"Among other weapons, I had an extraordinary rifle that carried a half-pound percussion shell; this instrument of torture to the hunter was not sufficiently heavy for the weight of the projectile: it only weighted twenty pounds, thus with a charge of ten drachms of powder and a HALF-POUND shell, the recoil was so terrific, that I spun around like a weathercock in a hurricane. I really dreaded my own rifle, although I have been accustomed to heavy charges of powder and severe recoils for some years. None of my men could fire it, and it was looked upon as a species of awe, and it was name "Jenna-El-Mootfah" (Child of a Canon) by the Arabs, which being a far too long of a name for practice, I christened it the "Baby", and the scream of this "Baby" loaded with a half-pound shell was always fatal. It was too severe, and I seldom fired it, but it is a curious fact that I never shot a fire with that rifle without bagging. The entire practice, during several years, was confined to about twenty shots. I was afraid to use it, but now and then as it was absolutely necessary, it was cleaned after months of staying loaded. On such occasions my men had the gratification of firing it, and the explosion was always accompanied by two men falling on their backs (one having propped up the shooter) and the "Baby" flying some yards behind them. This rifle was made by Holland and Holland, of Bond Street, and I could highly recommend it for the Goliath of Gath, but not for the men of A.D. 1866."
Sir Samuel Baker -The Albert N'Yanza, Great Basin Of The Nile, 1866 pp.138
NOW DOESN'T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN??
September 15, 2009
This is actually the final post to this build, I have finished building the rifle case and these are the finished pictures. This has been a very fun project to build and shoot. I hope everyone who has followed along has enjoyed this build. All I'm missing is the handle for the center of the rifle case, I haven't found exactly what I am looking for yet, it does have brass handles on each end of the case so it is easy to pick up and move around. Which is good because with the weight of the rifle at 24 pounds, the weight of the case and then the potential to hold 24 pounds of cast balls, it may take two people to carry it.
This rifle was featured in "Muzzle Blasts" Magazine February 2010 pg. 61-65 "Building the Biggest of the Big Bores"
Every thing below this post is the documented build from planning stages to finished rifle, it also contains videos of the proof, and also me shooting it during the sight in process. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the details of this project, or for purchasing information.
The Mighty 2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloading Rifle:
May 9, 2009
This is a prototype I have been working on in my spare time for about 6 months now. I started this project as a kind of Ultimate build with the intention of mostly using it for advertising purposes, but as I am building it I have been sharing the pictures and design idea with the Gunsmith I apprenticed under (Steve Zihn) seeking input from him. I think it’s always a good idea to bounce this type of stuff off of someone else, it helps to give me a different perspective or see things that I might be missing. Anyways Steve built a 2 Bore last year for a customer, and has since been contacted by others interested in having 2 bores built. One of these contacts he referred to me, this gentleman is interested in having a boxlock action built for a 2 bore. So this has now turned into a chance to work out any design idea before I actually cut into a block of steel for a customer. As I am building this one, I have already made a few changes to this action, and have found a few design changes that will be incorporated into the next action.
Having handled the 2 Bore that Steve built, I already had some design criteria in mind when I started. First and foremost is being able to actually handle the rifle. I will be the first to point out that the rifle Steve built is elegant and graceful and has beautiful lines, especially for the size of barrel and breechplug it has. But the fact is you just can’t overcome basic geometry, When you start out with a barrel that has an outside dimension of 1 ¾” across the flats it makes for a very large gripping surface after you wrap it in wood. I have pretty large hands, from the base of my hand to the tip of my middle finger is over 9 inches, and I couldn’t get my hands around the wrist of his 2 Bore. So one of my design criteria was to find a way to slim down the overall profile of the rifle and make the wrist more user friendly. When you are talking about a gun that is going to generate as much felt recoil as this thing, you really want to be able to hold onto it. But you also have to allow for enough surface area to handle that same recoil and transfer it through the stock. I also wanted mine to weigh more than the 2 bore Steve built, I believe he told me the finished weight on his was around 22 pounds, I would like to try to get as close to 30 pounds as I can, simply because of the massive recoil these rifles produce.
