Author Topic: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.  (Read 1834 times)

Offline Top Jaw

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Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« on: January 21, 2023, 12:44:33 AM »
I called this post “theoretical barrel swamping methods”.  Because from what I’ve read in the past nobody attempts more than one of these in their lifetime by hand. And I’m not wanting to do one myself necessarily, unless somebody devised an easier method. In fact, I just watched a guy on the Internet attempt to file a taper into a pistol barrel. And it looked like the slow tedious labor-intensive  process that many of you have stated it is. 

As he was doing it, I found myself wondering about improved methods.  Like if a vertical spindle sander could be used to do bulk removal for an octagon barrel swamp - sanding down to some indexed saw or file cuts?  Then finished up with hand filing.  Any of you enterprising guys ever try this (or any other method) to eliminate some of the bulk hand filing required? 

Just wondering, more than talking myself into attempting it.  I do have a straight barrel in the back of the closet that could be a candidate for an “experiment” at some point. But only if doing the entire process by hand could be improved upon. 
« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 03:57:56 PM by Top Jaw »

Offline RAT

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2023, 02:48:54 AM »
I saw a rifle by Hershel House that was hand swamped. We were told he used a "body grinder". I'm guessing they meant an angle grinder like you'd use for auto body work.
Bob

Online WadePatton

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2023, 04:04:56 AM »
I draw filed the step out of a WWI rifle barrel once. Not going to happen again. That's how I learned draw-filing. From that experience I can assure all that I have no interest in swamping one at home. Just cleaning up a factory bbl surface (after they swamp it) satisfies my filing needs.

Yes I realize it's different alloys but that's the kernel of a different discussion. Good luck however you go. If I were "forced" I'd body grind on it, carefully as possible.
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Offline Hank01

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2023, 05:38:38 AM »
I'm looking down the barrel of the same question. Pun intended. Two swamped barrels needed for my current project don't exist. Hand filing is definitely out of the question and so far, no commercial barrel maker is interested in making custom barrels. So, we have in the works a design for a "barrel mill". It's planned to be a three step operation. First step is turning the round part out the muzzle to include the flare. Second step is turning the barrel bands, third step is milling the tapered octagon. This machine will be custom built in my shop using repurposed and off the shelf components. Simple in theory and simple in design? I like things simple.

Hank
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2023, 06:07:52 AM »
no commercial barrel maker is interested in making custom barrels.

Huh?

Charlie Burton (FCI)
Ed Rayl
Bob Hoyt

probably some others.  Colerain did a couple semi-custom barrels for me 20 yers ago.

Are you talking about non-muzzleloading barrels, i.e. smokeless? 
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Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2023, 06:54:12 AM »
I have done the odd barrel by hand.
Made a 43" barrel from real heavy drawn tubing, fine bored and rifled it 18th C way, then put flats on it and swamped it by hand.
I talked to Hershel, and he said he'd done it with a surform rasp.
Tried it but it seemed slow.
Picked up a file but soon put it down again.
Thought of an angle grinder, but figured I'd warp it.
On the wall I had an Ohio Tool Co drawknife for wood.
I tried it very gently and it would cut this pretty mild steel, so I made a 'draw knife" out of a reaper file.
Took teeth off the fine side, and ground  a bevel on it and oil- stoned it to a sharp edge.
Holding this diagonal to the direction of work, (think guillotine )  I found it would tear great long shavings off that were real hot on the hands.
These shgavings looked like great thick starnds of steel wool.
I had a heap half way to my knees by the time I had that barrel octagon and flared.  To be honest, a flat took about 20 minutes, but you don't need a coat on even in winter.
That barrel I left on the lower flats in its rough wavy state, and only draw-filed what showed.
Never too pictures of that work.
Have done short matchlock barrels same way.
Last one was harder steel and the chewings came off much shorter and more brittle, but it worked.

Pic of the last one, below.







Couple of pics of barrel nearer to finished;










« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 07:13:44 AM by Pukka Bundook »

Offline Ky-Flinter

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2023, 08:42:29 AM »
A few years back I swamped a Douglas barrel using my buddy's mill.  Worked out pretty well.  I might do another someday, after I run out of the already swamped barrels I have laid back.  Swamp one by hand?  Forget that!

