Thanks to everyone's support, we are expanding!
This has been an adventure of a year. One year ago in late October 2015, Jim and I first announced and offered the Southern Mountain Rifle Kit for pre-order. Six months later, in April of this year the first kits went out the door and in that time we have shipped over 200 kits (with many more on order) and we have done all of this from our little home workshop. We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of this project and helped it be so successful.
The New Shop
We are in the process of moving production out of our tiny home workshop and into a real workshop that we are building next door. This is exciting on so many levels. We are going to get the wood out of the living room and keep the sawdust out of our cereal. When we offered the kits for sale last October, we didn’t anticipate the response and we have definitely outgrown the space where Jim has been making his custom guns for years. This expansion is going to help us be more efficient and give our customers the best product possible. It will even allow us to start working on adding new styles and projects. We are able to grow because of the amazing support that we have received from our customers.
Meet the Team
We have a small in-house team (and HUGE team of vendors and suppliers) and there is no way we could have done this all by ourselves. I would like to say 'Thank You!' to everyone who has been working with us and been so committed to raising the bar for muzzleloaders.
I know a lot of you may already be familiar with Jim, but I wanted to introduce you to our little team.
A very fresh-faced Jim started making flintlocks as a hobby in a converted coat closet when he was still in high school. He attended Ohio State and had a career as a metallurgical engineer until he was able to turn his hobby into a livelihood by making custom flintlocks about 8 years ago.
Just last year he was able to combine his artistic and engineering sides of his brain when he developed the CNC carved Southern Mountain Rifle Kit. Jim will be getting back to working on custom projects again when the space of the new shop allows.
Katherine & Hugo
Jim and I (Katherine) met in early 2014. He won me over when he showed me a picture of his silver inlaid fowler. (photo here) I knew nothing about these old guns, but I immediately fell in love with the artistry and history and I decided to stick around. I was half-heartedly working as an accountant and instead started putting my efforts into spreading the word and trying to bring new people into the world of gunsmithing while also getting Jim's work out into the world by putting together his website.
I am Jim’s right-hand woman and I combine my accounting background with my creative bent to help take care of all sorts of entrepreneurial tasks: advertising, photography, computer and technology, bookkeeping, shipping, and customer service. The photo is of me and my 8-year old son Hugo. I look forward to having a little studio in the new workshop to do some of my own artwork as well.
Walt works with us a few days a week and does a little bit of everything. Walt worked for many years as an accountant and he is one hell of a worker.
Walt works on a little bit of everything from injecting the wax for castings to assembling the triggers. There are a number of parts that go into each kit, and each part is specifically chosen and/or made as a perfect fit to the stock and the overall quality that we are trying to put forth. He is a huge help. We couldn’t do it without him.
Little Dog is our 3-legged, deaf shop mutt. She lost her leg because prior owners didn't know she couldn't hear the car, under which she was sleeping, started up and ran her over. She never got a proper name since she can't hear.
She came with us last year to spend 10 days in class at NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar at Western Kentucky University. She kept all the students company and would sneak treats from certain students who couldn't resist her particular form of 'pathetic charm'. She will be joining us again this June.
We love getting photos of customers’ completed projects. If you would like to share pictures of your project for me to post on the Kit Gun Gallery on our website, please send them to me at email@example.com
The Next Kit
The next kit, while not officially in the works yet, should be started in the next year. It will be an earlier, bigger gun that can be carved and can be finished as a Pennsylvania or Virginia rifle. I have started keeping a list of folks who want to be notified when it comes for sale so send me an email if you would like to be added.
Until next time!
Jim: 330-223-1775 or 330-341-0675
Jan 14 - 20, 2017 - spots available
Jan 21 -27, 2017 - FULL
Due to the popularity of last year's class, a second week-long class has been added.
18th Century Artisan Show
Feb 3 & 4, 2017
Open to the public
This is a fun show that is open to the public in a fantastic facility. Last year was our first year and we can't wait to go back. We will be in the 'Supplier Room'.
NMLRA Gunsmithing Seminar
May 31 - June 9, 2017
The 6-day Southern Mountain Rifle Kit Assembly class has a 3-day expansion option to allow for a patchbox, grease hole, or nose cap.
Contemporary Longrifle Association
Aug 18 - 19, 2017
In our new booth location at the end of the big room, we will again have kits that customers can get their hands on as well as finishing and carving supplies.
The new shop! We will be able to welcome visitors and customers in our new 40 x 72 foot facility.
For someone who is interested, I have posted the recommended tool list in the frequently asked questions portion of the site. This list for the Kit Gun Class that I am teaching this summer at WKU, but I thought it might be helpful for someone who is starting out.
Other than the gunsmithing seminar, the only event that I will be attending this summer will be the Contemporary Longrifle Association show in Lexington Kentucky this August. One table will no longer suffice, so we will set up in a booth along the wall by Ron Scott in the same room that I am normally in. I will have some examples of kits at various stages of completion available to look at and in a variety of finishes.
I have addressed some other questions on the FAQ page for kit guns and will add to that as more questions come.
As always, feel free to give me a call at 330-223-1775 or my cell at 330-341-0675 or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been working very hard and making good progress over the last month to pull all of the remaining loose ends together on the Southern Mountain Rifle Kit. Since this is a project several years in development, I'm very happy to finally be able to begin production of these kits. All systems are nearly in place.
