Orchard Hill Cutlery
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Fairfield, Pennsylvania

    Smile Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    Dear Friends,

    I had an unusually pleasant experience with this gentleman, enough so to want to share.

    Several months ago, I purchased an inexpensive but fairly rusty lot of Armi Sport rifles and muskets. I was able to defarb the 42 Springfield myself adequately enough (barrel still had some deep scratches). They are not all that hard to do as they are fairly decent to start (at least for mass market repros). I went to really clean out the barrel - put the wiper on the ramrod, patched, oiled, shoved the ramrod in and . . . . it stuck. Three of us pulling on it with a vice grip only managed to pull the tulip head off the tip of the ramrod leaving the, now broken, ramrod still down inside the barrel. I was not a happy camper.

    Found Robert Hoyt mentioned in some web forum somewhere. Gave him a call. "Sure bring it on over." I drove over and found a belt driven machine shop, Robert (Bobby) and muskets and rifles stacked up every where. He told me to give him a week as he was backed up.

    I pick the barrel up (a day early), he had pulled the plug to knock the ramrod and worm out. He discovered that the musket had deep pitting in the breech. He reamed the barrel out above the threads of the breech plug to get rid of the majority of the pitting, cleared out the port, reset the breech plug (well enough that in a vise I can get it off without too much trouble), then refinished the exterior of the barrel to a semi dull arsenal appearance. The ramrod: machined a new tulip tip, bored through, set the remaining Armi Sport ramrod into it, silver soldered along the tulip tip's internal length, then machined a perfect match at the point where the tulip tip tapers down to meet the rod.

    Total cost for all the above: $70 - about what another crappy ramrod with shipping would have cost.

    This type of work is not his usual work. He makes barrels from scratch usually. He also builds entire custom guns for a fair price. He recommended, however, we just have him *restore* an*original* to *shoot*. He builds rifles for competition shooters in the NSSA all the time. In most cases, he removes the breech plug, reams out the barrel above the threads so its about a shot gun wall thickness, then, machines a totally new barrel (of modern weapon grade steel), which is inserted cleanly into the original barrel, then rifles it to your spec. The rest of the musket or rifle is then refinished. An original Springfield refinished in this manner costs between 1200 to 1600 depending on what the original Springfield cost him to acquire. If you have one of those cut down sporterized surplus Springfields you found at Billy Bob's antique store, he might be able to help you with a new reenacting weapon that you do not have to defarb . . . He has three such restored Springfield originals in stock right now starting at 1000. With the panic concerning repro Italian weapons, you may not be spending much more then have a now usable original.

    Please take this information for what it is worth, just my opinion. I do not benefit from it, not getting some discount or anything like that. I was just impressed at what this gentlemen could do for my impression, his pleasant, professional treatment of me and the quality of his work.

    Robert Hoyt at the Freischutz Shop, 700 Fairfield Station Rd., Fairfield, Pa. 17320. His phone # 717-642-6696 He doesn't have a website or email - you have to use the phone. Be prepared to wait for him to shut down a machine and walk to the phone - let it ring. . .

    John Novicki
    Ship's Company, U.S.S. Constellation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Huntsville, AL

    Re: Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    Wish he had a web site. One of the things I have noticed in this hobby is that many of the good vendors have a terrible web presence. I've thought about offering to set up web sites for them in trade, but don't want to insult anyone.
    Steve Sheldon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    I think many quality vendors prefer more personal interactions in their business. This hobby is swarming with people who would be considered less than honorable when it comes to business transactions, and many prefer to avoid that. The web is a breeding ground for people like that.
    Brandon L. Jolly

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Re: Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    John, thank you so much for posting this information as I have wanted to get in touch with him to have a M1816/1822 worked on, but did not have his contact information. Also, it is nice to hear of your positive experience.
    As for a web presence, I have to agree with Brandon: just because someone has a website means nothing. I hate to say it, but I honestly enjoyed the slow correspondence between myself and a quality vendor that eventually led to phone calls and then hopefully a face-to-face meeting at an event somewhere. I'm just old I guess.

    PS: Brandon, I could almost swear I know you from somewhere back in the 90's.
    Warren Dickinson

    Currently a History Hippy at South Union Shaker Village
    Member of the original Pickett's Mill Interpretive Volunteer Staff & Co. D, 17th Ky Vol. Inf
    Former Mudsill
    Co-Creator of the States Rights Guard in '92

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Northern Illinois

    Re: Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    Without question Bobby Hoyt is a craftsman in every sense of the word. I used two of his re-barreled rifles while in the N-SSA and actually won medals. Any work he does is top drawer. And not.having a website allows him to work his magic. he is the best! Steven Michael Sullivan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Re: Robert Hoyt - Muskets, Rifles, Barrels, Repairs

    Bobby Hoyt is a pleasure to deal with. Even though it might take a while, his work is definitely worth waiting for.

    Word of mouth is still the best method of advertising and his backlog of work proves he doesn't need a website.
    Adam Dintenfass

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