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Old July 18, 2009, 09:29 AM   #1
Uncle Billy
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Track of the Wolf rifle kits

Not sure if this ought to be here or in the "Smithy" section.

Anyway, is there anyone here who has had experience with the "Kentucky" rifle kits that Track of the Wolf sells? I've more or less decided on buying a flintlock rifle kit this fall for a winter project.

Here's the kit I was most interested in:

Track of the Wolf rifle kit

I'm confident I can do the shaping and inletting well enough; the carving is beyond me at present. I've thought of buying a stock blank and trying to learn that art, but not yet would I try it on a project I'd like to look as good as it can.

I've built a few CVA kits in the past, and more or less finished a flint rifle project someone else had started and messed up, so I'm not a total novice. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a Track kit; any comments on kits sold by others?

Thanks in advance for any input you can offer.
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Last edited by Uncle Billy; July 18, 2009 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Spilin
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Old July 18, 2009, 09:58 AM   #2
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I have put a few kits together; CVA's, Traditions and TC's but never a "Track of The Wolf. Sure looks like it would finish out pretty nice. The one thing that I have learned the hard way, it to assemble it as-is. I then make a map of the areas I have to finish and flush. I've seen to many kit guns where the lock plate and metal finish is not flush with the wood, instead sunk in. What caliber are you going after and do you plan on plum or brown. Please keep us updated and post your progress. I thank you for your post.

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Old July 18, 2009, 10:28 AM   #3
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I picked this rifle and .40 caliber with an "A" profile swamped barrel because it's almost the lightest barrel among the kits and is 38" long- shorter than some of the others. These long rifles get real front-heavy with straight barrels and small calibers; I'd like this one to balance a little better. My Hawken works fine in that way because it's .54 caliber and relatively short. It will never be as balanced as a modern rifle, it's just that I'd like to be able to hold it in aiming for a while without a cramp in my left arm or shaking like a leaf- I'm no weightlifter, that's certain.

I haven't yet decided on how to finish the barrel. While I'm not obsessively particular about keeping true to the old guns' style, staying fairly close to what a real one of these looks like and is made of seems worth doing, so I'll do some research on what a real rifle made by Isaac Haines looks like.

I'll post pix as I progress, as long as I don't screw it up real bad. It'll be a while before this project begins- projects like this (and the model railroad I'm building in the basement next to the "gun shop") are indoor, wintertime things, for the times when the garage is like a walk-in freezer which makes working out there for fun, not fun.
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Old July 18, 2009, 01:05 PM   #4
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rifle kits

I would look at the kits from Chamber's Flintlock's first. I was a custom builder until the economy pulled the rug out from under the business. I have built about 120 rifles in the past 15 years and I would buy from Chambers because the quality of the parts, wood, and inletting is superb. They have an Isaac Haines kit also and tou will be delighted with the quality.
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Old July 18, 2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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i like track of the wolf goodies. good locks, barrels, etc. however kit maybe not the correct term. the parts need a lot of filling, fitting, and sometimes just a whole dimensionally different part. fwiw bobn
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Old July 18, 2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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I'm finishing up a Sitting Fox kit now. TOTW was one of the other options I explored. They cover a broader range than Chambers and offer a fantastic selection. I really like how their website lets you be in total control of all the parts. But Chambers is considered a cut above. Over on the traditional ML forum TOTW seems to have a good rep as a mid-range kit supplier and they also stock a ton of extra goodies from flints to smithing tools. It's great if you don't have a full shop outfit and will need to buy things like drill and tap rigs--TOTW website actually lists them out for you as optional extras. As noted though when ordering on TOTW you can end up with some parts that really don't go together very well. That's a risk. Resale value a well-assembled premium kit from someone like Chambers will fetch higher $$ than TOTW or Sitting Fox. But you have to pay more up front of course.

That said, my next kit is likely to come from TOTW. My personal preferences are a little different from most shooters. I absolutely detest certain features of the traditional long rifle, particularly the pointy buttplate. So I like being able to mix and match to get what I want.

The locks are all good these days from what I can see, as are most of the barrels. The WOOD seems to be the big variable. I opted for low-end walnut and wish I'd forked over the cash for something nicer now. It's workable but also tends to split easily and has a kind of soggy texture when doing chisel work. I've already had to make several repairs from bits splitting off. Modern steel is generally much better quality than the old stuff as we know, but modern wood ain't even close. Whoever you get a kit from, pay for the best wood they have, hand selected.

One reason I got the cheaper stock was because I'm a newbie at a lot of this and figured the cheaper wood wouldn't be as big a deal to damage. The problem is working with cruddy wood turns out to be much MORE difficult than the good stuff. And much less forgiving.
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Last edited by Cosmoline; July 18, 2009 at 02:06 PM.
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Old July 18, 2009, 05:46 PM   #7
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While not exactly kits Pecatonica River supplies top of the line parts. You pick the style stock you want and they suggest parts to go with it. Stocks can be had with any degree of completion you want. They also sell blemished stocks for a lot less than perfect ones. If I were to build one this is the way I'd go.
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Old July 18, 2009, 08:57 PM   #8
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I'll second the motion on the Chambers Flintlock kits. There are none better, IMHO. Top quality from butt plate to muzzle and beyond. I built a York, and it's definitely an heirloom for a grandchild now.
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Old July 18, 2009, 09:20 PM   #9
Uncle Billy
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Thanks to all of you who shared your experiences, and to those yet to post here.

I hadn't heard of those other suppliers of flintlock parts and kits, so my research project is hereby reopened. TOTW parts sometimes not fitting together very well sort of chills my enthusiasm, even though their printed catalog is beautiful, and it's clear they are a significant source for all the ancillary stuff one needs to use and live with a flintlock rifle. Jim Chambers looks good and seems to fit the next level of expertise at this for me; Pecatonica River, at first glance, seems to require more insights than I am capable of now in order to put together the parts to make a successful rifle- I'm really a newbie at truly custom guns. My past experience was with relatively easy kits, where all the parts were included except some of the decorative inlays, no choices available except flint or percussion. I don't know enough yet to order the parts separately and expect to have a do-able project. Maybe later. But for now, the simple idea of shaping and inletting a gunstock- working with really good wood to make a firearm that works well and looks good within the paradigm of the history of its style- really appeals to me, and attempting to build a museum-quality replica of the work of a well-known historical gunmaker isn't my primary goal, although I won't be totally insensitive to historical precidents.

All I wish to accomplish is to build a well-made, well-fitted, well-functioning and dependably accurate flint-ignited long rifle, with the requisite and historically accurate number and complexity of decorations and real nice wood, made from the best parts available, given the level of my skills at doing that successfully. My short-term ambition is to determine which outfit that supplies kits and parts meets that goal, given that I'm not a studied historian of 18th century long rifles, or of wood carving and the extremes of inletting.
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Old July 19, 2009, 04:30 AM   #10
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Pecatonica and Track of the Wolf kits are quite similar. All of these do require a fair amount of work. Be prepared to cut barrel dovetails, drill and tap the lock and trigger plate, drill and tap the barrel to install the vent liner, install the breechplug. A lot of work but very satisfying as well.
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Old July 19, 2009, 04:43 AM   #11
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This outfit lists component kits and has rifle stocks for more than 50 models that are 98% inletted.

They also sell some relatively inexpensive stock blanks:

Last edited by arcticap; July 20, 2009 at 02:52 AM.
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