plus shipping
  • Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch (like #31) – $115 plus shipping
  • Leather Powder Horn Hangers – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Leather knife sheath attached to back of pouch – $35 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide knife)
  • Plain Southern Powder Horn with a flat base plug (with staple)  and  a simple carved throat and spout (like #3 or #28) – $105 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug, and a carved throat and spout with integral rings (like #7)  – $150 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug and a  applied collar (#24 or #29) – $120 plus shipping.
  • Multiple Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn (like #27) – $215 plus shipping
  • Tin Powder Measure, Whipped Brush and Pick set (as shown with Bag #11) – $50

Priority shipping and insurance on a single item is $15. Shipping on an outfit is $20. I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

If you would like something similar to what is shown on this page, or even something completely different, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work.

The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

I try to make all my recreated shot pouches and horns look used. That means adding wrinkles, puckers, perhaps some cracks, and a bit of dirt and oil.  I leave normal blemishes in the leather that add some character.

Right or Left Hand Carry?

What is right or left hand carry?  Simply, it is the side of the body on which a horn is intended to be worn.  Historically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would historically  be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side with no conflict.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter much and the modern pattern of carry is frequently opposite of the historical pattern.

Carrying a horn on the same side of the body as it came from the cow results in the tip pointing toward the body and the base pointing away from the body.   I also like the base of the horn to point toward the body, as do many modern wearers, so I usually use the opposite side horn and rotate it about 90 degrees so that both the tip and the base of the horn point into the body.    This makes a horn from the left side of the cow into a powder horn you can carry on the right side of the body.     This is my personal preference, but not generally historically correct.  Historically,  powder horns were usually carried on the same side of the body as they came from on the cow.   If you want to be completely historically correct,  you need to understand that.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn,  I will tell you whether a horn is historically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.

 

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Gun #12 – An Iron Mounted Virginia Chunk Gun

Rifle #12, fantasy iron mounted Virginia longrifle after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA, Full length, right side


An Unusual Iron Mounted Rifle

The longrifle shown here is an iron mounted chunk gun with stylistic elements found on guns from the Augusta/Rockbridge area of Virginia down into southwest Virginia. This rifle includes a four-piece iron patchbox and a faceted trigger guard and thimbles similar to a couple of rifles from Wallace Gusler’s step-toe group as documented in several Muzzle Blasts articles. Those antique rifles had mounts that were a little fancier than most iron mounted guns but they certainly didn’t have carving and engraving as does this longrifle. The carving on this rifle is based on a John Davidson rifle (shown elsewhere on this site) from Rockbridge County, Virginia. As it stands, this is most definitely a fantasy gun both in terms of its decoration as a chunk gun, and the mix of features from various rifles. In my defense, I was making this gun for myself. So, I made what suited me. Hopefully, you will also find it appealing.

The Technical Details

Stock: Fairly curly, slab cut, red maple
Lock: Chambers Late Ketland lock
Barrel: 46″, 45 caliber, 1 1/8″ straight custom barrel by Getz
Mounts: All iron with hand forged butt piece, guard, and ramrod ferrule
Trigger: Davis longrifle double set triggers modified to fit the guard
Pull / Drop / Cast-off: 13.25″ / 2.75″ / 0.25″
Weight: 14 lbs 15 oz

Building a Fantasy Longrifle

Below are initial sketches that I did for this project. I do these sort of sketches for every project, but as you will see, the actual gun can turn out quite differently. I often change my mind about the details as I am working on the gun.

Preliminary sketch of iron mounted patchbox and wire inlay.
Preliminary sketch of patchbox and wire inlay.

Preliminary sketch of longrifle cheek with wire inlay.
Preliminary sketch of cheek with wire inlay.

Working sketches of Virginia longrifle mounts.
Working sketches of mounts.


I wasn’t happy with how similar silver wire worked on Rifle #11. So, I decided to skip the silver wire on this gun and do some carving based on the John Davidson documented in the Antiques section of this site.


No 11 Tang Carving of Virginia longrifle
No 12 Tang Carving

No 11 Right Wrist
No 12 Right Wrist

No 11 Virginia longrifle Cheek Carving
No 12 Cheek Carving



I also changed the butt piece heel extension and comb to three facets based on the work of John Davidson’s unidentified master. I also decided to use the touch plate release I used on #11. However, after problems with the touch plate release due to wood movement from changes in humidity, I decided to change the release mechanism and toe plate to a small push button release for better reliability.

The ramrod is made of hickory as are all my ramrods and scrapped to a taper with a forge welded sheet steel ferrule on the small end. The ferrule is threaded for a 10-32 screw. I can provide a hardened and tempered handmade wiper for the rifle for an extra $79.

As with all my guns, this rifle was stocked from a blank that I cut out on a bandsaw. After that, the only power tools I used on it were a hand drill and a drill press, mainly to drill screw, rivet, and pin holes. I used an 18th century brace and bits to help with the inletting of the lock and patchbox. All the other work was done with 18th and 19th century tools and techniques. Most of the work on the gun was done with planes, chisels, files, and scrapers. This included many antique tools and specialty tools made by me. The stock was final shaped and finished with scrapers. No sandpaper touched the wood. You can still see scraper and file marks in the finished product and there are the tell tale ripples in the stock indicative of being scraped. A more highly figured piece of wood would have had even more ripples.

