Although not the first to invent what became known as in-line muzzleloading, Tony Knight’s vision was to produce muzzloading rifles that would function reliably, shoot accurately, offer improved performance and were easier to clean. He developed his interests in guns/hunting by going after the flashy cock pheasants and scampering squirrels on the family farm as well as hunting some of the growing numbers of deer populating the hills of northern Missouri. Although pheasants are fewer now than they were, squirrels are holding their own and deer have prospered to the point that deer deprivation permits are provided to nearby farmers.
All of us are differently gifted, and Tony had that rare combination of simultaneously being an inventive visionary, meticulous worker and entrepreneur. Most of us must be content with possessing one or two of these abilities, and it is unusual indeed to have all three. He was always interested in building things, and this progressed to the point where he worked for 20 years as a railroad machinist. In the 1980s the nation’s railroads were in a stage of consolidation, cost reduction and downsizing. His position was considered “redundant,” and he found himself out of a job.
(A video about Tony that shows many of his gun designs is attached at the end of this post.)
His natural inclinations towards guns, hunting and firearms led him to open a gunsmithing and archery shop on a piece of family-owned property 16 miles west of Kirksville, Missouri. With all due respect to Tony and his family, the word “Nowheresville” comes to mind. His trade area was so sparsely populated that despite his skills, there was not enough walk-in trade to sustain a viable business. However, this personal contact with customers was valuable, and he listened to what they had to say.
Muzzleloading guns were being made or imported by Thompson/Center Arms, Dixie Gun Works, Traditions, Connecticut Valley Arms (CVA), Navy Arms, Lyman and others. Simultaneously, increasing numbers of states were offering special muzzleloading seasons and more hunters were taking on the challenges of hunting with front-loading guns. Their guns were traditionally designed, or inspired, versions of the Pennsylvania flintlocks, Civil War arms or Hawken-style plains rifles. The more dedicated hunters became members of the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association and learned how to shoot their guns by attending local, regional and national matches. Most primitive-season rifle hunters were not NMLRA members, but only wanted a reliable gun that they could take out for a week or two during the season that would consistently kill their deer, elk or bear.
These new muzzloading hunters were having trouble with their replica rifles, particularly when they took them to Colorado after mule deer and elk. True enough, properly chosen calibers were powerful enough to take the game at close range; but all-to-frequently the animals were further than they thought they could reasonably shoot. They had reservations about their equipment because of the amount of bullet drop and wind deflection of these large, slow bullets and/or the poor terminal performance of these round balls and huge slugs. They wanted flatter-shooting guns using modern expanding bullets that would give more penetration and faster kills. In short, Tony’s customers told him they wanted muzzleloading guns that looked and acted more like the bolt-action centerfire rifles that they used during the regular season.
Like most gun enthusiasts of the period, Tony followed the firearm-cartridge advances made by Roy Wetherby, the rise of increasing numbers of magnum cartridges and the advances in bullet technology made by Nosler, Barnes and others. He ultimately asked, “Can I make the equivalent of magnum cartridge gun in a muzzleloading platform?”
He did. His first striker-fired gun, the MK-85, was simply designed, relatively easy to make, shot well and received good reports from his customers. Guns using this striker-fired design are still sold as the Big Horn rifle and TK-2000 shotgun, although the Hawkeye pistol is no longer made. The striker mechanism remains the simplest, easiest to operate and most trouble-free of all in-line designs. Production increased with demand. Soon orders rose to the point where he could not make all of the guns, and he borrowed money and built a modern factory near Centerville, Iowa, about 50-miles north of his original location.
