Author Topic: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?  (Read 15803 times)

loco219

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2011, 10:28:04 PM »
There was a gentleman in this area years ago that did demonstrations of colonial life, tools, guns, etc. I cannot recall his name , but he had some original guns he would demonstrate. He would load them light, and use a paperball instead of a ball. Upon firing the onlookers would "wow" at the confetti cloud ! He did these at schools, fairs, parades,etc. especially around independence day. I would imagine pressure would be very low with no projectile, and you would still get to hear the 18th century "boom".

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2011, 04:28:59 AM »
I have an old original half stock. The barrel was about 38 cal and I had Jim Goodeion fresh it out to 45. 1&3/16 across flats. Beefy. He also replaced drum and breech. I shoot 60 gr. 2f and have taken 3 deer with it. This gun I trust with that load but I dont shoot it anywhere but by myself and only hunting. When I first started shooting muzzleloaders, the bunch I shot with all shot originals (over 40 years ago).  I hope this doesnt distress too many but I think I'm carefull and justified in using this gun as I do.   Good discusion which ever way you feel.    Gary                   PS I think my gun is only about 150 years old.

Offline snyder

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2011, 05:53:50 PM »
It's interesting how different the opinions on this are between shotgun and rifle shooters and between those who shoot English guns and those who shoot American pieces.  At Friendship one can go to  the skeet field and see lots of people shooting original English pieces that were build in the 1840's or 1850's.  I shoot a Westley Richards double that dates from 1846, the second year that Westley made their own guns.  It's also common for the long range shooters to shoot target rifles, like Rigbys or Henrys that were built in the 1850's and those guys aren't shooting light loads in those bullet guns.

In the late 1950's and early 1960's, when the Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett stuff got people interested in muzzleloaders again, thousands of original rifles came out of the dusty corners, were cleaned up and went to the local gunsmith to replace the drums or nipples and went back into service.  I know because my father who was gunsmithing in central Penna. put dozens of these guns back into service for his customers.  Those guns didn't blow up and are now the pieces that many would consider unsafe or too valuable to use.  At the same time the outdoor magazines of the American Rifleman would publish the occasional article about black powder hunting and the hunters were using original Becks or Rupps or Schreyers - any loving the history they were carrying in the woods. 

So no right answer on this one guys but for the most part the argument that those old pieces aren't safe to use if properly used just doesn't hold water.

Tom


Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2011, 06:44:11 PM »
How about using a 150 or so yr old original powder horn, which I'm guilty of doing?

Sorry about hijacking, if need be please move this question! :)

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2011, 04:16:52 AM »
Roger, 150 year old powder horn would match up real nice with my 150 year old gun. I would send you a Christmas card evey year with a picture of it and the gun if you would like.  Happy New Year.    Gary

Offline Curt J

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2011, 07:54:49 AM »
I too, started shooting muzzleloaders during the early 1960's, when originals were about all that was available.  I shot a number of them and never had any problem, but eventually switched to repros because I hated to wear out originals.  As some of you know, I have a fairly extensive collection of original Illinois-made guns, a handfull of which I had fired years ago.  Three years ago I decided that I wanted to experience the taking of an Illinois whitetail with an original Illinois-made rifle.  The one that seemed best suited for the purpose was a .58 caliber Plains rifle made by Rudolph Pelck, Freeport, Illinois, probably dating from the late 1850's.  I disassembled it and checked all threads and related parts and found everything to be in excellent condition and the bore crisp and shiny.  I bagged an 8 point buck with it on the first day of season and have to say that the feeling was very special, different than using any reproduction.  I have to think that old Rudolph would be proud, that's what he made it for. I may never shoot it again.....or not!  I'm certainly not opposed to shooting an original occasionally, but not to the point of making a habit of it.

cal.43

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2011, 12:34:21 PM »
itīs not unsafe using an old orginal gun for shooting that will be done on every competition which required the use of orginalguns. I donīt like this because they shot out those orginal but itīs not unsafe.

Kopp

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2011, 10:31:28 PM »
Would there be any reason not to use a new barrel and lock mechanism retrofitted to an antique rifle for shooting purposes?

Forgive me in advance if the following idea is pure heresy, but...  ???

