Author Topic: Think I lost my mind  (Read 1544 times)

Offline Bill Raby

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Think I lost my mind
« on: October 12, 2017, 07:35:33 PM »
   I just bought a 4 bore barrel. I know its nuts. But I have always been interested in the 19th century African history and wanted a 4 bore for years. I already have all the parts on hand for the next four rifle builds so it will be a while before I can get to this one. Just starting to do my research and get ideas. Plan is to build it mostly along the idea of the English Sporting Rifle plans from Track of the Wolf, but make it a flintlock. I just like flintlocks better. Seems like most of these were percussion, but flintlocks were used right up until cartridges became available. What is the largest lock available? Does not matter if it is historically accurate. Easy enough to make a new lock plate. When did the 4 bores first come into use? While flintlocks may have been around until cartridges, I would guess that they were pretty rare by then. What changes would have to be made to make it more historically accurate? Obviously the plans would have to be scaled up a bit in some places.

   Other consideration would be recoil. Ran the numbers on the loads some of these guys were using back then and it comes out to about 270+ ft/lbs of recoil. Yikes! Modern recoil pad is tempting, but at that point I doubt it would make any difference. Not likely I would ever shoot those really heavy loads anyway. OK, Maybe once! I don't have any problem shooting the modern African big game hunting rifles, but this is over double the recoil of any rifle that I have now. Bedding the barrel seems like a good idea. What about putting a couple steel rods through the wrist of the gun? Would that make any difference? Also wondering about the stock. English walnut is traditional, but dense close grained maple is stronger and I have seen some references to it being used on these big English guns.

   Like I said, it will be a while before I get to working on this one and so far the only part I have is the barrel. I will be doing my research. I welcome and suggestions or advice from those of you who know more about this sort of thing than I do.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 08:41:05 PM »
If you have a copy of "English Guns and Rifles" by J.N. George you should find a photo of a "Mortimer" from London in a six bore with flintlock ignition made around 1800. My buddy Dennis Mc Candless of Los Cruces, NM used to make locks for the four bore guns but he has sold all his machinery and stopped gunsmithing now for about 3-4 years or so. I know of some of those real big bores with the recoil reducer in the butt stock if that would help you. Money well spent on such a gun IMHO. In the not to distant past on this forum there was a statement that some of those four bores made now have had more owners than shots down range. Food for thought.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 08:44:21 PM »
Frances Selous used a shortened Dutch 4 bore fowler percussion gun for elephant back at the end of the 1800's. His loader, used a handful of powder, with a thinly patched round ball.  Shooting

was very close, of course, normally broadside shots.

He noted later on, he'd wished he'd never heard of a 4 bore, as it made him flinch so badly, he was no longer capable of fine shooting.

W.W. Greener broke his recoil machine with a 12 dram load, 4 drams less than the top-end load - for the ctg. gun. The machine only registered up to 200pounds recoil and the 12 dram load was

 enough higher than that, to break his machine.

I do not know what the standard ML load was, probably in the 10 dram range - 270gr.
Daryl

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Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 09:15:42 PM »
I don't know if there is any published data on Four bore velocities with any powder charges. I shoot 4 dram of 1&1/2 swiss in my 62 and it is very comfortable to shoot but a four bore is  5 times larger so I don't ever want to shoot one thank you.  :D :)

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 09:37:29 PM »
I think you may find mating a commercially available flintlock to the flat of a 4 Bore to be quite a challenge. Most of the guns I have seen that are near that caliber are percussion, and mostly back action locks.

  Hungry Horse

Offline hanshi

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 09:43:55 PM »
I'll agree with you; yep, you did lose yer mind.  :o
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Offline oldtravler61

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 11:08:23 PM »
  Many years ago I shot a 4 bore percussion. To say it kicked is a understatement. My right shoulder tried to become a left should....!
  Sighting it in will become a week long affair. One shot a day...Good luck.....Oldtravler

Offline conquerordie

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 11:14:47 PM »
It's a gun you've always wanted and thats enough of a reason to build it. I have a 4 bore rifled wallgun. Whole different ballgame than what you are building. I shot 300 and 400 grain charges with a ball. No recoil at all! Of course I welded a big hook to the bottom of the barrel in a Dutch/German fashion. Hook it over a log and shoot away. Guns weighs around 25 pounds and is 6 feet long. As long as the elephant is standing still and I don't have to ever move I could go hunting :P
Greg

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 11:20:40 PM »
I have a 4 bore.  It has a swivel mount and a touch hole located on the top of the barrel .  Swivel gun/punt gun/ small cannon...it goes by many names.  I call it " Little Thunder "    .    ;D    If you want to build a shoulder mountable 4 bore, I'd use a nice straight English style stock with a wide buttplate . Try a "Bess" lock . I think it would work OK    . As far as shooting is concerned , I'd try some 1F loads . Slower powders lengthen the recoil curve, so more push than snap.

