.45 Rifle Ideas

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by rodwha, Oct 29, 2020.

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  1. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Working with a 13/16” barrel (thinking along the lines of a drop-in barrel for a Crockett rifle) I’ve thought it would be cool to have a handy carbine that shoots my revolver bullets paper patched or something (I’ve always liked the idea of compatible ammo). My thoughts being a 215-255, and maybe even my short 285 grn bullet pushed by even just 40 grns of an energetic 3F would be akin to a Dragoon with a conical and longer barrel, but who wouldn’t even like 50? I don’t think I’d want anymore than 60 grns and that 285 grn bullet from what would no doubt be a light rifle.

    I’m working on a modified design to work as a universal bullet for both my Pietta NMA and ROA. I’ve estimated the new projectile to be .497” OAL, though I have a new powder measure with scratched in 5 grn gradients allowing me to easily eyeball 2.5 grns. Here’s a pic of another bullet I created for hogs and my ROA that I scrapped when I thought we were moving to VA and having bears on the menu, the 285 grn version.

    8-EAF7-A94-5519-4-D42-BA18-2-A457-F1631-C0.jpg

    And here’s my 285 grn version I don’t have a need for at the moment, short for such a heavy bullet:

    http://accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-285C-D.png

    I’d want this barrel to work great with my own universal revolver design and common 250-255 grn bullets, which should allow my heavy bullet. And maybe I’d like the ability to shoot commercial 300 grn bullets if need be. Looking through my Lyman Handbook (2nd) I see weights on up to 325 grns were used in a 1:48” twist with powder charges from as low as 40. But I also see a 20” carbine shooting .45 Colt with a 250 grn bullet and 35 grns using a 1:26” twist. Granted the powder charge starts at 70, the .45-70 shows a 292 grn bullet in a 30” barrel using a 1:18” twist. And I’ve heard of gallery loads, but then those shoots are so close it wouldn’t matter too much I wouldn’t think. We see Ruger twists their .45 Colt at 1:16” and the .454 Cas at 1:24”, yet the .44 Mag at 1:20”. Looking at Lyman’s velocities in a 28” barrel it looks like for the most part I’d within .44 Mag velocities so I’m wondering if 1:20” wouldn’t be just about ideal.

    I’m thinking 24” to make it very handy or up to 28” to take advantage of the sight radius and slight boost, not to mention additional weight. Topped with peep sights since 50-75 yds is about all I can do with my glasses on and these crappy fiber optic sights. But I want to zero at 100 and shoot out to 125 yds I guess.

    And that brings me to my love of the wide meplat for my handgun bullets. I’ve read a bit on the development of the wide meplat used in the .45-70 and it seemed to suggest that any wider of a meplat than 78% opened up the chances for them to not track straight in the animal. I’ve also heard that wide meplat bullets have a very hard time going from super sonic to sub sonic. However there are modern cast bullets that are wider than 78% and may or may not be dealing with the sound barrier that don’t seem to see these things enough to make a deal out of it. LBT and BearTooth make huge meplat bullets. Running estimated BCs and using Lyman’s data to get a rough idea I see that if my new bullet comes out on the lighter side at 215 grns and has a poor BC of 0.150 (Lee’s 200 RF is 0.140) it will hit the sonic barrier (estimated at 1150 FPS) as soon as about 50 yds with a 40 grn charge, 85 yds with 50, and just barely about make it to 125 yds with 60. This rounding up their velocity using Pyrodex P to the nearest 25 FPS despite my bullets weighing an average of about 15 grns more since I’d be using a more energetic powder. I used Lee’s BC values, and with their 255 grn bullet at a questionably high BC value of 0.210, it does well enough with any of those powder charges. Same with Lee’s 300 grn version.

    So the lighter bullet doesn’t seem like it would do all that well out to 100+ yds unless the velocity starts off around that speed or is pushed by a heavier charge, assuming my design has a poor BC, which I figure most any WFN would. But if a >78% meplat doesn’t have stability issues there’s nothing to be concerned with, not to mention I could further modify my design to reduce it from 83%.

