Author Topic: Smooth rifles  (Read 7167 times)

northmn

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Smooth rifles
« on: March 03, 2010, 05:39:44 PM »
I have seen two threads on using birdshot in rifles and a lot on smoothbore accuracy for those using RB in fowlers.  No problem with RB in fowlers as I think that was likely done quite a bit.  Now I am working on what is called a smooth rifle.  While not quire authentic in that it uses a fowler barrel, it works for me.  It is not legal for smoothbore matches as it has a set of sights.  Due to the sights it might be unwieldy at a clay pigeon match.  While it may appear neither fish nor fowl consider.
The sights make it easier to shoot roundball and can center a shot pattern.  While it is not choked, centering a pattern would not be all bad for turkeys.
Its a flintlock and gives me an excuse to ground swat game birds as I am getting slower on the reflexes with a shotgun any way.
Its a novelty I want to play with.
Sights would have to help my RB accuracy and I am interested to see if they may make it reasonable for much of my deer hunting.  Shotguns set up with sights before rifled barrels were keeping Foster slugs in targets good to 75 yards.  Isn't a patched round ball more accurate?  Taylor wrote about hunting elephant with a smooth 10 bore and claimed it worked well, and was much easier to clean than a rifle. 
The smooth rifle is built like a rifle with rifle mountings but just has a smooth barrel.

DP 

Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 07:35:15 PM »
Taylor has a smooth rifle to build as well.  His is a .50 cal. (37 bore) which will probably shoot somewhaere around a 42 bore ball (.480") with a .015" to .018" patch.

A defined rear sight will definitely help & of course, removing the rear sight will allow use in smooth bore matches.

A bit of jug choke will help patterns - about .010" will do the job well and not distrurb ball shooting. This is what I put in my .44 smooth rifle, 25 years ago.  10 for 10 on 16 yard birds was proof of it's patterning ability - and with only 1/2oz of #9's. No birds were 'dusted' but all broke into pieces.

beleg2

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 07:49:23 PM »
Hi,
I made an "old style" capegun, that is a "smooth bore rifle".
I is a 12 bore, proofed for double BP charge as was used in India in 1850.
It was ballisticaly correct but of more modern design as it was an underhammer.
Never try it seriously but it shots better than 2" at 20 meters with 80gn.
It deserves more dedication
JMHO
Martin

Offline smokinbuck

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 10:34:03 PM »
Daryl,
I agree with you re the smooth rifle with sights and the acceptable accuracy but I think that for smoothbore matches .54 is the low end for the NMLRA. I also have a smooth rifle, without sights, and it started life as a .50 and I had Ed Rayl bore it out to .54, 28 ga.
Mark
Mark

amohkali

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 01:51:34 AM »
For what it's worth, I use a smoothbore "trade gun" a/k/a "fowler" with front and rear sights for deer, squirrel & hog (with patched and sometimes wadded rather than patched RB), as well as 'shotgun' hunting (dove, quail, squirrel, etc).  I do not take 100+ yard shots anyway (rarely over 50), so it hasn't changed my hunting style.

Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 06:06:31 AM »
Mark - no problem with the calibre - it is highly unlikely we'll ever have the opportunity to shoot at Friendship and afterall, everyone has one 20 bore smoothbore, don't they?

Offline smokinbuck

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 05:05:10 PM »
DAryl,
Not everyone, yet. I'm looking hard though.
Mark
Mark

northmn

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 09:49:37 PM »
A smooth rifle is not a fowler with sights, but a rifle with a smooth bore.  Many I see pictures of in originals were of smaller calibers.  A smooth rifle is made to be shot predominatley with ball and can shoot shot.  A fowler is made for shot and can shoot a round ball.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 04:59:24 AM »
You are right, of course, DP, but then that depends a lot on the person shooting the 'fowler'.  Most of the guys shooting smoothbores around here and at Hefley Creek rondy, shoot mostly ball in their fowlers and only occasionally, shot- for the one event during the 10 day shoot.  They shoot patched balls for all 10 days, shot only during the trap contest.

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 05:28:25 AM »
I have been amazed when looking at the classic books on PA rifles, how many of them were smoothbores.
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northmn

