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i HAVE HEARD THIS CALLED A "SLUG GUN", BUT KNOW NOTHING ELSE ABOUT IT

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by "DOC", Feb 12, 2018.

  1. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    Belongs to a friend of mine. It is a VERY heavy piece, probably 50-60 lbs. Octagon rifled barrel with G R Douglas on the top rear under the long plate. Under hammer ignition. 60" overall length. 43.5" barrel. Hooded front sight. Guessing the plate screwed into the top rear of the barrel is some kind of scope mount? It also is stamped .50 Caliber on the top rear of the barrel. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Also trying to get some idea of the value as it is going to be for sale . I have tried everything I know to upload several photos, but have not been successful. I can email or send photos to a cell phone number if that would help.
     
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  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Slug gun?

    Sure it isn't a "Punt Gun" at 50-60 lbs.?
     
  3. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You do know it is modern, don't you ? Douglas barrels of all types are well known.
    A local gunsmith builds ultra heavy benchrest muzzleloaders like that.
    I was surprised that they shoot benchrest with patched round balls, all I knew of in the category was the "slug gun" firing a heavy paper patched bullet.
    But his favorite NMLRA match calls for round balls. He loads his with Teflon coated denim patches.
    They have some strange rules on sights, "open" sights are required but are otherwise unrestricted. He has Redfield Internationals with slotted plates instead of peep apertures. Sounds like your guy's gun is missing the rear sight.
     
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  5. boom boom

    boom boom Member

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    That is just strange. Knew benchresters were wild and crazy but I never knew this secret about them.
     
  6. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    DSCN0267.JPG DSCN0268.JPG DSCN0269.JPG DSCN0270.JPG DSCN0271.JPG DSCN0273.JPG
     
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  7. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    I was guessing the 1940's or 1950's, but being as I know nothing more about it than what y'all have told me, it's still just a guess. I did finally manage to figure out how to post some photos, but the one of the entire rifle wouldn't upload.
     
  8. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    This is actually a rifled barrel. Are punt guns the same as those super sized 2 and 4 guage bow guns for geese hunting?
     
  9. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Yeah. most of the punt guns were smooth bore, and had single-digit bores, and typically launched fine silk bags of ordinary shot in great clouds. Used for "market" hunting, back in the day.

    Yours is for sure unique. The trigger guard is the mainspring, it looks to me. Which is neat, but you have to rely on crimping the cap on the nipple stuck up there on the bottom of that monster.

    That bar with the sight is also a puzzler. Scopes were not common in percussion cap days. So, I wonder if that aft hole is for an aperture sight that is now long gone.
     
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  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Underhammer actions were and are popular for target and bench rifles. Mechanically simple and a direct flash into the powder. Very late rifles had primer adapters.
    The long bar to the rear is undoubtedly for a peep sight.
     
  11. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    Maybe chunk guns and slug guns are different names for the same guns or describe the particular sport with similar guns,I don't know, but there are more pictures of similar guns when Googling "chunk gun". The Billinghurst rifles are very close to what my friend has. The research continues................
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    No.
    The chunk gun is a heavy but rustic rifle meant for "shooting over a log" at moderate ranges.
    The slug gun was the highest refinement of the muzzleloading benchrest rifle. Calibers were large, rifling was relatively quick, and bullets were long and heavy. The projectiles were cast to rough shape and then swaged to eliminate voids and get exact diameter and nose profile. Many were made in two parts and swaged together to give desired hardness for bearing surface (under a paper patch) and nose.
     
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  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Just a WAG, but I suspect the Douglas barrel was a takeoff from another gun, put on someone's idea of a home made bench rest muzzle loader.

    Jim
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    And what gun would you take a .50 cal 1 1/2" across the flats off of?
     
