The Martin's Station Rifle Project


     The Friends of Wilderness Road State Park commissioned craftsmen Richard Sullivan, Mike Miller, and Martin Station's own Andy Thomas to craft and build an authentic Virginia longrifle.   The project took place at Historic Martin’s Station, over an 18 month period.  Work was performed in the gunsmith’s shop and the blacksmith’s shop at the Station, dressed in period-correct clothing, and using the same tools and techniques as the original settlers used when building a colonial longrifle.  During the building process, events were scheduled, designed to attract visitors from around the country.  The project and the site was open for interpretation to educators, students of frontier history, re-enactors, and, of course, park visitors during crafting period.  Upon completion of the project, the longrifle was awarded to the lucky ticket holder whose name was drawn during a special celebration at the Raid at Martin's Station in May 2012, with the proceeds to benefit the Friends of Wilderness Road, a support group for the Park.


Meet the Master Gunmakers of the Martin's Station Rifle Project


Mike Miller and Andy Thomas                                             Richard Sullivan

The Gunsmith Shop


Malcolm Knight of Chesapeake, VA

winner of the Martin's Station rifle! (Accepted by his wife).


Joseph Martin of Arizona

winner of the Shot Bag, Knife and Powder Horn!



Progression of the Rifle

 Forging the Barrel - May 7-9, 2010


Richard Sullivan and Jason Lannon forging the barrel during 2010 Raid.                                 Rough-forged barrel.


Rough-forged barrel different angle.

Casting Trigger Guard - August 15, 2010


Heating the crucible in forge.                                                                                    Pouring the brass into the flask.


View of trigger guard after separating the flask.                                         Authentic sand-cast trigger guard.


Trigger guard from different angle.                                                                          Trigger guard and butt plate rough filed.

Casting Butt Plate - August 27, 2010


Setting the master mold.                                                                                         Packing the sand into the flask.


Melting the brass in the crucible.


Cleaning the crucible after the pour.                                                                        Scraping away the sand.


Authentic sand-cast butt plate.                                                                           Trigger guard and butt plate rough filed.

Making Screws - September 12, 2010


Filing the taper into the screw.                                                                                               Checking diameter size.


Finish filing before threading.                                                                                               Swaging the screw head.


Marking the threads.                                                                                                     Cutting the threads.

Finished screws.


Reaming the Barrel - Oct. 21-24, 2010

at Colonial Williamsburg


Richard Sullivan setting up reaming machine.                                                 Beginning the reaming process.

Ryan turning reaming wheel.


         Richard Sullivan firing the forge.                                                                                First bit used during the reaming process.

Passing first bit through the barrel.

Completed Barrel


 Inletting the Barrel Channel 


                                                                              Tools used to inlet barrel channel.



Working on the Ramrod Pipe and Trigger

Peening the ears of ramrod pipe.                                                                                     Rolling pipe around madrel.

Ramrod pipes rough shaped.                                                                                                    Forging the trigger.

Finished trigger.


Forging Lock Bolts


Rough shaping the lock bolt.                                                                                          Andy Thomas' unique bolt vice.


More rough shaping of lock bolt.                                                                                      Final filing of lock bolt.


 Swaging lock bolt head.                                                                           Shaving lock bolt head.


Threading bolt.                                                                                                                      Finished lock bolt.

Forged Lock Parts

Marking the lock plate.                                                                                          Mike Miller's rough forged lock parts.

Finished Lock




 Cast sheet brass.                                                                                                 Cutting the patchbox hinge.


Drilling the pin holes.                                                                                                      Shaping the patchbox lid.


 Using the brass from the steam holes for pins.                                      Patchbox pinned and hinged.


Forging the patchbox catch spring.                                                                                     Catch spring rough filed.

         Catch spring read to fit to stock.


Inletting the Lock


Inletting the Butt Plate

Readying the Barrel

Inletting the Trigger and Sideplate

Rough-Shaped Breech Stock


Carving the Tang, Wrist and Toes Area

Inletting the Patchbox


Forming the Nose Plate


Installing the Thumbpiece

Ramrod and Tailpiece

Staining the Rifle

Finishing up the rifle!



The Martin's Station rifle project was conducted by the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park.