My Brown Bess

When I got married in 1981, we took our honeymoon around Lake Superior.  We visited all of the historic sites we could find.  At Fort Michilimackinac, we saw the Great Lakes fur trade first hand and watched a man shoot a Northwest trade gun. Out on Mackinaw Island the next day we toured the military post and saw a soldier shoot a flintlock musket. I was absolutely hooked! I had to have a flintlock.

Shortly after we returned home, I bought a Pedersoli Brown Bess Musket in kit form at the Track of the Wolf store in Osseo, Minnesota. This was about the best I could find at the time. NW guns were few and far between and two to three times the price I paid for the Bess. I hunted with the Bess several times. I used it for deer hunting in 1983 and harvested many small game animals with it including a ruffed grouse on the wing!

I used my Bess for re-enactments and target shooting as well. I became part of a voyager re-enactment group and became a pretty good shot with the Bess.  Soon I cut off about 10 inches of barrel, installed a few tacks and made a woods runner gun out of it.


As my tastes and interests changed I sold or traded off most all of my muzzleloaders.  My Brown Bess was the last one to go.  I remember thinking that I was done with black powder shooting and would probably never need or want a muzzleloader again.  Live and Learn.  I have come full circle and am muzzleloader poor now.  Meaning I have so much money invested in muzzleloading firearms that I am so poor, I can’t even pay attention.

Over the last couple of years, I have done an occasional search for Brown Bess’s on the internet.  Recently, I found a Bess for sale in Minnesota that looked surprisingly like the one I had sold so many years ago.  I contacted the seller and made a purchase.  I don’t know if this is my old Bess, but it sure is close.  I am really enjoying having the old girl back in my arms again.

In November 2016, I took her with me down the Green River in Utah.  I had experimented with some non-toxic shot loads and had her loaded for geese and ducks.  I never did take a shot at game on this trip but enjoyed carrying her through the canyon lands!


I look forward to many another trip and adventure with my old Bess.  She is a good old gal!!!


About Gabe the Shootist

I am retired from public service, a trained gunsmith, pump mechanic, an old pipeliner, passable electrician, carpenter, truck driver, amateur blacksmith, proof reader, experienced hunter, shooter, reloader, avid canoeist, Renaissance man, jack of all trades, all around good guy (with the caveat: I won't be insulted, lied to or laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them.).
This entry was posted in American Mountain Men, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Hunting & Trapping, Shooting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to My Brown Bess

  1. Lee says:

    I’m glad you found your friend again. Flintlocks, to me anyway, have a “soul” that other firearms lack and the more you carry them the more that “soul” becomes part of you.

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