With those basics as my starting point here’s what I came up with: Build a solid steel boxlock action similar in dimension to the 8 bore action, machine it with a drop front to accommodate the larger barrel. This will add some weigh tot the gun and it keep the wrist dimension the same as the 8 bore(a nice comfortable/usable size). Put a full bottom rib on and also a full length top rib, incorporating the quarter rib and the front sight base into it as a one piece attachment, similar to the British or german style rib found on some bolt action rifles. I planned my action to build it in two halves more or less, so that the top half acts as a breechplug, while the bottom half will butt up to the underrib and also have a solid rod protruding from the rear instead of a through bolt, this will add weight as well as transfer the recoil through the bottom half of the action and straight through the rod into the buttplate spacer and then into the recoil pad, this way the wood won’t actually be absorbing much of the recoil. Yes I said recoil “PAD” it’s not traditional, but on a rifle with this much recoil I am willing to forgo tradition in favor of actually being able to shoot it without breaking any bones.
So here’s the initial drawings for the prototype:
This project is going to look like it is moving along really fast for a couple of days as I post the next few entries to this, but the truth is I have been working on this for months in my spare time.
2 Bore Build Part 1:
May 11, 2009
With the design mostly figured out, materials are next. I just happen to have a piece of 2” 4140 round stock already in my shop, so it became the barrel, and I also had a couple different sizes of 8620 in my shop that were big enough to make the action out of. I bought a piece of ½” x 1” x 4’ long 1018 to make the Sight Rib and Underrib out of. The Walnut Stock is going to come from a piece of American Black Walnut that was cut on my own property. All the other small parts and piece are from material already in my shop, most of it is 1018 or 4140.
I’m not going to bore everyone with a lot of useless pictures, the barrel was what I started with, going from 2” solid bar stock to a usable barrel is quite a bit of work that isn’t very exciting to watch. The process I used was to step drill it on my lathe using a steady rest since the piece was to bit to go through the headstock. I didn’t mind starting with such piece because that allowed for runout in the drilling process. I started with a ¼” bit and worked my way up to 1 ¼” let me just say it took a long time to drill all that material out. Then I ran an expanding reamer down through the bore to clean up the drill marks. Then while I still had it in the lathe I rotary polished the bore using scotch brite pads and lapping compound, I rotary polished from 100 grit on up through 400 grit. At 400 grit I removed it from the Lathe and linear polished the bore with it clamped in my vise, long straight stroke using 500 grit and then 600 grit until the bore was a mirror finish. This is going to be a smooth bore for a couple reasons, the first one being I don’t have the equipment to rifle a 2 Bore barrel, but there are also a couple other practical reasons. From all of the reading I have done on original 2 bore they are very close yardage gun, less than 50 yards most actual game shots taken by men like Sir Samuel Baker were taken at distances between 10 and 35 yards, at under 50 yards in a patched roundball gun good accuracy can be easily achieved without having to spin the ball. On a side note Baker 2 Bore that he named “Baby” was a smoothbore. One of my other thoughts on making this a smoothbore is that it allows for a couple other loading options, such as .72 cal balls making it a buck shot gun that could be used on smaller game, and then it also has the advantage of being able to load it with shot, if you ever want to descimate a flock of birds. So basically leaving it smoothbore makes is a Buck, Ball, and shot rifle.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader part 2
May 11, 2009
The next step was to turn one end of the 2” x 2” square stock into a breechplug. I center marked one end of it and then put it in my mill and drilled a shallow hole using a centering bit, so I would have a place to seat my live center on my Lathe. I then chucked it up in my 4 jaw and centered it between the live center. After quite a bit of turning it now has a round shank 1 3/8” diameter.
I then put my steady rest on the round shank and used it to support the work so I could remove the tail stock and drill/machine the breech chamber into the shank.
I then put my live center back on removed the steady rest and proceeded to cut an 18 thread on the shank.
One breechplug with chamber cut on the beginnings of the top half of the action.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 3
May 11, 2009
Threading the barrel. I put the barrel back in the lathe centered it up using the steady rest, and then the way I like to cut internal threads whenever possible is to cut a relief shoulder at depth and then run my lathe in reverse and make the thread cut coming out, instead of making the cuts going in. I find this to be a simpler way to do it as all I have to do is start at the same point each time and then just allow it to run out, instead of having to stop at the exact same point going in to depth each pass.
After a few shoulder cuts and test fits to get both shoulder to bottom out, you get one properly breech barrel. You probably noticed that the barrel is shiny in the last picture, it was put between centers and tapered turned to a finished dimension of 1 ¾” at the breech down to 1.600” at the muzzle, it also got crowned at this time.
