My name is Chris Hirsch and I was born in Houston, TX in 1953. I bought my first antique gun when I was 14 and still have the little Buffalo Bill .22 caliber revolver. I bought my first muzzleloader a year later (a $19 Rossi Trade Musket). The next year I built my first longrifle and began shooting in local competitions with the San Jacinto Muzzleloaders. I went on to serve as president of that club for many years. I began a three year stint as a musician on the road in the mid 1970s, at the same time began building longrifles for a company in Texas. In 1978 I quit 'the road' and settled down in Houston. I asked myself, 'what would I be doing if I was retired'...building rifles and performing locally was my answer. I've been doing that ever since. I built over 175 muzzle loading guns including a longrifle that I presented to president Ronald Reagan, in the Oval Office. In the early 1990s I shifted my work to restoration of antique firearms but always loved and collected original American longrifles. The proper parts for restoration had always been difficult or impossible to find so I decided to start reproducing original parts using the 'lost wax' method. After starting this endeavor, I decided to expand to offer other gun restorers my castings, thus the creation of this parts business. I owe so much to my friend, Jess Melot of The Rifle Shoppe. He was so very kind to answer all of my questions about mold making. The Rifle Shoppe is the largest producer of quality castings for the restorer and builder. My goal is to compliment their business with additional offerings and in no way be in competition.
I am a one person shop. I do it all. I will do the best, that one person can do, to ship parts on a timely basis. I personally inspect and clean up each wax before sending it to the foundry. 'Lost wax' casting is an amazing art but it, like me, is not perfect. There is a shrinkage of about 2 - 3% with the final casting. This only matters when reproducing interchangeable parts. In that case, a new, slightly oversized master is made to compensate for the shrinkage. Otherwise all casting are derived from the original, antique parts (unless otherwise noted). Some of the antique locks that I reproduce will show wear and minor pitting. In some cases this is preferred for restoration work. This will be noted in the description of the part. The early lock builders were not perfect, especially those that manufactured trade locks. They were fully functional but not as refined as the top of the line locks. The castings can be assembled to make a functional, reliable locks, depending on your abilities.