Start thee out, in good order, with a smooth or "Rifled" gunn of which will be thy companion throughout thy wanderings.


For your firelock you must carry the accoutrements by which it shall be maintained. I prefer to carry these in a shoulder pouch of light leather. These pouches ( hunting bags are a modern term- which can be confused with the late 18th & 19th century game bag or hunting bag { mostly made of coarse linen fabric use to carry acquired game } ) have also been called rifle pouches, powder pouch and shot pouch. A proper horn of powder on a strap is the mate to the gunn pouch.

A large belt knife and tomahawkn or belt axe reside within the waistbelt or sash. The knife being carried toward the side of the body and the axe as it were, being properly put in the back. The utility of each item should need not explanation, save that they would be indispensable as such in the wilderness.

Additionally one's personal items and victuals reside in a bag with a strap over the shoulder, carried opposite the gunn pouch typically made of coarse linen or canvas which is called a haversac ( some where near the last quarter of the 18thC. the "new invented knapsack" made its appearance , being larger and more rectangular and with capabilities of being carried on the back by two leather straps ) . I carry my items in the haversac, being a carryover from the old war. A water bottle of sorts, being a covered bottle, gourd, wood or metal canteen may be carried to the left and high, near the haversac.

Thee may also carry a full or half blanket rolled up in divers manners as the following; "Carried on the thump", rolled around a large strap that can be placed over the shoulder in which case it sits to the rear of the left side just beyond the haversac. It can also be rolled and attached with straps to the new invented knapsack or draped over the shoulder in the Indian fashion. In this blanket roll one can place additional articles of clothing and utility. I will carry mine in the first manner described with some items cached inside.

I will give some approximate sizes for the above pouches and sacks being that the 18th Century measurements have fallen into disuse by the modern ways of thought. Let us suffice to say that I have not seen more than three gunn pouches being sold that have the proper proportions to original bags. Most bags that I see being sold or carried can be used for transport of ye pachyderm. The gunn pouch of the 18th century was between 6 1/2 to 8 inches square which is tiny by today's standards. The 18th century man carried only the necessaries (to him).* refer to The Kentucky Rifle Hunting Pouch; Madison Grant.

The haversac varied more, ranging from 13 inches to 18 inches wide by 14 inches to 18 inches deep.

18th century powder horns were large, 13 inches or more on the curve. When worn with the pouch they extended beyond each side of the pouch but by the 19th century pouches became a little larger and horns, smaller due to the reduction in bore size of the weapons ( not needing large powder charges). The horns just covered the bag.

Belt knives were large, 8 in. on up. Many had 10 to 14 inch blades.

Now let us get a visual of our traveler. If he were right-handed, we would look at him and see a gunn pouch suspended over the shoulder hanging on his right side along with the powder horn, the gunn pouch being quite small and the powder horn being large, as to be the most prominent of the duo. These items are carried comfortably high up on the side so as to make carrying and running easier. Next we see the haversac, suspended from the shoulder and hanging on the left side of his body and slightly to the rear, again comfortably high so as not to interfere with movement. His water bottle, high up adjacent to the haversac. A blanket rolled tightly around a strap which is over his shoulder, to the rear left. In his waist belt on his left side is the large belt knife. Directly at his back would be the tomahawkn. In common sense terms, the last item put on which is the blanket - least important- can be the first to be shed if under pursuit. Like- wise the canteen next can be shed, followed by the haversac. This leaves the horn and gunn pouch- the most important items on one's person as these are the first items to be put on.

Next we shall contend with the contents here of each sack.

The gunn bag, shot pouch, rifle pouch or what have you will contain the items for shooting and maintaining one's firelock.

These are the items which I carry and would be typical but not exclusive to this pouch. They are to be layered in the bag according to their frequency of use. The lesser used items will be near the bottom of the bag.

3 to 6 extra flints- can be loose or in small leather wallet or bag along with some additional leather for wrapping around the flint when inserted in the cock. 

Small forged turn screw ( screw driver).

Small leather bag with cleaning worm, jag and quantity of tow and a few linen scraps for cleaning the piece.

Small tin ( 1 1/2 inches x 1/2 inch deep) of mutton tallow & beeswax for lubrication and preventing rust on the piece , also can be used on one's person as a salve, balm and poultice. Alternate to this, one may employ sweet oil, offels oil or divers rendered fats.

Prelubricated linen strips for patching for the rifle gun which I store in a piece of folded well- greased leather. In addition to this when using a smooth gunn I will carry wadding for the gunn;Tow, hornet's nest, or card wad.

A bullet bag with wooden stopper in which the ball is carried.

( alternate to this can be a small horn carried in the pouch or one carried outside on a small strap to hold the lead ball,the latter is from the old War).

In addition to this would be, when using a smooth gunn, a quantity of burd schot or Swan schot (small buck shot) would also be carried in a bag or small horn inside or out side the main pouch ( I carry mine inside).

