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Tradition's Trapper Pistol

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by 25cschaefer, Dec 19, 2012.

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  1. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    This was my first semester project for Bench Metals (hand tools) class at Trinidad State Junior College. Everybody in class did the same project; it was amazing the difference in quality from one kit to the next. It was a running joke that the difference arose from how much sangria the Spanish machine operator had on any giving day. This is a tough project, nothing fits, it is inletting too much, too little, and/or wrong, the materials are sub par, and apparently they have an inability to square a piece of machinery in Spain. I had the engraving done by a friend I met at the TSJC NRA summer program. The color case came out with a lot of grey so I decided to antique "French" grey most of the steel. I'm not crazy about the finish but I am proud of the project overall. I still need to find a way to antique brass and I need to replace some screws as well. I got an 83% by the way.

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  2. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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    How do i get in contact with someone at TSJC gun shop to cut a dovetail in a barrel? I need to relocate it on a CVA Hawken as ive switched to a longer barrel.

    That pistol is coming together very well, I never did like that thumb hook they had on those stocks.
     
  3. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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  4. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    You should be proud, that's a handsome Trapper.
    I especially like the wood grain on both sides of the handle and the engraving.
    It also has a rustic look to it which I really like. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  5. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    The deer in the engraving has been my signature since middle school, it may seem out of place without context.
     
  6. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    What 25schaefer modestly declines mentioning is the extra work that was required in the class. The color case hardening and engraving is readily the most noticeable change from the factory kit. Here's some of the things that were done to the gun:

    1) The trigger guard was lengthened such that it would meet with the grip cap.
    2) The barrel rib was extended to fit beneath the nosecap.
    3) The mainspring was replaced with a handmade mainspring that started out as a flat piece of steel.
    4) On some guns, the adjustable sight was cut off and a fixed sight fabricated in its place. 25schaefer filed his rear sight from a single block of steel.
    5) Also on some guns, the hole in the trigger plate had to be plugged and the trigger plate redrilled and tapped.
    6) Some barrels were browned.
    7) Many of the pins for the lockplate, the triggers and trigger plate were nitre blued in class.

    As 25schaefer stated, nothing fitted in the kit. The mystery wood was some semi-hard wood that didn't cut cleanly. My ramrod channel was drilled at the wrong angle - thankfully too high such that the ramrod would ram into the barrel as opposed to too low such that it came out of the belly of the wood. That had to be recut such that the ramrod could even fit in after the barrel was installed. Some guys had to retime their drums as the nipple would not be struck by the hammer. Even if the drum was timed, one student had to bend the hammer so it would hit the nipple. The lockplate's cutout for the drum had to be lowered so the drum would fit. On mine I not only lowered the cutout but filed at the bottom of the drum so the two would fit. I filed the bottom of the underlug so the ramrod wouldn't run into it.

    BTW, having installed the ramrod retaining spring in the gun, I cannot remove the ramrod. The spring will have to wear out before it does. Even the stock architecture is bad. There is an excessive amount of wood between the bottom of the lockplate and the trigger guard. One would have to inlet the trigger assembly deeper so as to move the trigger guard up. Of course, the nose cap would have to be moved higher so the line between the trigger guard and the nose cap would be straight. How much higher is limited by the pre-drilled ramrod channel. We're not talking much and when I was cleaning out the ramrod channel, I could feel the wood giving on the outside. Thankfully there was no break through.

    If you're looking for a quality kit, this isn't it. It is however, because of all the difficulties that arose with it, a good kit to learn on.

    Pay attention to the knife in 25schaefer's photos. He made that himself.

    frontiergander - you could cut the dovetail by hand. In the old days, you marked where you wanted the dovetail and then cut the two parallel lines that represented the width of the dovetail. This would be the minimum width at the top of the barrel. You then sawed an "X" between them and then a line down the center (or even three lines, depending on the kerf of the cut). Then you filed the rest away. To get the triangular shape, you ground down one end of a triangle file so as to create a safe edge. That safe edge went against the bottom of the cut so as you filed away, you didn't go any deeper.
     
  7. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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    yep i know it but when you know you dont have the tools to do it, better to have someone else do it and do it right.
     
  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    FrontierGander - Bring your barrel to the tool room on the 2nd floor of the Mullen Building. Mullen is the multi-level brick building with the "Gunsmithing" banner on it. There's also banners for other trades hanging from Mullen. You can leave it there and someone will cut a dovetail for you. School's out so wait until late January.
     
  9. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    A coat or three of linseed oil on that wood would really show it off.

    I guess I'm blind but I don't see a deer - only a floral pattern.
     