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 03:59:06 PM »
Some of what I have seen seems to depend upon the newest "craze"  for lack of a better word.  for a while a half stock was a Hawken and one did not have a ML rifle that was worth anything unless it was a Hawken.  I remember when the Northwest Trade Gun interest developed and everyone weemed to have to have a NWTG.  Then pretty soon those wanting to be "different" built or acquired the Tulle Fusil de chasse.  Now we have various fowlers also coming out of this interest.  During our local NWTG phase I bought a Brown Bess and then built a 12 bore musket.  They almost wanted to ban me as not being PC from smoothbore shoots.
 When one compares carrying a fowler to a rifle, it is understandable how a person may want to hunt with one.  A heavy built smooth rifle, for modern uses may not appeal to many as it carries like a rifle and shoots like a fowler.  As I stated, my in progress smooth rifle is using a fowler barrel and will be as light as most fowlers, but it is a bastardized version. It does however use a smaller and maybe faster rifle lock.  Still, the ability to shoot the round ball with a good set of sights appeals to me, as does the ability to shoot a few squirrels and ruffed grouse with it using shot.  Really, if one bought a pair of Colerain matched barrels, one rifled and one smooth, it would be little problem to make an interchangeable barrel system for either a fowler or smooth rifle, but I question the need of a rifled barrel for my round ball uses in woods where 50 yards is a longer shot.  Building a two barrel smooth rifle would be another interesting way to spend an extra $200.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 04:49:23 PM »
DP - a .62 smoothie one side and a .58 on the other would allow using the same ball in each, or of course, shot in the smoothbore and ball in the other.  A little thought to regulation when joining them would also be a benefit. It would be an ultimate hunting firearm to have.
When Forsyth was by himself hunting partridge in India with his double 14 bore, he always loaded one barrel with ball.  "my spaniels have roused a panther when I expected them to flush a partridge -- I have almost trodden on the tail of a tiger while stalking a spotted buck"
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 04:52:23 PM by Daryl »

northmn

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 05:46:24 PM »
I did not mean a double rifle, whcih makes a lot of sense.  I meant a single where a barrel could be interchanged or removed to accomodate the mood of the shooter.  A double rifle one barrel smooth the next does kind of fit into my little dream world, but now I have trouble finding time to finish a poorboy.

DP

roundball

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2010, 06:14:02 PM »

"...an interchangeable barrel system..."


While I couldn't be more pleased with the .58cal Early Virginia I recently had built for deer hunting...its hard not to appreciate the pure convenience and flexibility of the hooked breech design that exists in my other half stock muzzleloaders.

With the bulk of the cost being in the stock, lock, and triggers on a typical full stock longrifle...separate dedicated longrifles for each type of use can be a big expense.
By contrast as you know, for the relatively low cost of another barrel, you can literally tap out wedge key(s), drop in a rifled barrel for a morning deer hunt, tap out the key(s) and drop in a smoothbore barrel for an after noon crow shoot, or whatever.

If not a hooked breech, then the worry I'd have trying that with a pinned full stock would be the frequent swapping of barrels might result in a cracked/broken stock, or boogered up barrel pin holes and tang mortise.

Offline Pete G.

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2010, 06:26:02 PM »
I don't remember exactly where I saw it, but somewhere I read that in the 1820's or thereabouts a lot of guys made money traveling from town to town and boring out worn rifle barrels to smoothbore. Most big game was hunted out and the hostiles were pretty much eliminated, so a small game gun made sense. No doubt some rifles were built to be smoothbores, but I wonder if this practice accounts for a lot of what we call smooth rifles today.

Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2010, 07:30:06 PM »
Quote
by round Ball - "If not a hooked breech, then the worry I'd have trying that with a pinned full stock would be the frequent swapping of barrels might result in a cracked/broken stock, or boogered up barrel pin holes and tang mortise.

Having interchangable barrels on a full stocked & pinned barrel gun is not the problem it might seem.  We remove the barrel often on every gun we shoot, be it pinned or wedged - no matter - the barrel comes off for cleaning. Granted, wedges are nice - there are several longrifle designs that use wedges - note Taylor's Latest .40 cal. Kuntz - as per the original in the museum in NY.

northmn

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Re: Smooth rifles
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2010, 09:54:09 PM »
Making a rifle with a tang screw threaded into the trigger plate eliminates a lot of hassle as does buying a simple pin punch from a hardware store.  Pins should be rounded at the ends to eliminate splitting.  Also if done a lot, one can put in pin excutions to protect the stock.  Would have an advantage for a person that wants a spring turkey gun and fall deer rifle.  For my use I feel that a cylinder bored or slightly jug choked smoothbore could be adequate for deer and small game, where a turkey gun may have a tight choke that might not be compatable with ball.  
I have heard of rifles being bored out smooth, but what percentage is anyones guess.  Fowlers have also been available fairly cheaply during those times also.  A lot of civil war muskets were made into smooth bores, but they were large bore with very specialized use for minie ball that may not have been so great for civilian use.  
There is also the issue of target accuracy, the accuracy that some have been used to with scoped rifles of today and "practical" accuracy.  A smoothbore might offer more of a practical accuracy than some paper standard.  As some use looser patch and ball combos for faster loading in the field the differences get smaller between the smooth bore and rifle for practical accuracy.
DP
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 12:02:03 AM by northmn »