Charles Heistand was born on November 24, 1948 and grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Virginia. While learning of his ancestors from his mother, Charles became interested in learning about the ways of the settlers and as a result, fell in love with the Kentucky Rifle. Charles became interested in Kentucky rifles at the early age of 13. While attending Columbia High School he came in contact with a teacher by the name of Reaves Goehring. Reaves took Charles under his wing and directed him in studying the different arts in order to create and fabricate rifles. Charles also worked closely with Floyd Hiltzinger and has obtained advice from Wallace Gusler over the years. He completed his first rifle in 1961.
Charles built muzzleloading rifles full time from 1974 to 1979. He has always been interested in creating good Lancaster style rifles, but not copying rifles. He also makes powder horns, forging tools, knives and tomahawks. Charles' trademark is either his signature or a stamped touch mark which is an anvil with C. H. in the center. He was the Master of the gun shop at Landis Valley Farm Museum from 1974 to 1976 and participated in restoration seminars at the museum.
Charles was featured on the Outdoors television program in 1978, in the Susquehanna magazine in 1978 and various newspapers.
He enjoys working at the forge, welding up tubes, boring and rifling and forging locks. He does a lot of research of early gunsmiths, tools and the people of the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary War. He has made his living exclusively for seven years by fabricating Kentucky rifles.
Resource: Contemporary Longrifle Association Member.
Contact Charles Heistand at:
4 Donegal Place
Marietta, PA 17547