Lancaster Pennsylvania Rifle Kit – A Diamond in the Rough by Ed Hale

Some of us know the rifle as the Kentucky Rifle built in Lancaster Pennsylvania and surrounding towns by German Immigrants like Jacob Dickert for those mountain men aiming to settle Kentucky.  The rifled barrel is 44 inches long, made famous by David Crockett and Daniel Boone. It is the first long range rifle with rifling in its bore to accurize and spin a bullet fast enough to stabilize it in flight. The rifle was made for hunting! In the right hands it was an essential part of winning battles in the American Revolution and our first sniper rifle seen here in the Battle of Saratoga at a range of 250 to 300 yards.

It was a proven performer for mountain men hunting game before its service in the American Revolution and a thing of beauty and balance when carved and shot.

I don’t have a forge and foundry nor a lot of exquisite curly maple, but there are, I have discovered, a dedicated group of folks who are craftsmen at forging the authentic locks,  stocks, and rifled barrels for this flintlock rifle. The rifle, as I said, is basically a diamond in the rough.

A high end craft kit can run from say $900 and up. I have pulled the ticket on my bucket list to make one of these at the higher end out of the finest curly maple. My kit from Jim Chambers cost is $1200. Crazy Huh! I have to be out of my mind! Right? Maybe so, we shall see.

It has not arrived and will not for a few weeks. Some of my skills are there already. I have made queen pencil post bed out of solid cherry from scratch and did the mortise and tenon by hand with a chisel and I have made several self-bows of Osage and Hickory so I have the basic shaping skills except for wood carving, and brass inlay.

My first job is to inspect and verify the parts are correct as ordered. Second is to realize that the build of this rifle will take around 100 hours or so and to plan lots of time alone in my workshop.

I have a video coming and will purchase another video soon. One of the best books to purchase they tell me is entitled “The Gunsmith of Grenville County” by Peter A. Alexander. I received it yesterday and am very pleased with it.

A well built flintlock of highest quality can be worth thousands of dollars. I just want one made by yours truly. I will report back when I receive and inspect my purchase. If all is in order I will proceed and when finished, I will hunt with it and display it on occasion along with the powder horn and pouch I will also create.

Good Shooting! Good Hunting!




Pennsylvania Long Rifles- Nostalgia You Can Hunt With by Ed Hale

Today while we are all going crazy for the next best and greatest rifle to enter the marketplace, there is a quiet following hearkening back to the grace and lines of the Pennsylvania Long Rifle and a resurgent interest in both hunting with them and proudly displaying them as works of art. The word “Rifle” refers to the lands and grooves placed in the barrel to impart spin and stability to the bullet. It was the frontier rifleman that was a key part of the Revolution but could not be the crack shots they were without the inventive engineering of those Pennsylvania German immigrant gunsmiths who understood the physics behind stable bullet flight and repeat accuracy. Armed with hand tools and improvised lathes these craftsmen created a rifle of precision and beauty. The most common calibers were 45 and 50 cal and shot round ball with precision.

There were  several Pennsylvania Rifle-makers and one of the best was Jacob Dickert my research tells me.

I am no expert here just a lover of fine craftsmanship and  history when I see it.

Jacob Dickert’s Pennsylvania  long rifle making was prolific enough as to arm frontiersmen in the American Revolution with many Dickert Long Rifles. It is news to me that he was a Military Contractor to the Continental Army making his famous Dickert Rifle.

A thing of great beauty, isn’t it, but a weapon that could kill out to 250 or more yards in the hands of a crack shot Frontiersman and Continental Army soldier.

From the website:


“Its nickname was “Kentucky long rifle” and was carried by the “Over Mountain Men,” who most every member of this little army was equipped with a Deckard rifle, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife, in which they were experts. Giving good account of themselves at the battle at King’s Mountain, North Carolina, in which backwoods hunters defeated Major Ferguson’s professional British soldiers. This being a major turning point in the Revolutionary War. Most of these men came mounted and armed with their Deckard rifles and no bayonets. This rifle was to play a significant role in many upcoming battles. The Dickert/Deckard rifle was also used in defense against the Mexican infantry who surprised the outnumbered Texans in a pre-dawn assault against the Alamo fortress walls in 1836 and one is on display in the Long Barracks Museum in San Antonio. It is said that Colonel David Crockett used a Deckard rifle in combat at the battle of the Alamo.” Unquote.

These rifles were great for hunting game like deer and bear as well as making a great squirrel gun. More to come…

Good Shooting! Good Hunting!






What is all the Hubbub in Variable Riflescope Choice – First or Second Focal Plane

Up to just recently, you and I have heard little about this. Why? Because the choice in hunting scopes has always been made by the manufacturer as second focal plane in the rear of the scope after the erector lens’ where the reticle (crosshairs) does not magnify or shrink with the image as you turn the magnification dial, only the target enlarges.

