Author Topic: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel  (Read 3159 times)

Offline Bob Gerard

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Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« on: November 20, 2023, 03:26:24 AM »
I have a .69 caliber flintlock Fowler. Running a patch down the barrel I found that the patch and jag become quite loose at the breech, about three inches from the face of the breech plug.
The barrel was never used before ( it had no touch hole yet), so I am curious if this was a barrel design to have a slight taper from the breech area into the bore?

Offline okawbow

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2023, 03:40:29 AM »
Many of the Indian made guns have a slight enlargement near the breech. That is caused by the method they use to hand forge hydraulic pipe into gun barrels. As long as it’s not too much of a difference, it should be ok.


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Offline Daryl

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2023, 04:01:45 AM »
I didn't know that about the Indian guns.
Tks for that tidbit of information, okawbow.
Daryl

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Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2023, 04:20:29 AM »
Ugh. This gun is not from India but from Connecticut, probably from 30 years ago.

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2023, 04:29:17 AM »
Perhaps it is a forcing cone? Could make sense since the gun is a fowler...?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2023, 04:57:51 AM by Bob Gerard »

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2023, 04:30:56 AM »
Sounds like it was fire with an air gap between the powder and the shot. In cold country it’s easy to do if your hands are cold, and your shot load compresses air when it is pushed down the barrel.

Hungry Horse

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2023, 04:52:48 AM »
Sounds like it was fire with an air gap between the powder and the shot. In cold country it’s easy to do if your hands are cold, and your shot load compresses air when it is pushed down the barrel.

Hungry Horse
Nope. Read my post (above); "The barrel was never used before ( it had no touch hole yet)".
p.s., how would loading shot compress air in a barrel?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2023, 05:10:14 AM by Bob Gerard »

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2023, 05:38:39 AM »
Bob,
Maybe whoever made it was trying to duplicate the old boring often found in fowling pieces
Breech slightly larger, a length true cylinder, and a part relieved to the muzzle.
The breech enlargement was short, and the muzzle relief was maybe a quarter of the barrel length.

This was quite common at one time.   Can you feel any relief to the muzzle as well?

Hawker goes into this in detail.

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2023, 06:12:36 AM »
Bob,
Maybe whoever made it was trying to duplicate the old boring often found in fowling pieces
Breech slightly larger, a length true cylinder, and a part relieved to the muzzle.
The breech enlargement was short, and the muzzle relief was maybe a quarter of the barrel length.

This was quite common at one time.   Can you feel any relief to the muzzle as well?

Hawker goes into this in detail.


Thanks-  I hadn't noticed any bore change towards the front, though I wasn't focusing on it. I will check it out!
I just checked and see that the exterior of the barrel is cylindrical down until it begins to widen at 4.5” forward the breech end of the barrel. I am guessing the inside of the barrel follows this gradual enlargement, which would account for the wider breech chamber.
ps; Where can we find Hawker's research on this?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2023, 06:42:13 AM by Bob Gerard »

Offline Daryl

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2023, 06:41:05 AM »
p.s., how would loading shot compress air in a barrel?

The wads, if tightly fitting, compress air beneath them and the standing breech. This happens virtually every load in my 20 bore, however
I've never shot it until the pressure subsides out the vent and the wads are properly seated.  If the load is pushed down quickly, the rod will
ride back up with the Over Shot wad and shot column & wads beneath it. I then push it down slowly and air can be heard escaping out the vent
as the wad column and shot is re-seated on the powder. If the powder in the bore was 3F, some might escape out the vent, if the vent was large
enough. This happened with a 'late' friend's .40 cal. which had an enlarged vent. The remedy was to replace the vent liner with a new one.
Daryl

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

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2023, 06:43:47 AM »
Ah yes, the wad, not the shot. I have the same experience seating wads in my Fusil de Chasse.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2023, 11:31:21 PM »
I would send it back if possible. Or cut it off and rebreech.
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Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2023, 04:44:50 PM »
Bob,
Before you chop it off, (it's real hard to chop back on)
do check if there is a Slight widening towards the muzzle, which would indicate "friction and relief" boring.
How long is the barrel?
This sligt relief could be over 9 or ten inches easily.
The breech enlargement would be much, much shorter. 

Hawker;
Instructions to Young Sportsmen.

7th edition, of 1833 was copied much more recently, in the 70's I believe and should show up on a search easily enough.