He often invited gunwriters to go on hunts using his guns. This print exposure combined with his efforts to get his guns accepted in more states as legal muzzleloading firearms greatly expanded his business. Although the striker-fired guns were successful, he still wanted to make a bolt-action rifle. These efforts culminated with the DISC bolt-action, which was introduced in 1997. Not only was this a novel bolt-action design, it used a plastic holder for a 209 shotgun primer which was easier to handle than either percussion caps or bare 209s. You dropped the DISC into the bolt race, it self-indexed into position as the bolt closed and the gun was ready to fire. This bolt-action, and a later version that did not need a disassembly tool, quickly became identified as the signature Knight rifle. The gun was made available in .45, .50 and .52-calibers in synthetic, wooden and custom stocks.
Successful sales of these rifles allowed Tony to design other muzzleloading rifles such as a T-bolt design, the falling-block Revolution and Knight Rolling Block. The T-Bolt did not last long, as black-powder fouling jammed the bolt after only a few shots. The Revolution and Rolling Blocks also had brief production lives. Although sound designs, their steel receivers and complex parts made them expensive to produce and they did not make much of an impression in the market. As more of the muzzleloading market was moving towards ever-more-simple drop-barrel designs, Tony introduced the KP-1. The KP-1 was offered in all the Knight muzzleloading calibers as well as with interchangeable barrels for seven rifle calibers ranging from .17 caliber to 300 Winchester Magnum. There was also a less expensive muzzleloading-only drop-barreled gun called the Vision that had a different design.
Tony sold his company, but was still associated with it as a spokesman. Unfortunately, the new owners made a series of ill-advised expenditures and in 2009 started looking for a buyer. PI, Inc., a manufacturer of plastic products located in Athens, Tennessee, purchased the company, moved manufacturing operations to Tennessee, and is again producing striker-fired and bolt-action Knight rifles such as the TK-2000 shotgun and Long Range Hunter bolt-action. Their newest model for 2013 was a Kevlar-stocked Knight Ultra-Lite bolt-action rifle that weighs 6 1/2-pounds.
For more about Tony Knight and the details of my hunts in North America and Africa with his guns see Chapter 5, Hunting with Tony Knight in my Book “X-Treme Muzzleloading: Fur, fowl and dangerous game with muzzleloading rifles, smoothbores and pistols” as well as Books 1-5 of my Muzzleloading Short Shots E-book series. Books 1-3, “Muzzleloaders for Hunting,” “Buying Used Muzzleloaders” and “Shooting and Maintaining Your Muzzleloader.” All print and E-books are available on Amazon.com and soon will be on all major E-book outlets. Book 4. “Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets,” has considerable materials on the TK-2000 12-gauge shotgun and in being readied for publication. All of this plus a video “Tony Knight, 1945 – 2013, An Appreciation” may be seen at http://youtu.be/4KoXNn8szwI and an annotated Pinterest Board on Tony Knight is also available.
Wm. Hovey Smith
The Backyard Sportsman
Whitehall Press – Budget Publications
Wm. Hovey Smith
1325 Jordan Mill Pond Road
Sandersville, Georgia 31082
Shooting and Maintaining your Muzzleloader
How to make your muzzleloader most effective and keep it working under almost any conditions.
Sandersville, GA., Shooting and Maintaining your Muzzleloader is the third of Wm. Hovey Smith’s eight E-books in the Muzzleloading Short Shots series to be published in 2013. The 50-page book is now available on Amazon.com as a Kindle title for $5.99. Within three weeks it will also be sold by Barnes & Noble as a Nook Book as well as from Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie and eSentral for the same price. For those who do not have E-readers, a pdf file that may be read on any computer and many E-connected devices can be ordered via PayPal from the author’s website www.hoveysmith.com for $7.00.
In the book the author discusses modern muzzleloading powders, percussion and flintlock ignition systems, shooting a matchlock, percussion revolvers, muzzleloading bullets, appropriate charges for different classes of game, the accuracy of muzzleloading guns, cleaning, muzzleloading accessories and concludes with a chapter on “Getting your muzzleloader ready to hunt in one day.”
The book’s 17 chapters offer practical information based on the author’s 50 years of experiences hunting with these guns in North America, Europe and Africa. In addition, he also participated in many National Muzzleloading Rifle Association matches.
