Flintlock rifle barrel?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by Appalachia Jack, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. Appalachia Jack

    Appalachia Jack New Member

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    Im pretty new to making firearms, but I make a lot of other things. This may be a dumb question but can you use steel tubing as a smoothbore gun barrel? Ive seen the like done for black powder pistols and even shotguns on youtube. The old flintlock barrels were handforged right? And to my knowledge they werent hardened either. Some were even cast from brass or bronze. I know that it wouldnt handle the kind of pressures we see in smokeless powders but would a piece of DOM tubing with a 1/4" wall thickness work for say a .36 cal black piwder flintlock? And would it be safe or would I be risking a grenade to the face every time I pulled the trigger
     
  2. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just buy a barrel ready made from a reputable manufacturer and KNOW that it's safe.
     
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  3. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Well-Known Member

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    Right: You can get an idea of what's available from the Track of the Wolf website. That website is very informative. There a number of first class makers of muzzle loading barrels. You can get a good idea on hardware and breech plugs and the like. Do a little exploring on the net on the subject. This is not a recommendation for Track as I find them to be obnoxious Yankees.
     
  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    Jack- first of all, welcome to the site (That IS his first post, so ya'll be nice)

    IF you are sticking with black powder, or a BP substitute like Pyrodex, yes, you can. However, there is tubing and there is tubing- just as there is pipe and pipe.

    As far as a grenade imitation- ever heard the term "proof testing"? It involved firing (by remote control if'n yer smart) with a stouter than normal load, and measuring exterior dimensions before and after. If your 0.750 barrel starting becoming 0.755 and 0.760 on subsequent shots- ungood.

    Original barrels were made by heating and twisting iron wires, hammering them, reheating, wrapping around a rod, re-heat, hammer weld together. Properly called "twist" steel barrels, they are sometimes called Damascus. Those were significantly weaker than modern high grade seamless tubing.

    Bear in mind that without rifling, accuracy is about on a par with a thrown folding chair. You would have to work out how your breech plug would be secured.
     
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  5. Appalachia Jack

    Appalachia Jack New Member

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    Thank you for the welcome! Ive been considering the breechplug. I understand not all pipes are equal. I certainly wouldnt slap a piece if black iron pipe in there and call it a day. I was thinking more along the lines of hydraulic tubing with a substantial wall thickness seeing as hydraulic tubing often has to handle very high internal pressures. I may buy a length, fit a plug to it, and do a stress test to see what happens.
     
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    Jack. FWIW, had a friend that got a new boat. Figured he needed a cannon. I had lucked into a nice bit of bronze rod- 3.5 inches in diameter, and 18 inches long. So I chucked that in the lathe, and turned a miniature Rodman cannon, bored out to .75 caliber. Proof fired that with a LOT of powder and a patched 12 g slug 5 times. No problems.

    My friend can fire salutes, or repel boarders.
     
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  7. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    I love a story that starts with I bought a boat and now I need a cannon.
     
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  8. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    Manufacturers of high carbon steel pipe will tell you the internal maximum pressure it can withstand.
     
  9. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Many times steel tubing is not real smooth on the inside with consistent internal diameter.
     
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  10. BillM

    BillM Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing is pretty darned smooth inside. You can also
    source "Special honed ID" tubing in a range of sizes---it is meant for the barrel of
    hydraulic or air cylinders.
     
  11. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Buy a for-real gun barrel. Some tubing is not extruded but welded from flat stock. You can also buy an old musket barrel (which I have done), re-convert to flint or simply leave it as a percussion. Even black powder is not forgiving. A good barrel won't be cheap but neither is reconstructive surgery, seeing-eye dogs, or funerals.
     
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  12. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Well-Known Member

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    There are a number of videos of KB's with blackpowder firearms on YouTube. If you plan on shooting your firearm why not ,at lease, consider a appropriate rifled barrel. We know, for example Green Mountain, a major supplier of muzzle loading barrels. Just a suggestion to take a look.

    Added: Smooth bore barrels are available from several sources.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  13. Notrighty

    Notrighty Well-Known Member

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    You can get a piece of steel that will take the pressure but it won’t be cheap. It also won’t be rifled.
     
  14. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    If you start from the pressure and then work out you can find a tubing that will handle the pressure, for any given i.d. But, and others have said it could tend to get onto the expensive side.

    If you have access to some appropriate tubing, for a reasonable price, then you would probably be safe starting from there. But, I’m pretty certain that if you need to purchase the tubing you will be better off from a cost standpoint buying a barrel.
     
  15. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry Well-Known Member

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    I hope the hunt for the tubing works out. There some people here who know something about tubing to give suggestions. One guy here locally did make his own rifling machine for tubing.

    When you go with a store bought barrel it will be contoured and threaded for a breech plug. On store bought barrels, one can pick the caliber and with known the rate of twist. Like most all subsets of the shooting world there are specialized suppliers. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. Also, there are several makers of good locks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  16. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, barrels are available as true "blanks" - not drilled nor threaded for breechplug nor touch hole/drum in several styles and nearly any length, weight, or bore diameter. In the white, blued, browned - even parkerized. The barrel is the basis of all firearms. There is no safe substitute that I'd bet my eyes, hands, or other body parts on (or bystanders either).

    Even modern muzzleloaders can have flaws - improper heat treatment of various parts have caused failures just as have poor threads and stupid or ignorant people improperly loading/assembling/etc. Invest in a quality kit, study the instructions, assemble the proper tools, and practice each step on scrap wood/metal before going forward. You can end up with something to be proud of, enjoy shooting and showing to friends. Do it right and maybe even have a gun worth more than the parts. Plus, you will have knowledge - something no one can ever take away.
     
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