    I don’t know much at all about paper patching or bare bullets used, though I read you’ll want them sized. Mine will have a reduced diameter of 0.454”, but my current bullets drop at 0.456”. I’m guessing I’d have 0.452” or 0.454” as far as caliber options. So what size(s) dies would I want? For a full bore bullet I believe you want it 0.001” under bore, no?

    And then we have groove depth. Nothing but bullets and maybe I’d try sabots (which could effect the caliber choice) so shallow grooves. I’m not too keen on shallow groove depth or type of grooving (button and whatever options there are). I’d venture to guess one wouldn’t want them too shallow as they’d fill up with fouling too soon. Too deep and an oversized wad/card is necessary. Is that necessary anyway? Seems I typically have seen muzzleloaders and bullets using an overpowder card of some sort.

    And then there’s lube... I’ve been using Gatofeo’s #1 for my felt wads, revolver bullets, and Lee REALs and really like it. Were I to use my revolver bullets bare they’d need a lot of help here as I use what’s apparently pretty close to just enough as all day range days never showed a fouling issue. So a lubed felt wad and/or lube cookie. But what of paper patched bullets? I can’t say I’ve read of felt wads used per se.
     
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    This got me thinking about my lead. I’ve cast everything with pure lead, but have contemplated 2% tin to help with potential fill issues.

    I’m not all that savvy as to lead hardness needed for X velocity, nor do I know what to expect from soft lead at very high striking velocities. My universal bullet couldn’t be made too hard, but My Ruger version could be a bit harder I suppose, though I’d prefer not to concern myself with keeping various alloys around.

    So at what velocity will say 7-8 BHN (about what 2% tin is, no?) begin to strip the rifling at?

    I’ve seen that soft lead traveling very fast still seems to hold together pretty well. Talking a sphere here doing maybe 1600 FPS at the animal, and the weight retention tends to be quite high. I’d venture to guess it’s a much different animal than an elongated projectile. So do we know of an upper velocity limit to soft lead bullets and hitting critters? And does heavier bone, maybe the difference between whitetail and hogs, change things significantly?
     
  3. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Unless things have changed, you will have little luck finding a rifle barrel to accept a .452 diameter bullet. Most are set up for about .450 or a-bit less.

    Kevin
     
  4. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I’m surprised to hear that. I would have thought .451 and 2 common enough with .454 a good possibility due to the old .45 Colts. But I am a bit ignorant around the specifics such as actual calibers you’d be receiving.
     
  5. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    I don’t know about rare, but I found a green mountain barrel for my roller. Shoots great. You project sounds interesting. Oh, forgot to add it is chambered in 45 Colt.

    E0C7649B-4621-432A-BBF8-06C694619FDF.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  6. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Are you talking about a cartridge rifle or muzzleloading?

    Kevin
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Sure, if you were setting up a breechloader.
    But muzzleloaders are made differently. I googled a remark that a common modern .45 muzzleloader was .450" bore, .458" groove, same as a .45-70 but slower twist for ball or sabot slug. But you have to allow for a patch or paper patch or a soft slug "bumping up" to take the rifling. Projectiles therefore under .450" diameter.

    A friend was able to load his .40 Dixie with .38-40 bullets dipped in lube. Accuracy was decent and probably had a hard thump, but he had killed his deer with that rifle and the usual .395" patched ball.
     
  8. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Muzzleloaders
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Well, I am unaware of any ML barrels that would be that bore but no reason you could not use a cartridge barrel. Or a special order barrel. Or just get a smooth barrel (Dixie used to sell them) and install a properly bored liner.

    Kevin
     
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  10. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I knew the RB .45 cal using a .440 ball or so would be at least .450. Lyman’s.50 cals come in at .502” and their .54’s come at .452”. So I figured .452-4” a good possibility. And now I’ve learned that I would need to resize my bullets. But I also know of .45 cal bullet guns. I know of the .451 Whitworth but couldn’t tell you if it was truly a .451” caliber or not. I had hoped .454” might be a thing since the .45 Colt mimicked the .44 Colt that was used in the old cap n ball guns. I guess I assumed it might be possible in a rifle barrel too.