Hawker detailed the harder shooting and superior patterns thrown with this sort of gun, (with shot)

Best,
Richard.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2023, 09:41:56 PM »
Yes, not everything written back then was spot-on. Forsyth also believed that a barrel relieved at both the breech and muzzle, shot 'harder' with shot.
Daryl

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

Offline yulzari

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2023, 10:59:48 PM »
To view or download free Peter Hawker’s ‘Instructions to Young Sportsmen’ 7th Ed.
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.33135/page/n419/mode/2up
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2023, 11:03:42 PM »
From W Greener’s “The Gun” 1835. They did a lot of things. Most useless. But the had very long tapers toward the muzzle and then a long taper to the muzzle. They also tried rough reaming for various reasons. The rough reaming near the muzzle to “retard the wads”. Etc etc. If its too loose at the breech and there is blowby it may well disrupt the pattern. Remember that there are people making barrels that are better used for some other purpose. In any case if its loose at the breech then slug it to find just how big it is. It may need to  be reamed larger to uniform the bore. You don’t want to build a gun around a tent peg. 
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2023, 11:08:49 PM »
Ok already built. Test fire it.
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2023, 05:54:08 AM »
Bob,
Before you chop it off, (it's real hard to chop back on)
do check if there is a Slight widening towards the muzzle, which would indicate "friction and relief" boring.
How long is the barrel?
This sligt relief could be over 9 or ten inches easily.
The breech enlargement would be much, much shorter. 

Hawker;
Instructions to Young Sportsmen.

7th edition, of 1833 was copied much more recently, in the 70's I believe and should show up on a search easily enough.

Hawker detailed the harder shooting and superior patterns thrown with this sort of gun, (with shot)

Best,
Richard.

Hi Richard-
Fear Not! I have NO intention of doing any alterations to this barrel!
It is 51" long, and the enlargement at the breech is about 5". (I still need to check for any enlargement at the muzzle)
There is also a 'roughing" in the breech for the first 1" (enough to feel when running a cleaning patch down) that might have been a method used to tighten the pattern, I was told.
I think this barrel is kind of interesting and not typical of more modern production.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 06:05:16 AM by Bob Gerard »

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2023, 06:02:55 AM »
Ok already built. Test fire it.
Yes- it will shoot a .662 round ball pretty accurately, as I tried an un-patched round ball at 26 yards off-hand, using 85 grains of 2f. Here's a link:
https://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=79161.msg780275#msg780275

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2023, 07:18:05 AM »
Bob,
Back in Hawker's day there were two ways to retard the shot until combistion was more complete,
With flint, something of an Opening behind,
With a detanator, a little tighter or roughening.

Of course there were also permeatations,  as it was all experimental,
However, when Hawker had a barrel lengthened by William Fullard, it increased the pattern and penetration.
That there was something in the friction and relief that worked is beyond doubt, as most English game and duck guns had it to some degree.
My little double 20  always shot a killing pattern at 40 yards with English No 4 for duck or no 6 or 7 for game.

Nowadays, we see folks using chokes and jug chokes to try and get some range out of their barrels.

Keith Neil had some of the old long fowling pieces that would knock pigeons down at 70 plus yards.

It may take some experimentation Bob, but I bet your barrel will be a winner when you get it figured.

Keep the powder down a bit, not too heavy.
The relief at the muzzle, (if it has any) was to reduce pressure, so that the pattern would not be disturbed as much.

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2023, 07:42:52 AM »
Thank you Richard. I was reading some of Hawker's book for an hour or so and had a bit of a challenge understanding what he was explaining about with regard to 'relief' of the breach or gradually (almost non-measurable ) toward the muzzle. Probably just tiredness on my part but it looks like an interesting book and I will return to it.

It will be fun to see how the gun patterns with shot next, after experimenting with some round ball shooting the other day. I will go lighter on the powder as you suggest.



« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 03:37:48 PM by Bob Gerard »

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2023, 05:25:50 PM »
Bob,
Hawker was measuring before they had bore gauges as we know them, and no digital read-out!

That is why he preferred to measure big duck guns.
There should be some charts if I remember right, with measured relief (or tapering wider) at breech and muzzle.


Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2023, 11:04:57 PM »
Most likely a previous owner left it loaded with the wrong type of patch lube and it corroded that area. Then the corrosion was removed by grinding or sanding it out with a piece of ramrod split to hold sand paper.
The results are exactly how you describe the chamber area is after removing the corrosion.
Just a guess but I've seen it and fixed a couple like that.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2023, 02:39:14 AM »
With 5" of looseness at the breech, it sounds like a smokeless shotgun barrel only started for boring to 12 bore, but left "to sell to a muzzleloading gun maker".
5" is too long for a chamber start, unless it was common to knock off 2" or so before finishing.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2023, 04:36:09 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: Breech chamber question for a flintlock barrel
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2023, 05:18:24 AM »
Dark Horse, did you read the previous comments that the barrel was not drilled for a touch hole?  It was never loaded or used.