Author Topic: It's Finally Ferguson Time (First Firing Update).  (Read 23629 times)

Offline davec2

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It's Finally Ferguson Time (First Firing Update).
« on: August 18, 2009, 10:42:56 PM »
Back in May I was still piddling with the Ferguson I had had on the shelf since the Jurassic period.  http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=4849.0

I finally have everything done (mostly).  I intend to rework the finish on the wood (still not pleased with it) and there is still some metal polishing to do, but, other than that, it is ready to test fire.  As per the post in May, I could not decide for a while if I was going to make a fancy Ferguson (i.e. like Taylor's exquisite example) or make a more military version.  Except for a bit of molding around the lock, I opted for the latter.





















« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 06:32:27 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Larry Pletcher

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 10:50:34 PM »
For being the "more military version" as your choice it sure is a superb looking piece.  I have had a fondness for the Ferguson for years, and it had been awakened with shooting one at Friendship this spring and when seeing a rifle such as this.  My complements!

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Pletch
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Offline smart dog

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 11:22:49 PM »
Very nice work Dave.  Maybe think of it as an "officer's version".  You will have fun shooting it.

dave   
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009, 12:06:22 AM »
Well Dave, I truly cannot see where you can improve the finish on anything.  Just simply outstanding.  There were no originals that were finished as nicely as yours...I'd bet on that.  Mine had the same rear sight and from what I can see, front sight too.  Without any alterations, it was tack on at 100 meters, and I don't know where the folding leaf shot - maybe 250 or 300 ... guessing.

thanks for sharing your success.
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Offline J. Talbert

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2009, 02:21:55 AM »
Ya, that finish is a mess.  You better start all over. ;D :D

Looks gorgeous to me...

Jeff
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jmforge

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2009, 02:31:31 AM »
That is too cool.  I remember hearing a  story about Ferguson allegedly having a bead on George Washington with one of his rifles and refusing to shoot him because it would have been "ungentlemanly" What is the loading procedure for the gun and what kind of powder charge does it use?

Offline B Shipman

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 06:42:14 AM »
Hey, Taylor, I think he's fishing for compliments.   ;D  Looks beautifull Dave.

California Kid

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 07:15:15 AM »
Looks great nice clean work. I don't see anything wrong with the finish but you have to please yourself!
I don't see anything left to polish either, HA.

Offline smart dog

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 07:26:14 PM »
Hi Dave,
Again, a fantastic Ferguson!!  Your metalwork and woodworking details and finish are as good as I have ever seen.  One very minor thing if you want to be more historically accurate: Ferguson ramrods were 1/2-3/4 of an inch shorter than the muzzle when in place in the stock.  That accommodated the bayonet on which the blade was below the muzzle when locked in place rather than on the side like Brown Bess muskets.

dave
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Naphtali

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 07:59:36 PM »
Back in May I was still piddling with the Ferguson I had had on the shelf since the Jurassic period. . . .

I finally have everything done (mostly).  I intend to rework the finish on the wood (still not pleased with it) and there is still some metal polishing to do, but, other than that, it is ready to test fire.  As per the post in May, I could not decide for a while if I was going to make a fancy Ferguson (i.e. like Taylor's exquisite example) or make a more military version.  Except for a bit of molding around the lock, I opted for the latter.
Magnificent job -- so magnificent that . . .

Since 1993, I have been creating (and having destroyed in gun maker's shop fire, no insurance by maker) Ferguson Officer's Sporting Model actions. Apparently, the interminable project will be finishing at least the difficult part -- machining female and male breech threads plus gross profiling. I have machinist's inspection drawings for EM and Officer's models, but I am no machinist.

Can you point me toward people capable and willing to work on the project? How deeply am I sucked into the project? I have 13 sets of custom flintlock castings, right- and left-handed, some of which are intended for Fergusons, some of which are marked as partial trade-out for Ferguson action work, some of which are intended -- I hope -- as partial trade-out for rifle work. My ultimate fall-back is to use the locks on conventional muzzleloading flintlock rifles were the work now being completed to tank.

This years-long series of events strongly resembles the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the bad guys open the ark's container. First impression is of great beauty and desirability, followed by horror of horrors. Yeah, kind've like that.

Help?

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 08:54:57 PM »
Great looking gun,and not a project I'd willingly take on. I hope you put a reinforcement rod through that wrist, that grain is pretty off in that area....I'd hate to see a broken wrist in that nice of gun!.
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Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 10:55:17 PM »
Dave, that's a great looking machine. I'll bet it's a shooter, too, from what Taylor says.

Your woodwork is as clean and crisp as it gets. No muddy edges, no wobbles. Lovely fit and finish all over.

