Author Topic: NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod  (Read 665 times)

Offline silky

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NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod
« on: December 20, 2023, 12:01:47 AM »
Hi,

With respect to a Revolutionary War period New England fowler, is it appropriate/accurate to start the widening diameter of a flared wood ramrod at the end of the front ramrod pipe, such that all pipes are the same diameter?  Or should the flare start further back, such that the front pipe would need to be of a thicker diameter than the others?  I think Dave Person's Hawk fowler has a long taper to it necessitating different sized diameters, but I don't know if that's the exception or the norm.

I'm guessing there may be no hard and fast right/wrong answer.  With mine, there will be ~5-6" from the end of that pipe to the muzzle (shorter forestock to allow for a bayonet)... is that enough room for the flare?  I'm having a hard time assessing this in reference photos.

Thanks.

- Tom

Offline Bob Gerard

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Re: NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2023, 12:11:53 AM »
On the Fowler I worked on, the forward pipe is indeed flared to receive the wider end of the ramrod. Below that pipe, it remains about 3/8 but again tapes narrower at the other end.


Offline smart dog

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Re: NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2023, 02:59:07 PM »
Hi Tom,
They were done with long, short, and no tapers at all. In my opinion, the important consideration is what will you shoot from the gun?  If bird shot, a skinny rod with swell just at the end works very well and the thinner pipes keep the gun looking slim.  However, if you will shoot a lot of patched round ball, a stouter rod would be better.  Perhaps a slower tapering rod with larger average diameter and using larger diameter pipes at least for the first 2.

dave
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Offline Goo

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Re: NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2023, 04:34:05 PM »
A tapered ram rod is acceptable and historically correct.  I was taught to taper the whole rod from one end to the other. Let me explain; It starts with the ram hole. For a 20 gage I prefer to drill the ramrod hole 5/16"  which allows a 5/16" entry pipe and by calculating a 3/16" web between the barrel and RR hole and it allows the underbelly of the fowler to be a bit closer to the lock for a more graceful look to the fowler.   The remaining ram rod pipes can then be increased in size from 3/8" to 7/16'' as they are placed forward along the ram rod groove.   Setting the forward most ram rod pipe slightly behind the front sight leaving approx 4 - 5" that can be 1/2 diameter on the Rod and if you add a tip. that can be flared to 9/16".    You now have a ram rod that tapers 5/16" to 1/2''.   This also requires you to choose/make a rr blank with no run out in the grain.   if you are worried about breaking it this falls to loading technique and maybe soaking the rod in diesel fuel for 6-8 months. 
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Offline silky

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Re: NE Fowler Tapered Ramrod
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2023, 08:25:10 PM »
Thank you for your help, guys -- it totally answers my question. It had never occurred to me til watching Dave's Hawk build that ramrods can taper so gradually that different size pipes are necessary.

This gun is going to be more heavy on the military use, so I'm going with a 1/2" rod at the end, tapered to 7/16" through the first two pipes, then slowly tapering to 3/8" at the rear pipe (it's already drilled 3/8").  So it won't be a perfect consistent taper but should be pretty strong and utilitarian.

I never thought finding a 7/16" drill bit (for a mandrel) would be so difficult... I walked around the hardware store for 20 minutes carrying a pair of calipers off the shelf trying to find the right diameter!

Thanks again!

- Tom