Although some information in this book has been previously published, much appears here for the first time or is from publications that are no longer accessible. Smith’s exploration of this topic is an on-going process as he is the Corresponding Editor for Black Powder for the Gun Digest Annual, a frequent blogger and has posted more than 220 YouTube videos on outdoor topics.
Taking advantage of the E-books unique capabilities, live links are provided to videos and other resources. Additional resources include up-to-date suppliers’ websites and contact information.
Not every shooter will own every gun featured in this book. However, Shooting and Maintaining Your Muzzleloader provides a unique look at modern replica guns and information on many models that have been discontinued, but are available on the used gun market.
Books already published in the Muzzleloading Short Shots series are Book 1. Muzzleloaders for Hunters ($4.99) and Book 2, Buying Used Muzzleloading Guns ($4.99). Book 4. Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets, is now in progress. Also planned for release in 2013 are Book 5. Hunting Big and Small Game with Muzzleloading Pistols, Book 6. Hunting with Muzzleloading Revolvers, Book 7. Muzzleloading Guns for Self Defense and Book 8. Building or Restoring Your Own Muzzleloader. All of these titles will be available from the same E-book outlets.
Sandersville, GA., Buying Used Muzzleloading Guns is the second of a series of eight E-books by Wm. Hovey Smith in the Muzzleloading Short Shots series to be published in 2013. The 35-page book is now available on Amazon.com as a Kindle title for $4.99. It is now also available, or soon will be, by Barnes & Noble as a Nook Book as well as from Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie and eSentral for the same price. (My converter is having problems getting this book in other formats, but is working on it. It looks like we are two weeks away in getting Nook and other versions available. The Kindle and pdf file versions, below, may be ordered now.)
For those who do not have E-readers, a pdf file with color photos that may be read on any computer and many E-connected devices can be ordered via PayPal from the author’s website www.hoveysmith.com for $7.00.
In the book the author systematically covers the different styles of replica muzzleloading guns that have been offered in the last half-century and offers candid comments about their potential uses and values based on his experiences hunting with them in the U.S., Europe and Africa.
Titles of the 3 Chapters are, Buying used black-powder rifles with tips on how to evaluate guns by examination of their Barrels, Stocks, Sights, Locks, Ramrods, Cosmetics along with Eight handy reasons for buying a used muzzleloading rifle.
Chapter 2, Evaluating used replica revolvers, considers Brass framed “Confederate” revolvers, Stainless steel guns, Ruger “Old Army,” Colt Walker and Dragoons, Colt 1851 44s and 36s., Remington 1858 revolvers, 1873 Black Powder revolver, .31-caliber revolvers, .22-caliber revolvers and others.
Chapter 3, Selecting a used smoothbore gun has sections on Single barreled guns and fowlers, Double barreled shotguns and rifles, and Military muskets. The book concludes with Supplier’s Addresses with e-mail links to the companies.
Each chapter contains a candid discussion of the topics based on his experiences with these guns and he reports on both their advantages and shortcomings along with notes on current prices and pointed recommendations for various uses.
Not only would this book be useful for those thinking about hunting with muzzleloading guns for the first time, it also explores many unusual aspects of muzzloaders that have potential uses such as waterfowl hunting with ex-military muskets, handgun hunting for deer and wild hogs with pistols and small game and turkey hunting with a variety of guns.
Other books in this series to be published this year will be Book 3, Shooting and Maintaining Your Muzzleloader that is now in progress, Book 4. Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets, Book 5. Hunting Big and Small Game with Muzzleloading Pistols, Book 6. Hunting with Muzzleloading Revolvers, Book 7. Muzzleloading Guns for Self Defense and Book 8. Building Your Own Muzzleloader. All of these titles will be available from the same E-book outlets.
