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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have experience or an opinion they would like to share on a kit gun from Pecatonica River? It appears that the options they have relative to the completion of the gun may be just what I am looking for. Since I had a bad experience years ago with a Jim Chambers kit gun I have had the cataracts removed and recently put together a Traditions full stock kit gun without any problems at all -- for practice. So I want to take the next step and I am considering a Kit from Pecatonica River with most of the in-letting already done and the barrel breach plug and touch hole already completed. I would also select a grade of wood that is not as hard to work as the beautiful, but very hard, rock maple I had from Jim Chambers. Thoughts please?
 

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I have a stock on order from them due in a week or so. Guy sounded nice on the phone and was helpful. First time I dealt with them even though I have been looking at them for years. Waiting to see if I am happy with the grade of wood I ordered. Last wood I ordered from TOW was not up to what I expected from their description so decided to try another source this time.
 
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My stock came from them


I thought it was somewhat of a direct replacement for a TC stock.


Boy was I ever mistaken lol. Inlet for the lock and triggers was done but nowhere near ready to put in. Barrel channel needed opened more. Tang inlet needed a fair bit of attention. Wedge pin plates were inlet and I'd rather them been left off. Still had to put the slots on the sides and barrel channel.


Stock had lots of extra wood. Lots of extra length on both ends and lots of wood to remove to shape it down.


It may been quicker to start with a plank lol.


I'm happy. But didn't expect what I got. I expected to bolt together a TC style gun.


Chambers kits are supposed to be easier than TOTW or PR etc type kits. Kiblers kit is probably the easiest on the market. Most the others like TOTW or PR are sold as "kits" but are essentially a precarve stock and parts kits.

Not sure how much your looking to do....But I'd expect a lot of fitting, stock shaping, metal work, draw filing the barrel, installing sights and barrel tennons etc. Pre-inlet is usually done a fair bit small so you have to fit the parts in.

Some companies will do some work for an extra charge...But once you start adding that in you get deep in the wallet.
 

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Can't remember what grade wood this was...I wanna say 3 or 4.


It was hard curly maple.









That's what I started with. Hard to tell the length and thickness from that though. That's a 28" barrel though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Having second thoughts on the Picatonica Ridge and now looking at the Kibler's Mountain Rifle as the next step. But - I don't know if the challenge of a Kiblers is actually more than that of a Traditions kit...??? They say it only takes about 5 days to complete the kit.
I am looking for something to build that will be challenging but not requiring the skills of a blacksmith as well as a master carpenter while being more than a drop in.

A trip to Dixon's maybe the path to end my confusion.
 

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I've handled the parts to Kibler's kits.

You will NOT find a simpler kit to assemble short of buying one of the "sand and stain" kits from the major production gun players. TC used to do this a lot, Lyman might still...where all shaping/material removal was done...you just smoothed the wood and stained it.

Kibler is sort of "in between". You don't have much shaping or metal removal to do. You do have some drilling/tapping to do, IIRC. Inletting is essentially done. I don't think much, if any, has to be done. Metal is in the white, and I sort of think tennons/sights have to be installed, but I'm not positive.

I've talked to Jim Kibler in person at shows. SUPER nice guy. If anyone is curious about the kits, I wouldn't hesitate to contact him directly through his site contact information and ask questions.

I also know within the next year, he plans to release a second type of rifle in the same kit configuration and is planning more styles to be released as kits in the future. He's said the next one up will be a Revolutionary War/Pre-Rev War style gun in larger calibers than the current kit offers.

If you go to Dixon's, they have everything you need to build a gun....precarved stocks, barrels, breech plugs, locks, castings, etc. Even have the long deep-boring bits to drill ramrod holes if you're so inclined.

There's also classes through Jacobsburg Historical Society near Easton where you go every Sunday for 9 weeks (starting in like 2 weeks I think) and build and Lancaster rifle in 50cal with a 42" straight barrel. The cost is about the same as a kit, so you can sort of view it as getting the instruction for free. ;)

Lots of options.
 

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Pecatonica has been around for decades. I can understand how some folks order something expecting a different level of completeness. To the regular gun builder a precarved stock means one thing, to a newbie something else almost entirely. I have made stocks from planks and it is time consuming. A precarved stock with lock and barrel channel inlet makes for a much easier build, but still with some difficulties. I have been visiting saw mills for a proper plank right now. I want cherry or walnut, but I need a plank 3 inches thick for this build. I may have to pay for a specially cut plank at a nearby sawmill.

If you are in the market for kits, don't forget Tip Curtis, if he is still in business. no web site, but he often had "in the white kits" in years gone by.

Many years ago, a kit meant a plank and a bag of parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've handled the parts to Kibler's kits.

You will NOT find a simpler kit to assemble short of buying one of the "sand and stain" kits from the major production gun players. TC used to do this a lot, Lyman might still...where all shaping/material removal was done...you just smoothed the wood and stained it.

Kibler is sort of "in between". You don't have much shaping or metal removal to do. You do have some drilling/tapping to do, IIRC. Inletting is essentially done. I don't think much, if any, has to be done. Metal is in the white, and I sort of think tennons/sights have to be installed, but I'm not positive.

I've talked to Jim Kibler in person at shows. SUPER nice guy. If anyone is curious about the kits, I wouldn't hesitate to contact him directly through his site contact information and ask questions.

I also know within the next year, he plans to release a second type of rifle in the same kit configuration and is planning more styles to be released as kits in the future. He's said the next one up will be a Revolutionary War/Pre-Rev War style gun in larger calibers than the current kit offers.

If you go to Dixon's, they have everything you need to build a gun....precarved stocks, barrels, breech plugs, locks, castings, etc. Even have the long deep-boring bits to drill ramrod holes if you're so inclined.

There's also classes through Jacobsburg Historical Society near Easton where you go every Sunday for 9 weeks (starting in like 2 weeks I think) and build and Lancaster rifle in 50cal with a 42" straight barrel. The cost is about the same as a kit, so you can sort of view it as getting the instruction for free. ;)

Lots of options.
Well I visited Dixon's today and got great advise from Greg. He's such a good man and always willing to help folks with questions weather or not they buy something. Class act 100%; I think it's a family tradition there. There was only one stock in the rack that was milled to a point that it was ready for barrel inletting and the lock mortise was yet to be milled. However there were several planks and a number of pieces that had been rough milled and resembled a stock. He also had a good supply of Rice barrels in a variety of calibers and some were swamped as well. When I got back home there was an email from Katherine at Kibler in response to some questions I had. So I called and spoke with her and decided to order from Kibler - I just need to decide on a caliber, probably .45 so I can hunt deer with it here in PA. And after speaking with Katherine I will probably also go with the Maple rather than Cherry. I was kind of worried about working the maple because I remember trying it before and it just chunked out no matter how sharp my tools were or how careful I was. With the CNC process Kibler uses to inlet the stocks, I feel that I have a fighting chance in terms of taking off whatever needs to be eliminated to get a good fit. I was not smart enough to catch the references on the Kibler web site that mapped to more explanations of their products and services and this is why I sent the email to Katherine. It's a good thing because after speaking with her my questions have been answered and I am ready to place the order.
:)
 
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