Author Topic: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?  (Read 17795 times)

Dancy

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50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« on: October 06, 2009, 12:03:21 AM »
 I am having an East Tennessee style rifle built and considering getting it in .50 caliber. I am kind of torn between .50 and .45 because I know traditionally those rifles would have been some where from .38 to .46 caliber on average.

 I have not shot this style rifle before and am concerned that the .50 might whack me in the face due to the drop in the butt, but I am also planning on getting a "C" weight barrel, so may be a mute point. It will be my dedicated flintlock for deer hunting and I feel the .50 would be more forgiving than a .45 in the field, better penetration, better blood trail, etc. I don't need to worry about how much lead or powder it uses like the original mountain men did with their smaller calibers.

 Am I messing up going with a 50 in that style rifle? What is your experience/opinion??

James

northmn

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 12:18:23 AM »
You are stating an East Tennesse rifle but how big is a typical deer where you hunt.  White Tails vary from a large one at 150 pounds in some areas to one over 250 in the midwest.  Also, don't have a rifle built that will hit you in the face.  I have a Tennessee in 54 that is quite comfortable to shoot considering.  Were I to pick an all around deer caliber my gut and 40 years of shooting deer with all kinds of calibers and combinations tells me that a 50 would be close to an ideal all around deer rifle for about any country you hunt them in.

DP

Mike R

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 12:21:39 AM »
of course not!  While alot of Tenn rifles were "small bore", there are surviving examples of "bear rifles" of .58 and other larger bores. 

Offline M Tornichio

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 06:05:05 AM »
you might want to think about the width of the buttplate. Alot of those rifles had plates of 1 1/8" you could always make it a little bit larger. I made one in 50 cal with a 7/8" straight barrel and it did not cause me any worry about recoil when shooting. The guy who owns it now never complained about recoil. I think this probably was 1 1/4 or less.
here is a picture to give you an idea of what the architecture looked like. By the way it was not very heavy at all to carry.

Offline Ken G

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2009, 05:23:19 PM »
James,
I think you will be fine with a .50 caliber TN rifle.  A lot depends on what you do with it.  You can always vary the load for paper shooting and plinking.  Use a heavier load for deer hunting.  .50 caliber is a very good all around hunting/shooting caliber. 
Ken
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BrownBear

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 05:35:55 PM »
The face whackin will depend a whole lot on how you're built.  I don't own a Tennessee, but have shot one that belongs to a friend.  What's notable is that he shoots the same load (90 grains 3f Goex) as I do in a Pedersoli Frontier, and neither rifle feels like it recoils much at all with the load.  I never even think about it, in fact.  But I've got a lot of cheek bone and rifles with less drop do whack the snot out of that cheekbone.  The worst is the TC Hawken. 

And here's the deal:  My friend loves the TC Hawken while complaining that the Tennessee and the Frontier beat him to death.  I was shooting his Tennessee because he's planning to get rid of it.  If I can describe his shape, he's got a rounder face than me and shorter arms, plus he tucks his rifles in close on his shoulder rather than out on the arm a bit.

Unless the style is really sour for you, I just don't see a stout load in a 50 being any kind of real recoiler.

Daryl

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2009, 05:37:17 PM »
My .32 has a 38", 13/16" barrel, quite heavily walled, but the rifle is still very light. I am thinking of buying 40" of 9/32" or 5/16" brass or drill-rod to put in the pipes to increase the weight for trail walks or hunting. I'd like to it be 9 1/2 pounds to 10 pounds for offhand shooting.  5/16's is a bit large as it almost scrubs the rifling all the way down.
There is enough drop in the Tenn. stock's design for about any descent calibre, I think. I can't see a recoil problem with a .50, but do know, even a .45 can crack you on the cheek if the comb's too high.

Dancy

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2009, 08:32:25 PM »
The deer in my area (NC) aren't huge, over 200 lbs would be the exception, however I hunted in Indiana a couple of years ago and plan to again. I want enough lead to do the job proper for any whitetail, but not too over bore. I know there were TN bears guns (might have one built down the road too) but not what I was going for on this one. The slightly wider butt is a good suggestion, I will discuss with my builder, but may not need it with the heavy "C" weight 46" Rice barrel I'm planning on using. I currently have a couple of 45s, a 50 and a 54, one of the  darn 45s kicks the worst of all of them because of poor stock design (for me) and as mentioned, it is a TC, but the little Cherokee model they use to make. Its not the actual kick, but the slap in the cheek, ouch!

