Friday, November 13, 2015

Continued testing of the NEW liquid patch lube

Our new Liquid Patch Lube is going through the testing stages perfectly today! 36 shots at 75 yards, shooting off of my sticks. I wanted to do 50 shots, but was to whooped after this shooting event.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Frontier's Lube - First LIQUID Patch Lube!

Well with some good news, I am glad to have finally found a liquid product that I can produce at a cost efficient price but most importantly, one that works great without any scent and stickiness left behind!

I have one more ingredient to work on and test, but so far, the lube is ready to be bottled once I pick out the new bottle style after I get back from a trip.

I've tested with Jim Shockey's Gold Super Powder and Goex 2fg black powder and had a great time on the range with ease of reloading, accuracy and a great overall feeling of the product.

This is a patch lube meant strictly for Rendezvous/Target shooting when you just want to pound away at targets rather than stop and clean your bore. This is not a  long term hunting lube, it will evaporate within a few hours after being exposed to the air. Pre-lubed patches should be kept in an air tight container or plastic bag.

 This stuff wipes fouling out of your bore in a hurry every time you load up and push a freshly lubed patched ball down the bore.

Depending on the bottling and labeling, I should be able to offer it at the beginning of the new year!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Green River Rifle Works - Buck Conner

In association with "The Green River Gazette" the"GRRW Collectors Association" will provide its members and others with like interest known information about the Green River Rifle Works. This research of the GRRW guns and related stories of their use, as well as searching for those guns sitting in closets or hanging on someone's wall.

A fun project would be to make a register of known guns, serial numbers, models, original owners, and the current owner. This may shed some light on where and how many have survived since the 70's & 80's.

We will look at the original guns copied by Doc White & studied for several years before going into production. His venture was about the history as well as making the best reproduction firearm possible, detail, detail, detail.

 We the members of the GRRW clan are a group of collectors, interested parties, and folks that remember and still dream of the days when this company was still in operation. GRRW was the gun to carry in the reenactor groups and considered the best reproduction rifle available at the time. Price, workmanship and correctness compared to originals really appealed to everyone. Custom guns were available but the price was double a GRRW and how well they performed was always a question when compared to the GRRW guns. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Weapons of Midwestern Pioneers

Posted by Buck Conners

Weapons of Midwestern Pioneers

Most Midwestern pioneers carried weapons. The variety of these weapons was vast.

Guns and knives were among the most popular of these weapons. The weapons became useful tools for hunting and in defense against people and animals. Each weapon had unique characteristics that made it beneficial to the pioneers.

There were many knives for the pioneer to choose from. Some of the more popular knives were the Green River Knife, the Hudson Bay Camp knife, and the Bowie Knife. One of the biggest reasons why the Green River Knife was popular among pioneers was because it made for a good butcher knife. The pioneers could use it for more than one cause. The main use was to cut meat of animals hunted for food by the pioneers. Protection was another use of the Green River Knife. In 1832, John Russell founded the Green River Knife Company in Massachusetts.

The Hudson Bay Camp knife served as the perfect utility tool because of its size. It was used for butchering and many tasks around the camp of the pioneers. This all-purpose knife had an 8 1/2 inch making the perfect size for odd jobs. The blade was thick and durable and was held by a sturdy wood handle. Jukes Coulson, Stokes & Co. manufactured this handy tool during the first half of the nineteenth century.

The Bowie knife is believed to have been most commonly found among the traveling pioneers. James Bowie made this knife popular. So many people tried to copy his model of the knife that many versions of it soon emerged. Because of this widespread mimicking of the original knife, the Bowie knife reigned as the most popular among the pioneers. This knife was used primarily for combat and hunting due to its extra large blade. Here are some examples of the knife.

Two types of guns dominated the frontier of the pioneer days. The rifle was a necessity of most pioneers for survival. The Plains Rifle became the most popular of all rifles used by pioneers. It was such a good rifle that many manufacturers attempted to model their rifles after it. The octagon-shaped barrel reached 34 inches in length, helped make this gun popular because it was shorter than most. The shorter barrel made the rifle lighter and more accessible to the pioneers. The Plains Gun originated in 1807 when Jacob Hawken completed the first model in St. Louis, Missouri.

The other desired weapon among guns that pioneers carried was the pistol. Some pistols were flintlocks, some were cap-and -ball, but the majority were single-barreled smoothbore guns of the horse-pistol type. These three characteristics had to do with the firing and mechanics of the gun. Later models of the Colt pistol came about in the second half of the nineteenth century. In contrast to the rifle, the pistol served as more of a defensive weapon. It was used for close encounters with snakes, rodents, and in some cases, people.