  10. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    The wood was polished to 600 grit and has about 7 coats of boiled linseed oil sanded in. Like 4v50 said, it is some kind of semi-hard mystery wood. It turned a few shades darker than it was but I want it to wear/age into an antique look. The area just behind the barrel lug, on the back, is so porous that when you wipe the oil on it it wicks into the wood; watching it, it looks like acetone on a warm piece of steel. I eventually stopped because I was concerned it would saturate the wood.
     
  11. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    Thanks 4v50Gary, I guess I don't need to self promote.
     
  12. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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    Im not sure if 600 grit would be good. I've always had problems with stain not taking when ive done super fine grit sand paper, almost turns the wood into a plastic feel and the stain doesnt penetrate.

    The wood looks like the typical traditions/cva Beech. Some times you will get them with some real beautiful figure and then other parts are just as plain as can be.

    Thanks Gary, I actually need this rifle ready by mid January for a new powder thats coming out from Hodgdon. Im getting a sneak peek to test out and report on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  13. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    I tried with 320grit but it left the stock dull and rough. It is smooth now but not slick or plastic like.
     
  14. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Did you bend the tip of the hammer spur to create a curl?
    If yes then how did you accomplish that?
     
  15. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    I heated it to red hot and curled it with a pair of spring making pliers. I wanted to make it more curved but I was so nervous it was going to break that I stopped at the first place it looked decent.
     
  16. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    So, I took it out to the range to shoot it for the first time and failed. There was some residue in the bore form the antiquing process so I scrubbed it with a patch but it cam off my jag so I put a cap on to clear it. It went pop but I didn't see the patch come out, I figured I just missed it. I loaded it and got a pop.

    After a few more tries we went back to my buddy's house where is emergency bike tire inflater was waiting and we cleared the load. I have never done this so I put the barrel in a vice and put one of my wife's bowls in front to catch the powder and ball, and maybe an extra patch. The load came out with authority, punched a hole in the bowl, skipped off the bench and went bouncing around the garage. Needless to say, I am still not sure if the patch was in there or not.

    My other thought was the drum is not timed up quite right, it is a few degrees of and I ended up splitting the caps; could this cause a misfire?

    I was using some Pyrodex, is there anyway to test a little of that?
     
  17. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Put a cap on it and see if it pops. That's generally done to clear out the nipple anyway.

    Then load with powder and a wad. See if it goes bang.

    So, did you hide the bowl from your wife?
     
  18. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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    split caps always happen, ive rarely had them stay complete. You'll know when they really come apart as the fragment usually hit you in the face and cheek.

    After you poured the powder down the bore, did you wrap on it a few times to settle the powder? I also turn them lock side down, give a few good wacks to help move the powder into the bolster and then push the projectile down on top of the powder.

    A hollow base spitfire nipple is also my go to nipple, it really spreads the flame around.
     
  19. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    Thanks guys; I told my wife about the bowl, bad idea, don't do that.
    I was sure to tap the butt on the bench before I ran the ball down and seated it as tight as I felt safe doing (just short of getting the hammer out).

    I'm going to pull the plug out and make sure the nipple isn't going too far into the drum, something else I thought of.
     
  20. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    25schaefer - Didn't think the wife would appreciate it. Years from now you might still catch hell because of it. "You shot my favorite bowl! boo-hoo, boo-hoo."

    Before you pull the drum, put the muzzle against a newspaper and try firing a cap first. If the newspaper moves, then gases from the cap are indeed going into the barrel. If not, remove the cleanout screw on the drum and blow some air down it. You might also want to pull the nipple and clean it out with a paperclip.
     
  21. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Is the "deer" you are referring to in the middle of the lock plate, surrounded on both sides by flowers and leaves, and looks sort of like Bullwinkle with two beady eyes and a slight grin on his face??
     
  22. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    Yes, the deer would be my signature. The flowers are a kind of traditional.
     
  23. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Member

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    So, I got around to looking at my pistol again and I think the caps I found in the buttstock of a rifle I am working on may not be the right ones. The caps are not musket caps, they did not come close to fitting the rifle, but they are loose on the pistol's nipple.

    Is there an in between size and can a loose nipple cause a misfire? 5 times?

    I put a Walmart bag in front of the muzzle (I hear this is a pretty traditional method) and the blast from the cap ripped a hole in it.
     
  24. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Percussion caps come in size 10, 11 and musket. Manufacturers may vary slightly in size too so one mfg's #11 will be slightly tighter than another's.

    As to misfire, the cap should go boom when struck. I'm wondering if the hammer is falling squarely on the nipple.
     
  25. 72coupe

    72coupe Member

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    It looks to me like the nipple needs to be turned forward about 10°.

    Or maybe its just the picture.
     
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