Just for those who are wondering how big is a 2 bore, the bore on this one is 1.275”. for the purists in this world a true 2 bore is 1.325” this is actually very close to a “P” bore, that’s about half way between a 2 bore and a 3 bore. But since there isn’t really a hard and fast standard for these size of guns it’s essentially a 2 bore. Here’s a picture of the muzzle with an 8 bore ball resting inside of it for scale.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 4
May 11, 2009
Putting two halves together and installing a nipple. As I mentioned in the first post this action body is being built in two halves and upper that is the breech plug and a lower that will contain most of the internal parts and also act as a way to transfer the recoil through the action and to the buttpad. So with the action off the barrel I started by opening up the center part of the body to accept the lower half of the action, this is the section were the tumbler will ride in a set of races. The top half of the race will be in the upper part of the action and the lower half of the race will be in the bottom part of the action. I then machined the lower half of the action to fit into the upper half.
I pinned the two halves together at the rear and drilled and tapped for a screw at the bottom from of the action. Then with the two halves together I used my original drawings to rough out the overall outside dimensions on my vertical bandsaw.
Then with a few layout lines and some careful angle setting in my mill I machined the nipple pocket and seat in place. While I had everything set up I also drilled and tapped for the flash channel and the nipple threads.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 5
May 11, 2009
Thinning the sides of the action and contouring the nipple area and fence. Some basic layout work and then action went back in the mill to start the process of thinning the action down so the section were the buttstock attaches would be a reasonable width and height , this also included working on the nipple, fence and “drum” section as they are integral with the action. It took more than a few hours to remove all this metal.
You’ll notice at the rear of the action it has been machined away and has a stub sticking out, this is the area I will attach the through rod to later.
At this time I also drilled and reamer for the race seats that the tumbler will ride in, this hole had to be carefully drilled so it would be precisely centered where the two halves meet internally to create the top and bottom half of the seats.
Then I started shaping the fence and drum, this was mostly done with hand tools, files, jewelers saw, and a dremel tool.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 6
May 11, 2009
Removing more internal metal and building the tumbler and spring guide. A little more technical work at this stage the tumbler started out as a piece of 1” 4140 round stock, I then machined the arms down on my lathe, and then I used my mill to remove the excess parts of the main tumbler, I then machined the groove in and the flat for the spring to bear against. And drilled for the cross pin that the spring guide attaches to. The spring guide was the easiest part to make it is just a piece of 3/16” round stock filed flat at one end to ride in the tumbler groove.
Then material had to be removed from both the upper and lower halves of the action to make clearance for the tumbler, spring guide/spring, as well as the seat the spring pushes against. All of this was done in my mill, just by continuing to reposition the parts in the mill.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 7
May 11, 2009
Contouring the top of the action. The side of the stub were machined down and then the top was roughed into a nice arc with a 4” hand grinder and files.
You might have noticed that the hole the tumbler come through is elongated, this is to allow enough clearance for it to make the turn inside the body, if you look closely you will notice the race it sets in is not elongated, so no slop and the hole will get covered by the Hammer.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 8
May 11, 2009
The Hammer. I wanted to try my hand at a new skill so I decided to make a high relief carved head for the hammer on this gun. I also cut a 90 degree shadow line around the body of the hammer instead of just a plain beveled edge. Almost all of the hammer was made with nothing but hand tools.
Then the tumbler arm was filed and the hammer was fit to the tumbler.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 9
May 11, 2009
The Trigger and the Through Rod for the Buttstock. I was having camera problems the day I built the trigger/sear and so there aren’t any in production shots of it, but it is a simple arrangement that contacts the tumbler directly and pivots on a pin through the lower half of the body. The through rod is made from ¾” 1018 round stock it was threaded and then the stub in the back of the action was drilled and tapped to accept it. After they were fit together I put the rod and lower half of the body in the lathe and turned the outside of them together to bring the stub down to the same diameter as the rod.