The pioneers had many useful weapons available to them. The Bowie Knife was used in combat. Two other knives, the Green River Knife and the Hudson Bay Camp knife, served as butchery tools and basic needs knives. The rifle took care of hunting duties, and the pistol insured safety especially when pioneers were camped for the night. The survival and safety of the pioneers depended on such weapons. 

  • Early Illinois Pioneers
  • French Explorers
  • German Explorers
  • English Explorers
  • American Explorers

    The Illinois
    Illinois became a state in 1818. There are many more people in Illinois today than there were in 1818, and Illinois had little diversity among the different cultures of people who lived here in 1818. At this time settlers came from different countries and sections of our country to take advantage of the many different opportunities that Illinois offered. The early pioneers had many different reasons to settle in Illinois.

    The French
    Some of the first pioneers who settled in Illinois came from the north. These pioneers were French people who came from Canada. The earliest of these explorers came to Illinois as fur traders. One of the more famous explorers was George Rogers Clark. Furbearers thought that traveling down the Mississippi River would help them find furs. Then more French explorers followed; they built military outposts. The majority of the Frenchmen came before 1760, while hardly any of the French came after the French and Indian War in 1763. This was because the French had to relinquish all of the land that they owned east of the Mississippi to England. In 1818 there were around 1500 French people in Illinois. Many of these were native to the area due to the little immigration after 1760. Nearly all of the French people lived near the Mississippi River, because most of them were fur traders. The river made for easy traveling and much wildlife. The French got along with the Native Americans well. In fact, there were even a few French people who married Native Americans. The French people built cabins to live in, and they used timber from around the area to build these cabins. Many people who followed the French used this method of building houses. They grew trees around their houses, most of them being apple, cherry, peach, and pear trees, and this gave them fruit to eat. They also grew other crops. They started out with a system of farming called town farms. Everybody in the town would pitch in and help on this farm. Everybody would share the crops and money made from this. Later, the farmers decided that it would probably be easier to have your own farm and work on it yourself. People who later came to Illinois later also used this method.

    German Explorers
    Another group of foreigners who traveled to Illinois were the Germans. They came to Illinois in smaller numbers around 1800. Some of the Germans who traveled to Illinois were straight from Germany, but most of the Germans who ended up here were native to America. A large proportion of these settlers came from the state of Pennsylvania, and most of these Germans settled in the southern portion of Illinois. They came to Illinois because they needed prairie land to farm. In the east land was more crowded than in Illinois, and the Germans were mostly farmers, so they needed room to farm. Illinois had a lot of prairie land to offer in large quantities for cheap prices. The Germans took advantage of this opportunity.

    English Explorers
    The English made up a group of the settlers in Illinois, also. They had several reasons for traveling to Illinois. The Englishmen wanted their liberty. In England they did not have this, because England was a monarchy run by kings and queens. They knew that if they traveled to the United States they would have their freedom. They wanted to worship freely, and they wanted to be able to speak out. The English were against slavery, and since they were against it they didn't travel below the Mason-Dixon Line into slave states. The English wanted to establish their own estates. Since most of the English were farmers, farm hands, or rural merchants, they wanted to live on the prairie land. Like the Germans, they saw how cheap the land was and decided to move to it. Farming would have been tough for them on rougher land back east. The Appalachian Mountains caused very rugged land in the east. They also had problems living in the east. This is because the revolutionary war had just ended. The people of America didn't like the English people all that well. The English people had a tougher time adapting to Illinois, and because of that they didn't play an important role in politics and the economy in Illinois, although they did play a part in the growth of Illinois to a state. The pioneers had many rivers that could take them to Illinois.

    American Explorers
    The largest groups of people to move into Illinois were the Americans. The earliest of the pioneers were people from Virginia in search of furs and new lands. The pioneers had many rivers that could bring them to Illinois. Most of these pioneers came around the year 1765. Between 1765 and 1800 there was little population growth in Illinois by the Americans. Then between 1800 and 1810 the population in the territory increased from 2458 people to 12,282 people. Once again the population growth halted. This was because the Native Americans became very hostile to people traveling through their lands, and when people back east heard of this they became scared to move to Illinois. Around 1815 there was finally peace reached with the Native Americans, and this allowed there to be a huge population boom to the west. In 1815 there were nearly 15,000 people in the Illinois territories. By mid 1818, 35,000 people located to Illinois and by the end of 1818 around 40,000 people lived in Illinois. The population of Americans was very diverse. Of the people who moved to Illinois, estimates indicated that 38% were from southern states, 37% were from western states, 13% were from mid states, and 3% were from New England. 71% of these Americans came from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. With all of these people moving to Illinois, it was easy to blaze trails for people to follow. Many of the people who moved here from the south moved because they disagreed with slavery and wanted to live in a non-slave state. They didn't like living in the south and having to work on one huge plantation; whereas in the north they could establish their own family farm. People were also treated worse in the south if they were poor. So, people would move to Illinois to try to avoid prejudice. The people who moved from the west and east moved for simpler reasons. Many of the pioneers had a love of wilderness and wanted to be surrounded by it. Other people who moved came as settlers following the range, looking for a place to settle down and farm. The last group of people was doctors, lawyers, and other business people looking to find a place for their business. The Americans saw Illinois as a great place to establish themselves.

