Fun & Games

Trivia Games


Contact Us




Night Hawk Stories... Entry 6

Wilson's History of Gunmaking

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Jerome Wilson, a master machinist and one of the last real craftsmen left in our society, has built black-powder rifles since 1943. Wilson handcrafts all of his weapons, even making his own screws and springs. More important than the time Wilson spends in building a rifle or any other piece of machinery, is the attention to quality he puts into whatever project he starts. He invests time and money into building a gun or a cannon by finding the right barrel, going through stacks of lumber to find just the right curly maple for the stock and completing the tedious task of making each individual screw and spring. Wilson doesn't stop with building a highly accurate black-powder weapon. He also wants his guns to have style and beauty. He demonstrates this in the engraving and silver decorations that he carefully cuts and embeds in his stocks. Although Wilson doesn't sell his rifles, they stay in high demand because of the loving care and intricate woodwork and metalwork put into each one.

Question: How long have you made black-powder rifles and cannons?
Answer: I made my first one in 1943.

Question: And how many rifles have you built?
Answer: Somewhere between 28 and 30.

Question: How many man-hours do you put into each one?
Answer: On average, each rifle takes about 400 hours.

Question: If you wanted to sell one of your guns, what would it cost?
Answer: I guess the starting price would be around $2,500, but I would probably sell them for more than that.

Question: Why don't you sell your guns?
Answer: Well, I just never cared to sell one of my guns. I have so many hours invested in building one of these black-powder rifles that I just never considered selling one.

Question: Tell me about one of your most-prized possessions.
Answer: One of my most-treasured possessions is a lock that was engraved by Linton McKenzie, who was born and raised in Australia. As a young man, McKenzie engraved for Purdy and Boss in London. He did some of the finest engraving on guns that the world has ever seen. Although I've never put this lock on a rifle, I certainly think and dream of the gun that will one day hold this lock. Question: What do you most-enjoy about your black-powder gun work? Answer: I'm the cheapest gunsmith in America, and I like it all. I repair, fix and customize black-powder guns for my friends, neighbors and members of my black-powder shooting club.

Second only to my love for my wife, Mildred, is my love for black-powder guns and cannons and the sport of black-powder shooting. I'm convinced that the old way of building guns is still the best way to obtain accuracy.

Talk to Wilson about old rifles and how he handcrafts them by contacting him at 812 Water Street, Allendale, South Carolina 29810, or calling 803-584-3163.

To learn more about CVA's quality black-powder weapons and hunting accessories, call (770) 449-4687; e-mail cva@info.com; or, see the CVA catalogue online.

Tomorrow: Wilson's Cannon


Entry 06 -Wilson's History of Gunmaking
Entry 07 -Wilson's Cannon
Entry 08 -Where Wilson Got His 75-millimeter Cannon
Entry 09 -Other Guns Wilson Has Built
Entry 10 -Wilson's Labor of Love

Night Hawk Stories