It worked out convenient that there are two side flats left from machining the stub down in the mill which make for a nice place to put a wrench on to tighten the rod into the action. I also made the screw for the hammer at this time.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 10
May 11, 2009
The Underrib and the Sightbase rib. In an attempt to add weight to this rifle I decided to machine a full length underrib and a full length top rib that would make the quarter rib and front sight base one piece. They are both machined out if ½” x 1” 1018 flat stock. The ramrod groove and the side contours were all done with a ½” ball endmill, then the barrel contour was rough machined with a ¾” ball end mill and hand fit to the barrel. The upper rib side contours were machined with a ½” ball end mill, then the sight bases were machined and then finally the barrel contour was machined and hand fit the same as the underrib. I turned the ramrod pipes on my lathe and silver soldered them on before soldering the ribs on the barrel. In the top picture the rib is just sitting on top loose during a test fit. There is still a lot of solder to be cleaned up in the bottom picture.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 11
May 11, 2009
The Buttstock and Butt Spacer. The idea of using a ¾” through rod to transfer the recoil also means you have to have some where for the recoil to end up. I am planning to use the largest decelerator the Pachymer makes for a recoil pad on this, I used the pad as a template to make the steel space that attaches to the through rod. Later I will drill and tap the steel spacer to attach the pad. The stock on this is Black Walnut, I roughed it out on my bandsaw and drilled the hole through for the rod. Then I cut off the excess rod to match the angle of the butt. It was then drilled and tapped for the bolt that pulls the spacer into the rod. The spacer was then marked and drilled.
And that pretty much brings this project up to date, I have been working on the forearm for a few days off and on but I don’t have pictures to post of that yet. It will be the next update when it is full inlet.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 12
On to the forearm, I’ve been working on this off and on for several days now. I started by attaching the ebony tip, then I used my mill to hog out the majority of the wood. I then had to custom turn a scraper on my lathe that was big enough to work the barrel channel. One of the problems to overcome when building such large calibers, is the fact that there are no commercially available tools to buy, so I make all my own as the need arises.
Then it was just a matter of using Prussian blue to check the fit and scrape it in, lots of repetitious work, but doing it fast is asking for a bad inletting job.
Then the last thing I did was something I don’t normally do, I bedded the forearm. I don’t usually glass bed the forearm on muzzleloaders, there isn’t a need in most cases. But since I plan to remove a lot of wood from this forearms and replace it with steel inlays to add weight, I figured it would be a good idea to stabilize the wood by bedding it.
That's it for now, just waiting on the bedding compound to dry.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 13
Forearm Key and Stock Shaping. Yesterday I pulled the forearm off and cleaned up most of the release agent and excess bits of bedding compound left on the forearm. Then I trimmed off some excess wood from the sides and bottom with my bandsaw. The next step was to machine a slot for the key in the underrib and then open up the wood on both sides and fit a temporary key. I like to use a temporary key so I can file over the top of it as I shape the forearm. I’ll make a permanent key towards the end of the build. With the key in place I then drilled for the Ramrod hole with a long shank drill bit.
I then used a plane and files to roughly round over the corners on the forearm. With the forearm roughed out I then turned my attention to shaping the Buttstock. This was all done with hand planes, rasps, and files to bring it down to the rough shape.
With the rough shaping done the last thing I did yesterday was to drill and tap the steel buttplate spacer for the screws and install the recoil pad.
It’s still pretty rough looking but at least it is starting to look and feel like a rifle.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 14
May 22, 2009
In an effort to add more weight to this rifle I am adding a comb plate and a toe plate to the buttstock. The comb plate started out as a piece of schedule 80 pipe. I laid out the shape then used my metal bandsaw to part it off. Then I rough shaped it with a grinder, and finished out with files. I beveled the edges in so that when it was inlet it would draw down into the wood leaving a clean edge. The comb plate actually serves another purpose besides adding weight, it also is slotted into the steel butt spacer and prevents it from rotating out of alignment with the stock. As I was inletting I noticed that one side were it fits up to the butt spacer has a slight gap, this isn’t a problem though, especially with metal to metal fits, as I will just take a flat faced punch and flow the steel together until it closes in the gap. I left it a little proud so that I can file it smooth after the gap is closed up. As always the screws are just temporary and will get replaced with slotted screws that are filed to fit later.
I will be adding a toe plate to the bottom of the stock that ties in to the butt spacer the same way and has a complimentary shape to the comb plate. Between the two plates it will add almost 1 ½ pounds to the butt of the rifle. The extra weight is going to help not only with the recoil but because of all the extra weight I put on the barrel with the ribs, having the extra weight at the butt will also help with the balance of the rifle.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 16
May 29, 2009
Adding more weight. The final place I can add any serious amount of weight to this rifle is in the Buttstock. I considered my options and decided the best way to add the maximum amount of weight was to make a set of steel pipe lead filled plugs and then epoxy them in. The center one above the through rod is 1 3/8” O.D. and the two smaller ones are 5/8” O.D.. I could have gone with a slightly larger one above the large center one, but because of the angle of the comb and the middle plug it would have been fairly short in length so I opted for smaller but longer. I put all three pipes in my lathe and cut some fast rough threads in them so that the epoxy would be able to get into the grooves and form a mechanical lock. The idea being that I don’t want to lose any strength in the stock, so I want the steel to make up for the loss of wood structure.