    The people who moved to Illinois in its earliest stages saw many different reasons to settle there. Illinois was sparsely populated and had plenty of room for growth. Almost anybody who wanted to establish them self in Illinois had the opportunity to do so. There were vast amounts of opportunities in the newly founded land, and many different kinds of people decided to take advantage of these opportunities.                                                              
    By: Chase T. Gibb

    Information for this paper was found in different sources.
    Black, Solon J.. Illinois in 1818. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1967.
    Gove, Samuel K. and Nowlan, James D. Encyclopedia Americana Volume 14.
    Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1986.
    The Illinois State Historical Society.
    The Illinois State Historical Society Homepage. The Internet

Working With Flintlocks

By Buck Conner

Working with Flintlocks

There have been dozens of books written on flints and flintlocks, discussing the proper way to place the flint in the hammer jaws, to sharpen the flint, and the speed of various brands of flint locks. I have been modifying and shooting flintlock rifles and pistols for over forty years, and I  doesn't think it makes any difference which way you place the flint, bevel up or bevel down, as long as it has a shower of sparks and the sparks fall in the pan. Bevel up versus bevel down is more relevant to the particular brand and style of lock that is being used and where it hits the frizzen.

There’s always the question of which is best flint: knapped, cut, agate, black English, or manufactured flints? I have used everything available, and they all work. It's more of personal preference, I prefer the black English or French amber flints. A quality lock versus a junk lock is a no brainier. How fast the hammer falls doesn't determine how fast the pistol or rifle fires. There are many things that affect the ignition on a flintlock. Condition of the frizzen, placement of the touch hole or liner, shape of the touch hole‘s interior, sharpness of flint all together determine how fast a flintlock will fire. A rifle with the fastest lock that throws only one or two sparks into the priming powder will not fire as fast as a rifle with a slower lock that throws fifty sparks in the pan. How fast the hammer falls is not that important to the average shooter. How fast the rifle fires after the hammer falls is the most important issue to the us.

Flints & Knapping

A sharp flint is absolutely a must for good performance from your flintlock. The fastest lock time cannot compensate for a dull flint. An old friend showed me years ago a simple and quick method to knap a dull flint. The knapping tool was a piece of brass rod 1/2" in diameter by two inches long. To use the brass tool, the hammer of the lock is placed at half cock with the frizzen open and the pan empty of priming powder and weapon unloaded. The piece of brass is held at a slight angle to the face of the flint. Hit the cutting edge of the flint with a sharp rap from the piece of brass. Dwayne uses the handle of his Green River knife. The bottom of the flint face will flake off, leaving a sharp new cutting edge. Two or three sharp raps may be necessary for the desired clean, sharp edge you want.

Quote :
A word of caution: NEVER test the sparking of a new or sharpened flint on a loaded gun, even if there is no prime in the pan. CAUTION use only brass or bronze to prevent sparks. Aluminum is too light to be effective, and steel could produces unwanted sparks. The brass doesn't have to be 3/4" in diameter, and it doesn't have to be round. Any diameter or shape from 1/2" to 3/4" will work fine. Plus the piece of brass fits very nicely in your possible bag or shooting box and can be found quickly.

Years ago we have watched people that never learned how to knap their flints, just throw them  away replacing them with new ones. Back then flints were 15-20 cents each, but today the cost of a good English flint is a $1 or more. Learn to knap the edge on your dull flints and get your money's worth.

Your Frizzen.