OK...I'm start'n to feel a little better about the 50 thanks to your input!

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 12:53:53 AM »
Quote
I have not shot this style rifle before and am concerned that the .50 might whack me in the face due to the drop in the butt, but I am also planning on getting a "C" weight barrel, so may be a mute point. It will be my dedicated flintlock for deer hunting and I feel the .50 would be more forgiving than a .45 in the field, better penetration, better blood trail, etc. I don't need to worry about how much lead or powder it uses like the original mountain men did with their smaller calibers.

 Am I messing up going with a 50 in that style rifle? What is your experience/opinion??

James
I have built several Gillespie mountain rifles with .50 B weight barrels. One was a 38 inch, and at least 1 with a 44 inch and both were a pleasure to shoot.

I also built a very light (7 lbs) .54 caliber poor boy. It was cherry with a C weight .54 Getz barrel. I used to shoot 70 grains of 3 F and it was very  pleasant shoot rifle. I loved it.  It had a 1" thick buttstock but the drop at heel was around 2 7/8" so its recoil was pretty straight back. I sold the rifle but am going to build a second one as soon as I have time.
Dennis
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Offline rsells

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2009, 07:39:19 AM »
For many years the most common cal TN rifle that my customers requested was a 50.  They are pleasing to shoot as well.  Most of these customers requested a 7/8 across the flats 38 inch barrel.  I have made a couple 54 swamped as well, and they shot and handled well.  However, for the past three or four years folks have been wanting 29, 32, and 40 cal mountain rifles with swamped barrels 44 inches in length.  I think a 50 is a great hunting rifle, and when I was younger I won a bunch of local matches in my part of the woods using a 7/8 across the flats 50 cal 42 inch long barrel in a mountain rifle.  Go with what your heart tells you to do and you will be happier during the build and with the end result.  Good luck with the build.
                                   Roger Sells

Dancy

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2009, 07:27:07 PM »
Part of my concern was a 50 not being "period correct" for that style, based on all your comments I am going with it and feel I will be happy with its performance, thanks!

If any of you have pictures of your TN. you would care to post, I would love to see them. Thanks to M Tornichio for sharing yours, NICE rifle!

Mr. Glazener, I am having trouble getting on your website, I will keep trying, may be something on my end.

James

Offline Artificer

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2009, 10:59:25 PM »
Herein lies a part of what I love best about this hobby.  It takes us back to  time where people could choose what they wanted and were not limited to "what was available" and/or what worked best for them out of what was available as we do in the Industrial age of "one size fits nobody well."

James,

It would have been completely authentic for you to walk into the riflesmith's shop and ask the same questions you brought up here.   You would ask these questions of the riflesmith and take his answers and suggestions about choice of barrel, caliber, stock fit and style, etc.  Then you probably would have spoken to family and friends about what the riflesmith said and gotten their input.  Still, people then and you are today the one to make the decision about what you want from what you believe - just as they did back then.  The riflesmith then might not have had the tools to build you an exact .50 caliber, and may have built you something say between a .49 to .51 caliber.  Or if the riflesmith did have the tools to make you a .50 cal., that's what he would make.   Today we are blessed with barrel makers that give us huge choices of barrel styles and dimension - plus a wide range of calibers. 

So it is completely historically correct to have the caliber of your choice in the style of rifle then being made.    Just because there may not have been a lot of rifles in a particular caliber didn't mean a person then couldn't or didn't order what he/she thought was best for his/her purposes.

Back in the fall of 1971, I went to a small museum in Denver and they had an original Hawken rifle in .22 cal.  Many times afterward I wished I had made it a better point to remember which Hawken made it and when it was made, but I was just so stunned about the caliber, I didn't think to look at that information more.  That barrel was HUGE with such a tiny hole in it.  Yet, someone thought it was exactly what he/she needed when they ordered it.

Offline Rick Sheets

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2009, 11:14:17 PM »
Dennis made a .50 caliber Gillespie rifle for me. 42 inch straight barrel. It is designed to be hooked on the upper arm. I am long necked and my arms are beefy and a little short. It is a pleasure to shoot. Rick
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Leatherbelly

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2009, 12:59:06 AM »
  I like the idea of a swamped, 42 inch "B" weight fifty in your choice of a Tenn. Mtn rifle.Matter of fact, I like this barrel in the Lancasters too. It will make a nice light hunting rifle with a real slim fore-end, probably an excellent target rifle also. Just my humble opinion tho.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 03:24:12 AM by Leatherbelly »

Dancy

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2009, 07:00:37 PM »
Leatherbelly,

Yeah a 42" B would be a handy size for sure, but the original rifle I want this one to look like has a 48" barrel on it and I do like the look of a L--O--N--G barrel on a mountain rifle.  :)

Nobody got pics of their mt. rifle??

