Friday, December 5, 2014

Don Getz

Don at the Bench

Don Getz who passed away Nov 25 was one of the most important people in the Contemporary muzzleloading revival. No one individual was more at its center. His rifle and pistol barrels were the heart and soul of so many of the finest pieces produced since he started working in 1977. The Contemporary Makers book which I  published in 1980 had many very fine guns for the time with Getz Barrels. It continues with Don's son John keeping the tradition going.  Personally, I must have ordered 30-40 barrels from Don between 1977-1997.  My fondest memory is that each order  (via phone calls) included 30-40 X 10 jokes from both sides! No matter how busy he was there was always time for a story.

 Salute to a special Fellow. Thanks for all your fine work. RIP.  (Robert Wiel)

Getz Shop Sign

Don was what we southerners call a Southern Gentleman… He just happen to live in PA!
He cared about his family, friends  and customers. 
If I could only make one statements about Don it would be:
“He loved that were a part of our longrifle culture and he provided longrifle barrels to the longrifle artists that became a part of the artist’s canvas…” (Gordon Barlow)

The Getz Building

"I want that Barrel NOW!"

John and Don

Making a Breech Plug

Refining a Barrel

The Getz Shop

Collection in the shop

Don and John Getz Shop

1. 1977 Don and Dick Getz buy barrel business and equipment from Bob Paris, Gettysburg, PA

2. Work with Bob Paris one month in Gettysburg, PA shop to train on equipment.

3. One Month later Getz buys building in Beavertown, PA and moves equipment to PA

4. 1980 John joins Don and Dick in the barrel shop

5. 1984 Dick Leaves the business

6. Making 25 to 30 barrels per week with 4 people

7. Most popular 50 cal, 42 “  swamp barrel with fitted breach plug.

8. Highlight was making friends

9. 1998 Don retires and starts making longrifles.

10. Well known makers visit shop , Bivins, Gusler, Silver, Chambers, Hash, Brennan, Emig

11. Jim Flynn Toule Barrel,, LA

12. Chambers Kit Barrels

13. Specht Gunmaker in Beavertown

14. Bob Lepley Sudbbery, PA  stock carver.  

Copy by Robert Weil and Gordon Barlow with all photos by Gordon Barlow.


  1. Mr. Getz., will be remembered for as long as any of us builders are alive., we all used his barrels., I have several from 1985 that I have never used because I just like lloking at them. He was a good Ambasator to the Kentucky Rifle., was at most of the KRA Shows., Don was the real deal and left behind some real fine rifles that he made. RIP Don

  2. Robert;
    That is a nice tribute to Don Getz on today's blog. He was a great guy who always had a twinkle in his eye and was glad to see you.

    I'll miss him very much. Several of us are going to the memorial service tomorrow. Hope to see a lot of muzzleloading people there.

    As Don always said, "It is better to be seen, than viewed". We'll miss his humor.

    Art DeCamp

  3. It was a privilege for me to have known Don, and to have visited the shop many times over the several decades I was able to. He is, and will continue to be missed. Carry on, John. TD


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