What Was a Colonial Gunsmith?

A Colonial gunsmith was a craftsman in American Colonial times who modified and repaired all the different types of guns and rifles used by the American colonists. These gunsmiths also specialized in the custom production of the American long rifle.

The American craftsman approach was distinct from the European assembly-line technique. In Europe, specialists made gun components at home, with each specialist making only one or two identical parts for delivery to a factory for assembling. While this method eventually migrated to the American colonies, Americans couldn't duplicate it effectively during the Colonial years. Most guns were imported, and Americans relied on gunsmiths to perform necessary repairs and modifications. The long rifle was a special weapon, however. This weapon was highly accurate at ranges up to 200 yards, making it invaluable for fighting and hunting in the American frontier.