    So if I get an older traditional .45 cal I’d absolutely need to resize them and punch wads/cards to fill the grooves. What would one want to resize to were the bore .450” for both paper patching and full bore slugs?
     
  11. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    The only way to get what y’all were thinking about is to send a barrel to Bob Hoyt along with samples of the intended bullets sized and patched if that’s the plan. He can ream and rifle a barrel for your specifications. If using those bullets I would forget about paper patching over the grease grooves. Lube them, load and shoot.
     
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  12. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Cost being an issue I wouldn’t want to buy a barrel and need it lined too. I’d rather buy cheap resizing dies and a .470” punch from a fellow on another forum, a retired machinist I’ve bought punches and a ramrod from.
     
  13. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I know his work is revered and well sought to the point he can often be months and months swamped. I had figured that if I found I was not happy with my Lyman barrel’s performance, and knowing Pyrodex got a shot at it one night and did a number on it, I’d send it to him to ream to a smoothbore. I’ve read he charges extremely reasonable prices for lining barrels too. He would always be an option, but I’d prefer to say spend $350 over $250 for a barrel so as not to waste all that shipping money too. Seems he charges about $80 and shipping that must be $15 or something just because of the length and weight. I dunno since I haven’t sent anything resembling that, but other things like home brewed beer and cigars. But if I can’t find what I’d want (a .52/28ga/24ga smoothbore and this rifle barrel) I’d certainly look for a cheap barrel and send it to Mr Hoyt and wait.
     
  14. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Forgot to address the paper patch vs lube. I see Idaho Ron, and the many that have tried his method, have found paper patching that Lee pistol bullet is just ideal. Myself, I’d prefer to first try full bore and lube the grooves along with a lube cookie or lubed wad under it. If I’m using a wad should I even care much about deep grooves over shallow, which seems ideal since bullet guns always use them...
     
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  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Another bullet mold would be less expensive than a special order barrel.
     
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  16. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Another thing comes to mind that I’ve read of a few people doing is to resize the bases of bullets to use in cal n ball chambers. Seems maybe I could do something similar with mine resizing the base to what I assume would need to be about .449” to be able to push it into bore, but with the top driving band being sized slightly over bore to start on the riflings a little like the REAL (assuming a .450”).
     
  17. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    For sure. And if this were to become an expensive project I’d just do something different. Medium game don’t need a .45 cal bullet. I’ve always liked large calibers vs small ones when the velocities are low, but get a bit of speed on it and maybe it can handle a bit more than just medium game. But ultimately this project is about my liking multi use things.

    To open the curtains a little on my level of insanity here I’ve contemplated the smoothbore I want for this 13/16” receiver. I could look into the .410 route giving me the options of modern components and even screw-in chokes, though I’d see it as being frugal with the square load idea, assuming it works as wonderfully as so many have claimed, and where any smoothbore shot load would start for me. Or maybe I look at .45 cal options, which I assume would allow me to use the wads and cards I punch for my revolvers to be useful. Then again maybe 13/16” is enough to go for a .488” so I can patch my .457” revolver balls.
     
  18. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    IMO the thought of building a fantasy barrel for the Crockett rifle is wishful thinking.
    Just buy one of the Traditions .45 Deerhunter rifles from Deer Creek before they're all gone. --->>> http://www.deercreekproducts.net/store/p1492/Traditions_Deerhunter_Rifle_.45_Cal_Percussion_-_G3605.html

    They only have 5 of these guns left that are probably limited importation of the European .45 model by Ardesa.
    They sold 2 of them already and with X-Mas shopping soon they will be gone.
    For $269 you can't go wrong because it can be resold very easily as a rare bird for ladies or youth.
     
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  19. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    FYI, a 13/16 inch barrel can be bored to 50 caliber.

    Kevin
     
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  20. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    The Deerhunter would be a good platform to add barrels to.
    The model has been made for so many years that there's more used barrels available for them that get sold on eBay.
    They're usually made in .50 but IIRC some were also made in .32.
    I saw a .32 for sale recently but they're far and few between.
    It should be easier and more economical to find used Deerhunter barrels or guns with roached barrels to convert than it would be to find or make extra Crockett barrels.

