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Author Topic: How old is your horn?  (Read 5219 times)

Offline LongWalker

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How old is your horn?
« on: May 07, 2023, 10:56:04 AM »
I've been doing some digging through my notes and saved pictures (more on that later), and got to wondering, how old is your most-used horn? 

I can remember as a kid (early '80s) seeing folks who had horns that seemed "old" to me, with scrimm'd dates going back to the '60s.  Once in a while I'd see someone carrying an original, but we seldom knew how old those were due to lack of dates. 

The horn I carry most-often now was made when I got shanghai'd into running a seminar on horn-making at one of the rendezvous back in '89 I think.  No one was really set up for it, so we made horns using the tools we had with us.  IIRC, the original iteration of this horn was made using a knife (to shorten and scrape the horn), a hatchet (to split and rough-shape the plug), a canoe awl and a moc awl (to drill the spout and for nails to hold the plug), and a 3-square file I had for some reason.  I might have used the drawknife from my repair kit too, don't recall.  The awls were pounded through a split of wood and used as a compass to scribe some of the carving on the horn, finished up with my penknife. 

Around 2010, the horn (and my musket) spent some time under water after a canoe wreck--maybe a week or so.  Musket was OK, but the plug in the horn has absorbed enough water it split.  I turned a new plug from some quartersawn pine, and made some other minor repairs. 

So my horn is roughly 33-34 years old, older than the "old" horns I admired as a kid.  How old is your horn?

Online Bigsmoke

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2023, 12:43:35 PM »
Good question, Long Walker.  I hope it will draw a lot of comments.  Hopefully, there will be some great stories.
My oldest, personally used horn was obtained somewhere in the early 1970's.  For many years it was my only powder horn.  It was made by a fellow in the club that I belonged to.  It was a small, plain, basic horn, with no frills or fancy stuff about it.  Somewhere in the early 1980's, I decided it needed a valve instead of a stopper so I drilled the nose out and promptly cracked it.  I epoxied the crack and it has held up ever since.  However, I probably haven't used this horn since maybe 1984 or 85.



Currently, my most used horn is maybe 10 years old.  When I opened a bag of horns to select what I was going to work with next, I noticed this one horn that stood out from the rest.  I decided this was going to be my main horn and put it away while I decided what to do with it.  That took me a couple of years.  One day I was caught up with orders and I remembered the horn needed to be paid attention to.  So, I got it out and started the basic work, cutting the tip and drilling it, squaring up the baseplug, etc.  Then I put it back away as I had another order that came in.  Finally that order was done and I was faced with finishing up the horn.  By then, I had an idea what I wanted to do with it, and I finished it up.  I am pleased with it and believe this will be my forever horn.



I probably have over 50 powder horns in my collection, some plain, some scrimshawed, some banded, a screw tip and some applied tips, but this is the one I use and the one I like the best.

John (Bigsmoke)
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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2023, 02:27:44 PM »
That's kind of a personal question isn't it? OH! you mean powder horn!, guess I've been wearing this old buff horn for 27 years now, if I only new a guy who made powder horns I might have a new one soon
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Offline LongWalker

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2023, 06:04:08 PM »
What really got me wondering was the thought that I've made ~350 horns.  Bigsmoke has made. . . what, 3-4 railcar loads?  Even if half of us make one horn a year, that's a lot of horns! 

What happens to them all?  I know I've pitched a few over the years, and folks have passed on and their horns become heirlooms, and once in a while if you're lucky you may see one of the horns you made being offered for sale as an original by someone who should know better--but where are the rest? 

Enquiring minds and all that. . . . .

Offline PetahW

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2023, 07:55:45 PM »

What really got me wondering was the thought that I've made ~350 horns.  Bigsmoke has made. . . what, 3-4 railcar loads? 

Even if half of us make one horn a year, that's a lot of horns! 

What happens to them all ?   . .


My powder & and drinking horns all adorn my dining room when not afield    :toast




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Online BEAVERMAN

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2023, 01:34:23 AM »
What really got me wondering was the thought that I've made ~350 horns.  Bigsmoke has made. . . what, 3-4 railcar loads?  Even if half of us make one horn a year, that's a lot of horns! 

What happens to them all?  I know I've pitched a few over the years, and folks have passed on and their horns become heirlooms, and once in a while if you're lucky you may see one of the horns you made being offered for sale as an original by someone who should know better--but where are the rest? 

Enquiring minds and all that. . . . .

