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My Handmade Muzzle Loader

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by 58limited, Nov 9, 2012.

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  1. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    This is a handmade muzzle loader an older local gentleman gave to me. He made it back in the 1950s, the only thing he did not actually make is the percussion lock - he bought it in the rough and finished it. He drilled and rifled the barrel, made the brass patch box and a few other brass inset decorations. He designed a jig to cut the grooves for the rifling: 200 passes to cut each groove, there are six in this barrel. He started making these in the late 40s as a teen. Back then there were very limited parts sources and no kits. He had to make his own or try to find originals. It is .50 Cal, 1:66 twist and uses 60-70 grains of powder.

    greene1.jpg

    greene2.jpg

    greene3.jpg
     
    Hanshi and Cooldill like this.
  2. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    WOW! That is outstanding! That's a rifle anyone would be proud to own, better hold onto it. :)
     
  3. brushhippie

    brushhippie Member

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    That is beautiful! Great gift!
     
  4. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    Thanks. This will never be sold in my lifetime. It is a great honor to be given this rifle, the maker has made about 20-25 in his life and has only given about 4 of them away. He has never sold one.
     
  5. Harrod

    Harrod Member

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    You sir had better start quacking, cuz you are one lucky duck! That is a beautiful piece, keep good care of it and I'm sure it will be with you for a good long while :)
     
  6. ivankerley

    ivankerley Member

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    wow

    thats beautiful, building something for the pure joy it brings to oneself or gifted to others is a very special thing.
    thanks for sharing the picts and the story
    gene
     
  7. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow! He rifled the barrel himself? That's impressive.
     
  8. raa-7

    raa-7 Member

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    Very nice rifle,and one can tell that alot of thought went into making it. How awesome is that ! I would love to see the rifling process and tooling to make the barrels.If I only had a way to rifle barrels ! I really appreciate things that are home made.I made a bp pistol from scratch and to make it totally from scratch is a challenge.I know it was for me ! I will post a picture of it soon.But that rifle is so nice.I like how he raised the wood around the lock area and the enhancements around the stock,around the grip and butt areas and I can just say that it is truely a personal work effort put into it. My next will be a cap lock rifle,only this time I'm going to buy the lock and trigger ! Thanks for sharing it with us :D
     
  9. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    So..... how does it shoot?
     
  10. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    The rifle shoots fine, the shooter is out of practice. But, if I omit two flyers, the 10 shot group was 5" at 100 yards. With the flyers - 8".

    The gentleman who gave it to me hunted with it several times and shot a few deer with it. I hope to hunt with it too, but this year I want to hunt with my Shiloh Sharps (I will only get to go once and the Shiloh won out this year).
     
  11. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I keep going back to this thread to look at the rifle, that's a gorgeous smoke pole! Still can't get over the fact the guy actually bored and rifled the barrel himself. That's just so darn cool! And you really don't see that kind of thing too often these days either.
     
  12. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    58limited, that rifle is definately a keeper, I know of only one guy that has built some modern rifles from scratch and did his own rifling, in fact he is a master gunsmith and lives in Kingman, Arizona. I've seen his work and it simply amazes me.;)
     
  13. DoubleDeuce 1

    DoubleDeuce 1 Member

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    That is exceptionally cool! Keeper!!!:cool:
     
  14. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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  15. nobody1369

    nobody1369 Member

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    Any idea the makers name? I have one that was built in west tx in 73
     
  16. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    I know the maker personally. We share the same interests (classic cars and guns) and he is a client at my clinic. He has lived in SE Texas all his life. I'm not going to post his name unless he gives me permission.
     
  17. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    Very nice. Great furniture.
     
  18. nobody1369

    nobody1369 Member

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    Ok my rifle says J FISHER
     
  19. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    The name on mine is different. Have you posted pictures of yours? I'd like to see it.


    Thanks. That is known as 'The World's Most Comfortable Couch' among my friends and family. I can't lay on it and read without falling asleep.
     
  20. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    ..

    would be great if that gentleman would allow for some of his
    methods and findings to be documented, ... before ....


    So all of us can learn, how we could make such a thing of beauty
    in case we suddenly have 10yrs of time on our hands and nothing else to do.


    Outstanding piece.
     
  21. nobody1369

    nobody1369 Member

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    I'll try in next few days, mine is a .45 cal
    All handmade except the lock , it's a modified t.c. Caplock
     
  22. 58limited

    58limited Member

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    I spent several hours with Ray, the gentleman who made my rifle, today around the noon hour. He wanted to see my Uberti Walker Colt (and told me to feel free to leave it with him). He showed me the rifling jig and he said he made it based on the ones used by gunmakers in the mid-1700s. He found pictures and descriptions in books and used that as a guide to build his. He said that you are really filing each groove, not "cutting" it. You work on all six grooves at the same time: Make a pass on one groove, rotate barrel, make a pass on the second groove, and so on until you've made a pass on all six. Then, you raise the file (cutter) and repeat the process. He corrected me and said that it often took 300 passes per groove. He also said it would take him a couple of weeks to rifle a barrel - spare time, time spent adjusting the height of the file, and then quitting due to the monotony and returning later all contributed to the time it takes to rifle the barrel. Ray has several original rifles in various conditions including a very nice Jeager from the 1740s and a very very nice German wheel lock from the 1620s. Both have rifled barrels - interesting rifling: the grooves are rounded, not squared off.

    Here is a webpage describing old rifling jigs, there are photos too (his jig is like the ones in the B&W photos):

    http://korns.org/misc/rifling-jig.html

    One difference in Ray's jig - instead of carving guide grooves into the wood cylinder, he made a raised spiral on the cylinder. He said that was easier for him to do with the tools that he had. Ray quit rifling his own barrels years ago when commercial ones became readily available. The commercial ones are period correct too: They are octagon and tapered but flare out at the end. They are also lighter than the ones Ray made. Ray also reused original barrels occasionally - most were shot out or rusty inside. He reamed them to a bigger caliber and rifled them. Many of his first guns also have reused original percussion locks or flintlocks scavenged from junk rifles.

    He has a nice flintlock double barrel 12 ga. shotgun that I really like. The barrels and locks are commercially made but he made the stock and other parts. He has shot birds with it several times.

    This was a fun few hours talking old muzzle loaders and seeing Ray's awesome collection. Ray is really talented and very knowledgeable about these guns.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  23. garyca

    garyca Member

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    Wow - Impressive. Such craftsmanship. You are a lucky man indeed !!
     
  24. husker

    husker Member

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    That is a awesome rifle. Very nice indeed
     
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Ditto on getting Ray's story down on video or ink. If he made that in the 50's that puts him with the first generation of the great black powder revival. Back with Turner Kirkland and those fellows, most of whom have long since passed from us. They had to reinvent a lot of wheels, since the mainstream had figured black powder was as useless as a horse and buggy by that time. Heck if he's got a computer invite him here! If it weren't for folks like him the smoke poles would all be in museums now and the smell of sulfur a forgotten memory.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
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