How to Build a Traditional Kentucky Long Rifle Kit

Updated February 21, 2017

The traditional Kentucky Long Rifle, and many other muzzleloading weapons, are available in kit form. This allows the do-it-yourselfer the challenge of building the gun and producing an aesthetically pleasing piece that can be shot for both hunting and recreational shooting pursuits. The kits vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but all follow a basic process. Always consult and follow manufacturer's instructions when assembling the kit.

Fit the components to the wood stock. While the stock is partially carved the final fitting is left to the builder. Trial fit the components, barrel, lock, trigger etc., and mark with a pencil any wood excess wood. Use files, rasps and sandpaper to remove the excess wood so that all components fit properly. After the components are fitted use sandpaper to smooth the stock. Use progressively smoother sandpaper until the final buffing of the stock is accomplished with steel wool.

Finish the metal components of the gun. Some brass components may require polishing with a buffing wheel and compound. Blue or brown the barrel, depending on your sense of style, using commercial metal finishes available from gun shops or online. The process usually involves degreasing the barrel with an included solvent, heating the barrel and then applying the bluing or browning agent. Most products require multiple applications for a deep and even finish. Apply bluing or browning to other components, such as the lock or ramrod holders, if necessary.

Assemble the gun. Trial fit everything together. If everything fits disassemble the gun and apply the finish to the stock. Use a stain and oil finish or, for a more traditional look, use only gun oil or linseed oil for a finish. Apply multiple applications of oil to reach the colour of stock you desire.

Make the final assembly of the gun. The gun is ready to serve as a nice decorative wall hanger or to be shot as a primitive but effective sporting or hunting weapon.


Inventory the parts when you start the project . Contact the manufacturer if any components are missing.


Fire the first shot by lanyard. Load the gun according to instructions and tie or strap the gun to an old truck tire. Tie a string around the trigger and fire from a safe distance. None of the activities of the builder effect the integrity of the gun barrel but is always best to be safe with a new weapon.

Things You'll Need

  • Kentucky Long Rifle Kit
  • Various files and rasps
  • Various sandpaper grits
  • Browning kit
  • Steel wool
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.