    The Crockett is a $500 rifle to begin with which extra barrels would just add to the final cost.
    The slightly larger diameter Deerhunter barrels could also be converted into a larger smoothbore, such as 28 gauge or more.
    And the barrel has more steel to be threaded for a choke tube.
    The Deerhunter is a handy lightweight rifle in the 6+ pound range with about a 14" length of pull.
    And the factory barrels are usually drilled & tapped for a mounting a scope or a red dot.

    The .32 Crockett has a 32" barrel which can create some unnecessary problems with cleaning and fouling.
    I'm not so sure that its additional length provides many advantages, especially in the small .32 caliber, to justify the additional cost of making extra barrels for it.
    Perhaps you might even consider having a .36 Deerhunter barrel made instead of a .32.
    The .36 balls and bore are a little easier to work with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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  21. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    While I appreciate the idea, I’ve never liked Traditions example, which is why I own a Lyman Deerstalker. To me it just looks like a cheap flimsy gun, and I’d want wood furniture besides. But this whole thing is about not having a whole nuther rifle, but just simple barrel swaps.

    *Oops! Guess I didn’t hit “post reply” last night.*

    It’s about $500 for most any entry level muzzleloader. The way I see it is I can get a very nice barrel for less than the cost of another rifle. I’d image for $500 I could have a very nice barrel.

    Though I do want a long range barrel for my Lyman that I’d top with a Malcolm style scope, anything for stomping around would have peep sights.

    I’ve wondered about that long barrel on the Crockett. Unless a more stout charge is used I just don’t see it being advantageous outside of maybe the sight radius. I imagine keeping my loads to half that, hoping 15-20 grns will be plenty accurate (little head accurate to 25 yds or so) as it certainly has plenty of thump. One thing I’ve figured I could always fall back on if I didn’t like the performance of the factory barrel, and that is to send it Mr Hoyt. And if it’s simply just an issue of length it could easily be fixed. Not what I’d want, but always something to fall back upon.

    I’ve contemplated caliber quite a bit, considering the .32, .36, and .40. At the moment all I’d be hunting would be rabbits and squirrels on the ground, though if I ever run into a porcupine I’ll be figuring out how to skin, clean, and eat one. These are my conclusions:

    The .32 is frugal on both lead and powder, but with a ball it’s range is fairly short since it has such a poor BC. Of course one could shoot a REAL and get something akin to the .32-20. And using a conical would also increase the game size a bit so, assuming it’s accurate, I could shoot coyotes if I so chose, a critter I can’t just get real close to easily.

    The .36 easily thumps any small game with no concerns. Not bad on lead or powder really. Not sure if a conical would get me enough to use on close range medium game like our tiny whitetails that on the hoof don’t generally get much over 125 lbs unless they’re fed protein and such. A .36-40 seems like it might do ok, but not confidence inspiring I’m sure.

    And then there’s the .40. It’s just always seemed way too much overkill for little critters. But at the same time this could potentially make a good small to medium game gitter.

    In conclusion I feel the .32 cal is likely ideal, though I’ve read many have fouling issues more quickly. But there’s a couple of old timers with decades shooting the Crockett and saying it’s all in the lube, that they can shoot all day long. I’ve also read many people feel the tiny balls are just too fiddly to deal with. Maybe. I’m not but 5’8” with smaller hands so maybe that’s not much of an issue for me. Dunno. But since I’d prefer to have 2 different calibers more ideal for their intended purpose than one do-it-all, I think a .32 and .45-something is just about perfect, along with a smoothbore for shooting what’s in the trees.
     
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  22. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    The main reason for mentioning the Deerhunter is that it's available with a .45 barrel without needing to make a custom barrel.
    Shooting your .45 bullet is only an experiment, and it may not even shoot that well.
    Whereas the .45 barrel alone provides possibilities for both hunting and target.
    Anything that the .32 can do the .45 can generally do better.
    It's only a matter of how it's loaded, and .45's generally shoot very well as do the Deerhunters.
    The Crockett offers double triggers, but I actually prefer single triggers.
    And if trying to get a bead on a small critter on the move, a short barrel can provide quicker target acquisition.
    You can start hunting with the .45 right away, and also bark squirrels with it.
    It would put a coyote or rabbit out of commission with much more authority than a .32.
    The reason why the .32 blasts large holes in small critters is due to its high velocity and expansion.
    But the .45 can be slowed down enough to not only be effective, but to not blow a gaping hole in the animal.
    But it will make a larger hole when you need it to just by being a larger caliber.
    Just imagine how a larger ball is able to clip the edge of a bullseye a little bit easier than a smaller ball can.
    The .45 offers a slightly greater margin for error when taking shots at a small target because the .45 would clip it while the .32 would be a clean miss.