See Images and website below by looking for images of first vs second focal plane.

Second Focal Plane works to the advantage of many hunters that are shooting small targets such as distant prairie dogs or exacting long range bullseyes at known distances in competition like F- Class because the crosshairs do not thicken and cover the bullseye center.

The downside is that the reticle crosshair hash marks in Mils or MOA lose their true meaning unless set at a specific power setting but for F-Class or game that has been ranged with a rangefinder, who cares, we know the distance.

If the reticle (crosshair) is put in the front of the scope ahead of the erector magnification lens system, called first or front focal plane, the lens will magnify/enlarge the crosshairs as the magnification dial is turned and the hash marks are accurate at any power in Mils or MOA. The benefit in holdover on a target with unknown distances can be seen in that way as your mil/MOA marks are accurate like in a moving shooter situation and unknown distances such as tactical situations. Below is a great discussion by Leupold at GunTalk.TV.

Hope that helps! From a scenario such as a long range hunter with a laser rangefinder or F- Class then shooting Second Focal Plane makes sense. If you shoot tactical and unknown distances and need the hash-mark to be accurate and don’t care if your crosshair gets larger then shoot First Focal Plane.

Good Shooting!

6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5×284 Winchester -Updated

Both rounds are amazingly accurate. In studying those who shoot 1000 yds in Competition they say that the 6.5×284 (6.5 Super) will beat the 6.5 Creedmoor hands down in speed. Speed is needed to improve crosswind bullseyes. The downside is that the 6.5×284 is a hotter bullet and will burn barrels at a much faster rate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Not a huge downside if you have the funds for new barrels. Some research finds that Rich DeSimone, holder of the world record 1.564 inch 5 shot group at 1000 yards, says- he gave some opinion and tips. More in the Accurate Shooter article below.

  1. “Opinion – Rich suggests use moly-coated bullets to reduce friction and longer barrel life.”
  2. “Invest in a Hawkeye bore scope to ensure a really clean barrel and that you understand the throat condition.” says DeSimone
  3. Rich reloads and does his own machining.

The upside is that at 1000 yards those that compete say the 6.5×284 is a winner.

Recoil and hunting – The 6.5 Creedmoor is easy on the shoulder, easy on barrels and can kill anything the 6.5×284 can at reasonable ranges.

Below is a chuckhawkes article comparison by Elevation of the 2 cartridges.

Winning 1000 yd competitions requires that you can purchase and have a ready back up barrel.

Where the 6.5 Creedmoor shines is mid range like 600 yards, barrels live longer, less recoil, less powder.

From a Hunting standpoint the 6.5×284 delivers more energy at longer ranges but will always be a CXP3 round like the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Accordingly, if I was a 1000 yd Competitor choosing between the two cartridges, I would choose the 6.5x 284 and have a back up barrel. If a mid range competitor use the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Good Shooting!


The .270 Winchester vs the 6.5 Creedmoor- by Ed Hale

Rifle manufacturers over the years knew that there were few calibers that can perform at the mild recoil/increased accuracy level of the .270 Winchester for hunting with 130 grain bullets (reduced recoil). It was Jack O’Connor that made the .270 Winchester as famous as it is but it was time in the hands of a broad spectrum of hunters that continuously prove that.

The .270 Winchester is not a target rifle cartridge as it has more recoil than the 6mm/243. Its parent case is the 30-06 Springfield designed for the WW I battlefield and the .270 Winchester was designed for hunting, from varmint to big game which delivers high energy at long range.

But the new kid on the block is the 6.5 Creedmoor can deliver high energy too and is a CXP3 cartridge (Controlled eXpantion Performance) like the .270 Winchester and capable of killing up to and including moose size game with excellent shot placement due to low recoil.

For my son Jason, I took the .270 to Africa years ago and he shot my hand loaded 150 grain Nosler Partition in the Ruger M77 rifle… all one shot kills on CXP2 class game but had potential to kill CXP3 like Kudu.

I keep mentioning the CXP nomenclature as I am trying to imbed/educate it in hunter lexicon as it aids in hunting cartridge classification.

I believe the 6.5 Creedmoor will likely never supersede the .270 Winchester as a hunting cartridge but future “new rifle sales” for accuracy and long range hunting at the 500 yard level will likely go to the 6.5 Creedmoor for the target shooter and their great extremely low drag bullets that hold their energy equal to the .270 at long range.

I believe the competitive target shooting market is driving sales and innovation of the 6.5 Creedmoor cross-use bullets such as Hornady’s 143 grain ELD-X Match grade Hunting Bullet and Nosler’s 129 grain long range AccuBond hunting bullet. But manufacturers are increasing catching on the hunting rifle sales in 6.5 Creedmoor to a younger and recoil sensitive hunter market.