I didn’t have a 1 3/8” drill bit to make the large hole for the big plug, so I improvised a little and modified a tool to do the job. I actually don’t care for spade bits when it comes to drilling large diameter holes, they tend to tear out and cut crooked, so to over come that I turned a piece of 3/8” round stock and split it down the middle and soldered it over the tip to create a piloted bit. Then it was easy to drill a 3/8” hole to depth and follow it up with the spade bit. The pilot worked very well and kept everything straight and kept the chatter and tearing down to a minimum.
With the holes drilled and the plug cut and filled with lead, I then mixed up some 2 part T-88 marine epoxy and started filling holes, I used lead shot to fill in any little gaps like the divets left from the drill bit tip. And the off set area between the back of the plug and the angle of the stock. With that all done and all the gaps filled in with epoxy and shot it’s now just a matter of waiting for the epoxy to dry. The plugs and shot added 4 pounds to the buttstock.
The epoxy also had the added benefit of sealing the end grain. When everything is set and dry, I will use a hammer to smooth out any high spots in the lead shot, so the butt spacer will seat back down flush to the wood.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 17
June 3, 2009
Proofing the barreled action. I received the ball mould from Jeff Tanner yesterday, so with a little creative handle making (standard mould handles won’t fit this large of a mould), and a few wasted balls learning how to get the pour just right so as not to create any voids. I stripped the stock completely off the rifle, no point in damaging wood for no reason. Then I loaded it up with a double charge and double ball (1000grains of FFg, and two tightly patched round balls) Then I strapped it to a piece of railroad tie. I set a barrel full of dirt out in front of it with a 1” Steel backing plate to deflect the balls downward so I could recover the lead(no point in wasting a pound of lead for nothing), and then capped it and set it off with a string while hiding a safe distance behind my Tractor and Pickup Truck.
In the video you will see the white barrel full of dirt and steel plate to the right and the 2 Bore about 10 feet away to the left of it in the grass. You might want to play it a couple times, it’s amazing to see the massive amount of recoil this thing has shove the Railroad tie back like it weighed nothing.
I just took a few photos of the aftermath to show how everything ended up and to give an idea of how far back it shoved it.
One hole in Two hole out.
And the recovered balls after hitting the steel plate ended up mushrooming out to about 2” in diameter.
I hope you enjoyed the show.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 18
June 9, 2009
Triggerguard and more shaping. Yesterday I built the Triggerguard, this was made out of ¾” x 1/8” flat stock, I shaped the trigger loop first, then the tail, once I had the profile I wanted of a classic English style then I welded the tail to the loop. The rest of the shaping was done with files. Then today I drilled the bottom of the action and tapped the trigger loop for a screw that comes through from the inside of the action. This was done the opposite of the way it is usually done because I can’t swing the triggerguard past the front of the action and the barrel like I would on a normal rifle. Then I inlet the tail into the wood and filed it down to match the curve of the stock.
The rest of the work today was just more shaping on the stock, such as the forearm being a lot slimmer, and the shadow line around the cheek piece.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 19
June 25, 2009
It’s been a few weeks since I have updated this, I apologize to those who have been following along with the build for the long time in between new posts. It’s been really pretty busy around here, I’ve had a lot of customer work that needed to be finished before I could work on this again, gotta put the paying jobs ahead of the other stuff.
I managed to get the eschuteons made and inlet into the forearm in the last couple of days. The way I make these is to cut two pieces of metal the same size and then solder them together with low temp solder. I then lay-out the shape of eschuteon I want and cut, file and shape them together. This was I get a matched set and I know that my screw holes and key hole are exactly the same. Once I have them shaped I just wave a torch at them until they come apart, a little clean up of the solder on the back side and depending on the position in the stock they sometimes have to be arched a little. Then I just file a draft around the edge so it pulls down into the wood and inlet just like any other piece. I use the temporary key to get my alignment with the hole.