Leatherbelly

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2009, 04:14:08 AM »
  Mines a shorty, 38" Rice. Ken Guys web site has its pictures. It's the Baxter Bean.
  You might have to ask Ed Rayle or Bobby Hoyt for a 48" barrel. Rice makes a 46" swamp, not sure the profile and weight. Good luck with your project.

Dancy

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2009, 05:18:42 AM »
Oh yeah, that's a NICE rifle!! I'm probably going with the 46" Rice barrel, has a less pronounced taper than a lot of barrels and should be good for a TN.

Birddog6

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2009, 02:18:23 PM »
I suggest if you want a .50 cal, get it.  I recently built 2 of them & didn't notice any unusual recoil in either one in testing them. Now I don't shoot 120 grains in them as I don't need that, but a 65 grain target load was a kitten.

Here are the two I recently built.  I am building a .40 cal now & have another order for a .50 cal.  Getting more calls for .50's than 40's now. It is quite nice to handle with that larger bore.  ;)

Here are a few photos of the last 2  Tennessee rifles  I built:

Good luck,

Keith






















sniper68

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2009, 04:58:23 PM »

If any of you have pictures of your TN. you would care to post, I would love to see them.

James
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Leatherbelly

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2009, 05:14:16 PM »
Keith and Sniper, Nice Rifles, really nice!

sniper68

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2009, 08:45:22 PM »
If any of you have pictures of your TN. you would care to post, I would love to see them.
 James
:P Forgot, one more. Same overall spec's as the first one....By Tom Stroh






Offline hanshi

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2009, 09:16:22 PM »
Beautiful rifle, Birddog6.  I like that lock; but can't say as I ever seen it before.  What is the lock if I may ask?
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Birddog6

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2009, 10:53:00 PM »
Thank you. Both of them are Chambers Late Ketland locks, one has the tail rounded off & the other one as it comes.

Offline BJH

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2009, 10:05:48 PM »
I am having an East Tennessee style rifle built and considering getting it in .50 caliber. I am kind of torn between .50 and .45 because I know traditionally those rifles would have been some where from .38 to .46 caliber on average.

 I have not shot this style rifle before and am concerned that the .50 might whack me in the face due to the drop in the butt, but I am also planning on getting a "C" weight barrel, so may be a mute point. It will be my dedicated flintlock for deer hunting and I feel the .50 would be more forgiving than a .45 in the field, better penetration, better blood trail, etc. I don't need to worry about how much lead or powder it uses like the original mountain men did with their smaller calibers.

 Am I messing up going with a 50 in that style rifle? What is your experience/opinion??

James


.50 cal will be a fine choice. The "C'" weight barrel will build into a rather heavy gun by my taste, 9 To 10 lbs. The "B" .50 is a bit more popular choice as the gun will finish out around 8 lbs. Recoil with either choice will not be a problem. If it were mine I would go with the "B" weight barrel.  I had a southern mountain gun with a straight tapered .45 cal. barrel, 7/8 to 3/4 at the muzzle. Shot comfortably. I rebarreled it to a .50 with the same exterior dimensions, the gun weighed less than 7 lbs.  This made a comfortable gun WICKED.  1.5 extra lb. and a tapered and flared "B"weight would have made it comfortable but would have required a rebuild. So I sold the gun to a fellow who only shoots to hunt.  Just some fuel for thought.  BJH
BJH

northmn

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Re: 50 too much for East TN. rifle?
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2009, 11:40:26 AM »
The issue of period correctness is interesting as most of the pictures I had seen of Tennessee rifles were bigger bores in the 50-55 cal class.  I one time asked if the "squirrel" rifle calibers in originals were that common.  others then posted pictures of small bores.  We forget, I think, that these guns were hand made and really "custom" firearms.  For some reason people like superlight "hunting" rifles.  Really I rarely carry one all that much.  While I have shot deer walking up on them the majority are shot out of a stand where a heavier rifle permits a more accurate shot. If anything, I find the long barrels to be awkward but I found you do accomodate to them.

DP