The Saga of
The Jinx Gun


 '

The saga of The Jinx Gun starts many years ago at the long defunct Angel Fire Rendezvous. Trader Bob of Thunder Ridge had an unusual rifle, which he described as a "tack driver". He wanted a stiff, but not astronomical price. I found it interesting and Bob was a reliable source of information. As a result, I soon became the owner of The Jinx Gun.

Although I had been told that the accuracy load was 36 grains, I still needed a lot more info, like ball size and patch thickness. Off to the range, where I was getting good results for seven or eight shots when suddenly I was all over the place. I guessed that I had had enough for the day and went home. While cleaning, I found that the rear sight was broken. It was a flimsy thing. I showed it to various gun shops / gun smiths and no-one had ever seen one like it.

It may be just as well that I could not find a direct replacement. Thunder Ridge had a better one. It was sturdier, gave a longer sight radius and had a choice of peep or open sights. I sent the gun off to a gunsmith to get the sight mounted. At the same time I took care of a fitting/style issue as well. The stock was too short for me and had a modern rubber buttpad. I wanted it to be period correct or, at least, rendezvous acceptable. A used schutzen style butt plate caught my eye, so rifle, sight and plate were handed over to the gunsmith and disappeared to Las Cruces. He did the work in a timely manner, but it did take a while for it to hitchhike home.

When it arrived I was absolutely delighted with the fit and finish of the extension. The gunsmith's aesthetic opinion, wittily phrased, was not suitable for a family publication. Regardless, I have never seen its twin.

Back to the range again. Still not getting the groups that I wanted and expected. Previous experience told me to check that the sight was solid. It was, but this time the front sight was not. To make matters worse, it was solidly attached to the spacer block which was loose! Apparently a previous owner used permanent locktite or similar. We had to drill and EZ-Out the screws to get to the rear block mounting screw. We used locktite again, but the mildest version, just in case.

FINALLY! After a couple of shots on a sandbag to check the elevation adjustment, I got a real try. This is the first target at 50 yards offhand. The Jinx Gun is indeed a tack driver. But that was with the peep sight. At rendezvous only open sights are allowed. When I bought the assembly I ordered an open sight insert but what I got was a standard dovetail and the sight used a narrow dovetail with a hollow for the set screw milled in the base. Thunder Ridge had gone out of business so I called Trader Bob to find out where it came from. He told me that he got them from Mountain State Muzzleloading. I went on the web, but could not find them. Some research found that they had reorganized and were now Cain's Outdoor. It was getting close to rondy season when I called to order the correct part only to find that they had none in stock and the man who made them was ill in the hospital, but they took my phone number and said they'd call if they found one. Much to my surprise someone drove out to his house, the wife took him into the garage where they found one, notified me and had it shipped in time that I could use it that year. All this without charging any special handling. Most muzzleloading dealers are also enthusiasts and helpful but this was service above and beyond.

The next year it was back to the peep sight for YHEC and 4H. I remember thinking as I put it away "I'll have no trouble finding it there". Boy was I wrong, but that comes later. (Three years later in fact, but I found it.) First was the YHEC competition. One of the boys was practicing and gettting consistant tight results during sighting in. The next day he scored a zero. I tried the gun after closing and found it shooting very low. The jinx again! At the time I was working more with my flinter, and just set it aside for the time being. Later, I heard a small thunk when moving the case and the light dawned. The extended sight plate had gotten bent. The fixes were simple. First: Remove the sight, put it on an anvil, hit it a couple times with a copper hammer and remount. Second: Always put it in the case with the sight towards the handle and never ever with the top of the barrel toward the hinges. I am making this a universal rule, not just for this rifle.

And again! My son was doing well at the 4H state shoot when it went off primaturely. Their rules allow an alibi shot if it completely misses the paper, but he nicked the bottom edge. The screws holding the plate over the sear tumbler had shaken lose. Cure: Locktite.

Tech Stuff

  • O/A Length - 47½ inches plus "Schutzen" extensions
  • Weight - 10¼ pounds
  • Lock - Dixie Gun Works
  • Barrel = unmarked
    • Length - 32 inches
    • Caliber - .45
    • Across flats - 15/16 inch
    • Twist - 1 in 64
  • Triggers - Adjustable double set triggers - maker unknown


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