Breech Plug Removal


September 4, 2010, 10:11 PM
Anyone ever sucessfully removed a breech plug from a percussion rifle and re-installed it? (other than in-lines)

If you enjoyed reading about "Breech Plug Removal" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 4, 2010, 10:16 PM

September 4, 2010, 10:33 PM
Junkman...would you be so kind as to share your experience and technique...please?

September 4, 2010, 10:40 PM
I remove breech plugs from muzzle loader barrels when folks get things stuck in them like ball with ball puller screw attached to ramrod end. Some plugs come out OK, others are nearly impossible. Explain your need----

September 4, 2010, 10:52 PM
Had some work done on an older (Circa early 1980's) CVA Kentucky barrel...guy lost the drum bolster. I have a new bolster but it's a little different so I need to pull the breech plug so I can adapt the bolster to the flash hole inside the barrel. CVA wants $75 for that but I can't afford that right now and it's doubtful they will do it since the barrel has been turned down half-round...half-octagon.

September 4, 2010, 10:53 PM
I've removed a lot of them. From both original rifles and current custom built ones. Some can be more difficult that others and depending on the breeching style require different techniques. If you could, as a previous poster requested, let us know what type and style of rifle you need to debreech, a photo would be helpful, we can probably advise you how to go about it.

September 5, 2010, 12:24 AM
Looks just like this :

September 5, 2010, 01:46 AM
Those are a booger to get out as there is not much to get ahold off. The drum need to come out first. Then you need to prep it with penetrating oil for a couple of days. You'll need a good well mounted bench vise with jaw protectors to lock the barrel into. You'll need to make a breech plug wrench. I use 1/2" square bar stock about 18" long. Take a two inch section of the bar stock and clearance drill either end for 5/16 cap screws. Drill and tap the 18" piece to receive the two screws. You will need to enlongate the clearance holes somewhat in the 2" piece as most breechplug bolsters are tapered. Slide the wrench over the breechplug bolster as close to the barrel as you can and lock the screws down tight. Give it a pull and if you are lucky it will turn out. If you are not lucky take your propane torch and heat the barrel, you did make sure it was unloaded didn't you? While the barrel is cooling give it another shot of penetrating oil and tap the area of the breechplug with a light hammer to set up vibrations. When the barrel is cool give it another try. If it doesn't come this time reheat the barrel and give it another shot of oil and leave it sit for a day and try again. The worst one I've ever had took three days of heating and oiling before it gave up. Persistance wins this game.

September 5, 2010, 04:31 AM
Thanks Denster...everything is clear except the design of the wrench...I can't quite picture it in my head. Can you make a drawing of it for me please?

September 5, 2010, 05:39 AM
I have two CVA guns and have never been able to remove the breach plugs on them. My other long arms, they come out OK. What I do is remove them BEFORE I fire them for the first time and dress them down so they are not so tight (a little more than hand tight).

September 5, 2010, 07:16 AM
I concur with junkman. CVA breech plugs are put in at the factory with a heavy machine. I have never been able to take one out. I have broken off and twisted beyond repair the flimsy tang on several of them after month-long soakings in Kroil and carefully applied heat. CVA no longer sells parts for these but they do have a "supplier" designated. You might call them. One thing about their breech design: the blank drum is installed then drilled with a long drill down the barrel. Nipple mortice is then drilled in the correct position and threaded. This is not really a "home-gunsmithing" project. It might be easier to cut the old breech section off and thread for new breechplug and drum.

September 5, 2010, 08:43 AM
Camera is down at the moment. It is a simple thing the two inch piece lays on the end of the 18 inch piece. The screws are about 3/8 in in from either end of the 2 in piece so that when on the gun there is a screw above and below the breech plug.
Curator is correct they are crush fit at the factory and a bear to get out. What is it that you need to do to the drum that you need to remove the breech plug in the first place?

September 6, 2010, 12:28 AM
What is it that you need to do to the drum that you need to remove the breech plug in the first place?

The drum has to have a hole drilled in it's shank to match up with the hole drilled into the powder chamber of the inner rear of the barrel. Normally this was done at the factory with a long drill from the muzzle.

