New Rifle In The Works


October 20, 2003, 05:21 AM
Finally made it to retirement. I have not built a complete rifle since 81 or 82, but here I go again. Arthrhitis may make this the last, and it will be the end of over 250 years of gunmaking in my family, unless some of the youngins in the line take it up. I don't see enough patience in any of them right now. Grandson Gerry is interested, but just not quite ready.
Photos are at; :what:

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October 20, 2003, 07:43 AM
I couldn't get the photos to come up but I always appreciate craftsmanship. My family had lots of precision workers who could fit things together like you seldom see today. It's a dying art. Hope your grandson takes up the challenge!

4v50 Gary
October 20, 2003, 10:15 AM
Swampsniper, can you please share with us stories of your gunmaking family? 250 years goes back to French-Indian War. Please provide names and when & where they were active in gun making.

BTW, is Gary your grandson? We need youths like him to take up the chisel. Not to complain about my classmates, but many are middle aged (like myself) or retired. We're a greying group (me especially) and it's good to have young blood around to carry on the legacy. A discussion came up at the BBQ Dinner following Conner Prarie's Arms Making Workshop about recruiting and attracting young 'uns.

Teach him young. Sharpening of tools and proper use thereof. He can probably rasp away with the #49 Nicholson file (great file for stock shaping) on the stock of that flinter you're working on.

More pics please!

October 20, 2003, 01:36 PM
Sometimes the link works , sometimes it doesn't. Darned if I know.
My family name was originally Honegger, now Honaker or Honiker. Came from Hinwil, Switzerland in 1749. Eventually moved through Pennsylvania into S W Virginia. There is a rifle at Williamsburg by Abraham Honaker, and I just found a rifle by George Washington Honaker at auction, and could not afford it. Other members of the family built rifles up through the great depression. Frederick Honaker married Rachael Wiseman, and went into business with her father. Isaac Wiseman, in Monroe County, WVA, in the late 1700s, DBA Honaker and Wiseman, gunsmiths. It seems that most generations have had one or more diehards whittling out longrifles, some good, some just good enough. I put myself in the middle range.
We are the family mentioned in Fox Fire 5 as "Honaker School of Design". Gerry is my Grandson. I try to keep him busy, but won't turn him loose with any object that removes large chunks of wood at warp speed. Give the kid a shovel and he will be out of sight in 15 minutes. Throws the dirt so far you have trouble finding enough to fill the hole back up.

4v50 Gary
October 20, 2003, 01:51 PM
If you have any personal tidbits you'd like preserved, you may want to contact Wallace Gusler of Williamsburg. He's working on a book on the Virginia rifle and they won't let him retire until he's finished with it.

BTW, I've seen the Foxfire series and have skimmed through Vol 5. Don't own it though.

Dave Markowitz
October 20, 2003, 08:49 PM
Nice rifles!

I hope your grandson picks up the torch.

October 21, 2003, 06:44 AM
I understand that Mr. Gusler will have an article in MUZZLE BLASTS, maybe November, that mentions the Honaker rifles. Many years ago, He was kind enough to loan me some slides that I made prints from, of an Abraham Honaker rifle that was at Williamsburg. Most of these got lost in the chaos of a divorce. It seems that every time I have been set to do some traveling, something comes along to delay me. There are a lot of genealogists in the family, but not many of them have much interest in the rifles. If much of the history is going to be saved, I reckon I'll have to do most of it, and it is a slow and frustrating effort.

I just figured out how to get pictures from my document file on to my photo page. I just added pictures of a Bedford County rifle by G. Honaker, an ancestral Uncle of mine. This gun is, or was, at Garth's Auction. We know that George was in Philadelphia in 1796, records show that His Wife and Daughter died of Typhoid fever.

October 21, 2003, 05:01 PM
I own and have read Foxfire 5. That's a fascinating book for those interested in Appalachia. 5 is great for it's focus on blacksmithing, production of iron, hunting traditions and firearms.
I'd love to learn how to build those by hand.
Seeing pictures of those old guys rifling by HAND was amazing. The fact that they even build their own rifling templates amazes me. I'd love to see the process through at least once, however they tend to kick me out when I hang around too long at the gunsmith shop in colonial Williamsburg.
Swampsniper, I hope you can keep that tradition alive

October 22, 2003, 05:44 AM
I experimented with a rifling set up that used the transaxle from an old riding mower. The transaxle slid on tracks, with a sprocket engaging a drive chain stretched beside the tracks. You could have almost any pitch you want just by changing sprocket diameter and/or shifting gears It worked!! Then along came the divorce wars. I no longer have the gumption to take on projects, so will depend on storebought barrels. It was, however, easy to make, worked slicker than owl poop. Don't put stuff off until later. Later seems to tend toward being too tired to do much. It happens so fast it is scary.

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