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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've finally buckled down and dropped an exuberant sum of money to order the components to build a muzzleloader. While my relatively non-existent experience with wood working makes $1,---.-- dollars in components and tools a bit of a gamble, I've spent the last 8 or 9 months stressing, pondering, researching, and learning as much as I physically could about the actual process of building a firearm, from simple wood working techniques to drilling, pinning, and tapping. Even in the field of modern firearms, I've searched in hopes of coming across even minor pieces of information and tips. In my credit, I have some experience molding clay and carving detailed linoleum stamps with a flair for the artistic.

So now I'm here, asking for further help. While help may be a little over exaggerated, any information, criticism, or ideas, regardless of magnitude, would be greatly appreciated. It's not that I'm without confidence in my handywork, however, I know better than to pretend that I'm qualified to make claims of experience in such endeavors. This thread also serves as a place to vent and converse if not to blog. Perhaps my experiences and external input will help some other ambitious googler or forum member in the future.

In the last two days, I've put in about 11 solid hours of inletting. 9 hours to finish inletting the butt plate, and I've put about two hours into more finely shaping the lock channel. I doubt I'll keep that pace up, but starting with the butt plate has given me a little more experience inletting and has boosted my confidence a metric tid-bit. Despite the obvious rough inletting done by the manufacturer, there is still a significant degree of detail work and shaping to be done.

I've got my buttplate pretty well placed, and if I am still content with the work I've done when I wake up tomorrow, then I'll go ahead and drill the holes and get the sandpaper and files screeching. I'll probably work with the barrel after that point so I can better position the lock.

I'm really looking forward to spending the next few months building. Hopefully I can finish before new years, or at least by spring. I'm really unsure of what to expect as far as the time spent building. Certainly I hope to have it built, and to have several hundred balls down range before the next muzzleloader season comes around.

For the record, the piece is to loosely resemble Andreas Albrecht's work circa 1745-1755. One of the first american long rifles, transitioning from German and Hessian mercenary jaeger rifles to what would become the Pennsylvania long rifle. It is kind of a best of both worlds. I'm not particularly going for historical accuracy in the details, but the resemblance in shape is what I'm chasing. It is a 37 inch .54 caliber colerain barrel with 1-56 twist. It seems kind of fast for a roundball only barrel, but my options were limited in that respect.
 

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Looks like a fun project. Keeps the hunting spirit alive way into winter months.
Keep us updated on your work...

Spry
 

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While I applaud your efforts... I want to point out I feel the single greatest innovation / revolution to muzzleloader reliability is the advent of high tinsel strength coil springs. Before we could make those, muzzleloaders used Flat Springs, which were notorious for loosing strength, breaking, getting out of alignment etc etc.

The basis for this is one of those reasons I'll always argue against people wanting to restrict "inlines" over "hawkin" style guns. Both of which have evolved light years beyond what period rifles were based on.

I'd love to see period accurate muzzleloader kits be made availabile, I'd get one in a heart beat. Still you have a cool project though.

-DallanC
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
This lock uses three leaf springs. A small one that adds tension to the sear, a small one attached to the frizzen, and a large main one for the hammer. I can't account for a single coil spring around. The nice thing is that I can order all of the pieces individually for just about every component of this gun. Perhaps barring the trigger, which also uses leaf springs. Although I'm willing to admit, the steel and machining is probably a much better quality.

Woke up, did a little more inletting. Now I'm happy. I've got the lock deep enough that I know where I'll have to place the barrel to avoid hitting the breech plug with the touch hole. I'm going to have to move the barrel back a little under a centimeter from where everything is inletted. I'm glad I let someone else make that mistake before I did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
forgive the black marking. It's pretty messy, but it transfers color well.
 

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my CVA kit mountain rifle uses leaf springs.
That's an admirable and ambitious undertaking Fishreaper
 

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I may have giggled a little while reading this - really cool project!!!
I've always wanted to build one but haven't yet. Flintlock is also that way I want to go. Keep the updates coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
As of friday, having had the kit for about 4 days, I've already put in about 17-18 hours. I may have an expensive addiction. I've brought the barrel back about 11-12mm from where the pre-inletted area referenced, and I've got the barrel probably 50% inletted. Now with that having a near permanent place, I went ahead and took the lock apart (which I must add is a very simple, but very clever mechanism) and inletted just the lock plate and the flash pan (one piece) about flush to where the barrel is, still leaving a little room just in case things change as I inlet the functional pieces of the lock tomorrow.

I've already run into a small issue, that has risen as a result of both the pre-inletting, and flared tang, as well as my general incompetence. Because the tang gets larger as it moves away from the barrel, while trying to move the entire barrel back a few millimeters in order the have enough space for the touch-hole liner, I ended up with a mortise that is noticeably too wide to even be passable. While I was initially panicked, I remembered that the company sent me an extra piece of curly maple that could be used if I opted to make a sliding patch box, which I did not. I'll take some of the dust from further sanding, mix it with a little wood glue, and then press a shank of wood into the empty channel. Then I'll re-inlet it and there should only be a minor flaw in beauty. Character if you will. But that is for a time much later, probably right before I do a final sand, and being staining. In the mean time, there is a near infinite list of work to do. Particularly getting my hands on some very fine taps for the trigger kit I bought, getting cross-bolts laid and tapped, and perhaps even some barrel tenons and the touch hole liner. So many directions, so many things to mess up, so many things to succeed in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update

15 hours of school and 35 hours of work a week makes jack a dull boy and keeps chisels sharp/neglected. I find inletting work to be much like studying. I really don't want to do it, but once I start working at it then I can't put it down until hours later when I've gone cross-eyed with concentration and my handles get too wobbly.

With that said, inletting the barrel is taking it's time, but I've finally made progress. I'm installing a swamped barrel, common on germanic firearms, that tapers down from about, if I remember correctly, 1.125 inches to about .85 inches or so, before flaring back out to about 1-1.125 inches at the muzzle within the last 5 or 6 inches of barrel's length.
This design is also the primary reason I put so much stress into making sure the barrel was initially positioned where it needed to be. Moving it back would mean wonky gaps, and it would be a complication that would probably require glass bedding, which is something I'm wanting to avoid. I can at least pretend the build is 'traditional' once it is finished.
Regarding this, after having gotten to barrel positioned where I need it,I inletted the muzzle half of the barrel first, and then I'll finish inletting the tang-side of the barrel. After that is done, I'll mark where the tang protrudes from flush, mark it, and bend it on my anvil, perhaps using a torch. I've seen people do this without heating it, so I my take that route initially.

Finally, I've decided on the shade of maple I want to use. I've found that two coats of my stain, sanding inbetween coats, creates the color of red that I want. Depending on how it shows up on the stock compared to my loading blocks, I may take a third coat to it.

In the mean time, I've begun to get my hands on accouterments and other things to help keep me motivated. I'm living so lavishly, that I am considering an impulse buy of a black powder revolver or handgun just so I can get some lead and smoke in the air.

That's pretty much all I've accomplished as of late. I've got my first full day off from school and work in over a month and a half, so perhaps I'll get some time to go fly fishing and hiking to relieve some stress.
 

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