Ron

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Offline Daniel Coats

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2023, 03:02:13 PM »
I used a auto body rasp to file down a straight octagon barrel into a tapered octagon to round trade gun barrel. Took the better part of a week and I ended up with a large Mason jar full of filings. Yeah it worked and was my only option because of my poverty at the time but I swear I will never try to do anything like that again!
Dan

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Offline Mike payne

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2023, 03:26:47 PM »
Few years back I hand swamped a 1” Douglas barrel that I cut to 31”for a jaeger I was building. I used a 12” double cut file and a 12” bastard mill file. Finished up with different grades of sand paper. It was a lot of work but I think I would do again.

Offline Steeltrap

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2023, 03:57:51 PM »
Body grinder on a barrel. Sort of like using a Dremel on.....anything.  What could go wrong?  :(

Offline alacran

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2023, 04:12:33 PM »
Body grinder on a barrel. Sort of like using a Dremel on.....anything.  What could go wrong?  :(
Power tools are no different than hand tools. You need to learn how to use them.
A Dremel can save a lot of work. It is a poor man's Foredom Flexshaft.
Angle grinders if used properly can also save a lot of work.
Most people want to get things done too fast when using these tools. That is when they get into trouble.
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Online bob in the woods

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2023, 04:32:35 PM »
Body grinder on a barrel. Sort of like using a Dremel on.....anything.  What could go wrong?  :(
Power tools are no different than hand tools. You need to learn how to use them.
A Dremel can save a lot of work. It is a poor man's Foredom Flexshaft.
Angle grinders if used properly can also save a lot of work.
Most people want to get things done too fast when using these tools. That is when they get into trouble.

You sure nailed it re trying to get things done too fast.  A power tool can be used to ease the labor , but you still need the care and patience that hand tools require.
Somewhere around a quarter century back in time, I swamped a Douglas barrel by hand, and it wasn't too difficult of a job. The material was soft enough that I was able to use a scraper blade I made [ much like Richard's example] I think it took about a day
« Last Edit: January 22, 2023, 05:37:10 AM by Ky-Flinter »

Online GrizG

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2023, 05:36:47 PM »
This discussion makes me wonder if a grinding wheel on a Shopsmith, or grinder with a wide table and miter slot/fence, or a table saw with a cut off wheel, along with a taper jig like those used to make things like table legs would work... Use a stop so each side is the same. The grind could be done in several light passes with the angle of the jig changed until the desired depth is reached. Clean it up by filing and draw filing.

Conceptually it would work like this:



« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 05:48:29 PM by GrizG »

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2023, 06:01:42 PM »
I never tried to swamp  a barrel for a rifle but did file a 10 inch pistol barrel from round to octagon when I was about 19 years old and now as I  approach 87 I would not think of doing it.An old friend,Marshal Ralph Hooker filed a long rifle barrel from round to octagon and also said
never again.He passed about 22 years ago.I have wondered about some of the leaded steels being used for black powder barrels and what could be done with a half round Vixen file for a "swamping" job.I make or did make screws from it and it offered little resistance to a lathe tool and have a 1/2" piece to make a new lead screw for the 618 lathes that I have (2).They are 1/2x16TPI.
Bob Roller

Offline Steeltrap

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2023, 07:18:32 PM »
Body grinder on a barrel. Sort of like using a Dremel on.....anything.  What could go wrong?  :(
Power tools are no different than hand tools. You need to learn how to use them.
A Dremel can save a lot of work. It is a poor man's Foredom Flexshaft.
Angle grinders if used properly can also save a lot of work.
Most people want to get things done too fast when using these tools. That is when they get into trouble.

Yes. I understand that. I do have a Dremel and use it when\where it saves time and the end product will be the same. I think a "sarcastic" emoji would be useful when I post such comments.   8)

Online WadePatton

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2023, 08:06:41 PM »
Here's Charlie's swamping tool. As most of you know he is Mr. Burton of FCI.





It's a bit much for a home shop, but then different folks have different levels of access to machines and machinists.

