Traditions Firearms manufactures an assortment of traditional fully assembled muzzle-loading rifles. Along with these firearms, Traditions also produces muzzle-loading rifle kits, which are assembled by the consumer. Assembling a muzzle-loader from a kit is considered to be a pastime for some, and can also give the owner the pride of having put together his very own hunting rifle. The Kentucky rifle kit, or "Deerhunting" rifle kit, is one of Traditions' most timeless products and comes either fully assembled or in a do-it-yourself kit.
Measure 4.5 inches from the rifle butt, on the underside of the stock. Mark the measurement with a pencil.
Drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the sling swivel screw at your mark. Only drill three quarters deep of sling swivel screw length. Screw the sling swivel into the stock.
Place the stock wedge plates into their recessed grooves on both sides of the stock fore-end. Mark the screw holes with a pencil. Drill a pilot hole for the wedge plate screws slightly smaller than the screw diameter. Screw in the wedge plates with a screwdriver.
Attach the ramrod thimble/rib sling swivel assembly to the underside of the barrel. The screw holes are pre-fitted under the barrel, near the muzzle end. Screw in the two thimble/barrel rib screws.
Attach the tang to the breech hook at the barrel rear. This will require moderate force to join the two parts. File the tang or breech hook surface with a fine metal file only if needed to acquire a snug fit.
Coat the nipple and barrel bolster threads with lubricant. Screw in the nipple and barrel bolster clean-out screw into the barrel bolster (rear of the barrel). Tap the barrel tenon into the dovetail groove using a rubber mallet. Ensure the tenon slope is facing the muzzle. If the dovetail is too tight to fit the tenon, cautiously file the dovetail edges until the tenon fits snug. If the tenon is too loose in the dovetail, indent the dovetail base surface using a hammer and punch, just enough to raise the area around the punch indentation.
Attach the rear sight base to the barrel by lining up the sight base with the provided screw holes on the barrel. Screw in the rear sight base screws. Ensure that the sight base incline is sloping upward toward the muzzle end.
Tap in the front sight into the dovetail cut on the muzzle end of the barrel. Follow the same techniques as used to fit the barrel tenon.
Fit the lock into its pre-formed cutout on the side of the stock.
Fit the ramrod retaining spring into the stock. Ensure that the loophole end of the spring is facing toward the muzzle and the curve side is positioned downward toward the ramrod channel.
Place the front lock plate screw and washer through the pre-cut hole in the stock. Position the washer first, then the screw. Pass the screw and washer through the loophole in the ramrod retaining spring. Fit the screw into its hole in the lock plate. Repeat for the second lock-plate screw and washer. If the holes do not adequately fit the screws or aren't aligned properly, widen the holes with a round file until they fit flush with the lock plate. File off any part of the screw that may interfere with the lock mechanism or hammer, or if it protrudes past the lock plate.
Barrel and Trigger Assembly to Stock
Turn the tang screw in and out of its hole in the trigger several times. This will burnish the threading and ensure that the tang screw turns smoothly in its hole. Test to ensure that the trigger moves smoothly within the trigger guard. If the trigger doesn't perform a fluid motion, slide it back and forth or push it back and forth sideways to free up any catching or binding.
Slide in the wedge. Test to ensure that the wedge moves freely from the right side of the stock and exits the preformed cutout on the other side. Remove any wood or metal using a chisel or file for a perfect fit. Remove the wedge.
Position the trigger guard assembly into its pre-cut inlet on the stock. Chisel or file wood as necessary for a snug fit ensuring that the trigger guard's top bar doesn't contact any wood.
Place the hammer in the half-cock position. Fit the barrel into the stock, ensuring that the barrel bolster is centered into its cutout in the lock plate. Ensure that the lock plate is tight against the barrel.
Insert the tang screw into the tang screw-hole. Push the tang screw through the stock and into its hole on the trigger assembly. Do not tighten the screw. Push the wedge through the right side of the stock and ensure that it engages the barrel tenon before exiting the other side. Tighten the tang screw. Check to ensure that the hammer is positioned so it will fall squarely onto the nipple. If the hammer cannot squarely strike the nipple, chisel or file wood away from the lock recess bottom until the lock is flush with the barrel.
Items you will need
- Rubber mallet
- The Traditions Kentucky rifle stock can also be stained and finished if you prefer. Note that you should remove or tape over metal parts before staining or finishing the wood. You can also rough the metal parts by filing them with fine sandpaper or steel wool, or you can blue the parts.
- Never attempt maintenance on a loaded firearm.
- Ensure that the muzzle-loader works properly and all parts are fit together adequately prior to test firing the weapon. Several modifications may need to be made along the way to ensure that all parts fit together and perform in unison.
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