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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 3

Wilson's Bench Gun

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Jerome Wilson, a master machinist and one of the craftsmen left in our society, has built black-powder rifles since 1943.

QUESTION: Tell me about the bench gun that you've built.

ANSWER: This .54 caliber bench gun weighs 52 pounds. The gun has a false muzzle used in loading that you remove when you're ready to shoot. This false muzzle allows you to shoot a bullet about four or five times larger than the gun has been designed to shoot. Although the gun shoots a round ball, the lead looks more like a watermelon than a round ball by the time you get it loaded. Since the ball fits the rifling perfectly, the gun shoots more accurately.

QUESTION: At what range do you hold bench gun matches?

ANSWER: We hold most matches at 100 yards, but you can go up to 200 yards.

click to enlargeQUESTION: With what do you load this gun?

ANSWER: I use 140 grains of 2F powder, about two tablespoons full, and a round lead ball.

QUESTION: How accurately do these rifles shoot?

ANSWER: A good shooter can hit a 50-cent piece at 100 yards almost every time he shoots.

click to enlargeTalk 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.

Tomorrow: Wilson's Gorilla Gun


Entry 1 -Jerome Wilson's Tennessee Long Rifle
Entry 2 -Wilson's Schuetzen Rifle
Entry 3 -Wilson's Bench Gun
Entry 4 -Wilson's Gorilla Gun
Entry 5 -The Second Love of Wilson's Life - The Carolina Po' Boy Muzzleloaders Club

Night Hawk Stories