This is only one of the unusual guns and hunts that where I use muzzleloading rifles, pistols, smoothbores and shotguns to take large and small game animals. This book is designed to introduce other hunters to the possibilities that muzzleloading guns offer for taking a variety of interesting game animals and fowl.
Sandersville, GA., Muzzleloaders for hunters by Wm. Hovey Smith is the first of a series of eight E-books in the Muzzleloading Short Shots series to be published. The 36-page book is now available on Amazon.com as a Kindle title for $4.99. Within three weeks it will also be sold by Barnes & Noble as a Nook Book as well as from Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie and eSentral for the same price.
For those who do not have E-readers, a pdf file that may be read on any computer and many E-connected devices can be ordered via PayPal from the author’s website www.hoveysmith.com for $7.00.
Subtitled, How to select a muzzleloader that fits your hunting style and pocketbook, this new approach to muzzleloading by author Wm. Hovey Smith, has ten chapters that examines the different styles of muzzleloaders used for hunting big and small game, helps the user select among them and gives examples of their uses from his 50 years of hunting with muzzleloading guns in North America, Europe and Africa.
Titles of the 10 Chapters are, Why hunt with muzzleloading guns?, Selecting your first muzzleloader, Drop-barrel muzzleloaders, Bolt and striker-fired in-lines, Falling, rolling and pivoting-block muzzleloaders, Muzzleloading revolvers, Hunting small and big game with smoothbores, Building muzzleloading guns from kits, Muzzleloading rifles for young people, ladies and seniors, What about a custom muzzleloader? and concludes with Supplier’s Addresses with e-mail links to the companies.
Each chapter contains a candid discussion of the topics based on his experiences with these guns and he reports on both their advantages and shortcomings along with notes on current prices and pointed recommendations for various uses.
Not only would this book be useful for those thinking about hunting with muzzleloading guns for the first time, it also explores many unusual aspects of muzzloading such as waterfowl hunting with ex-military muskets, handgun hunting for deer and wild hogs with pistols and small game and turkey hunting with a variety of guns.
Book 2, Buying Used Muzzleloading Guns, is now available, and the other books in the series will be released in 2013. Other Muzzleloading Short Shot Books are Book 3, Shooting and Maintaining Your Muzzleloader, Book 4. Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets, Book 5. Hunting Big and Small Game with Muzzleloading Pistols, Book 6. Hunting with Muzzleloading Revolvers, Book 7. Muzzleloading Guns for Self Defense and Book 8. Building Your Own Muzzleloader. All of these titles will be available from the same E-book outlets.
Over the past year my work with a .54-caliber blunderbuss kit that is made by Traditions, but only available from the Sportsmans Guide catalog company, has taken on something of a quest. This started with putting the gun together, initial shooting, taping on a conglomeration of cardboard and tape so that I could get it to shoot to the point of aim, attaching a homemade wooden stock comb and refinishing the gun. On the hunting end it killed five squirrels, knocked down a swan that I had to finish off with a Mossberg 500 12-gauge pump, and because of mechanical failures failed to hit a close-range deer because the ball rolled out of the barrel and missed an even closer hog when it lost its barrel-retaining screw.
With renewed resolve, a permanent wooden comb, better loads using MMP .54-caliber sabots (instead of my hand-cut wads), a nitride-coated barrel from H&M Metal Processing of Akron, Ohio, and a proven load of 70-grains of Hodgdon’s TripleSeven powder and a mix of no. 5 and 7 1/2-lead shot, Young Blunderbuss and I went turkey hunting. Eight times we went turkey hunting with no shot opportunities and no turkey. They would not come to my calling, although they sometimes responded. When I set up in areas they commonly used, they were elsewhere. Ug.