Tom
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Offline davec2

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 11:12:34 PM »
Thanks for the comments.  As Bill said, I was just fishing for compliments but to do that you have to be very careful about taking the digital pictures.  I went way out of my way to make sure that this "more than a little qualified" audience could not see any of the imperfections, or at least most of them.  I have been trying to mimic some of the beautiful finishes I have seen on the rifles that get posted on this site and I have been both training myself and experimenting with materials.  I finished and stripped and refinished this stock three times just to try different techniques (just as Jeff suggested !).  I haven't perfected the execution of any of them yet, but then, this is all supposed to be a learning experience.  I still have not ever been able to get a finish as good as the ones I could get using some of the Crane Creek finishing oils I used back in the 1970's.  (In fact my first post on ARL was to ask if any of you knew anything about the Crane Creek materials.)  I had finished a walnut stocked blunderbuss with a can I still had in 2002 and it did a magnificent job.  I still have some left and am sending a sample out to an analytical chem lab to see if I can identify what's in it.  Perhaps Mad Monk would have some advice about that?

To answer jmforge's question, when I go to try the Ferguson out, I will follow the information provided by Brian Brown and Ricky Roberts in the post below about loads, lubes, etc:

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=3781.0

Dave Pearson - I am trying the finishing technique you graciously provided back in May (in my original Ferguson post) on a Hawkin stock I am doing right now.  So far so good.  

Thanks to all.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009, 12:01:33 AM »
Mike,

When I purchased the Ferguson parts from the Rifle Shop several years ago, I also purchased a stock mostly to see the anatomy in 3D.  As is usually the case (at least for me) with purchasing a roughed out stock, a lot of the "roughing" is in the wrong place.  I thought I could save this one and, if not, I had intended to make one from scratch any way. 

When I started the work again, I noted the poor grain run through the wrist.  I consulted Jerry H about it (because I knew he wouldn't sugar coat his opinion).  I sent him these pictures and asked what he thought about the wrist:





Basically he said to throw it away and start over.  So, I got another piece of walnut, but as I was roughing it out, I thought I would give this stock just one more shot at saving it (more good practice !)  I routed a groove under the trigger guard from the lock area down into the comb area and cut a straight grained piece of the new walnut to match the cut out.  I installed it with Acraglass and then re-inlet the trigger plate.  Since the insert is nearly the full height of the wrist, it is the equivalent of three or four dowels run through the wrist side by side.  As a consequence, I have some high hopes for the stock not shearing off and hitting me in the snott locker when I touch this thing off.  Here are some rather poor pictures of the repair, but you will get the idea.  I would appreciate any comments you guys have on how well you think this will work (or mabey we should just start a pool on how many shots I can get off before I am the proud owner of a "take down" Ferguson !?!)












« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 06:30:10 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 12:13:45 AM »
Dave Person - Forgot to thank you for the info on the length of the ram rod.  I need a bayonet for this thing like a need a hole in the head so......I guess I'll start working on a bayonet soon....and cut the ram rod off to fit.

Naphtali - I know little about the Ferguson except for what I have learned on this site.  However, I did hear from Ray Rapine that a fellow in PA was building much better rifles than could be assembled from TRS parts.  I did track him down and talked to him.  His name is Ernie Cowan (717-264-6834) (Great War Militaria).  When I spoke to him in February, his waiting list was a couple of years long and a Ferguson (with a much better made breech) ran about $12,000.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2009, 01:00:49 AM »
Well that ought to fix that wrist! ;D
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline jerrywh

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2009, 02:41:38 AM »
Dave.
   That thing came out looking real good. Fantastic job. You never do anything thing bad anyway but this is super. Nice finish. That wood came out looking a lot better than I thought it would.
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Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2009, 04:39:15 AM »
I'll wager that I could (eventually) make a program to mill the threads using a CNC. Helical and tapered. Mill the female thread to match. I could write this program in a week, and proof it out on some blank material in a couple of days, then run the breech on the rifle in an hour.
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Offline jerrywh

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2009, 04:52:13 AM »
Tom   Do it.
Nobody is always correct, Not even me.

Offline smart dog

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2009, 05:45:23 AM »
Hi Dave,
The bayonet is really cool and a wonderful conversation piece.  I found that one of the Jaeger hunting sword scabbards supplied by G. Gedney Godwin fit the 29" blade pretty well.  You are welcome for the finishing information.  I have good luck with it regardless if I want a glossy, satin, or dull finish.  It is also very water resistant as I should know because I live and shoot in a place that gets >160 inches of rain annually.  I think it probably has some characteristics similar to the permalyn finish that many folks on this board recommend.  I think your fix for the wrist was masterful and will do the job spendidly.  I love shooting the Ferguson and I think you will have a blast as well.  If nothing else, your rifle will attract a lot of attention at the range.