Offline SingleMalt

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 11:33:10 PM »
You’re getting into “wall gun” territory. In fact, I think The Rifle Shope has castings for a wall gun lock, Revolutionary War vintage.
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Offline mark brier

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 12:31:23 AM »
I believe you will discover that you are going to run into a lot of problems making a 4 bore flintlock. But give it a go if you like. You will find in original British sporting rifles the breech had  to be of a almost fortified design. With a 4 bore that is intended to go to Africa the accepted loading for such game would be a powder charge pushing upwards to 550 grains pushing a 4 ounce ball. But if it's a piece you've always wanted then by all means go for it. Just do your homework please.
Mark Brier

Offline burnt

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 12:37:44 AM »
I think The Rifle Shope has castings for a wall gun lock,
I think the correct statement is "I think the Rifle Shope shows castings foe a wall gun lock" ::)
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Offline JCKelly

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 01:48:03 AM »
Flint lock muskets for the African trade were made in Belgium right up through the early 20th century. They were available when I was a kid.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 02:02:21 AM »
Frances Selous used a shortened Dutch 4 bore fowler percussion gun for elephant back at the end of the 1800's. His loader, used a handful of powder, with a thinly patched round ball.  Shooting

was very close, of course, normally broadside shots.

He noted later on, he'd wished he'd never heard of a 4 bore, as it made him flinch so badly, he was no longer capable of fine shooting.

W.W. Greener broke his recoil machine with a 12 dram load, 4 drams less than the top-end load - for the ctg. gun. The machine only registered up to 200pounds recoil and the 12 dram load was

 enough higher than that, to break his machine.

I do not know what the standard ML load was, probably in the 10 dram range - 270gr.
Capstick wrote a chapter or two on the early African hunters. I believe Selous had a pair of 4 bore fowling guns he had shortened, I can't recall now if they were flint or cap. His gun boy carried BP in his pockets and measured the load with so many handfuls of powder. At some point selous took a shot and handed off the first 4 bore and was handed the second by the gun boy. The young man in all of the excitement had loaded 2X the amount of powder. The gun put Selous in a complete summersault and put him in  a daze. These were big guns, probably 25lbs+. As Daryl stated above Selous from that point on couldn't hit an olyphont at more that 20 yards away his flinch was so bad. You should pick that book up and read it, it's absolutely fascinating. Ran across my copy the other day, I'll have to sit and read it again.
Here's a 5 bore. It's Dunlap's original he did his kit from. Made by Robbins, probably mid to late 1780's. This is only about a 9ish lbs gun.

Here is my one and only foray into 4 bore. It weighs 38lbs. All rifle shoppe mounts,  Ben Coogle barrel. Lock alone weighs 3lbs and is 9" long. Barrel is 2" at the breech and 60" long.
http://www.fowlingguns.com/militarygun4.html
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Offline Bill Raby

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 03:26:41 AM »
   Good information. Looks like these were in use earlier than I thought they were. Which is a pleasant surprise. I have seen numerous references to these being used in the 1840s and later, but never anything about when the first one was made. I think that I will be fine designing it as a scaled up English sporting rifle. Getting the lock to fit could be a problem with main spring hitting the barrel. Seems like Brown Bess lock is one of the biggest ones out there. I think one option would be to round of the edge between to flats. As long as the barrel stays at least the same thickness there as at the center of the flats it should be fine. If that is not enough I can file off some of the main spring. Just cannot get carried away with it. I did come up with another idea. Many locks have a connector link between tumbler and main spring. I could make a lock plate that is a quarter inch or so taller than normal. Then mount the main spring low enough to clear the barrel and make a longer connector link. Seems like it could work.

   I would prefer to go with a maple stock. A dense piece of maple is stronger than walnut and I think that it is heavier. I just like how it looks better also. It would be better wood for this project, but I will have to go with English walnut unless I can find a definite historical reference to any of these ever made in maple. I am willing to give up some historical accuracy, but not that much. I sure hope that I can do it with maple because English walnut is EXPENSIVE!!! I already have quite a lot of money just into the barrel. Don't want to go with a stock that is just boring. The wood has to be dense and straight grain. A piece that would work, is thick enough, and looks really nice is going to be $1000+ for the blank. Makes me glad that the highly figured stuff is not an option!

