Author Topic: One method of fixing a ramrod hole gone bad (Photos Fixed!)  (Read 11503 times)

Offline Curtis

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One method of fixing a ramrod hole gone bad (Photos Fixed!)
« on: March 06, 2013, 07:56:31 AM »
Please do not comment or respond. This has been moved from tutorials so Curtis can update the pictures. When done it will be moved back to tutorials. Thanks, Curtis!

I am in the process of building a Bucks county rifle, and while in-letting the barrel breech I broke through into the ramrod hole.  That was also a sign that the front lock bolt would go right in the center of to ramrod hole - not a good thing!  Below is the method I used to fix the problem as once described to me by Jack Brooks as I recalled and adapted the process.

Here is a pic of the break through.  Ouch!  Where I broke through the wood was less than a 1/6" thick.

I outlined the bottom flat by stamping an outline with a sharp chisel.

I originally stopped just short of the rear lug inlet, but later ended up extending just past the mortise because of a jagged break through.

Here I am hogging out the wood.  Try to make a slight taper, with the bottom of the cut the narrow part.

Next I cut the ramrod hole deeper with gouges and a bent round file that has the end ground flat to act as a scraper as well as a file.  Use a depth gauge and check often so you don't go too deep and break through the bottom!

Next I cut a piece of scrap left over from my stock blank, using an piece that was near the area to be repaired.  Be careful to match and orient the grain as best as you can.  I then squared the scrap with a plane.

I didn't get a good picture of the numbers, but I then measured and marked my barrel channel every quarter inch, and did the same with the scrap. (The barrel is swamped)  I marked a center line on the scrap and transferred dimensions with a pair of dividers and a rule.  I then shaped the scrap to near size with a plane, rasps and gouges.

Once the scrap was close enough to start fitting, I used a carbon paper to mark the interference spots.  It leaves a telling mark like candle smoke in an inlet.

I used rasps and files to remove the high spots.  Repeat over and over until you get the desired fit.

Here is the scrap with the sides painted with glue.  You can see where the bottom was cut concave to accommodate the ramrod.  I angled the hole away from the lock side when I made it deeper and mirrored the offset on the scrap.  Make sure you check your fit with a ramrod before you glue... and of course you can enlarge the hole a bit with a ramrod drill later.

Paint the sides of the inlet and the scrap with glue.  I used Titebond II.  I press fit, clamped and let it cure over night.  You can see some of my reference numbers in one of these photos.

When the glue was dry, I started removing excess wood with gouges and scrapers.  Be careful not to cut into the sides of your barrel inlet!

Here are three scrapers I get a lot of use from.  One is commercial, one made from a screwdriver, and the last forged from a chunk of drill rod and hardened.  You can make these any size or shape you need.

Here I am doing some final smoothing with a rasp and a file.

Some clean up with a chisel....

I re-inlet the rear barrel underlug.  Later when the barrel is completely fitted I will re-drill the center of the barrel pin hole in the stock.

Done! I sooted the barrel bottom several times with a candle and scraped until the fit was good.  You can see some candle soot in this picture, which came off with the final scraping.  I also scraped my reference marks off the side of the barrel inlet and the repair is barely visible.

I hope someone can find this useful!

Thanks for looking,


« Last Edit: May 21, 2024, 06:37:34 PM by Curtis »
Curtis Allinson
Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Jim Kibler

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Re: One method of fixing a ramrod hole gone bad
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 04:36:02 PM »
That's certainly a neat and careful job.  I think it should be mentioned that from a historical perspective, probably nothing would have been done.  It's not uncommon to see the hole enter the barrel channel, and much worse than your example.  Of course notching the barrel and lock screw was pretty common.  Once again good work.

Offline smart dog

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Re: One method of fixing a ramrod hole gone bad
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2024, 02:17:51 PM »
Hi Curtis,
Good description.  I've used this method many times, mostly on precarved stocks in which the ramrod hole was seriously off center or actually even bowed.  Since I usually coat the barrel channels with a varnish thin layer of Acra Glas, the wooden patch disappears.  Here is a precarved stock for a Brown Bess that required that treatment.  You can just barely see the patch.

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