Friday, July 24, 2009

Through the Looking Glass, and out the other side

Yesterday, I posted about what I was doing trying to replace the old cotton twine that was the strap for the old family powder horn. Well, tons of you (OK, four of you) left comments with links to sites historical, and to sites catering to re-enactors. Straps (excuse me: lanyards) galore!

And what did I find was the most popular? Rawhide - exactly the stuff I bought. And so, a braided strap lanyard for the powder horn.

I know that my daddy put the old cotton twine on it these sixty years ago, but even he said it looked bad. This has the feel for what a mid-nineteenth century hunter might have had. And now the horn proudly takes its place on the wall Chez Borepatch.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. This was all much simpler than I feared it would be!

UPDATE 24 July 2009 17:58: Fixed a (inadvertently) funny typo. Thanks, Scotaku!

UPDATE 25 July 2009 13:37: Welcome visitors from MArooned! Thanks, Jay - it's quite an honor to be referenced as "gun pr0n" by you! To new visitors, the story of the rifle is here.


scotaku said...

"three feet of brain..."

I'm not mocking you, it's just funny. I snorted half of my snifter.

Buck said...

looks good. Family history on the wall is always a good thing. The young ones (not yours but others) may not care at the time. But it seems they remember later in life.

Paladin said...

That completely rocks!

Albert A Rasch said...


And I might ad that the vignette gives one an ephemeral window into the past. You have to kinda squint your eyes a little and the history surrounds you!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Outfitters Chronicles: J Scott Croner Part I
Hunting Trophy

jes said...

Hope I don't bust your bubble, but that don't look like rawhide to me...looks like thin, strip cut latigo leather...
Rawhide is untanned leather, and it is great for reins, straps and the like, but what "they" sell for rawhide these days, isn't...But, you can make your own real easy! And deer hides are easy to come by, usually given away. Just soak the hide in wood ashes, until the hair "slips", then wash and tack dry....that's all there is to it! Then get it wet to work with, and braid, then oil slightly with anything from neetsfoot to bearfat, and you've got the original way it was done.

Enjoy your column, especially on guns and computers..

Borepatch said...


But ... but ... the label said "Rawhide".

You're right, of course. I like your suggestion, not least because it gives me a real reason to think about finally going deer hunting.

Jay G said...


wolfwalker said...

Just out of curiosity, Borepatch, do you have any idea whether this musket is still shootable?

Borepatch said...

Thanks, Jay. I'm planning to bring it to the Blogshoot.

Wolfwalker, I'd expect so. Near as I can tell, it hasn't been shot since the 1880s or 1890s (there's no powder at all in the horn). Family lore has it that there's a ball stuck in the barrel, but I haven't checked.

I'd want someone who knew what they were doing to look it over first, but I'd think it's shootable.

wolfwalker said...

Just followed the link back to the "family history" post. Ohhhh, so it's _that_ rifle.

However, I admit to confusion. The percussion-cap firing mechanism points to the mid-1800s as the rifle's vintage. By that time, most rifle ammunition came as paper cartridges. But I thought powderhorns belonged to a much older vintage of firearm, namely the 'Brown Bess' style prevalent in Revolutionary War days, for which you measured the powder charge by hand and poured it directly down the barrel. Am I wrong about that? Why would a rifle made in the era of the paper cartridge have an accompanying powderhorn?

I wonder if what you have is a flintlock rifle that was modified for percussion-cap use in the 1840s or 1850s, and the powderhorn dates back to when it was still a flintlock and you measured and loaded each round by hand.

Borepatch said...

Wolfwalker, I can only speculate that the powder horn was perhaps even older. It was always with the rifle, certainly over the last 50 years or so.

If you cast your own bullets, perhaps it would be less expensive to use a powder horn, rather than paper cartridges? As I said, my family didn't come from money.

But this is total speculation on my part.

Old NFO said...

Nice little display! Just remember to clean and oil it occasionally!