    I would also have a hard time trusting the spec's of any custom made barrel if relying on it to shoot your .45 bullet.
    A custom maker will do the best that he can to rifle it perfectly, but there's still a margin of error which you would have already paid for.
    Whether the custom barrel has tolerances a little too large or small will always be the root of the problem, because it won't be perfect.
    Whereas the Traditions barrel is virtually guaranteed to be within spec.'s.
    I'm talking about the difference between a small individual barrel maker vs. the resources of a large industrial maker that has the equipment and inspectors to ship high tech barrels around the world.
    Ardesa has a pretty great reputation throughout Europe and North America for making both traditional and modern muzzle loaders.
    They make some high tech. products with their vast resources and are a multi-million Dollar company.
    I would trust the spec's of a Deerhunter barrel more than a barrel made by a single individual using older equipment.
    Just as I would also expect Green Mountain to make a better barrel than a one man outfit.

    If a large company makes a bad barrel, they will toss it out.
    If a one man outfit runs into problems making a barrel, then the chances are you'll be stuck with it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Gee, I wonder how vast the resources are at Colerain, Rice, and Getz that I can think of offhand, not to mention the fellow in Canada making gain twist barrels, whose name I misremember.
     
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  24. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Some folks on the MLF posted that Getz has been accepting orders and can't deliver a barrel, with the money disappearing without communication or a refund.
    The accusation was that he's using his reputation to soak people, and that his son has run the business into the ground.
    The senior Mr. Getz is deceased.

    There's instances of similar things happening with some custom gun builders.
    They can't meet deadlines and don't deliver what was ordered and paid for up front.
    Such as shoddy work that ends up needing to be rebuilt, and stringing people along for much longer than agreed to.

    Another guy recently posted how his custom .54 barrel from Rayl had spec's that were too tight.
    He was having trouble getting a patched ball down his new barrel, and another responded that it's customary for some barrel makers to build to their own spec's.
    But the customer simply ordered a .54 barrel and not a sub-.54 bore.
    It was suggested to contact Rayl to work it out but I haven't heard about the outcome.

    I'm not knocking all custom barrels, just that there's no guarantee that the final spec's will be the same as with a factory made barrel.
    Some traditional long gun shooters may not care so much since they don't often shoot with conicals.
    But a custom conical shooter will care about it, especially if it's the reason why he orders the barrel in the first place.

    Some of the custom makers that you mention don't use the same quality steel as the factories use.
    There have been discussions about it that I've posted about in the past.
    Some tend to use steel alloys that are easier to machine rather than using higher quality "gun barrel steel."
    It's customary steel for them to use, but because the barrels are used by custom builders the issue doesn't get scrutinized.
    And if folks knew that their $2,000 guns could be made using better quality steel, then some of these custom makers wouldn't be able to stay in business.
    But since these makers are among the only ones building barrels in the traditional configurations, they get a pass on the quality of the steel.
    It's the custom builders that chose to install them on the guns that they build for whatever reasons, and the barrels do have a good reputation.
    I think that it's due to their profiles and the types of rifling that they offer, but not the quality of their steel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
  25. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I’ve used Bobby for a shocking number of barrel projects and I won’t enumerate them here for fear that Mrs Woodnbow gets ahold of this iPad... every single time he has hit the mark. Sometimes the barrel hasn’t worked out the way I envisioned but that was because my expectations weren’t in line with the physics of lead moving rapidly down a steel tube. No fault of Mr. Hoyt.

    Plus he bears the surname of the greatest recurve bowyer of my generation, Mr. Earl Hoyt Junior. RIP...
     
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