Comments and Queries:

LOST BORE BRUSH? I just had an (almost) serious musket problem which I thought I would share with you and your readers: Whilst cleaning the barrel, I wrapped a scrap of rag HEAVILY around a bore brush to try to get to the face of the breech plug. This usually works if the rag is not too coarse AND the bore brush is undersized enough. The brush itself separated from the threaded portion when I struggled to pull it out. After a lot of work with a wiper (often called a worm), I was able to bring it out. Had that not worked, I have came up with another method that MIGHT succeed: Take a piece of thin-walled pipe a bit longer than the barrel (half inch copper would do), sharpen the edges, and drive it down the barrel with a rotating motion force the lost brush into the pipe, then remove the pipe with brush ensconced inside. The other alternative, unbreeching the barrel, is an unpleasant last resort.

Editor's note: I have had this happen to me as well and found that the OUTERS brand 10/12 shotgun bore brush is far superior to the Hoppe brand. The Hoppe brush is simply crimped into the mounting -- which easily pulls out when extracting the cleaning rod. The Outers brand brush is looped THROUGH the mounting and will not pull out.

Here's another helpful hint for owners of 1768 Charlevilles: The Philippine mahogany stocks that may be found on some of these muskets is not as strong as American Black Walnut. In the past, I had several fractures in the lock, tang, and wrist areas, which I attribute to inherent lack of stock strength to absorb recoil well. One thing that seems to have helped is reinforcing the holes for the two lock screws. I simple drilled the stock holes a little larger and fitted brass liners (parts of discarded auto antenna) which were epoxied in place.

Regards, John White, Avalon Forge

THE LATEST CATALOGS! We are all on a quest for more "stuff" to add to our impressions and there are several folks offering great new selections. Many of you have probably received the new Jas. Townsend & Son catalog (complete with a nifty, full-color, 8-page center insert). Townsend also has a wonderful website you can visit at: Townsend is very good about updating and adding new items to their line, so if you haven't shopped them in a while, check them out.

Bradley of the Fox are also continually updating their product line. They can be found at most NWTA events, or you can order their current catalog by calling them at 414-233-5332. Check out their new watchcoats for cold-weather events.

Also, our friend and regular contributor John White of Avalon Forge has just released a new, nicely illustrated catalog of goods (see ad below). Though not as extensive as some other company's offerings (no clothing, for example), Avalon Forge has some GREAT stuff not to be found elsewhere, including: authentic shovels and spades (see June 1996 and March 1997 issues), wooden tent pegs (see September 1996 issue) and a great selection of personal accessories and woodenware (see June 1997 issue and sidebar at right).

Most items are well-documented and/or sources are listed so you can make intelligent decisions about what you're buying -- what a concept!