Gotta Haves – Part 6

A real, honest to goodness, muzzleloading rifle. I’m not talking about one of those modern abominations called in-lines. I’ve used them and they are fun but there is nothing like a real, traditional muzzleloader.

Mine is called Merlin – every gun needs a name – because it has the uncanny ability to make up for my bad shooting. I’ve taken squirrel, raccoon and deer with it and even used it to win the West Virginia Off-Hand State Championship.

It was built by my cousin, friend and hunting partner Johnny Walker who has used his rifles to win more WV Off-Hand State Championships than anyone else. He makes them the same way his ancestors built the Carper rifle with files and a chisel. He even rifles his own barrels and will antique them so they look like they were carried by Simon Kenton or Lewis Wetzel. I’d tell you how to contact Walker but if he don’t like you he won’t build you a rifle – no matter how much cash you have in your pocket or how pretty your girl friend is.


About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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