Naphtali,
I urge you to be a little circumspect about some of the claims and notions expressed by Ernie Cowan or Richard Keller about Ferguson rifles.  They are very knowledgeable people, but I don't buy some of their notions or speculations.  There is nothing inferior about the TRS Ferguson parts and the steel screwplug is authentic, modeled after an original ordinance rifle in the Milwaukee Public Museum.  Cowan and Keller argue that the screw plug was made of gun metal or bronze because the gun in the Morristown Museum has what appears to be a bronze screw plug.  They make a big deal of this in Bailey's book on English flintlock rifles. The possibility that it might be a replacement seems to be ignored.  Kels Swan's collection of firearms at the Washington's Crossing Museum in N.J. contains a civilian Ferguson made by Dur Egg.  The screw plug is iron or steel.  I would like to know from others if any of the civilian or East India Company Fergusons, which are still in existance have bronze screw plugs.  I'll bet they don't. The bottom line to all of this is that you need not have any fear that buildling Fergusons from TRS parts is somehow not historically accurate or compromising quality.  The only beef I have with the TRS gun is they apparently reduced the size of the powder chamber on some of the early batches of parts.  I wish they had not done that. I'll bet the rifle made by Cowan exceeds the standards by which any of the original Ferguson's were made. 

dave
 
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Offline davec2

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2009, 06:29:47 AM »
Tom, I agree with jerry...do it!

David - I was hesitant to purchase a cast bayonet (as I believe the one available from TRS is). Do you have one of those?  On the screw breech material of the Fergusons, I believe there is a silver mounted one in the collection at Windsor made by Durs Egg that has an alloyed silver breech.  I think they were trying different materials to see what worked and what might be easier to fabricate into the more complicated parts required for a breech loader of this type.  (Page 114 and plates 424-426 in "Great British Gunmakers 1740-1790" by Neal and Back).

I pulled the tang on my rifle and measured the chamber directly by making a Cerosafe casting.  It is short, and I made up a reamer to lengthen it.  However, I held off based on comments from Brian Brown until I actually go out and shoot it.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2009, 07:31:25 AM »
If I remember correctly, the TRS Ferguson that I assembled would take 65 grains of 2Fg behind the .65 cal pure lead ball.  It was very pleasant to shoot with no objectionable recoil, and though i didn't shoot at a paper target at 100, I picked off six inch lengths of 2 x 2's stuck into the berm.  I did not clean between shots.
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Offline smart dog

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2009, 07:43:43 AM »
Hi Dave,
I have one of the cast bayonets.  It cleaned and polished up very well and was hardened and tempered by a blacksmithing friend.   I think it is fine but since I don't plan on sticking it in anybody, I cannot vouch for its performance.  The blood groove is pretty awesome.  You may be correct about trying different breech materials.  There are a fair number of EIC and civilian Ferguson's around so somebody could probably check on variations in breech material.  It would be interesting to see how well a bronze plug holds up to torque from the trigger guard when fouling eventually jams the action.  I don't think there is any mention of bronze or any particular metal in Ferguson's patent.  You might think he would mention it if it was so important.  Dave, with your casting skills you could create a plug from bronze and test it.  I've thought about doing that myself.  Cast it a little oversize and then use the breech to lap the threads until the plug fits.  It might be fun to try.

dave
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Offline Ed Wenger

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2009, 07:16:36 PM »
Dave....

Really nice looking rifle!  What struck me was the "crispness", if that makes sense.  Very well defined lines and exceptional workmanship.  Well done!

                  Ed
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Naphtali

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Re: It's Finally Ferguson Time.
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2009, 09:39:39 PM »
. . . Naphtali,
I urge you to be a little circumspect about some of the claims and notions expressed by Ernie Cowan or Richard Keller about Ferguson rifles.  They are very knowledgeable people, but I don't buy some of their notions or speculations.  There is nothing inferior about the TRS Ferguson parts and the steel screwplug is authentic, modeled after an original ordinance rifle in the Milwaukee Public Museum.  Cowan and Keller argue that the screw plug was made of gun metal or bronze because the gun in the Morristown Museum has what appears to be a bronze screw plug.  They make a big deal of this in Bailey's book on English flintlock rifles. The possibility that it might be a replacement seems to be ignored.  Kels Swan's collection of firearms at the Washington's Crossing Museum in N.J. contains a civilian Ferguson made by Dur Egg.  The screw plug is iron or steel.  I would like to know from others if any of the civilian or East India Company Fergusons, which are still in existance have bronze screw plugs.  I'll bet they don't. The bottom line to all of this is that you need not have any fear that buildling Fergusons from TRS parts is somehow not historically accurate or compromising quality.  The only beef I have with the TRS gun is they apparently reduced the size of the powder chamber on some of the early batches of parts.  I wish they had not done that. I'll bet the rifle made by Cowan exceeds the standards by which any of the original Ferguson's were made. 

dave
As I mentioned, I have machinist's inspection drawings and am creating?? my personal variations of the Officer's Sporting Model rather than the EM model that Mr. Cowan recreates. Regarding parts' completion, I'll know by the end of September whether the project is progressing or is dead. I will not pursue it if the action is not roughed out and vertical breech and its mating surface in receiver is not complete by September 30; life is too short to let this project eat away at me any longer. Other parts can be machined to drawings' specifications or bought off the shelf. In essence, if the action is ready for prime time, I can create a not-very-attractive Ferguson Rifle on my own. To render steel and wood attractive as well as functional, that's the reason I need a gun maker. Not a Ferguson maker, a good gun maker who can render a useful, aesthetically pleasing work of art that goes "bang."

Reads a little like a prayer?