Coned the muzzle of my longrifle

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Dave Markowitz, Nov 18, 2022.

  1. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    Last weekend I used a tool made by Joe Wood ("flintsteel" on The Muzzleloading Forum) to cone the muzzle of my longrifle. This was a common practice in the 18th Century and lets you load the gun without a short starter, since the inside of the muzzle is made into a funnel.

    Mr. Wood includes excellent instructions and a template for cutting the wet/dry sandpaper you'll need to use his tool.

    My longrifle is a .50 Dixie Gunworks Tennesee Mountain Rifle that was restocked by George Dech as a Pennsylvania rifle.

    GLDech_Longrifle.jpg

    The tool is a tapered brass mandrel with a bore-sized pilot. You use it with varying grades of wet/dry sandpaper attached with double sided carpet tape to form the cone inside the muzzle. I used three pieces each of 220 and 320 grit, then two pieces of 400 grit for the final polish.

    I can now seat a .490 in a dry .020 patch flush with the muzzle using only thumb pressure (I generally shoot .018 patches, lubed of course).

    Today I took it to the range for the first time since coning it. As others who've done this report, there was no change to the point of impact or group size. This group was shot offhand at 50 yards with 70 grains of 3Fg black powder, a .490 ball, and .018 ticking lubed with October Country's Bumblin Bear Grease. I used a 6:00 hold.

    111822-dech-50yards-offhand.jpg

    There's no real need for muzzle coning if you only shoot on the range. However, it's nice to not need a short starter if you are doing a woods walk or hunting.
     
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  2. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Right on, I coned my Jeager soon after I got it. Yes, it speeds up loading considerably, which really comes in handy when chasing wounded bears around in the brush. Can't imagine having to do that with a short-starter. It was more than "nice" for me. !!! I don't remember what tool I used, sounds like the same one. I was on some forum where you could use it, and then send it on to the next guy who wanted it.

    I do believe that in some cases it can degrade accuracy, but it is so slight that it's only detectable with extensive testing and the shooting of many groups. For hunting, really no difference. A half inch of so one way or the other on the side of a deer is not much to worry about. Offhand shooting, who could tell? Not me. And like you, most report no difference in accuracy they can tell. But, the babies are out there that will claim you have defiled the rifle by doing so!

    In addition to coning my muzzle, I also "dished" it, which really makes it fast to center the patch on the muzzle and seat a ball. (if not using a loading block, which makes it even faster.)
    DSC07555.JPG
     
  3. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    That file work looks good. How did you dish the muzzle?
     
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  4. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I used to do that same thing with a carbide ball cutter in an old brace and bit hand drill. It was more for crowning the muzzle but the effect was the same.
     
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  5. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Yep, Jack is right, the trick is to not use a power-tool. I have a round-stone hardware store thingy I used. Thanks Dave, well, the file work is not "great", but looks good from a distance. !!! That close up shows it's not so perfect. Anyhow, the "dish" really does aid, or enhance, or helps, or works well with the cone. The patch and ball just kind of "fall" into position.
     
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  6. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    Ugly Sauce, what did you use to dish the muzzle? Ball end mill ? Years back I jug choked a shotgun barrel I made. A split rod and emory paper was used and as I remember it took forever to get a .010 choke. That was just .005 a side. Now a days with breech loading shotguns an adjustable reamer is used. I made up a special tool to adjust the reamer while it's in the barrel. Still takes quite a while
     
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  7. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    It was/is just a hardware store stone, I was thinking it was a round-ball on a shank, but I saw it on the shelf yesterday and actually it is bullet-shaped, like a round-nose bullet. Did have one that was a ball, but have not seen it in the mess lately. I've used that forever to do "gentle" shallow muzzle crowns. It cut into the Jeager's barrel pretty fast, which is a Colrain swamped barrel.

    For doing "creative" or deep crowns I've found the various router bits, which come in lots of different shapes, to be great for crowning, and fast. I always use one of them thar old-timer's hand crank drills. Although, on the Jeager I started it with a power drill on low speed, then finished it by hand.
     
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  8. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I would have thought a router bit with just two cutting edges would want to vibrate too much. And they're meant to cut wood, not steel. Wouldn't it dull real quick, or just not cut at all ?
     
  9. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    You know, I may have made a grave mistake here. I didn't mean router bits, as you describe. I don't know what they are called, but they come in different shapes, have kind of fluted blades, hardware/tool store stuff. Sorry about that, yes, a true router bit would not work. I don't know why I've always called them router bits. ? I will try to take a pic of what I'm talking about, but today I have to get the house ready for turkey-day company. !!
     
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  10. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    I feel much better. :):):) I thought I knew a little about machining steel seeing how I have belt sanders, disk sanders, a mill, drill press, and surface grinder to help me in my knife making shop. I don't pretend to be a machinist, but after forging my knife blades or making some Damascus, the mill comes in handy for cutting slots for the guards. I know what you mean, a picture isn't necessary. Thanks.
     
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  11. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I believe Ugly is referring to an end mill. It's made for a vertical milling machine and it's purpose it cutting metals.
     
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  12. Rustmangler

    Rustmangler Member

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    Their are "burrs" that go with air driven die grinders"20,000 thousand plus rpm" that carve steel like router bits.
     
  13. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    True, but I wouldn't use one to crown a gun barrel.
     
  14. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Yes I have a die-grinder and all the carbide bits, I've ported a bazillion Chrysler cylinder heads and done/do "creative" work on Harley Davidson flathead motorcycle heads. (The Ford flathead guys have really paved the way in flathead flow-science) Yeah the bits I'm talking about are similar to die grinder bits, but made of normal steel. For sure, I'd never take my die-grinder to a muzzle!!!
     
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  15. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    Years ago, I read a gunsmithy did the same by using a small flat file and filing the lands until they became lower than the grooves about an inch in from the muzzle.
    The smith claimed it actually improves the gun by allowing the ball to "float" out the barrel, instead of riding the lands to a harsh exit. I have an old .50 cal. GPR I may try it on.
     
  16. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I wouldn't do that. Every thing I've ever learned about finishing off a muzzle shows a 90 degree angle to the rifling, main thing is a consistent and even exit of the projectile from the muzzle. If it's off it can tip the bullet or ball off it's center of rotation and accuracy goes away. I don't see how one is going to get that kind of consistency with a file unless you're really good.
     
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