I was invited by friend Roger Kicklighter to go in early April to a piece of property that we had hunted perhaps 10 years before. I had turkey hunted with Roger for perhaps as many as 20 times, but had never killed a bird with him, although I had taken birds on my own. At 5:30 AM, he arrived and I grabbed some wild-hog sausage biscuits that I had made that morning and some coffee and we were once again off. Between smoke, fog and pollen he could hardly see the road to drive. Nonetheless, at 6:00 AM we were at the starting point before dawn was starting to break.
He was hunting a few hundred yards away from me, and he positioned me in an area with heavy turkey scratchings close to a field road which ran through some mature planted pines. I put my three many-times repaired decoys out and awaited developments. There were some. At least three gobblers in different directions called from their roost trees. After a time, I talked to them and they to me; but they would not approach. Once I looked up and saw a white head at about 80 yards. I called to him, but he would not come. By 10:00 AM the woods were quiet again, Roger returned and we ate the biscuits and some pickled eggs.
Decision time. I agreed with Roger that the area where I was looked very good from the mix of old and new scratchings. I decided to stay where I was while he went to set up on a food plot to exercise some of his new decoys. I moved Andre, Helga and Henrietta to the near side of the woods road so that they would be easily visible, repositioned myself to another pine tree, cut some briers, pulled some downed limbs around my hide, put my old cushion down, put camo on and sat. From time to time I would call a little, but got absolutely no response.
Looking through the trees down the road about an hour-and-a-half later, I saw two toms approaching at about 70 yards. They spotted my decoys which were moving slightly in the breeze. As they approached they were side-by-side with one stopping to strut a little while the other pulled ahead. There was no need to call, and I did not. My gun was across my lap, and I had to wait until there were trees between them and me so that I could raise the blunderbuss. If I was too late in making that movement they would spot it and fly. It was imperative that I let them get to within 25 yards and that they would separate.
As a guest, I was not going to shoot more than one bird, and I had rather have a single bird killed that two wounded. When their heads were blocked by a group of pine tree trunks, I moved slightly and raised my gun. I picked out a clear area along their projected travel path and pointed the gun at it. I sighting in over the top of the belled muzzle, put my cheek firmly down on the comb of the stock and waited. By happenstance, one of the toms had pulled ahead of the other one by almost two bird lengths.
When the leading tom stepped into the open spot, I checked my “sights.” Since the blunderbuss has none, this consisted of lining up the entire length of the barrel with the middle of the tom’s neck and aiming precisely over the top of the middle of the funnel on the end of the barrel. I had already “silent cocked” the gun. I had checked my no. 11 percussion cap and crimped it on the nipple when I shifted my location. The cap was still on the nipple.
Although the turkey’s head was held against the body, I aimed half-way down the neck and pulled the trigger. Blunderbuss had been loaded for nearly three weeks and been on eight previous hunts. There is always a risk that through all that handling some or most of the shot had dribbled out of the barrel pass my homemade wad. This time that was apparently not the case, as the gun went off instantly, and I saw the bird drop in its tracks.
It was apparently fatally struck, but I wanted to take no chances with it. Its companion ran about 20 yards off and then returned to spur and pick at the bird. I was trying to stand on my numb legs and staggered towards my flopping bird. Only when I was at the side of the road did its buddy run away. If I had another shot or a cartridge gun, I could have surely taken a second bird, but one was enough.
After a number of steps I was somewhat more walking than falling on my numb legs and put a foot on the bird’s tail and promptly pulled out all of its tail feathers. As hard as they are to pluck when the bird is cold, they came out easily when the ambient temperature was 80 degrees. I killed the bird and recovered it. It had about a 9-inch beard and 7/8-th inch spurs, which is typical of a 2-year-old Eastern Tom.
One of two YouTube videos made at the time is posted at: http://youtu.be/VQqscMImf1A.
When I plucked it I found that some 30 shot had struck the bird all the way from its legs to its beak. This is about what might be expected from a cylinder-bored gun. Of these, 8 had hit in the vital head and neck area. The immediately fatal shots were a cluster of three through the brain. This was the reason that the bird went down so fast.