The problem with hand grinding (with power grinder) one out in my mind is the hours of filing --after-- the fact to get it all "plumb and square" as the flats must look right (taper evenly and without twist) as well as avoid being too far off center.  Too far off center could cause problems with dovetails.

If I were to tackle such a job, here's how I'd proceed: Verify the center of the extant bore relative to all flats. Cut gauge lines along the barrel (allowing/correcting for any discrepancies), crosswise, a few thousandths short of desired finished swamp.  Carefully removed nearly all the metal above those lines with a powered grinder/cutter. THEN get on with the good old fashioned draw-filing to remove the gauge marks, blend it all in, and finalize the shape.

It'd get faster over time (first time would be brutally slow), but Charlie's way is superfastereasier all at once! The only drawback is that you'll have to wait your turn, and give him a few $.



« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 08:10:19 PM by WadePatton »
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Offline Scota4570

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2023, 09:18:44 PM »
Regarding the pictures above, Is the barrel bent by the jacks the correct amount to create the swamp or does the cutter move up and down?   Up and down would require some sort of programming or a pantograph type of set up? 

IF the barrel is bent it would require a different jack height for every other flat?  I could see that being set up with a set of shims that are inserted after ever other flat is cut. 

Offline Steeltrap

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2023, 10:56:58 PM »
You pay with time.....or you pay with money. But in the end....you pay.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2023, 11:15:18 PM »
Bill Large sprung barrels and planed them on an 1898 G.A.Gray planer and if there was any problem he had a barrel jack and could straighten them.He had 2 planers and used both almost daily.He used mostly 1144 and no problems that I ever heard of.
Bob Roller

Offline deepcreekdale

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2023, 12:40:35 AM »
Over the years I have swamped a few barrels with a bench grinder or angle grinder to get the rough profile, then finished with draw filing. It isn't a big deal although enough profiles are available from makers today, it usually isn't necessary. I find for draw filing a nice, big SHARP file is a requirement. I have a 14 '' Johnson file that makes short work of barrel flats and leaves a really nice finish and is NEVER used for any other purpose. Draw filing on old Douglas barrels was a chore as they had some seriously hard steel in them. (The first barrel I ever swamped was a Douglas back before I had any grinders, done all by hand, that was a chore) 12L14 as is used by most makers today is fairly easy to work. Another thing to remember, most makers today make barrels with much more swamp in them than most originals had.
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Offline Not English

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2023, 03:45:33 AM »
I did as Ron did. I set up a vertical mill so I could mount the barrel at the correct angle (slope). The barrel is layed out in 3 sections - muzzle, mid section, and breeech. I did each section completely before moving on to the next section. After milling the three different sections I draw filed the barrel to make the transitions and tooling marks disappear.

Dave

Offline Steeltrap

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2023, 10:11:12 PM »
And if I may ask, approximately how much weigh savings is there in draw filing say a .54 cal. Or even a .45 cal or less?

Online GrizG

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2023, 12:25:36 AM »
And if I may ask, approximately how much weigh savings is there in draw filing say a .54 cal. Or even a .45 cal or less?
I'd think it's at least as much about the balance of the gun as it is about the weight... appearance is nice too!

Offline James Wilson Everett

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2023, 05:51:19 PM »
Guys,

I have done this numerous times, using a large angle grinder, really big & coarse files and a barrel bore centering tool.  Here is a topic showing the process:

Wrought Iron Barrel Re-Use  https://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=31614.msg303333#msg303333

Here is a topic showing the really necessary tool for swamping a barrel without ruining it:

Centering the Bore in a Barrel  https://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=21868.0

Jim

Online WadePatton

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Re: Theoretical barrel swamping methods.
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2023, 04:30:20 AM »
Regarding the pictures above, Is the barrel bent by the jacks the correct amount to create the swamp or does the cutter move up and down?   Up and down would require some sort of programming or a pantograph type of set up? 

IF the barrel is bent it would require a different jack height for every other flat?  I could see that being set up with a set of shims that are inserted after ever other flat is cut.

Mr. Burton would be the best person to answer that. I just know where that pic resides and went and grabbed it for the thread. I'm no machinist.

On second glance, the bbl looks fully supported such that the cutter moves and the barrel is not flexed. But I'm not putting money on any bets here.

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