If the 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is made available at the local sporting store as is currently, it will increase in popularity but the .270 Winchester ammo and existing rifles will always be there. The .270 Winchester is like comfort food, it satisfies the nostalgia in many older men hunters but the rifle buyers are younger and women are increasingly in the market for a new all around hunting rifle.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is rapidly earning a new well deserved place in the hunting community! Cheers!

Good Hunting!

© 2017


Prediction – 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge will overshadow the .243 Winchester by Ed Hale

I owned a .243 Winchester and tested a few Rifles in that Caliber for my New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine. I loved the accuracy and low recoil but it always nagged at me that bullet weight and CXP Criteria Limited the Cartridge to deer size game. Hornady’s HIT’s Calculator does the same. I entered 110 grains bullet, .243 diameter and velocity 2700 fps at impact and got a HIT value of 790 making it a medium game deer cartridge or smaller.

On the other hand with the 6.5 Creedmoor at 129 grains and Impact at 2700 fps it puts me into large game for 100 yard impact velocities with very similar low recoil. Further, that the sectional density SD of the .243 Winchester is .242 or less and does not have enough weight for its diameter to “reliably” penetrate sufficiently on larger game such as elk.

I tested rifles with 6.5 Creedmoor and found them easy to shoot and low recoil yet todays bullet advances make it ideal for both target and hunting with the 140 to 143 grain bullet on big game above deer. But I still consider it for thin skinned game like elk and big black bear and close-up, under 100 yards for big moose broadside only. Where it shines is long range! With an extremely low drag bullet it is fantastic for energy retention. I own a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor and simply love its accuracy and low recoil yet can take a broadside moose in the right hands with good shot placement. Accordingly, I sold my .243 Winchester.

See the Chuck Hawks website below on Sectional Density

In the case of the 6.5 Creedmoor the SD is .287 with a 140 grain bullet providing ample penetration for its weight vs diameter on CXP 3 size game and the 143 grain Hornady ELD-X nearly places it in the Winchester CXP-4 category.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was created for Target and beats the .308 round in long range competition but with Low Drag Ammo the 6.5 Creedmoor shines in Long Range Hunting for Big Game like Elk and African Plains Game like Kudu and game under the Eland.

Recommended Energies for Moose are 2500 ft-lbs but that hasn’t stopped the .270 and 30-06 hunters from using these rifle cartridges on Moose at over 100 yards and believe the 6.5 Creedmoor will kill moose cleanly at 100 yards or less with a well placed broadside shot.

There is one attribute that Jack O’Connor, a great hunting mentor,  would be greatly pleased with, and that is low recoil, thus allowing for very accurate bullet placement. This he discussed this incessantly in regard to the .270 Winchester with 130 grain bullets.

In conclusion the .243 Winchester’s recoil as compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor is a little less but so is its limit on game hunted. Thus I predict over time the 6.5 Creedmoor which is supremely accurate and delivers CXP3 energy and high SD for deep penetration will overtake the .243 in future sales but will not erase the  millions of rifles chambered in 243 Winchester for CXP2 or less size game.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.




Highlight- The Remington 783 Rifle comes with a Scope for How Much?

Since 2013 the Remington Model 783 has come down in price and includes a 3-9x40mm Scope ready to shoot. Price – around $340.00 to $400.00 with scope. Can you say Wow! Just several years back you’d pay $800.00 to $1000 or more for the Rifle alone…And for a bit more it comes in Camo too!

I have not shot this rifle but coming from Remington you should have great aspirations for at least 1 MOA or better if you hand load. It has so many features that I get dizzy reading about them all for that price! A new hunter has only to buy his ammo and head to the range! An exceptional value for a budget conscious hunter! Read more at the Remington site below.

Adjustable Trigger

Great Recoil Reduction 54% Super Cell

Dual Pillar Bedding

Free Float Barrel

Cartridges – Just about anything up to 300 Winchester Magnum.



Russian Boar Forensic Lung and Heart of Nosler E-Tip 30-06 168 grain

This video is a Forensic exam ( I use that term loosely)  as I recorded on video, demonstrates for the hunter first and foremost that the  Nosler E- Tip was devastating on this 350 pound Russian Boars lungs and heart.  Second that hitting the heart for me was a testament to study of wild boar anatomy before the hunt as I wrote in articles more than a month ago. As you can see it was a perfect double lung hit with the reward of striking the heart as well making for a fast clean kill.

© 2017


Spring is not far off. NH Rifleman Magazine will be testing and writing soon.

I am beginning to look at new rifles to test. My main objective is accuracy, reliability and affordability. Along with that is to test scopes, spotting scopes, rangefinders and bullets/cartridges and reloading. I also want to look at backpacks this year for those who want a pack to carry your rifle and meat out of the field and forest. And talk about hunts and bucket lists and cooking in the field. Should be great fun!