Cleaned, dressed and ready for the freezer it weighed 15 1/2-pounds and will next appear on a platter for Christmas dinner along with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and the usual holiday fixings.
Blunderbusses were never very common, although they did have uses as self-defense guns by stage drivers because they could be loaded while bouncing along and for military uses in close combat aboard ships. Use of the gun probably peaked about 1790 when numbers of them were employed by those resisting the British during the Irish Rebellion of 1792. Many of the Irish did not own guns and were not shooters. The intimidating blunderbuss gave the untrained urban revolutionaries a feeling of confidence against the British with their Brown Bess muskets. While true that they would likely hit something, they had best be nimble enough to get out of the way of their opponent’s bayonets.
Here I interview Public Relations Mgr. Larry Weeks at the 7th Annual Career Fair in Des Moines, IA. Next year’s event will be April 1-2. For info. go to www.GunsmithCareerFair.com.
Like many black-powder gun writers, I not only hunt with factory guns, but occasionally put together kits and/or modify these guns so that they will better fit my shooting needs. A building project with a Sportsman’s Guide blunderbuss kit caused me to use some of Brownells’ products made by Birchwood Casey. At a writers’ conference Pete Brownell, the CEO, was taken with the gun, and I was invited to attend the 7th Annual Brownells Gunsmith Conference and Career Fair in Des Moines, Iowa in March, 2013. I produced five videos from the event which are available on YouTube. The one most appropriate to this post was “How to be a gunsmith,” which may be viewed at: http://youtu.be/vPBg6hHHm2Q.
It has always been interesting to me to follow the evolution of a large number of outdoor-related companies that were founded immediately after World War II that become household names. Gun manufactures included Ruger and Weatherby. Nosler, Hornady and Speer provided effective hunting bullets for sportsmen while Hodgdon marketed military surplus powders and now has a large variety of cartridge and muzzleloading powder products. Bob Brownell was a gunsmith who had trouble getting the supplies that he needed, and he decided to start a distribution company that would sell these to the nation’s gunsmiths. Starting with a handful of products shipped from his house, the company now catalogues over 80,000 items including more than 200 that were developed by Brownells.
Bob’s son Frank assumed the leadership role after his father’s death, and Pete Brownell is now the CEO of the family business. If you want to hear exactly how these transitions took place, I have a video interview with Frank and Pete at http://youtu.be/fkKWwKQBV-0. This is a good example of how a family business can expand its original vision, take advantage of new market trends and adapt to supply its customers’ changing needs. The takeaway from this video is that businesses must expand to incorporate evolving changes in the market or die. The hard part is that throughout this evolutionary process they must simultaneously keep focused on the business’ purpose and its customers’ needs while avoiding unwarranted risks.
A Pennsylvania Gunsmith School student displays a project rifle to school Director Bob Thacker and the author.
Many gunsmiths go into the firearms-outdoor field with the hope that some day they can make a personal impact on the market. One of the better ways to accomplish this is to attend one of the nation’s gunsmithing schools, gain additional experiences working for a company and then strike out on their own. The Career Fair portion of the event consisted of bringing gunsmithing students from eight schools to talk to potential employers and expose them to successful gunsmiths.
Schools represented at the event were: Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado, (www.trinidadstate.edu); Pennsylvania Gunsmith School, Pittsburg, (www.pagunsmith.edu); Montgomery Community College in Troy, North Carolina, (www.montgomery.edu); Pine Technical College, Pine City, Minnesota, (www.pinetech.edu); Wabash Valley College, Mount Carmel, Illinois, (www.iecc.edu/wvc ); Colorado School of Trades, Lakewood, Colorado (www.schooloftrades.edu); Murray State College, Tishomingo, Oklahoma (www.mscok.edu); Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, South Carolina, (www.ptc.edu).