   I think that a couple steel rods through the wrist is a must. Another idea is to use a trigger guard that is as long as the wrist. Normally the English trigger guards screw into the trigger plate in the front and have a screw that attaches it at the back. Better idea for this might be to make a very thick trigger guard and inlet it into the wood. Use a screw to attach it to trigger plate in front and several screw to attach it at the back. It could add a good amount of there.

   Just getting ideas for now. I have a lot of research to do. That is have the fun right there! Also have to start reading up some more on the early 19th century African history. It really is very interesting stuff that hardly anyone seems to know anything about. There is all sorts of 4 bore information out there. But it is mostly about how big and scary they are. Any actual details on the guns are pretty hard to come by. I have found old published load data for the cartridges. 2000 grain bullets at 1500 fps with 16 dram charges. I saw one reference of a .975 round ball weighing 1400 grains with speed of 1900 fps, but no mention of the powder charge. That is over 11,000 pounds muzzle energy. Not sure that I would want to pull the trigger on that one.

   My new idea is to build a normal English sporting rifle first before messing with this thing. Never built one before. Seems like a good idea to take a practice run at it. 4 bore would not be a good one to make mistakes on.

   This what happens when you read too many history books.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2017, 03:55:15 AM »
A true 4 Bore is 1.052". A standard 1" ball would work just fine, I guess, depending on what your idea of "FINE" means.

The 4 bore smooth underhammer Taylor build eons ago, weighed in the neighbourhood of 50 pounds.  2" or 2 1/2" across the flats iirc-

it was a long time ago, though, maybe he remembers.

We made a mould by cutting into maple. It lasted long enough to cast up enough balls for testing.

Again, this was over 30 years ago, I think - at 300 meters, those balls moved about a yard of dirt and gravel on each impact - that's what

it looked like, anyway.  We shot about a 3 foot group at that range. The gun recoiled back about a foot. It did not matter if your shoulder

was hard into the butt plate or not - it moved back about a foot each shot, regardless. It also moved slowly, but irresistibly. It was actually fun to shoot.

Again, IIRC, Taylor ground a 1" wood boring drill bit rounded and we closed the maple slabs onto it to cut a round ball cavity.  Man- the memories on particulars escape me now.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 03:57:19 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Daryl

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2017, 04:07:47 AM »
I do no think you would get a 1,400gr. ball moving 1,900fps, with any powder charge, let along one that could be fired from the shoulder.

The highest speed I could get out of my 14 bore, was 1,770fps & that was with 320gr. of powder. 200gr. gave 1,700fps. The equivalence of powder

to ball weight in the 4 bore to get 1,770fps, would be 924gr., which is 33.8 drams.  Event the 200gr. load that gave 1,700fps would be .415's ball weight,

which is 581gr. of powder, which is 21.3 drams. The max load is listed at 16 drams, which is plenty (plenty too much) at 436.8gr.

I highly doubt anything much over 1,500fps is possible from a 4 bore - with black powder, that is.

Here is a 6 bore flinter. The top one, that is. 6 bore is .920"- ball weight at that bore size, is 1,167gr.  A 7 bore ball, of .873", is 1,000gr.



« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 04:09:18 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2017, 05:59:35 AM »
That load data for the four bore brings back memories, many years ago a guy by the name of Parker Ackley told me if you can't take the recoil take up Canasta. I used to think I was good for about 45# of recoil but the gun being talked about here is in a whole new league from that. Can't take that much any more so will stick with the 62 or maybe a 66 small bore.  ;D :)

Online davec2

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2017, 06:24:57 AM »
I've built a couple of 4 gage blunderbusses like this one:

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2009/12/brass-barreled-blunderbuss-by-david.html

And I do shoot a solid round ball in it from time to time.  I shoot with 200 grains of powder and a 1 inch ball bearing (armor piercing ammo).  It hits back pretty @!*% hard.  Having watched the proofing of a 2 gage barrel on video, and remembering my high school physics (m1v1=m2v2), if the ball is moving out at an assumed 900 feet per second, I think any off hand shooter would leave a lot of teeth and eyeballs behind.  You can load a 4 gage up or down as you see fit.  I enjoy shooting mine with 200 grain loads.  I would NOT enjoy it at 500 grains.


Here is a repeat of an old post of mine about shooting the 4 gage:

I built a 4 gage with a modified Ed Rayl barrel several years ago.  I shoot it with a "handful" of powder, a wad of paper towel, a "handful" of shot (any size will do), and another paper towel over-shot wad.  I also shoot what I call an AP round (Armor Piercing...not really, but it does have a $#*! of a lot of mass in the projectile).  It is a 1 inch diameter zinc round ball, patched, and with about 200 grains of Fg behind it.  Packs a wallop....on both ends.  Powder, patched ball, prime, and done....and it also helps to bite down on a piece of leather belt to keep from jarring any teeth loose.
 
