Traditions Black Powder Build Your Own Gun Kits?


November 27, 2013, 04:50 PM
I saw a traditions pistol and rifle unfinished kit at the store the other day and was wondering if anyone had any experience building these guns?

Are the kits difficult to do or would I need a lot of specialized tools? Any input would be appreciated.

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November 27, 2013, 06:47 PM
Are those the pirate and kentucky pistol kits?

They looked to me like all you do is finish the wood then put it all together.

November 27, 2013, 07:36 PM
I almost bought one of those pistols and rifles at Cabelas last week to add to my Texian/Tejano ranging company impression kit of the Texas revolution and early Texas Republic periods. I was considering shortening the rifle barrel to 24" approximate the appearance of a English Baker carbine or perhaps to 16" to approximate the appearance of an English Paget that might have been used by mounted forces at that time.

Steel Horse Rider
November 28, 2013, 01:30 PM
I have not had experience with a Traditions kit but I have completed three Pedersoli kits. There is quite a bit of wood removal (I use a block plane, several different sizes and shapes of files and wood rasps, and a lot of sanding) and usually some filing and sanding on the brass pieces (trigger guard, ram rod thimbles, butt guard, and side plates) but if you have a good vise (the old Black and Decker Workmates work well, search the flea markets) and patience (I work in my garage with the radio on and a pellet stove running in the winter) they turn out pretty nice. I have used Homer Formby's Low Gloss Tung Oil Finish on mine. It takes about 7 coats but results in a very durable and nice looking gun.

November 28, 2013, 07:01 PM
a lot of fun! You will have to blue the steel, finish the wood by sanding, MAYBE some small inletting around the trigger area, stain, add a clear finish and go shoot.

November 28, 2013, 09:30 PM
I did a ton of CVA and TC kits back when the crust of the earth was still warm, and kinda miss it now. You will basically be fitting the furniture to the stock, finishing the stock, and either bluing or browning the barrel. I browned nearly all of mine because I thought that it was a more authentic finish, and because I almost always got good results; bluing was hard to do without a proper hot-blue setup. Check Track of the Wolf, Dixie Gun Works, and do some Google-fu to find barrel and stock treatments; my preference was always for traditional finishes, and most of my guns still look good, if their owners have maintained them at all.

November 28, 2013, 11:29 PM
Here's 2 i'm working on:

Lyman .54 cal plains pistol (
Got a little more shaping to do on the stock and some inlay and engraving to do. Gonna go with a non traditional high polish on all the steel parts and barrel, haven't made up my mind on the finish for the stock yet. The kit came pretty well fitted but the metal parts are pretty rough lots of sanding and polishing.

Perdersoli .54 cal flintlock (
Haven't started this one yet, but gonna go a little more traditional on the finishes and add a butt cap, haven't decided on the style yet

Lot of fun to do. I put a "Do not enter" sign on the man cave door, crank up the radio, and have at it.
Only basic tools are needed but a good set of needle files and a dremel are also helpful.

While you have it apart do some polishing and smoothing on the trigger assembly, they're pretty rough from the factory. I've got the lyman slick as pelican snot :)

4v50 Gary
November 29, 2013, 01:59 AM
We were required to build the Traditions Trapper kit. It was a PoS which is why we were required to build one. It wasn't the assembly but the skills that we were to learn along the way. This includes filing, soldering, brazing, case hardening, and inletting.

Get a Pedersoli or Lyman.

November 29, 2013, 12:44 PM
Thanks so much guys, all the pics look great. What makes the lyman or the pedersol kits so much better?

November 29, 2013, 02:56 PM
The quality of the fitting and inletting of the barrel and lock assembly on the Lyman and Pedersoli. (which are the only kits i have experience with.) I beleive 4v50 Gary answered the question on the Traditions. There was very little inletting to be done on the Lyman and the Pedersoli appears to be the same. I could have assembled the Lyman as it came out of the box and taken to the range. My only complaint on the Lyman was that small knot you can see by the stock end cap, easily repaired with a small drill bit and some 2 part epoxy.

I chose those two manufacturers based on several reviews i read on line. They were a little more expensive than the Traditions, but this is the first time for me building one of these kits and i did not want to go through what some others have experienced with the cheaper Traditions.

I would advise buying from Dixie Gun Works, they are a great company with fantastic customer service.

I would add, if you do build one of these kits, get yourself a good quality set of hollow ground screw driver bits for gunsmithing. I got mine from Brownells, worth every dollar.

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