Lorenz Update, Exhibit, Websites & Bullet Molds

Last year I advised you of the impending appearance of a reproduction Model 1854 Austrian Lorenz kit. Greg Edington, father of the Lorenz project, has advised me periodically of its status, and I'd like to pass that information on to you, although by the time you read it you will, hopefully, be able to purchase a kit directly from Mr. Edington.

As of early May, as I write these words, Greg's barrel blanks were in the process of being machined, and he was waiting for delivery from the foundry of some additional parts, including hammers, front and rear sights and breech plugs, not available from the Rifle Shoppe. He still hoped to have a completed rifle in time to submit to the N-SSA Small Arms Committee for approval at the Spring Nationals. If everything goes according to schedule, kits will be ready to ship sometime in June.

This has been a complex and challenging project for Greg, as many Austrian records were lost in World War II. There were no original drawings or sealed pattern guns to go by, and official documentation of any kind was spotty. In addition, the basic Lorenz pattern gun was manufactured by a number of different makers and original guns do not feature interchangeable parts.

What made things even more of a measurement mess was that, to Greg's surprise, the Austrians did not adopt the metric system until well after our Civil War. He discovered that that surviving Lorenz technical information involving ranges and sight settings referred to measurements "in terms of paces, feet, leines, punkts, etc." Fortunately, an old dictionary helped him convert these esoteric calculations into modern ones.

Determining physical dimensions of existing Lorenzes to come to a consensus on part size was equally frustrating. No two barrels were the same, and Greg reports that "breeches were running anywhere from 1.21 to 1.12 at there rear across the diagonals on the octagon. A couple hundredths variance at the front of the muzzle is not uncommon either."

The Lorenz kit is progressing, however, and it will soon become a reality. In the meantime, Greg is filling some parts orders for original guns. Of course the parts have to be hand fitted. You can contact him at Edington@CFAnet.com.

The National Rifle Association has announced that its new National Firearms Museum (NFM) will open on June 1, 1998. Hours of operation at the museum, which is located in Fairfax, Virginia, right in the heart of Civil War country, will be 10 AM to 4 PM daily excluding major holidays. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged.

From opening day through August 11, 1998, the NFM's Changing Exhibit Gallery will feature "It Never Failed Me -- The Arms of the Remington Arms Company." The exhibit, sponsored by the Remington Society of America, will highlight nearly 60 Remington revolvers and pistols, including "Buffalo Bill" Cody's personal cap and ball handgun and a pair of engraved, ivory gripped New Model Armies made for Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The exhibit takes it title from Cody's testimonial to his personal Remington sixgun.

The number of world wide web sites connected with the Civil War and muzzle loading shooting grows steadily. There is, of course, Tom Kelley's civilwarguns.com, where you will be able to read all of Tom's old Civil War News columns and many of mine (My record keeping is sloppier than Tom's!) as well as articles by Skirmish Line contributor Tony Beck.

Tom provides a number of links to other Civil War and shooting sites, including the valuable Blackpowder Shooter's Resource Guide, from which I linked to the Muzzle Loading Mailing List (MLML) site at http://www.aye.net/~bspen/index.html.

The MLML home page, run by Bob Spencer, provides a mine of information for muzzle loading shooters, particularly those of the flintlock persuasion. Bob's mailing list is superb as well, featuring a large number of knowledgeable shooters and gunbuilders willing to help out anyone with a shooting problem. If you're an on-line muzzle loading shooter who doesn't mind getting a lot of email, try out the MLML! You can learn a lot by simply "lurking" and reading the posts every day.

I have already met some interesting people and gained a number of new insights and valuable information from participating in the MLML list. Jan Hamier, a Canadian black powder shooter, advised me of a dealer in France, Le Hussard, who specializes in minie and round ball bullet molds for those hard to fit original European muskets.

Le Hussard molds are available in metric sizes ranging from 17.8 mm through 18.2 mm -- and they take credit cards! I would guess that ordering in French would be the best bet, but Jan believes they could "decipher" English as well. The address is: Monsieur Eric Fleischel, Le Hussard SA, BP 69, 38353 La Tour du Pin, France. Phone 04 74 97 45 63, FAX 04 74 97 62 88.

On a final note, my own email address is now JGBilby44@aol.com.

1998 by Joe Bilby

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