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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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 I have made a little progress on this rifle.

6vUUjoel.jpg

 

  This rifle is being built as a early Hawken rifle. About 1830 or so. It originally had a flint ignition. But it has been converted to percussion. Yes that is a scope on the side. About 1850 there were scopes first put on a rifle.

 

  I am building it mostly by hand. The scope mounting is my own design. Thinking about how it would have been done back in that time period. The mounting of the rear of the scope was silver soldered together. And has a elevation arm for long range shooting.

This is a photo of the scope mount being fitted. And designing the elevation arm?

6vQxeDHl.jpg

   Slowly,   Vern

Edited by Wrknrvr

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  This subject is slooowly happening.

 

 This of my own design for long distance shooting of a muzzleloader.

c2IRRlnl.jpg

 

  It has taken some outside the box thinking, but this style rifle was used some for shooting buffalo in the late 1800’s.

 

 Vern

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  This is some interesting reading for the people that enjoy history.

 

  I just found this site a few days ago. I cannot paste the article although I will try later. But there is a club in the U.K. that shoots 1000 yards competition with Muzzleloaders. There is one in 

DENNIS ANDERSON@STRIBDENNIS

History intrigued Raymond Hanson when he was a kid, especially the mid- to late 1800s when the West was being settled. Buffalo hunting was part of this, and the rifles used during that time were of particular interest to the young boy from northwest Minnesota.

They still are.

The reigning world champion long-range muzzleloader marksman, Hanson began some years ago shooting these retro firearms at targets 300 yards down range. Then he aligned his sights at 500 yards, and finally 600 yards.

Today, he never shoots at targets that close. Instead he configures the iron sights of his replica Billinghurst Under Hammer at focal points 1,000 yards away.

Hanson, 67, who lives near Mahnomen, won his world championship title last year shooting in Australia in a match in which he and his colleagues also won the World Long-Range Muzzleloading team title, prevailing over South Africa, the perennial favorite.

“It was a great match for the U.S.,” Hanson said. “Additionally, we won the mid-range title [300, 500 and 600 yards] and the grand aggregate championship.”

DAVID NEWELL • SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE

Iowan Brent Danielson aligned his vintage muzzleloader at the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club near Harris, Minn.

This weekend, U.S. long-range muzzleloading team members will shoot in a match about 1½ hours north of the Twin Cities, near Harris, hosted by the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club.

As interested as hunters might be in guns, few can match the passion with which Hanson and his long-range muzzleloading colleagues study the minutia of firearms, ballistics and marksmanship.

Consider:

• Though Hanson’s Billinghurst is a “replica” in the long-range muzzleloading game, it was built from scratch, utilizing the skills and handiwork of experts intimately familiar with U.S. gun lore. An East Coast gunsmith did the metal work, for example, while the tempering and stock making were accomplished at still different locations.

• All long-range muzzleloader competition shooters cast their own bullets.

“Most rifles we shoot date to the end of the buffalo hunting era,” Hanson said. “They’re a minimum of .40 caliber, but most are .45s. They shoot what could be described as great big lead bullets. You can’t buy these, at least not in quality that is consistent, bullet to bullet. So we cast them ourselves, one at a time.”

• Most long-range muzzleloading bullets are 540 grain and leave the muzzle at speeds of 1,300 to 1,350 feet per second.

• About 5.5 seconds pass from the time a shooter squeezes a trigger to when a bullet hits a target 1,000 yards down range.

“It’s not something you want to do regularly, because it indicates that your shooting might be far off, it is possible to shoot, then quickly roll over into your spotting scope to see where the bullet hits,” Hanson said.

Though little known today, long-range muzzleloading competitions date to the late 1800s, when the first international match pitted the U.S. against Ireland in front of some 20,000 Long Island spectators.

The winner?

The Americans, thanks to an Irishman’s low-scoring shot in the last round.

An active club

  People who know me know that I do some of the rocker stuff. If it was legal I would try shooting out over Flathead lake at sunrise when the water is smooth as glass.

 

 The lake is about 5 mikes wide where I would like to test it’s distance. I also would need a spotter to see where the bullet hit the water at.

 

  Just thinking,   Vern

Edited by Wrknrvr

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Next winter, travel a little further South for a day trip to Ben Avery, 1000 yd range. That's a hell of a shot with modern ammo and weapons, but muzzle loading black powder? Wow. If you decide to day trip to Ben Avery, let me know. I'll buy the coffee.

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  The more I read about this subject the more I understand that you need a heavy bullet to carry the bullet that far. In the article. They say they are using 45/70 bullets.

 

 Sooo I have been thing how to build a bullet mold that already had the rifling in the bullet. The cartridge on the left is a colt 45.

eRqlzZAl.jpg

 

  Now this was my first attempt at a different way to cast a bullet. I used a short piece. Of barrel that was left over and set it on top of a Colt 45 bullet mold.

 

  These are a test run. They average just under 700 grains in weight. They might be a little long. Will get back to them tomorrow.

 

Having fun with this subject,    Vern

Edited by Wrknrvr
Lost some wording

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Project is looking good Vern. 

The long range shooters have amazing skill.

 

Edited by noteven

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  I have found that researching when things were available in human history is quite interesting.

  Copper wire was first made about 1820 or so. For use in telegraph communications.

 

  Electric plating in the 1700’s. It was dong chemically.

 

  So this modern day on the back our HDT truck. With a cell phone charger. 

 

  Uuuutuubbbbinng gives lots of tricks.  Sorrry ring photo.

l5TzDmol.jpgh

 

  So this is a thin wall steel tube from a closet rod that is being used as the scope. I lined an old awning arm with ceranwrap. And now plating the scope.

l5TzDmol.jpghg

This photo shows just the end. The first attempt the end was not cleannnnn. So I had to sand it again and use a automotive paint cleaner on it. This shows how the end is taking the copper.

 

more to follow , Vern

 

Edited by Wrknrvr

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  I have found that researching when things were available in human history is quite interesting.

  Copper wire was first made about 1820 or so. For use in telegraph communications.

 

  Electric plating in the 1700’s. It was done chemically.

 

  So this modern day on the back our HDT truck. With a cell phone charger. 

 

  Uuuutuubbbbinng gives lots of tricks.

l5TzDmol.jpgh

 

  So this is a thin wall steel tube from a closet rod that is being used as the scope. I lined an old awning arm with ceranwrap. And now plating the scope.

 

 

more to follow , Vern

 

Edited by Wrknrvr

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