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  15. "DOC"

    "DOC" Member

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    The piece doesn't look homemade to me...except for the Douglas barrel it closely resembles Billinghurst guns I have seen pictures of.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I read an article in the 1930's American Rifleman. It was about long barreled black powder guns used at target practice in Tennessee. They look very similar to the rifles in the "chunk guns". It is my recollection that 50 caliber was big for the things, but caliber did not matter to scoring. Scoring was based on string measurement. You provided a ball, one that you would have shot in your rifle, and the center of that ball was where the string measurement was based. Starting with the X you made on a piece of wood, you shot at the X, and the distance from the center of the X to the center of the hole was made with a string, using the ball to judge exactly the location of the center. I think they added the distance to the center of the next shot, but it could have been the string distance from the center of the X. (could use some help here) The shortest string length of the for the group, won the match, and the turkey, if that was the prize. I think they were firing five shot groups, could have been more. Distances were less than 50 yards. You had a group of people, a group of judges who had to measure, so having everyone walk up and down a 200 yard line each shot, would not have worked.

    Based on the stock, that rifle looks post WW2, the historic rifles I have seen did not have that buttstock or cheekpiece. The firing mechanism could have been purchased in the 1960's, underhammer replica mechanisms were being sold then. I don't know about the barrel, if it is soft iron, it could be much older. Backwoods gunsmiths made their barrels from iron and those flats were cut with a draw knife and finished with a file. When the barrel was shot out, it was bored for a larger caliber.
     
  17. Mr. Standfast

    Mr. Standfast Member

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    This is an extremely interesting rifle, with which you could probably do some very rewarding experimentation. It conforms fairly well to a type of rifle used by a small subculture of eccentric US hobbyists in the 1850s or thereabouts, although I think a conventional lock was commoner. I wouldn't use it with round ball before checking the rifling twist, as there is a good chance that it was made for elongated bullets. The barrel blank could easily have been one made for the 45in. M2 Browning.

    Some may have been used initially with the American picket ball, which was pointed but with an insufficient cylindrical surface to keep it straight. A longer cylinder is much better. They were commonly loaded with a false muzzle and bullet starter, sometimes with compound levers a bit like the more sophisticated type of wine-bottle corkscrew. But this doesn't appear to have become lost from yours, as they usually fitted on a short cylindrical muzzle with locating-pin holes.

    There is an engraving of the young Queen Victoria firing a hexagonal-bore Whitworth match rifle, rather lighter in the British style, at the opening of the Wimbledon ranges. She is only pulling a string, with the rifle set up in a fixed rest the night before. But the bullet struck about an inch and a half from the centre of the target at 400 yards, and your rifle could probably do better.

    https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/...itworth-rifle-fired-by-the-queen-at-Wimbledon

    In this download of Charles Winthrop Sawyer's "Our Rifles", a passage beginning "No. 3, Heavy target rifle. A scientist's instru-
    ment rather than a mere rifle." describes such a rifle in his own collection. It is followed by a fictional story of its use in the Civil War to eliminate an enemy general at a range of one mile, 187 feet. I don't believe anything like this ever happened, but it could have done. It does show, however, that there would be a lot more than shooting in doing so.

    https://archive.org/stream/firearmsinameric00sawyrich/firearmsinameric00sawyrich_djvu.txt
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..."
    Last words of General John Sedgwick, May 9, 1864.

    Tennessean John Hinson bought a heavy target rifle and set out for revenge after Union forces shot his sons as suspected bushwhackers and put their heads on stakes. I don't credit the ranges claimed but even the Union blamed him for 130 kills. He cut 36 rings on the gun... officers only.
     
  19. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Jim Watson has a good point. What else would have a barrel like that? Doing some more thinking and some research, I have no doubt that the gun is (relatively) modern, maybe the 1950's, judging by the stock shape and recoil pad. Also, the mainspring is modern, not the tapered spring one would expect in an antique rifle, and of course the nipple is modern. All in all, I think it is a "project gun"", something someone with an idea, a DIY bent and a little money to scratch the itch might come up with.

    Jim
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Yes, but they are in use. Muzzleloading benchrest at Friendship and elsewhere, not to mention the traditionalist chunk gun shoots.
    A simple action, likely as modern as the barrel.
    I do wonder about the hammer. Its broad contoured spur is pretty complicated. I would just profile one out of a flat plate and it would fire the gun just as well for a lot less labor. Maybe the one period part.
     
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