September 6, 2010, 01:00 AM
Powder chambers or connecting holes were not drilled from the front with a long drill, that just didn't happen. The most common thing you will find with thin walled barrels and where the maker wanted the drum further back they drilled and threaded for the drum across the face of the breech plug with about half of the diameter of the threaded portion of the drum into the face of the plug. The drum was then screwed into the barrel snugly and a witness mark made on the side of the drum exactly in the middle of the barrel for orientation. The drum was then removed and using the witness mark for orientation a bore width slot was cut into the threaded portion of the drum about half the diameter deep exposing the flash channel.
CVA did, on their mountain rifle, and I'm going from memory here use an elongated breechplug with a hole drilled in front of the plug acting as a powder chamber and connecting with a hole in the threaded portion of the drum. This is also easy to do by using the same witness mark to orientate the drum then removing it and measuring in 1/2 the width of the barrel and that is the center of your hole to drill.
It looks like you are working with a pistol barrel from the photo but in any case you should be able to shine a light into the drum hole and look down the barrel to see which type of setup you have. No need to remove the breechplug.

September 6, 2010, 01:38 AM
Unfortunatly both CVA and Traditions gave me the story about the long drill down the barrel.
I don't have the original drum so there is no wittness mark and the replacement drum is different in that the shank is open on the opposite end as opposed to the original which was closed and had it's hole in the center. My intention was to close the hole on the end and drill the hole in the center to match the one in the barrel. You're correct in that the pic is a pistol barrel but it's the same as the Kentucky rifle for all intents and purposes.

September 6, 2010, 09:59 AM
And unfortunatly that is exactly what it is a story, not the truth.
In any case you still do not need to remove the breechplug. The witness mark I was refering to is one you place on the drum after it has been screwed into the barrel. This mark indicates what portion of the shank is in direct line with the center of the barrel top to bottom. You then take the drum out put it into your drill press vise with the witness mark up and measure from the shoulder of the drum exactly 1/2 the width of the barrel and drill your hole there. When you reinstall the drum the hole will be dead center in the middle of the bore of the barrel.

September 6, 2010, 10:30 AM
Thank you for sharing your knowledge of common methods of orienting drum and nipple breeching. However, you are in error ("Powder chambers or connecting holes were not drilled from the front with a long drill, that just didn't happen.") as to CVA breeching method. While I'm not certain, I am pretty sure Traditions percussion barrels are made by this method (same barrel maker)

After the blank drum is threaded into the breech, the connecting hole is drilled (with a special piloted drill) and the nipple mortise is drilled and threaded using a jig to insure alignment with the hammer face. Of course, most gunsmiths and custom muzzle loading gun builders don't do it this way. When replacing drums on well used percussing guns I fit a blank drum as well. Once I get it properly mated to the barrel so it does not protrude into the breech I drill and thread the nipple hole at the proper angle to the hammer face. Track of the Wolf sells blank drums and the tools necessary to do this right.

September 6, 2010, 10:59 AM
Curator. I dont' believe for a second that Ardessa who I believe still makes the barrels for CVA and Traditions muzzleloaders (Yes I know that CVA uses Bergarra barrels for their inlines) would use such an inefficient method for a simple task. In any case however they do it replacing one would not require that you do it the same way to achieve the same results. The methodology I stated would work just fine and is the way most gunsmiths would do it to repair the OP's problem. I'm well aware that Track sells blank drums as do many others and that is what the OP is working with.

September 6, 2010, 12:15 PM
Some modern CVA replacement drums don't have a shank that needs to be drilled to orientate it with the bore at all.
The shank is only long enough to reach the entrance to the powder chamber because the chamber is designed to be filled with powder. Tipping the gun before ramming will allow some powder to flow into the drum from the chamber so that the ignition flame can reach it.
I'm not sure but I think that drums that have a shank that needs to be drilled are an old style and sidelocks may not even be made using that method anymore. At least some of the replacement drums aren't.

September 6, 2010, 12:41 PM
Arcticap. You are likely correct as CVA, or Ardessa as the manufacturor, have used different methods over the years. However if the OP has one that the breech plug was cross drilled to install the drum he pretty much has to stick with that or have an area for fouling to build up that can't be reached for cleaning. It requires an examination to determine what you have but it doesn't require that you remove the plug.

September 6, 2010, 01:22 PM
Maybe, maybe not. The more modern replacement drum with the short stem that I saw was for a Jukar and should be an improvement because the older stem interferes with using a breech plug scraper to clean out the powder chamber.
The older style gets clogged up, is hard to clean the entire length which can cause misfires. That was the reason for the replacement.
I think that I would just cut the drum stem to the right length so that it doesn't intrude into the powder chamber and leave the breech plug alone.
IIRC the opening in the stem of the Jukar drum was a wide oval shape which seems unlikely that it could have been drilled by a round drill bit entering the bore from the muzzle.

September 6, 2010, 01:40 PM
Well you are correct, as ususal. My only concern was with how far past the powder chamber the original was drilled. If it went past the powder chamber the short version would leave a recess that couldn't be cleaned without removing the drum.

If you enjoyed reading about "Breech Plug Removal" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!