The condition of the frizzen is very important to how the lock sparks with a sharp flint. If the frizzen looks like a "washboard", breaks up the edge of your flint, or doesn't throw many sparks, it is time to clean up the face of the frizzen and reharden it. The procedure that most use is very easy. Heat treating is not that hard a process. The items you need are: One wire clothes hanger; "Kasenit" surface hardening compound sold at several of the muzzle loading suppliers; Two quarts cheap 30-weight motor oil; one quart cheap automatic transmission fluid; and two propane torches (one will not generate enough heat). A word to the wise, do this outside or in a well ventilated area. A friend loaned me a book on this process written by George Shimel in 1947, here's his method of caring for a frizzen. This is as clear as anything anyone has ever written.

Mix the oils together in a large coffee can or similar metal container equipped with a lid for storage. Three quarts of oil will stay cool longer and cool the metal best. CAUTION: Do not use water, because it can cause fractures in the metal by cooling too quickly. Remove the frizzen spring with a spring vise, remove the frizzen from the lock. Smooth the face of the frizzen on a six-inch coarse grinding wheel. Going slow and grind off only enough metal to remove any "wash board" and gouges visible. Grind vertically, not across the frizzen. Don't worry about getting the frizzen hot, you're going to heat treat it anyway.

Next, cut a section of wire from the clothes hanger, about eight to ten inches long. Run the wire through the screw hole in the frizzen and wrap the wire tightly so the frizzen doesn't move around. Pour about a cup of "Kasenit" into a shallow metal can. A tuna can works very nicely. Clamp one of the torches in a vise and light both torches. Heat the frizzen until it is bright red throughout. It must be entirely heated to a uniform color. Smother the heated frizzen in the "Kasenit" until it is well coated. The "Kasenit" will melt and adhere to the metal. Immediately reheat again to a bright red color and cook it for about three minutes. Be sure the entire frizzen is a uniform bright red color and completely coated. After cooking, quickly quench the heated frizzen in the oil mixture and swirl it around to assure fast cooling. Leave the frizzen in the oil until it is cool enough to handle. Wipe the excess oil from the frizzen and repeat the procedure for a second time. It’s recommended doing the above procedure twice to assure a good deep hardening.

After the frizzen is cooled enough to handle, clean it with acetone, alcohol, or any degreasing agent. Remove it from the wire and polish the face of the frizzen with 400 grit paper or emery cloth. Be careful, and don't drop the frizzen on a hard surface because it is brittle like glass and can break at this point. Affix the frizzen back onto the wire and light one torch. With a low flame starting at the pivot point and pan lid, slowly and carefully heat the frizzen. This is called drawing the temper back. Be sure that the color changes uniformly. It will happen very quickly. When it reaches a soft yellow/brown (STRAW) color, quickly quench it in the oil and swirl around to assure uniform cooling. Leave in the oil until completely cool. The ideal colors are between straw and bronze. If you don't hit the straw color, but maybe blue, don't worry, try it for sparking it will probably be fine.

Remove the frizzen from the oil and clean with a degreasing agent. Put a drop of oil in the screw hole and install the frizzen and frizzen spring back onto the lock. Test it using a new sharp flint. It may take several attempts before you start getting uniform sparking. After you start getting sparks, check to see if there are any tiny metal shavings in the pan. If there are, you have done it right.

Touch Holes & Liners

Usually the general thought is, "If there is a hole through the barrel to the main powder charge the rifle will fire just fine." This is true, but the results may not be what you want. A proper touch hole (vent) liner is critical to the speed that a flintlock will fire. I like permanent touch hole liners in my rifles. My experience has been that the liners with screwdriver slots or the hex head screws tend to collect fouling and slow down your ignition. I like the type that requires using a nipple wrench for installation and filing off the excess lug so it's flush with the barrel flat. The more times you screw a liner or nipple in and out of your rifle or pistol, the looser it becomes. This common practice stresses and wears the threads and increases the possibility of cross threading. That leads to failure. Usually "blow outs" of liners and nipples are the result of shooters frequently removing and reinstalling these items. To replace a permanent liner, just drill out the hole in the liner and remove it with an Easy-Out.

The inside of the liner should have a funnel-shaped interior not a straight tube. Think about this: powder will go into a funnel easier than into a tube. After drilling the diameter hole that you want,  use a cone or "Christmas tree" shaped carbide cutter to shape the internal part of the liner to a funnel shape. After the liner is installed in the barrel, I seen some guys put a shallow cup shape  in the outside face of the liner with a ball type carbide cutter. With this type of liner I can usually see powder grains in the touch hole after loading the rifle. I don't "pick" the hole before shooting, flashes in the pan are very rare. This internal shape of the liner appears to create a self cleaning action. The ignition is super fast, and I have never had a liner blow out.