Well LW I've probably made at least 75 horns and like you I occasionally see one or two that are not owned by our club members at a Rondy and have not given it much thought about where they are, darn you... now you go me wondering about them and the 145 bags that I've made over the years!
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Online Bigsmoke

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2023, 11:17:27 AM »
You know, I have had the same wonderment (?).
Over the years, I have attended shoots all over the US and it is rare to see one of my horns.
Best guess is that they have become wall hangers and never see the light of day.
I have been to Friendship multiple times and did I ever see one there?  You would think that would be a good place to see one.  And I have been to more than a few national rendezvous - same story.
I would hate to think that they all became doggy chew toys.
Strangely enough, I have no idea at all of how many shooting bags we made over the years, but I have rarely seen any of those, either.
John (Bigsmoke)
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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2023, 11:34:26 AM »
You know, I have had the same wonderment (?).
Over the years, I have attended shoots all over the US and it is rare to see one of my horns.
Best guess is that they have become wall hangers and never see the light of day.
I have been to Friendship multiple times and did I ever see one there?  You would think that would be a good place to see one.  And I have been to more than a few national rendezvous - same story.
I would hate to think that they all became doggy chew toys.
Strangely enough, I have no idea at all of how many shooting bags we made over the years, but I have rarely seen any of those, either.
John (Bigsmoke)

Well John I still wear an October Country bag that I inherited from the wife of one of the gents who started our club back in the 70's, got the bag from her in 1998, every time I make a bag for myself and wear it to a rondy or 2 , someone wants to but it ! I give them a stupid number so they leave me alone and it never fails I never go home with the bag, not bragging... just saying, so I guess I'm destined to shoot out of this old bag forever, which buy the way has served me very well!
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Online Bigsmoke

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2023, 12:51:24 PM »
Thank you Jim. 
That same thing has happened to me.  Go to an event and someone will see my bag and just have to have it.  Finally, I just quit personalizing them and that problem slowed down.
That old OC bag you have will undoubtedly last you for the rest of your life.  And then some.  I remember once back at Friendship a fellow came up to our booth and showed me his OC bag.  I don't know where he had taken it, but every bit of the "new" had been worn off of it, but it was still strong as the day it was made.  Amazing.  Ol' Mort Fadum had some good designs and we expanded off of them.  The same with powder horns.
And so it goes.
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Offline Ohio Joe

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2023, 08:56:27 PM »
Well lets see... If I'm recalling correctly, up to 1979 I was using a large powder flask - then I purchased my first horn which I still use today (and other horns as well that I made). So, I guess 41 years old is my oldest.  :)
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Offline Winter Hawk

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2023, 08:00:47 PM »
I bought my horn in 1987 when I had built a CVA mountain rifle from a kit I bought off of one of those places which buy up inventory from businesses which are shutting down.  There was a shop in Springfield, Oregon I used to stop in every so often to chat with Joe, and he had some cheap, made in Mexico horns for sale.  Me being somewhat frugal, I got one of them; then later I bought and installed a brass spout and base plug from Dixie.  It is still what I use, along with a purse I bought as a kit from Tandy in Portland which is my shooting bag.  I have been given several horns over the years but they always seem to end up given away, filled with powder of course.  One in particular was really nice but a friend had had a bad time with an orange sized growth in his skull and it went to him, along with a T-C Hawken to help his recovery.
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Offline No Powder

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2023, 09:55:02 PM »
Kees, that was a very nice gesture.


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Offline Winter Hawk

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2023, 04:40:31 PM »
Thank you.  I try to be nice, if only to cover sins of the past!   :lol sign

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Offline KDubs

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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2023, 08:58:30 AM »
Thank you.  I try to be nice, if only to cover sins of the past!   :lol sign
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Woah woah woah , stop the clock ! that works ?
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 RobD gave me my first horn, I have no idea how old that is.
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Re: How old is your horn?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2023, 10:17:43 AM »
I bought my horn in 1987 when I had built a CVA mountain rifle from a kit I bought off of one of those places which buy up inventory from businesses which are shutting down.  There was a shop in Springfield, Oregon I used to stop in every so often to chat with Joe, and he had some cheap, made in Mexico horns for sale.  Me being somewhat frugal, I got one of them; then later I bought and installed a brass spout and base plug from Dixie.  It is still what I use, along with a purse I bought as a kit from Tandy in Portland which is my shooting bag.  I have been given several horns over the years but they always seem to end up given away, filled with powder of course.  One in particular was really nice but a friend had had a bad time with an orange sized growth in his skull and it went to him, along with a T-C Hawken to help his recovery.

Kees, not sue if you know but Joe from the Gun Works passed about 4 years ago, his wife Suzie is still running the shop
Jim Smith
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