These schools offer specialized programs that may run only a few weeks to Diploma programs that include over a year’s study and might cost $30,000. Courses at these schools range from traditional gun stocking and metal finishing, to engraving, to CAD design and CNC machining. Each student is encouraged to discover what aspects of gunmaking appeals to him and concentrate on developing core skills in that direction. Along with the hands-on instruction are courses about the legal and practical aspects of running a gunsmithing business. A video done with Bob Thacker about the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School’s 15 courses may be seen at: http://youtu.be/Q1I9HKLTnUk.
An additional opportunity is that I offer is a three-month internship with me at Whitehall to learn modern media communications. This includes helping me put out my usual products of books, videos, blogs while also taking an independent project on their own under my supervision. This is a custom-designed internship where the student will learn what form of media expression he/she is most adept at and how to use it to publicize their own work. This is like “moving in with grandpa” in that interns live with me at Whitehall, and work under my supervision five days a week while also helping me keep the house and yard up. For two days they may work on their projects or even make one weekend trip home. At the conclusion of the internship they will have produced, or be on the way to finishing, a body of independent work of their own, a recommendation from me and have obtained a much better feel for the outdoor business world and how they can best make a living doing what they love to do.
To find out the details of what I do and what interns would be exposed to go to my website www.hoveysmith.com. There you will find links to my books, blogs, videos, products and industry consulting activities.
Interns travel with me when I go to writers’ conferences and cover events like the Shot Show. They will help me shoot and edit video productions, edit print copy for books, start their own blog, shoot publication quality still photos of firearms and related products as well as have the opportunity to meet potential employers. They will also be introduced to crossbow hunting, muzzleloading hunting and bowfishing – subjects that are not often fully covered by classroom instruction. The end result will be a gunsmith with a demonstrated ability to communicate with all aspects of modern media on a professional level.
Successful candidates will likely have already produced written or video materials or should do so while successfully completing their gunsmith training. This position is open to men and women as well as to couples who want to work together in this field. Video and writing samples are required as are telephone interviews. I have immediate openings.
After producing 60, 1 to 2-hour episodes of Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures on WebTalkRadio.net, the last episode from the 2013 Shot Show was posted in February, 2013. This show featured interviews with 15 venders at the Shot Show and covered everything from AR-products to Women’s hunting clothes. A detailed description of the show with photos may be found on my Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures Radio Show Blog at www.hoveysoutdooradventures.wordpress.com. The reason that the show was ended was not because of lack of listeners (about 25,000 a week and approaching 0.5 million over the life of the show), it was the lack of sponsor support.
Concurrent with the radio show I had been producing YouTube videos which included five from the Shot Show. There are 210 on the wmhoveysmith YouTube channel at present and more in production. Some of the more recent include my continuing series on the blunderbuss. This historic style of gun is now being re-finished in preparation for turkey and deer seasons. Young Blunderbuss now sports a new wooden stock comb to adjust it to shoot to the point of aim, a new finish and will have a black matt nitride finished barrel from H&M Metal Processing. My objective is to see if it can take deer and hogs this year and earn its new name of “Wonderbuss.” At present the more appropriate name is “Wounderbuss,” as its 1-ounce load of mixed Hevishot and steel shot wounded a swan this year that I had to chase across the pond and finished off with a Mossberg Model 500.
Blunderbuss and Mossberg take joint credit for this swan.
This failing was mostly my fault, because I took a shot with the gun at the last swan from the last flight on the last day of the 3-day hunt at a range that was outside of the gun’s sure-kill range of 25 yards. These huge swan are challenging for any shotgun, much less one shooting the equivalent of a 1-ounce 20-gauge load shot from a cylinder-bored gun. This gun will shoot .54-caliber balls into 4-inch groups at 25 yards. It was also not entirely its fault that it missed a 20-yard deer because the ball had rolled out of its barrel and had similar poor results on a hog that was even closer when the barrel-retaining screw dropped from the barrel, which gave a new meaning to the term “free-floating.” Both shortcomings have now been corrected. It was also put in the presence of game last year when we found a nice buck that had died from unknown causes on one of our hunts. The gun has gone through its growing pains and now that it has reached young-adult status and is ready to take on serious game-killing with the approach of turkey season. I just have to get it close enough.
