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Wrknrvr

Building a muzzleloader rifle

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  Just curious if anyone has ever built one of these. I finally got out a stock I started and 40 years ago and have started making parts for it.

 

   Vern

 

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  So this is photos of my project.

IKrjXwml.jpgKCs2uzTl.jpg

IKrjXwml.jpg

 I bought the barrel, lock and triggers. And a block of tiger maple wood.

 

 The small parts I made by hand on the back of my truck.

 

 40 years int the making,   Vern

Edited by Wrknrvr
Mist photo

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That's a really cool project, Vern. I've contemplated black powder, but I don't have 40 years to stretch out the build. I may have to buy ready to shoot. 

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  With working and getting married some things took the back burner.

 

 So that silver colored object is a cast zinc end cap. It’ was done in the lost wax casting process. Now that took three attempts at it to produce that piece. Never did wax casting process before. Still a lot of finishing by hand to make it fit. The metal piece near the camera was made out of steel tubing. It is for where the ramrod enters the stock. The wide end was hammered out of the round tubing and then the two pieces where silver soldered together.

 

  This is an attempt to reproduce a Hawken rifle the way it was made in 1840 or there about. Only hand tools where used mostly. I guess any electric tools would be called cheating by some. Ok I cheated a little.

 Now Youtube is very helpful for this project. And the net helps a lot also. Before the net you hand to find a rifle in a museum for a real idea what you wanted to do. So traveled from Pa to Colorado to see one or two examples. That image is long gone.

  Lots of different things to consider when building a rifle as such. With retirement getting close I am thinking of getting a forge for making some parts this summer also. I do want to try and cast some German silver parts this summer for the next rifle. It will be made with a applewood stock. Yes the applewood stock is 40 years old also.

 

note to self—— do not try to carve 40 year old wood     It seems like it got hard over time. Or I am weaker.

 

 Boredom is fading,   Vern

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8 hours ago, Wrknrvr said:

Lots of different things to consider when building a rifle as such. With retirement getting close I am thinking of getting a forge for making some parts this summer also.

When our daughter was learning blacksmithing she bought a "small" anvil. I would not want to carry that in an RV. :)

Linda

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Once you get to the finishing stage, I would recommend a "browning" metal finish rather than bluing. It will not rust (almost). Looks good with any wood finish you might like.  If you use any brass hardware it will not take long for it to get the tarnished look if you don't mess with polishing it.  Deer will spot the bright work from a lot farther off than you might imagine. (Don't ask how I know). I think a .50 caliber is a fair selection for most tasks although some really like the .54 caliber.  Good luck with your project.

Catfish

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  So this end cap was shaped out of wax three times and then each attempt was covered in plaster of Paris. Then they needed heated to melt out wax and dry mold out. First mold fell into pieces as it was heated. Second attempt was poured in lead. As a test. What you see is the sorta good one. Note to self —— take your time to carve it out of wax correctly. Zinc is hard to shape compared to wax.

KOpF3Lll.jpg

 

 So I never tried the lost wax casting process before.  

 

  So I needed to fix a boo boo in the casting. So with solder gun I made an attempt to fill two small defects.    O no when zinc melts it seems to not behave very good. So I get the idea to fill void with silver solder. Needed to apply a little heat with a torch. Sparingly apply heat with solder gun and torch. It worked.

  But now to shape the new material....... it is hard. In sunlight it has a yellow tint to it.

 

 This sorta eliminates some boredom.,   Vern

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On 1/19/2020 at 2:22 PM, sandsys said:

When our daughter was learning blacksmithing she bought a "small" anvil. I would not want to carry that in an RV. :)

Linda

Vern’s rv can carry an anvil. 

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  So here is the difference in casting something not very accurate. The small piece is my last casting. It was fairly accurate in size. The other one was a hurry up wax shaping that was over size. I new that, so I made the third wax model.

 I was casting some bullets so I just poured that second mold and you can see my results are.

  The lost wax casting process involves shaping the item in wax. Then imbedding the wax model in plaster of Paris. Then you let it cure. Then heat the mold to melt the wax out and continue heating the mold . Then pour the molten casting metal into the hot mold.

 

pBFMtRUl.jpg

 

 I have wanted to do this for long time. Finally getting to it. I may have started my buckitlist 40 years ago. It is interesting to try new things.

 

  

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Nice work. As an aside; In Williamsburg, Va, the armory manufactures 18th century rifles. Just as done near 300 years ago. When I was visiting I could have ordered one made for delivery 3 to 5 years later. Something like $12,000.

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There is a specific plaster compound that is used for lost wax casting. It is used in jewelry and dental casting.

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I built a Kentucky long rifle when I was in college, back in the mid 70's. I browned the barrel myself and it came out far better than I expected, being my first attempt at browning. Remember, there was no internet back then to learn how to do any of this. Just be sure to remove any file marks and polish the metal with finer and finer grades of emery paper (wrapped around a file to keep it flat) - down to crocus cloth and the finish will be beautiful. I also built a Philadelphia derringer, but had the barrel professionally blued, more in keeping with style of the piece. Inletting the wood, bedding the barrel, etc. was easy compared to getting the trigger group to work on the derringer. Back then the "kits" were not made very well and several parts had to be redone for it to work reliably.

Chip

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   We are now somewhere in the middle of Montana. No customers to stop by and pester me while I am playing with this project.

   So I do want to finish this rifle and now will have time to complete it. There is a machine shop for my use nearby but trying to do this by hand.

  Next time that I get to Home Depot I will get sand and plaster to build a forge for melting German silver for the next rifle. I do have green sand for making multiple castings, but that will be used after I build a forge.

 I have a applewood blank to make the next rifle out of and the hardware on that gun will be made of German silver. It will be 54 caliber Hawken  style rifle also.

 

 Fly fishing may slow up this project. Along with some honeydo projects. And gardening.

 

 Will keep posted on progress.

 

  Stay Safe this summer,    Vern

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 I have worked on the metal parts some lately. I have most of the pieces in there final shape. So they have been outside in some rain and sun. But not rusting very fast. I do want the natural brown finish on then. So I put then in salt water to watch the progress.lhDWCxjl.jpg

 

  I did figure out to cast the end cap on the stock in place. I sure did take a air amount of time to mount it and shape it to size.

 

 Doing other stuff lately that I have been wanting to do.

 

 Patients please Vern

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