Making Aluminum Molds for Investment Casting
In order to make large numbers of precise investment castings, aluminum shelled, epoxy filled molds have been made. These take considerable time to make but are a requirement. A quick overview is as follows:
Molds must be designed such that the injected wax can be removed. All pieces are dowel pinned together for repeatable alignment. Oversize cavities are cut to accept the master. The master is then orientated properly in the mold and half is carefully bedded in putty. The remaining part of the mold is placed over the part and epoxy is poured through previously drilled holes. After curing, the mold is opened up, putty is removed, the mold is re-assembled and the remaining portion of the mold is poured.
Cutting out Stock Blanks
Before Christmas, Katherine and I made a trip to Pennsylvania for some lumber. This place was in the mountains surrounded by lots of timber and had a great selection. Katherine and I went through every board that met the minimum size standards to hand select for quality and figure. We came away very happy with what we will be able to offer for kits. We loaded up the truck and hauled it home and the next day were lucky with some nice weather for blanking it out. To keep the dust out of the shop, I rolled the bandsaw out into the drive way.
Now, we have stocks blanked out and are now able to offer a double upgrade for extra fancy maple for $150. If I were selling these blanks separately, I would be charging much more for them, but I want to be able to offer beautiful wood as part of the kit.
We worked into the early evening.
Frequently Asked Questions
A lot of phone calls I have been getting have revolved around whether or not this is something a beginner can do. It absolutely is. This is by far the easiest kit out there and I have been making sure, every step of the way, that I am doing as much of the work as possible to keep it simple and straightforward for the buyer. Also, I am only a phone call or email away if someone does run into questions. Also, I will include some general instructions in the kit in order to help get you on the right track.
There has been a fantastic response regarding the kit gun project and I am so appreciative of all of the support that I have received. I have taken a lot of orders. As of today, the expected delivery of new orders is early May.
Some people have been concerned about the length of the rifle. Although it is 46", it is a swamped barrel which flares at the ends and it is nicely balanced and handles well.
I have addressed some other questions on the FAQ page for kit guns and will add to that as more questions come.
Kit Gun Locks Sold Through Flintlocks, LLC
All of the Chambers locks for the kits will now be purchased through a separate company, Flintlocks, LLC. This company is in house so the lock will be able to be shipped together with the rest of the kit but will be invoiced separately and payment will need to be directed to Flintlocks, LLC. The website will be updated with this new information shortly.
I am very excited to be so close to this project being complete and shipping the kits next month. As always, feel free to give me a call at 330-223-1775 or my cell at 330-341-0675 or shoot me an email email@example.com.
Hey there everyone. I thought I would take a bit of time and introduce you to a project I am working on... A mountain rifle kit.
These kits will be significantly different than any others offered today. Instead of stocks being produced on pantograph type duplicating machines, CNC technology will be used. These kits will combine both excellent design and precise manufacturing. The stocks and hardware will be produced in my shop, the locks will be provided by Jim Chambers and the barrels will be provided by Rice.
The design of this kit is somewhat based on the work of Whitson from Western North Carolina (refer to photo included). Rifles will be iron mounted and have 46" swamped barrels available in 32, 36, and 40 calibers. Jim Chambers late Ketland locks will be used.
As noted previously, the most significant feature of these kits is the method stock are produced. With CNC, very precise and repeatable results can be obtained. Inlets are clean and precise and in proper location relative to each other. All parts are inlet and require very little fitting. The barrel will come fit to the stock. All holes (bolt and pin) will be drilled. Stock surfaces are extraordinarily refined with little to no extra material. What this all results in is a product that has excellent design and style that can be assembled quickly and easily with little hassle.
Additional features of these rifles include tangs fully shaped tangs that extend down the length of the wrist, nicely designed iron hardware and custom set triggers designed specifically for this project. These will come fitted in custom fitted packaging to provide secure shipment.
Kits will likely be ready for shipment sometime late this winter.
Estimated time for assembly and finishing is 3-4 days for someone with little experience. Those more skilled might complete assemble in as little as 1-2 days. Guns can of course be customized to make them unique. Grease holes can be cut, a box could be added, a decorative nose cap could be poured or perhaps a silver name plate could be installed. A perfect project for those interested in a fine squirrel rifle!
A course on assembling these kits is being offered at this years Gunsmithing Seminar at WKU. Check out the following link for more details: http://www.nmlragunsmithingseminar.org/
Below are some photos of a the partially completed project. These should provide an idea of what to expect. (sorry for the marginal photo quality, I'll try to add some better ones in time)
NOTE: THE STOCK IS NOT COMPLETE, MORE DEVELOPMENT IS REQUIRED FOR ADDITIONAL INLETS SUCH AS THE FULL LENGTH TANG, TRIGGERS, GUARD AND SIDEPLATE. THESE WILL BE INCLUDED WHEN KITS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
I am taking pre-orders. Based on early response, I expect the first batch to go pretty quickly. Price of complete kit will be introduced at $950. This will include all the parts necessary to complete rifle. A nice quality figured maple or walnut stock can be chosen. Calibers will be your choice of 32 or 36 or 40.
To pre-order I would like 25% of the cost down and the remainder upon shipment. They can be purchased through the Kibler's Longrifles store on this website with a credit card, or through a check or money order.
If you have any interest, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or any of my other addresses you might have) You can also give me a call at 330-223-1775
Any questions or comments just ask! Let me know what you think!
Jim Kibler--maker of flintlock rifles.