I hand inlet the barrel and ramrod groove using chisels and planes, and hand drilled the ramrod hole. The trigger guard and butt piece were hand forged and assembled using rivets and forge brazing. The heel of the butt piece was filled with brass to make the joint as solid as possible. Then many hours of hand filing and polishing went in to getting these mounts to their final form. All the other mounts were hand cut from sheet and hand formed around mandrels I made expressly for the purpose. I made all the parts for the patchbox release mechanism and modified the Davis triggers to suit my taste and ensure perfect operation with the lock. As with all my locks, I hand filed and polished the lock plate, cock, and frizzen so that the lock would look as if it were a product of the 18th or 19th century. All the lock internals were polished on their wear surfaces and the sear and full cock notch were stoned for perfect operation with the set triggers. This particular lock also needed some modification of the sear and sear spring. Several days of work went into just finishing and tuning the lock.

My guns are more expensive than many other gunmakers because of all the hand work I put into them and the effort that I take to make sure everything works smoothly. I spent many days on this rifle just making sure that the lock, triggers, and patchbox release worked as well as they reasonably could. I also spend a lot of time with a scraper to make sure my lines and planes are straight and sharp and my curves smooth. I use traditional ferric nitrate (aqua fortis) stain which requires much, much more preparation than if you were using a modern non grain raising stain. I then apply many coats of my own oil based gunstock finish. I don’t use polyurethane or other synthetic finishes. Because of that, and the porosity of oil finishes, the last step in every gun is a good coat of Renaissance Wax on all surfaces. The only maintenance other than cleaning after shooting is to apply a coat of paste wax a couple times a year. The wax will effectively seal the stock against the weather.

Once I have finished all my scraping, polishing and finishing, then I go about destroying the work I have done in order to age the piece. I rust all the iron parts, sometimes several times. Apply a patina to the brass and silver and then paint the whole gun in a lamp black oil glaze to simulate a century or two of dirt and soot from the fireplace that I then scrub off judiciously to simulate many years of wear. A few dents, dings and some blood along the way doesn’t hurt the process.

I try to work in as workman like manner as I can, but I am picky about line and function. I will let some scraper marks and file marks and a few dents slide by as did the original gunmakers, but not functional or architectural problems. You do have to realize that anything done by hand is not going to be perfect. I try to get as close as I reasonably can, but you do have to let some things go as long as they are not going to affect function.

Speaking of function, all my barrel tenons are slotted to allow at least 1/32″ of travel around the pin in each direction. This is to allow for the normal expansion and contraction of the stock without stressing the barrel so much that the aim is affected.

The Final Result


Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,full length, left side

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,full length, top

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,full length, bottom.

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA, half length, bottom

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,half length, left side

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA, half length, top

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,half length, right side

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,half length, right quarter

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,lock

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA,sideplate

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA, cheek

Rifle #12, fantasy chunk gun after 1800 Rockbridge Co, VA, patchbox


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Iron Mounted Eastern Tennessee Rifle

East TN Rifle - Full Right


This is an original, fully iron mounted rifle most likely made somewhere on the border of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee probably between 1820 and 1830..   The lines of the breech stock look Virginia while the mounts are typical East Tennessee.   The stock is a plain piece of Black Walnut in pretty good shape with the exception of saddle wear through to the ramrod hole.  They barrel has been shortened at the breech at least once about three inches.   All the parts appear to be original, and the lock and triggers still work exceptionally well.  The lock is a cheap hardware store variety with no fly or half cock notch.  There is stamped decoration (circles) around the muzzle and the rear buckhorn sight.   The barrel is particularly heavy and coned.  The coning makes it difficult to guage the caliber, but I estimate it at about 38 caliber.   Particularly when you consider that two or three inches were cut off this barrel lightening it some, it is pretty clear that this gun was not shot offhand.  This gun had to be shot from some sort of rest.   This rifle shows lots of honest wear and in-service repairs. I see no evidence of modern repairs or restoration.

  • Overall Length:  60″
  • Barrel Length:  42″
  • Caliber: 38

East TN Rifle - Full LeftEast TN Rifle - Full TopEast TN Rifle - Full BottomEast TN Rifle - Half Right - shows East Tennessee iron mounts and a small greese hole at the back of the butt stock.East TN Rifle - Half LeftEast TN Rifle - Half TopEast TN Rifle - Half Bottom - shows saddle wear through to the ramrod.East TN Rifle - Lock - shows a late, hardware store type, flintlock.East TN Rifle - Side Plate - show short iron plate that is not much more than a simple strip of iron.East TN Rifle - Tang - shows a short spear shaped tang.East TN Rifle - Trigger Guard  - shows a typical, squarish, iron, East Tenneessee style guard.

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