The gun is a "blast" to shoot, if you will pardon the pun.




Dave C
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 11:10:29 PM by davec2 »
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Offline Bill Raby

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 07:04:57 AM »
That load data for the four bore brings back memories, many years ago a guy by the name of Parker Ackley told me if you can't take the recoil take up Canasta. I used to think I was good for about 45# of recoil but the gun being talked about here is in a whole new league from that. Can't take that much any more so will stick with the 62 or maybe a 66 small bore.  ;D :)

   Biggest rifle I have now is a modern one with a bit over 100 pounds of recoil. I can shoot it comfortably and accurately. I have been playing with these big things for a long time. 4 bore is capable of well over double that. Muzzle loaders recoil different than the modern ones. Maybe I could handle 150 pounds of recoil. Maybe not. Never tried so I don't know. But there were a number of the old timers that could manage to shoot these monsters so it is humanly possible. A full 16 dram load is something that I would do once just to see what it is like and probably never try again. Don't plan to ever take it out on an elephant hunt. These big rifles never really were very good for that. It was just the best that they had. Good reason why they vanished as soon as the cartridge rifles came out. I have modern rifles that are better suited to that sort of thing.

   I have no need to use this sort of thing to its full potential. I am looking to get a feel for a romanticized version of a period in time. Not the actual experience. That comes with concussions and detached retinas. Not to mention all the amazing new diseases they discovered and a thousand other horrible ways to die. I guess it is the same with my American longrifles. They let me experience a taste of early America. But I do not need the full experience of that either. If I go hunting and don't shoot any critters I can stop at McDonalds on the way home. And Paul Revere never once had a cold beer in his refrigerator.

   So I can load it up to the limit of what I can handle and blow some holes in a sheet of paper. Then go home, grab a cold beer, look up websites for guys in Africa that offer elephant hunts, and pretend that I will actually do it someday. And the whole time I can be happy knowing that Frances Selous is far too dead to call me a sissy.

Offline Bill Raby

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 07:12:47 AM »
I've built a couple of 4 gage blunderbusses like this one:

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2009/12/brass-barreled-blunderbuss-by-david.html

And I do shoot a solid round ball in it from time to time.  I shoot with 200 grains of powder and a 1 inch ball bearing (armor piercing ammo).  It hits back pretty @!*% hard.  Having watched the proofing of a 2 gage barrel on video, and remembering my high school physics (m1v1=m2v2), if the ball is moving out at an assumed 900 feet per second, I think any off hand shooter would leave a lot of teeth and eyeballs behind.  You can load a 4 gage up or down as you see fit.  I enjoy shooting mine with 200 grain loads.  I would NOT enjoy it at 500 grains.


Here is a repeat of an old post of mine about shooting the 4 gage:

I built a 4 gage with a modified Ed Rayl barrel several years ago.  I shoot it with a "handful" of powder, a wad of paper towel, a "handful" of shot (any size will do), and another paper towel over-shot wad.  I also shoot what I call an AP round (Armor Piercing...not really, but it does have a $#*! of a lot of mass in the projectile).  It is a 1 inch diameter zinc round ball, patched, and with about 200 grains of Fg behind it.  Packs a wallop....on both ends.  Powder, patched ball, prime, and done....and it also helps to bite down on a piece of leather belt to keep from jarring any teeth loose.
 
The gun is a "blast" to shoot, if you will pardon the pun.




Dave C

The engraving on that blunderbuss is REALLY nice. How did the lock fit on that barrel? Did you need to do any modification to the lock or barrel?

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2017, 11:26:26 AM »
Look up Mark Quade on youtube. Local guy that shoots really big bores. Not a game for me.... Concussions are a reality with these big bored guns if they are light in weight.
www.fowlingguns.com
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 08:15:09 PM »
Dislocated shoulders, concussions, detached retinas - the list of nastiness goes on and on.
Daryl

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Offline Scota4570

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2017, 08:32:57 PM »
I bult one, a cap lock.  The weight is about 20#.  IF you stick with 1F powder the recoil is much less.  Up to about 350 grains is no big deal.  With 2F it gets nasty at about 275 grians. 

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Think I lost my mind
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 08:54:38 PM »
Hotdiggitydawg!! A big bang old time elephant gun.There was a movie years ago
that was titled "A Boy 10 Feet Tall". This boy walked from Northern Africa to South Africa
and met an elephant hunter portrayed by Edward G.Robinson who had such a gun.
When he got to his aunt's home,the first thing he wanted was an old fashioned elephant
gun.He described it as one where the shooter drank a quart of whisky down below the label
before firing it.Sounds like one in the making here to me. ;D
Bob Roller