The next item I carry although it is not necessary even when using a rifle is a small priming horn of 4 f powder. I am quite content in knowing that it is not a necessity and do not think it had wide spread use in the 18th Century. They primed from the main horn.

One additional item I may carry in the pouch depending on which rifle I am using, is the short starter. Many of my rifles have what I call modern muzzles or what others think are right. After many years of checking old pieces and reading first hand accounts I will go out on a limb and say that they didn't need them in the 18th Century- their rifles were counter bored ( larger opening at the muzzle to facilitate loading). On my rifles that are so belled at the muzzle, all loading including the starting is done with the ramrod only as it was then.

Another item which has been believed needed for the rifleman but I have not found the proof, is the loading block or bullet board, in which a number of prepatched balls reside and can be inserted into the muzzle rather quickly. I believe that this is perpetuated by modern thinking. I'm not saying that they didn't exist then, but rather they were not wide spread.

Attached to the outside strap of some of my gunn bags is a small knife for trimming patches on the muzzle and for general utility. However, precut patches were widely used also. This makes more sense also because if one was going into battle precut patches would make loading faster and smarter. This is also an argument for the bullet block, however, there are very few 18th C specimens around to justify its common use.

While I'm ranting I may as well get into the carrying of a few pounds of extra lead and a bullet mould. I'm sorry, but my Common Sense tells me if I'm going into the wilderness or a battlefield and if I'm going to be carrying a few extra pounds of lead around, it would only be in the form of balls not lead ingots, so I can spend my nights casually by the fire moulding bullets and chatting with friends. Carrying non- molded lead around with you is not a smart thing. I do not believe they did it unless it was just purchased. Carrying a bullet mould around would be ok however because used balls could be recovered and different size balls that were found could be re-moulded. 

Attached to the forward most pouch strap near it's base is a brush and priming wire. The brush is used to releave the pan of priming powder if not fired and also to brush away residue in the pan after firing. The priming wire is pushed through the touch hole after loading to leave a clean and direct route for the priming flash to ignite the main charge. 

My haversac will contain the following; starting with the bottom layer up as stated in the previous:

Small piece of coarse linen folded in the bottom: use; repairs, scrubbing , wrapping or can be fashioned into a sack.
Piece of light hemp rope or cord.
Large tin ( 3 1/2 x3/4 in) of mutton tallow beeswax: for greasing moccasins.
Lock cover, of well greased kidskin: protect firelock in bad weather.
Linen bag with extra tow
Bullet mould
Wool bag which contains: bundle of leather thongs, beeswax candle, horn comb, small piece of homemade soap, housewife; containing small bobbins of silk thread, linen thread and cord, divers needles in horn container. Very small fishing kit of a few hooks, swanschot weights and silk line in a folded up piece of groundhog skin.
Linen bag containing fork and spoon tied to a leather pouch containing; salt horn filled with evaporated salt, and small container of red pepper coarsely ground.
Firebox, consisting of a greased leather pouch containing tinder (English iris reed and/ or gray birch bark), a few pieces of charred tinder fungus, a small tin containing linen char and good striking flint with striker.

( Note: I do not use or condone the use of tow as tinder. This is fine if you want a fast instant flame for show, or 20th century competition purposes, but it lacks sustaining power, expending its energy instantly. Use reed or such to get a fire in the tinder that will stay lit for a while with enough energy to light wood. Remember the real winner in the 18th century was not the one who had the first flame but the one that had the sustained fire.
Always gather good tinder if seen while traveling.

Two tin cups: one large, one small ( 32oz and 16oz respectively)
Cloth Bag of provision which contains smaller linen and cloth bags of the following: Indian corn meal, a mix of pease and whole Indian corn dried, salt or smoked pork and/or other dried types of meat such as jerked venison, coffee beans or leaf tea and / or piece of chocolate, piece of maple sugar or piece of sugar cone.
I may also at times, carry a small wooden plate 5 x7 inches in the haversac.

In the blanket I carry; extra shirt, extra pair of woolen socks, extra pair of moccasins, sometimes a waistcoate and any extra food items.

I am now carrying a linen covered copper canteen. Tin would have been more common
As also was, wood.

And lastly, but most important, the 18th Centuries fine art of COMMON SENSE.





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Any references to the late war would mean Seven Years War (French and Indian).
Sweet oil ( olive oil ), offels oil ( oil made from the rendering of animal hooves ie: neatsfoot oil), divers ( diverse ), Tomakaken ( tomahawk or belt axe ).
Many words we use today are not found in the the writings of the 18th Century. I would prefer not to hear them or speak them when in the 18th C persona. Hunting Pouch , hunting bag for instance are just two ( search for documentation in contemporary 18th C writings!), as is the misuse of Buckskin- which should mean the skin of a male deer or a napped fabric and Buckskining- if it was even used ( unlikely: after much searching) would be the natural process of removing a male deer's hide ( not the hobby of muzzleloading. It is a modern term)