Now that I have an Andrew Kopp rifle, and I'm going to get it restored, I'm wondering if it might be worth obtaining a new barrel and lock to swap out with the original hardware to shoot it occasionally with my children, then of course return it to original after shooting on rare occasions.

I thought about having a reproduction Kopp rifle done, but after a little investigation found that is beyond my financial capabilities for the foreseeable future.

I know the current barrel and lock mechanism should not be used, but is the primary concern about shooting antique rifles a fear of metal failure in the barrel and lock mechanism, or would it be too much stress on the other parts also?

« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 01:23:47 AM by Kopp »

Dave K

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2011, 01:01:01 AM »
This is my opinion and I am sure there are many more from others. But, if the gun is going to be restored, the lock and barrel will certainly have been gone over as well. I am sure the person you have entrusted to restore the gun is capable of telling you if the gun is safe enough to shoot. I wouldn't bother to fit a new lock and barrel to this gun. I would enjoy it on the rare occasion you shoot it as it was built. Of course this means after restoration and inspections/repairs.

Offline Blacksmoke

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2011, 07:10:57 AM »
Kopp:   If you are going to get your rifle "restored" - in my opinion that means made "sound" or "shootable" again!   When I do a "restoration" job,  The old gun is repaired and restored to shooting condition, lock, stock and barrel!  The gun may never be shot but it will be possible if someone down the road wants to do it.   I do not recommend interchanging locks and barrels with contemporary made ones as this can lead to mortise and barrel pin wear.  Once restored just use the gun with extreme care once in a while.    Just my opinion,      Hugh Toenjes
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Kopp

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2011, 07:27:14 AM »
Kopp:   If you are going to get your rifle "restored" - in my opinion that means made "sound" or "shootable" again!   When I do a "restoration" job,  The old gun is repaired and restored to shooting condition, lock, stock and barrel!  The gun may never be shot but it will be possible if someone down the road wants to do it.   I do not recommend interchanging locks and barrels with contemporary made ones as this can lead to mortise and barrel pin wear.  Once restored just use the gun with extreme care once in a while.    Just my opinion,      Hugh Toenjes

Thanks Hugh, this is good to know. I was not sure if the barrel on my rifle could be used as it had been over drilled and tapped for a sealed ignition device in place of the drum and nipple:


If they can simply use this over drilled hole for a new drum and nipple, I guess that would restore the function of the barrel?


Or would they fill in the hole and re-drill and tap it? (This is a whole new knowledge base I'm trying to learn, so please forgive my ignorance.)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 07:32:26 AM by Kopp »

Whitedog

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2011, 03:54:49 PM »
Wow, it looks as if somebody had turned it into a stage prop or made it safe for kids to handle. The two holes at the forward end of the lock plate look as if they've been opened up too.  That lock plate will have to be worked on for sure as well as the hammer. However, it CAN be done. Nice rifle! How long is the barrel?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 04:04:05 PM by Whitedog »

Offline Blacksmoke

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2011, 07:00:15 PM »
Kopp:  Thanks for posting better pictures of the lock and breech of your rifle.  The lock will not present a problem to restore - with a little tig welding, file work and the making of a new mainspring, the lock can be brought back to a functioning mechanism.  However the barrel breech is another story.  From the photos it appears that the breech plug will have to be removed and examined for thread condition and how many threads are holding it in place.  From what I can see at this point I would recommend that the barrel be rebreeched with a "patent" breech that is configured with a powder chamber.  That means new threads on patent breech along with new female threads in the barrel.  Any time I do this type of procedure I always "age" the new parts to fit in with the old original.  The next question is what shape is the bore in?  Can it be salvaged or does it have to be "re-bored"and "re-rifled"by hand?  I've also done this a number times.   These are a few observations that I can comment on, just from observing the photos.   There are many more items to be examined for doing the whole project.     If you want more advice feel free to contact me at the shop - Mon through Fri. 9; am - 5; pm.  Mountain time.    605-673-4072.  or E-mail:  hjt65@hotmail.com
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 08:04:11 PM by Blacksmoke »
H.T.

Kopp

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Re: Good/Bad/or just indifferent - using a 200 year old gun?
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2011, 07:07:25 PM »
How long is the barrel?
Barrel is approx. 42 inches.