The only other work I have done on it, was to start working on tightening up some of the metal finish. If you go back to the earlier pictures of the action you will notice a significant gap between the upper and lower halves of the action body. The way I fix this is to use a punch with the edges rounded over slightly, I flow the steel into the gap from both side. It looks pretty rough when you first do it.
But after it is draw filed down, and sanded it closes in the gap fairly nicely, I then use my digital camera to get high magnification shots so I can see where I need to go back and move a little more steel. In the picture below you can see a little spot above the trigger pin hole that will need to be closed up just a little more and then filed back down, but the rest of the seam has nearly disappeared even under high magnification, and that is what I am looking for. If you can’t see it under magnification then you won’t be able to see it under normal conditions.
The metal finish is at 60 grit in the last photo, so all the scratches you see will disappear by the time I get it to the final finish.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 20
June 26, 2009
I figured I better get some sights on this thing since I am getting to a point where I need to start polishing all the metal down to get it ready for engraving. Sticking with the general Style of this rifle I slotted the front sight base and then made a blade front sight. It is about a mile to tall right now but that will get taken care of when it gets sighted in. I am planning to put either a brass or silver caterpillar on top of the blade when it is finished, I’ll decide when I get to that point.
It’s a very snug fit and is drilled and tapped with a set screw that is countersunk to flush that holds it firmly to the base.
I made the rear sight a single fixed blade “V” in the classic style to match the rest of the rifle and then cut then hand cut the dovetail in the quarter rib. I can cut them in my mill but it takes longer to set up to make the cut then in the mill then it does to do the whole dovetail by hand.
When I do the engraving, I will cut a centerline down from the “V” notch and inlay a piece of silver, this should give a very nice sight picture with the brass bead(caterpillar) on the front sight.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 21
June 27, 2009
The last two days I have spent my spare time working on the ramrod ends and the ramrod accoutrements. The Ramrod is ½” steel on this rifle to add some extra weight. I turned a brass collar(button) for one end, and threaded and turned a brass Cap for the other end. The threaded end with the cap is for all the accoutrements to attach to. Since there isn’t any commercially available accessories for this size of rifle, all of them have to be made and included with the rifle. All of the accoutrements are turned from 1018 round stock and then I turned a brass collar for each of them and soldered it on, this will protect the bore and also work as an alignment aid since it is such a large bore. I also notched the underrib to match the button on the ramrod, this will lock the ramrod in and keep it from shooting out from the recoil.
I also made the Bore brush in the same fashion, it threads on as an attachment to the Ramrod, or later when I have the rest of the accoutrements done it will have a separate 2 piece cleaning rod that will have the same thread for all the attachments.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 22
July 6, 2009
Wood finish. There probably won’t be a lot to show for a while, as this part of a build is just 10 minutes of work twice a day for a week or so. I have sanded the stock down to 400 grit, raising the grain between each grit, and several times at 400 grit to be sure that there were no whiskers before I start into the finish. At this stage all I am doing is filling the grain, because walnut tends to be open pored it is important to fill in every pore as smoothly as possible. My preferred method of doing this on walnut is to use a 50/50 mix of Boiled Linseed Oil and Turpentine. I then hand rub it in a coat at a time using a superfine Scotch Brite Pad. This works as a wet sanding technique and puts very fine walnut dust into the pores as filler. It’s a slow method as I can only apply about 1 coat every 12 hours and sometimes less depending on the humidity, so it takes a week or more to completely fill and smooth the surface, but it is well worth it to get a very high quality finish.
In the pictures above, you can see the pores are still very open, there is only a couple of coats on it at this point. It looks like it is going to have a nice bit of figure when it is done though.
With 12 hours in between coats, I have been busy with other projects in the shop, as well as finding a little time to sand on the metal on this rifle. And there is plenty of metal on this thing to sand on, more than any other rifle I have ever built. It doesn’t make for very exciting pictures though, so I didn’t take any.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 23
August 1, 2009
It has been nearly a month since I posted any progress, as I said in my last update this part of the build is rather slow and also rather boring as far as pictures go. I have been slowly working on the wood finish, getting that deep lustered oil finish can sometimes be a very slow process, especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The finish I like to use for walnut is a homemade blend of Tung oil, Boiled linseed oil, turpentine and Japanese driers that I mix. I like the way this finish takes to walnut and the deep semi matte finish it gives the wood. The problem with this combination is the amount of time it takes for each coat to dry. I start by applying a very heavy coat for the first one, and then wet sand it back, this fills any open pores the Boiled Linseed Oil missed. Then every coat after the first one is applied as thin as I can make it, basically I take a drop on my finger and hand rub it into the stock as far as I can stretch it giving the thinnest coat possible. Then it is set in a window to dry, unfortunately this type of finish does not dry fast and with the humidity being way up around here for the past several weeks it has sometimes been several days in between coats. Which explains why it has been a month since I updated this, it has taken nearly all of that time to finish the wood. But as you can see in the following pictures it is well worth the time to do it slowly and apply many thin coats to get the desired finish.
