Barn Gun? - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-03-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Barn Gun?

A few years ago when I was planning my retirement from the Army, I was saving up to buy myself a flintlock fowler or trade gun as my retirement present. I wanted a smoothbore in 20 gauge. Well as life often happens, that money went to college tuition bills. I'm not complaining, I was gifted a model 1911A1 as a retirement gift, but that doesn't hunt deer, turkey, and squirrels.
I've finally started to build up a bit of savings again and realized that what I want is a real plain jane smoothbore, probably around 20 gauge. A simple barn gun is probably what I'm looking for because I plan on carrying it for everything and it will see some rough country. That said I'm not having any luck finding one. I've found one for $2500 for a simple one, which seems a little nuts for a stripped down smoothbore. I did find a kit at Sitting Fox for around $600, but to have them finish it raises the weapon cost to around $1400.
My plan is to run to Dixon's in the next few days to talk to them about what they know, have on hand, or have seen recently.
A few years back when I was first looking, finding them finished for $600-700 was very possible. Now the only smoothbores I find in that range are from Veteran Arms or Middlesex and are from India. Perhaps I need to adjust my expectations and continue to save? I've not really seen any used one's on line. Most I've seen are very fancy and have a price that is commensurate with the intricate carving and inlays.
I'm looking for some guidance in this. Am I too cheap? Did the market pass me by or are their any options out there in the $700-800 range? Are there smaller builders out there making this kind of simple weapon?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 03:03 AM
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Since I retired from the Marine Corps, I only hunt with either a flintlock or bow. I was in the same boat as you, I had a T/C hawken rifle that I hunted deer with in flintlock season but I was looking for something I could hunt everything with, I didn't want to pay $2000 for a gun that I was going to put to work. I looked at all the online auction sites, Gun Broker, Guns America and Armslist. I found a Fusil De Chasse on gun broker I got for $900, now I hunt every season with it and taken everything in PA except an Elk, Grouse and Pheasant. It was made by Narragansett arms back in the 70's, I found out that there were a few small companies in the 60's and 70's that made flintlocks, you could call them semi custom guns but they're all gone now but they pop up on these sites now and again. There is, They have a classified thread, I picked up a .32 cal long rifle there that I plan to hunt squirrels with. There's also and internet bidding site that you can pre bid and live bid on items at auction houses all over the country ( I just bought a .58 Jaeger rifle that was on auction in VA $420, It was way nicer than the pictures and description and it really shoots. I also picked up a .62 cal PA long rifle and a 2nd model long land pattern Brown Bess, $600 for both. I did have to repair a fine crack in the Bess and tune both locks and triggers, they turned out to be fine shooters as well. So they're out there to be had, it took me about a year of watching for each gun that I wanted and a lot of bids that I lost because I just wouldn't pay what the bids were going to. Keep looking and good luck
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Last edited by Hinamanra; 10-04-2019 at 03:07 AM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 08:24 AM
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Going over to Dixon's is a good way to go. Greg can put you either behind something in the store, or hook you up with someone who knows who has what you want, or who can build one.

Whichever it is, sounds like you caught our smokepole addiction!
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Remember.... they're full time deer......we're part time hunters!
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 09:01 AM
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Greg pointed me in the direction of a local builder (can't recall his name) who rescued my attempt at a Track of the Wolf English Fowler (20 ga / .61 cal.) from disaster and finished the gun for me. I had done all the metal work, to include the hot browning, and had it just where I wanted it and I COULD NOT DO THE STOCK IN LETTING; did not have the tools or the talent.... The guy not only did the in letting but he completed the stock in a period correct finish (1775 - Battle of The Monongahela).
And the price he charged me was so low that I kicked in an extra $100. It was worth that much to me to have it done and his turn over time was maybe 2 weeks.
Go see Greg.
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Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 09:20 AM
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Just like bargain hunting for anything your gonna sacrifice quality and or fittment.

Bite the bullet and have a gun builder make one for you and fit it to you...period
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Anybody can shoot deer on the farm ground....You earn it in the mountains.......
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:01 AM
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Keep in mind, just quality parts can easily run around $800-1000. Factor in labor, 80-100 hours, maybe a little less? Can see why $2000 for a base price. Can find some a bit cheaper, TVM is an example. They will build to your specs and probably get one for a little under $2000.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. I didn't get over to Dixons yet so I'm planning that for late this week. Going to see what they have to say. It would be great to just bite the bullet, but with one in college now and another about to get into college, I can't justify it to satisfy my own itch.
Maybe I'll end up having to wait another year or two to save up and maybe I'll get lucky and find something a little cheaper by keeping my eye out on a few sites. I recently saw a customized Pedersoli Trade rifle for $1100 and missed a deal on a 16gauge fowler for $600.
Thanks for the guidance and I hope I can update you all in the next few months on a new addition to my gun safe!

Last edited by Crawford; 10-08-2019 at 06:23 PM.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 07:57 PM
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Allen Martin is up your way. He is a top builder and surely could point you in the right direction. He is a super guy that's easy to talk to. He is on this site under Allen Martin. Give him a call, you won't be sorry.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 07:58 PM
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Hey Crawford let us know how it goes at Dixon's.

Sounds like you have a plan and that's great. Don't so off half-cocked!

Ha, ha............

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 01:30 AM
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USAF is spot on.....

Just a quick BALLPARK price sheet...

Barrel $250-300
Lock $200
Plain maple plank $150
Barrel inlet/ramrod hole drilled $100
Trigger guard and buttplate-$60

That's an easy $800 for some parts and a piece of lumber.

And all those parts need work...barrel needs draw filed. Lock needs filed and finished. Castings need filed and finished. Additional parts need bought or made...sights, trigger, pipes, bolts, screws, pins. Everything needs inlet...stock needs shaped and finished. It's all slow tedious, often precise work...time consuming...

The price master builders like Allen Martin charge might seem crazy...but think about all that..let it sink's IMO a bargain.

Many guys don't realize what goes into a hand stocked rifle....
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