“Wonderbuss” it may become, but not yet.
Within about a month the first two of an E-book series, Muzzleloading Short Shots Books 1-8, will be available in all E-book formats. The first title is Muzzleloaders for Hunters and the second, Buying Used Muzzleloading Guns. Others in this series will be Shooting and Maintaining Your Muzzleloader, Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets, Hunting Big and Small Game with Muzzleloading Pistols, Hunting with Muzzleloading Revolvers, Muzzleloading Guns for Self Defense and Building Your Own Muzzleloader.
These restricted-topic E-books are designed to provide fast, to-the-point information on their topics with candid comments on the favorable, and unfavorable aspects, of some of the many muzzleloading guns that I have written about over the past 50 years.
One nice feature of the E-book world is that I can be honest in expressing my opinions about these guns without having to worry that some editor would either re-write that section or cut out the article altogether. Other favorable features are that the prices of these books can be kept under $5.00, E-links can be provided to my videos and other books, the print may be enlarged so that anyone can read them, the books can be with you anywhere and they are instantly available to everyone in the world through an increasing number of devices. The present downsides are that the number of photos is restricted and publishing in full colour is still pricey.
More information on individual books will be published as these are produced during 2013.
Although my almost two years of radio on two different networks was not financially successful, my experiences with the network owner, Brad Saul, including pushing a TV Cooking Show called Survival Cooking. A pilot was produced which is may be seen on my YouTube site at: http://youtu.be/qj6vCzpplKg. Despite much work and acceptance by a number of networks, we were not able to bring this to a sufficient audience to meet production expenses.
I am now being approached by others to participate on their outdoor programs, and it is possible that I may yet be on TV. In the meantime, my YouTube videos are getting progressively better with more content and variety of subject materials. My absolute worst was one from the Shot Show with Davide Barnett where I did not capture the sound with my recorder, but had to rely on the mike in the camera working in an extremely noisy environment. The set was also strongly back-lit which made us appear quite dark. With the use of extracted still shots and a voice-over I managed to nonetheless convey some useful information on Barnett’s three new crossbows, but it was a real stretch to salvage anything from that experience. You can take a look at: http://youtu.be/PWaX4Oz75I0. The best recent ones are from the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia S.C. at: http://youtu.be/Y44Yzvw0pXk and Thai-Orange Baked Striper at : http://youtu.be/jnYVZLC71WY.
I also have a TV reality show concept that I do not want to produce, but could provide someone else with a very meaningful post-retirement activity, produce a show that would appeal to the nation’s largest demographic, be able to gather national sponsors and has sufficient appeal to be partly Kickstarter financed. This would be a logical fit for someone with TV experience who wants to have their own show and is willing to put in the 24/7 time commitment to make this project work. I know what it is, what it would take to provide successful content, how to finance the pilot and who the people would be to market it to the networks. I need a post-50-year-old TV guy or gal to host and produce it. If they have access to equipment and money, so much the better. This would probably take a minimum of $30,000 to bring off that would be split between production and marketing.
I have two movie scripts in progress. One is a Christmas short based on my story, “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus” and the other is a full-length Movie, “Father of the Grooms.” The Christmas play is now in script form for production as either a 30-min. stage play or as a Christmas TV/Movie short of slightly longer length. ”Father of the Grooms” has to do with a Louisiana engineer taking his two adult sons, accompanied by his entire family, back to Sicily to marry them off to some distant cousins who have Mafia connections. They have diverse adventures and the entire family ultimately escapes a vendetta thanks to the intervention of their gay uncle and an Irish priest.
This is all interesting stuff, and we will see how it “plays out” now that I have sufficient time to work on it.