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Chris Bucklen




Location: West Virginia
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 25 Aug, 2009 11:14 pm    Post subject: Hand forged gun barrels?         Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I was recently at colonial Williamsburg and I have seen a hand forged flintlock barrel which got me thinking about the medieval hand gonne. How were they forged? What ammo did they fire? What calliber were they? I am a hobby bladesmith and I was wanting to try to forge a Hand gonne and not blow myself up. Any info is appreciated. In case your interested I am attaching a picture of the half forged gun barrel at Williamsburg.


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"Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o'er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit." - Hávamál
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Matthew Fedele




Location: Auburn, NY USA
Joined: 21 Jul 2005

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You'll enjoy this site:

http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/history.html

Cheers,
Matt
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Barry C. Hutchins





Joined: 07 Jul 2009

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a note..

modern black powders are usually more powerful than blackpowder made when barrels were hand forged out of multiple pieces of iron. Additionally, there are 'blackpowders' available for the modern muzzleloader that should never be used in a firearm specifically designed for that propellants use.

The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association is a good source to start for finding authoritative answers to all those questions, http://www.nmlra.org/publication.asp
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Barry C. Hutchins





Joined: 07 Jul 2009

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Correction

Additionally, there are 'blackpowders' available for the modern muzzleloader that should ONLY be used in a firearm specifically designed for that propellants use.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,204

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand forged gun barrels?         Reply with quote

Chris Bucklen wrote:
Hello everyone, I was recently at colonial Williamsburg and I have seen a hand forged flintlock barrel which got me thinking about the medieval hand gonne. How were they forged? What ammo did they fire? What calliber were they? I am a hobby bladesmith and I was wanting to try to forge a Hand gonne and not blow myself up. Any info is appreciated. In case your interested I am attaching a picture of the half forged gun barrel at Williamsburg.


This method of forging barrels is one of several believed to have been used. Of course this is relatively late in the game compared to hand gonnes.

I have never studied the construction of hand gonne barrels but would think that they were forged much like the barrels at Williamsburg and ealier; either from iron skelps like those at Williamsburg of the iron strips of some European barrel makers. The problem with these guns, and one reason I would discourage you from attempting this without considerable study and careful experimentation, is that barrels made in this manner are likely to have weak spots here and there which can result in splits and other types of separation that could be potentially hazardous. There is a video out called The Gunsmith of Williamsburg which may be available on DVD by now. In it, Wallace Gusler, the former head of the gunsmithing shop, makes a Virginia long rifle, step by step. The first thing actually produced is the barrel. It is a rather extensive process and very interesting to watch...and it takes a very long time. It will give you a good idea of what is involved in forging even a short barrel and may make you decide not do do it.

Modern muzzleloading barrels are made using two or three different techniques, but all involve starting with a forged steel billet that is much sturdier than anything you can forge weld from iron skelps. And even these guns can occasionally have problems.

Barry's suggestion about joining the NMLRA is a very good one. I have been a member for nearly 40 years and still read the monthly magazine from cover to cover. There are a number of other good monthly publications out there too, but the best is Muzzle Loader Magazine. It is geared toward the traditional shooter and frequently has how to articles.

Good luck with your project, if you decide to tackle it. Just be very careful

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Chris Bucklen




Location: West Virginia
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: thanks!         Reply with quote

Thank you very much! All of this info is exactly what I needed. I am aware that this is exceedingly dangerous and before I attempt any firing I am going to be a very good distance away behind something solid! I was only vaguely aware that modern blackpowder has more power and higher pressures, thank you for the warning. I am now only going to use a recipe of blackpowder that is historically acurate and creates lower pressures.
"Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o'er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit." - Hávamál
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Bjorn Hagstrom




Location: Höör, Skane
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
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Posts: 325

PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2009 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also have a look at this link

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...handgonnes

If memory serves me a fellow forum-user posted pictures (or a link to his website with pictures) from forging hand-gonnes

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2009 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sir-I have a frien whi has been a gunsmith for 30 years. He says Never try to fire an original gun espically a black powder gun. Get a replica fron Cabela, or CVA or another reputable firm that has been made with modern materials and equipment, and rated for either black powder or Pyrodex. In fact he says never try to fire an antique (pre WWII) gun without supervision of a gunsmith,because even if it was made after WWII, as corrosive primers didn,t go out of use untill then, and the chamber can be too corroded to fire.He says the best place for an old gun is on display, they are dangerous, and you can easily ruin a valuable antique.
Ja68ms
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
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Posts: 1,204

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2009 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James R.Fox wrote:
Sir-I have a frien whi has been a gunsmith for 30 years. He says Never try to fire an original gun espically a black powder gun. Get a replica fron Cabela, or CVA or another reputable firm that has been made with modern materials and equipment, and rated for either black powder or Pyrodex. In fact he says never try to fire an antique (pre WWII) gun without supervision of a gunsmith,because even if it was made after WWII, as corrosive primers didn,t go out of use untill then, and the chamber can be too corroded to fire.He says the best place for an old gun is on display, they are dangerous, and you can easily ruin a valuable antique.


James...

I will have to respectfully disagree with your gunsmith's views, which are entirely too general. While I agree that firing a valuable antique can be dangerous and can certainly ruin its value as a collectible, many older guns are fired regularly without issue, primarily because they have first been carefully inspected by a competent gunsmith and the owner/operator uses a little common sense when deailing with them.

Corrosive primed rounds are still being loaded today in some countries and the US military used them until the early 1950s. A gun fired with corrosive primers requires regular, thorough clearing with either soap and water or milspec cleaning solution (AKA GI Bore Cleaner) designed to remove the salts in the primers which are primarily responsible for corrosion of chambers, and barrels, gas tubes, etc. Lots of old guns did not receive that kind of care and do have severe throat erosion, but that can also come from the heat of firing many rounds of non-corrosive ammunition. So, I would not rule out firing Pre WWII military firearms on that basis alone, but after a careful inspection by, again, a competent gunsmith, as your friend suggests. At minimum a shooter should test fire a surplus arm remotely to assure the integrity of the action. Treat these firearms with respect but there is little need to fear them when properly vetted before firing.

Also, I believe this departs somewhat from the subject of the thread, which is the construction methods used in making hand gonnes.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Barry C. Hutchins





Joined: 07 Jul 2009

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2009 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I regularly use/fire an 1888 Enfield in .577/.450 caliber (sometimes referred to as a Martini-Henry) using the standard load of 85 grs. Fg or cartridge grade black powder with the standard 480 gr. bullet. I have owned that firearm since 1975 with no qualms about firing it. I have fired antique muzzleloaders (shooters not collectibles) for more years than I would like to admit.

There are a lot of 'myths' found on the internet about firearms, i you are going to use them take the time to really learn about them.
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Chris Bucklen




Location: West Virginia
Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 01 Sep, 2009 7:26 pm    Post subject: The Gunsmith of Williamsburg         Reply with quote

The Gunsmith of Williamsburg is on youtube! This is the best info I have found so far although it's not a Hand Gonne. The film does however, show a perfect detail of everything involved in forging a barrel, if you know about forging already. It also shows how to proof the barrel safely. This film has given me a very good idea on the basics of forging barrels in general. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in gunsmithing by hand.

This is the link to the movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYomveDjvAw

"Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o'er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit." - Hávamál
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Boyd C-F




Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Oct 2008

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's awesome! Eek!

Imagine trying to kit out a regiment...
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