The hole in a percussion nipple runs between .020 and .030 in diameter, depending upon the manufacturer. This size hole is not practical for good ignition in a flintlock. For best results I use a liner with a .062 (1/16th.) hole for my flintlocks in .40 caliber or larger. For .32, .36, and .38 calibers, I like to use a .050 hole in the liner. With the smaller powder charges that are normally used in these small calibers, the .062 hole allows too much jetting of main powder charge out of the touch hole. This causes erratic pressures and affects the accuracy. The lag time between the jetting and ignition of the main charge makes it more difficult to hold through on the target in the offhand position, especially with a flintlock pistol. The smaller hole reduces the pressure loss from the main charge in a smaller caliber. Replacing the touch hole liner when the hole gets about .008 larger than the original hole size, or when the accuracy falls off. A good, properly shaped liner should last for about 800 to 1000 shots, and that’s a lot of shooting.

The best hole gauge and vent pick that we have found is a set of welding torch tip cleaning wires. These can be purchased at any welding supply store. To check the size of the hole, insert the largest wire that will fit into the hole, and then measure the wire with a dial caliper or micrometer. If the hole is too large, then replace the liner.

Ay Kroyd,W.R. The Flintlock Rifle. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1937.

Crane,E.,ed. Masters of the Flintlock. London: Heninernann, 1968.

Shimel,George Those Touchy Flintlocks OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958.

Kramer,S.N. History Flints & Their Locks. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1938.

Buck Conner


By Buck Conner


1825 - 1840
1825 Henry's Fork of the Green River, Wyoming
1826 Cache Valley (near present Hyrum), Utah
1827 Bear Lake, Utah
1828 Bear Lake, Utah
1829 Upper Popo Agie, near Lander, Wyoming
1830 Wind River headwaters near Riverton, Wyoming
1831 Supply train did not reach the rendezvous area in time, so no rendezvous was held.
1832 Pierre's Hole, Idaho
1833 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
1834 Ham's Fork, Wyoming
1835 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
1836 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
1837 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
1838 Wind River at the mouth of Popo Agie Wyoming
1839 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
1840 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming. This was the last of the great Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.


Thompson's River, Montana
Yellowstone (now Livingston), Montana
Taos, New Mexico
San Luis Valley, New Mexico
Brown's Hole
Ogden, Utah
White River, Utah
Cache Valley, Utah
Smoke River, Idaho


Trapper's cabin. - This was a small, one-room log cabin, usually having a sod roof.
Tipi - The mountain man did adopt the skin lodge of the Indian. These were often old tipi's the Indian no longer wanted. Usually obtained through trading with the Indian.
Lean-to - If caught in bad weather, the mountain man would often construct a lean-to where he was. Naturally, these were made from whatever could be found in the area.
Trade fort - Mountain men were sometimes known to winter in a trade fort. More often than not they were at odds with the factor and not really welcome.
Buffalo robes green earth, and open sky - This was the favorite lodge of the mountain man, the one he spent most of his life in. 
See you down the trail 
Buck Conner

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Hunting Pouch - Buck Conner

The Hunting Pouch

The hunting pouch was patterned after the one shown in the A. J. Miller painting "Eastern Frontiersman." It is about X" by X" and of a simple construction, made from bark tanned deer and fusian with a tick lining, sewn with linen thread. The inside of the bag contains a small pocket about X" by X". The adjustable strap is of 1-1/4" deer hide, I wear the pouch up higher so I can keep it in place with my elbow and it doesn't bounce around when moving at a fast pace. I use this setup for both my 54 cal J. Henry Lancaster rifled gun as well as my 28 ga early Wilson Chief Trade Gun - smoothbore.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1860 Army .44 & Jim Shockey's Gold Super Powder

I decided to fire her off after having it loaded for over a week.

Its my 1860 army colt .44cal I bought from Traditions around this time last year. Great shooting little revolver but today I got my best accuracy and consistency from it today!

I used 20gr Jim Shockeys Gold Super Powder, .451" round ball, Frontier's Anti rust & patch lube over the balls and Remington #10 percussion caps.

Distance of 11 yards measured.

Recoil was more noticeable but still very comfortable to shoot. HUGE amount of smoke! That cylinder was pouring white bluish white smoke for a while after each shot.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jim Shockey's Gold Super Powder - Testing Contiunes!

Okay, I had a great evening with that ol CVA Hawken .58cal at 50 yards!

I started with a clean bore, loaded up 70gr JSG SP, .020" patch lubed with my lube recipe, .570" round balls and topped off with a CCI #11 cap.

All balls were seated heavily on the powder as consistent as possible. No Swabbing.