This piece of wood has really surprised me with the figure and grain I didn’t expect it to be as nice as it is. It’s now ready for checkering.
I have also finished polishing the metal (which is a lot by the way) and have started engraving those parts, as soon as I am finished with all the engraving I will get pictures posted of that work, hopefully soon.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 24
August 8, 2009
The checkering is finished. I decided to go with a practical yet semi difficult pattern, 16 LPI semi-flattop borderless. This type of checkering isn’t all that popular anymore, but it does look appropriate on this style of rifle, and is correct for the time period of this type of action. It also gives a very solid grip that will wear very well with handling and use. This style also has the advantage of leaving the most figure and grain showing in the checkering.
I am nearly done with the engraving, all I have left to do is the action body and then I will get some pictures posted of the engraving.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader part 25
August 17, 2009
I am waiting on a couple of tools to finish the engraving on the Rifle, and I had a little time in between other projects, so I built the powder measure that will go with this rifle. The main body and the adjustable slider are steel, and the funnel, grip of the slider and set screw are all brass. The steel will get rust blued when I blue the rest of the rifle and it's accoutrements. It will actually measure form about 25 grains to a little over 500 grains, but it is marked on the slider from 3 to 18 drams in 1 dram increments.
August 22, 2009
I finally got the last of the engraving done. It isn't really a lot of coverage, it was just a lot of metal to engrave. I'm now working on rust bluing all the metal.
I'll get better close-ups of the engraving when I do the final photos of the finished rifle.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 27
August 24, 2009
I'm nearly done with the rifle. All I have left to do is finish the front sight, what this really means is all I have to do is manage to work up a load and file the front sight down so it hits at the given yardage(50 yards) and then a little final bluing and it's finished. If I actually shoulder this thing for more than a few shots I may not be able to type for a long time after so I figured I better post these pictures now. Haha.
2 Bore boxlock Muzzleloader Part 28
August 26, 2009
The moment so many have been waiting for: VIDEO of me shooting it. First a few final details, with it sighted in I was able to finish out the front sight. I decided not to put a caterpillar on it at this time, that way if the eventual owner wants to work up a different load, I can still add whatever they might want.
Both of these videos are the same footage, the first one is the hi-res version and the second is a compress version for dial-up users. I edited it down to three shots, the first one was my first shot from the shoulder, the load was 13 drams(355 grains FFg) patched round ball. The second and third shot, were 16 drams(438 grains FFg). I honestly don't know how to describe the felt recoil, it is a huge amount, but it is still within my range of tolerance.
High Quality: 16mb (high speed internet)
Low Quality: 2mb (dial-up)
And it actually shoots pretty well, this is the target from the last to shots in the video, shot at 50 yards.
I managed to recover most of my lead, the target I set up was a plastic barrel full of dirt with a 1" steel plate slanted at a 40 degree angle behind it to deflect the rounds into the ground. Here is a recovered ball after passing through 3' of dirt and impacting the steel plate.
2 Bore Boxlock Muzzleloader Part 29
September 8, 2009
This is my first attempt at case making, I need to be honest here and say that case building is clearly a skilled form that is well worth the money spent on a professional case maker. This was quite possibly one of the hardest parts of this build. Fitting and lining even this little accoutrements box took me several frustrating days to do, and the results are clearly not as nicely done as a professional case builder would be able to do. So my hats off to them, they certainly have my respect for their talents.
The Box was built from Walnut, Claro for the top and bottom, and Black for the sides. All the hardware is brass. It has a similar finish to the rifle.
I haven't decided how I am going to case the rifle yet, I'm having difficulty finding walnut of the sizes I need. White Oak is an option, but I'm not sure that is the way I want to go yet. I have also considered buying an Aluminum Flight case, and then lining it with a fitted liner.