Toad Hall Rifleshop & ye Yeller Tom Cat
Building Since 1974
Toad Hall Rifleshop and the Yeller Tom Cat Forge are located amid the rolling and fertile fields of central Iowa. We fondly call this part of Iowa, “Corn Patch”. If you’re seeking information on building a muzzleloader, you’ll need to go elsewhere, but if you’re looking for information regarding my Toad Hall Rifleshop style/methods of barrel forging, boring, reaming, and rifling a muzzle loader barrel all by hand and with no electricity what-so-ever, you’ve come to the right place. Now, when it comes to rifling by my instructions and benches….well….
If you have questions, I have answers.
I’ve rifled over 130 barrels on my machines by hand over the years, so I believe I know what side’s up. Who else can say they’ve rifled that many by hand on wooden benches?
I’m long RETIRED from custom muzzle loading rifle building, but still like to mess around with my wooden riflers and boring benches. The site’s focus is now mainly concerned with hand rifling operations. The “how to build’em” websites are a dime a dozen, so find one you think will suit you. This website will be periodically revised and updated in an effort to share my understanding of the arts & mysteries of my style of rifling and it’s related facets. Caveat: I often type in my “Iowegian” dialect….just like I talk! For you folks in Scandinavia, there are a few pages or articles skrevet i Dansk og Norsk.
You’ll find that several of the subjects listed above will have more than one page for you to check out. Go ahead and explore the site. Lots’a copyrighted photos for you to take a look at. Just “click” on any photo to get an enlarged view unless the photo is full size already.. There are some “Big Honkin’ “ pages on this site covering 40 years of my experience, so please be patient if some of the pages load slowly. Often there are more photos & videos per page than what the program recommends. BUT….the wait will be worth it. The site will be updated on an irregular basis…like when I get around to it, but if the site ain’t working correctly or the articles not helpful, drop me a line and let me know, please. One piece of free advice for you, my personal motto as a gun builder: Be known for the rifles YOU make. Not for copies of dead men’s guns!
—Steve Bookout, Master of the shop
“In a few more decades all the mountain rifle smiths will have passed on to the better world, and they will be only a memory like the pioneer, the buffalo and passenger pigeon, and the world will have lost more of the old-time geniuses.” Capt. Ned Roberts
Last Updated: 7 July, 2014
The Toad Hall News
Been doin’ a lot of therapy since the ol’ ticker decided to let me know who was boss. There’s been a lot of improvement internally and a buncha weight has been lost. That tread mill an’ me are real good friends, but now I know exactly what a hamster feels like running around on his wheel…….
The following are sent by George “The Flintlock Man” Morrison. George is a good friend and builds some fine rifle-guns. He also had guts enough to come to Iowa and weld up a barrel or two with a bunch of other yayhoos from around the nation….and we definitely had a good time. He has his own shop up in New Hampshire, gives talks on early American firearms and how to build them. I’d give you a link to his web site, but he is between web providers at the moment, so it’ll have to wait a bit. The photos are of him, his business card and a rifle he based off my Durty Nelly. I admit that the stripe pattern in it’s stock is pretty bold, but I do like it! Check out his powder horn! Drop him an email if you might be interested in his offerings and tell’im Bookie sent you. Enjoy.
Bookie’s been thinkin’ again…….Hmmmmm. Never trust a gunsmith that has an uncluttered or a clean shop. Seems almost like some kind of blasphemy, don’t it?
The rifling FAQs are still being answered and posted. If you’re building one of my rifling benches, read through them and see if you can pick up a couple of pointers.