Keith was born on July 17, 1936 in Gibbons Glade, Pennsylvania. He has lived most of his life in West Virginia. His life began as a coal miner and struggling brought him to eventually become the Director of Engineering for Island Creek Coal Companies, Eastern Division. In 1969 he had enough and quit his profession. Keith built a shop in Oalkand, Maryland and began building muzzleloading rifles. Being uneducated in the schools, most of his rifles in his early years were similar to Southern Pennsylvania and West Virginia rifles.
Many years into the profession and he has found his calling to be in the "transition and Jaeger" style flintlocks, where he can carve and chizzle wood and metal in early high relief hunting scenes. Many dignataries such as, Charlton Heston, Suzan Howard, Robert Lee, Harry Mancha, Senator Murtha, Oran Hatch, James McClure, James Baker and others have had rifles built by Keith. But, the ones most memorable to him is the everyday working man's rifle that is being used, making memories for them and him. Some of his very first rifles back in the 1960's sold for about $150.00; today, the average price range is about $5,000.00.
In the 1970's he taught many classes on building muzzleloading rifles. Some of these students went on to become full time gun makers and are still active today. Though semi-retired, he is still building a few rifles a year and this year (2001) he expects to hit serial number 300!
Resource: Contemporary Longrifle Association Member.
Contact Keith Casteel at:
RR 1, Box 38
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525-9708
phone number: (304)379-8309