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Thread: Large Bore Rolling Block of Unknown Origin

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  1. #11
    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    I apologize if I am unnecessarily pessimistic, but the block end of the chamber looks like an awful fudge. There does not seem to be a recess for a cartridge rim, and there are several grooves/scrapes in the chamber wall as well. They could amost be relics of rifling. The block, on the other hand, looks OK.

    Is there a proper chamber cut in there, or has someone simply taken an overlong barrel from heaven knows where and graunched it into the receiver housing?
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 10-29-2018 at 05:55 PM.

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  3. #12
    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hcompton79 View Post
    The groove diameter of the barrel is measuring about .594" (60 caliber?) however I used a chunk of beeswax to arrive at this measurement as I did not have a large enough piece of lead to properly slug the barrel.
    Get hold of a bullet for a .577/.580 muzzleloader. And two lengths of brass NOT steel rod at least 10mm diameter (12mm or 1/2" would be better) and about a yard long. No joke, you need the inertial mass of the brass, as will soon be clear.

    Soft-clamp the rifle (use rubber pads or layers of tough cloth) in a vice or whatever you can arrange, so that the bore line is free down to the floor.

    Place a block of hard(-ish) wood on the floor.

    Insert one of the lengths of brass rod into the barrel so that its bottom end is resting on the block of wood.

    Grease the .577 minie (a round ball will also do) liberally and drop it down the barrel so that it rests on the bottom rod.

    Now insert the second rod in the barrel.

    DO NOT REPEAT NOT HAMMER IT !!!!

    Rather "bounce" the top rod down onto the bullet by flicking it with your hand. The considerable weight of the brass rod produces a larger impulse than would be advisable with a hammer, and will not damage the barrel in any way. The thump of the brass rod will upset the bullet most effectively. When you feel that the upset is complete (it's a "feeling" thing as the bounce becomes harder) stop, remove the top rod, unclamp the rifle, and drive out the upset bullet. Which you can then measure.

    CAUTION: if the bore is like some of the sewer pipes I have presented in past contributions, then any roughness in the rifling will make it hard to drive out the upset bullet, which will then emerge looking rather tatty. What you measure will then be the tighest bore cross-section. But the method is good enough to identify what the original groove/lands diameters were. And how many grooves there are, as this also helps to narrow down the identification of the possible "donor" rifle.
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 10-29-2018 at 05:53 PM.

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  5. #13
    Member Hcompton79's Avatar
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    Patrick, I hope you will excuse me not following your procedure, as I do not posses a .577 or similar minie ball or round ball and do not know anyone else locally who shoots such. However, I did purchase a number of large lead sinkers for this purchase and your posting prompted me to properly slug the bore.



    This slug was much sharper and clearer than my wax one, and I noticed that the bore actually has three grooves and three lands. I rolled the slug in my calipers, and the result was actually much the same as before. The groove diameter was .593" repeatably and .589-590" land to groove. The rifling seems really shallow, but the bore is not actually that bad. I have failed to get a good picture, the bore is dark but has relatively little pitting. The muzzle looks to have a bit of cleaning rod wear though on the left side.

    The breech is another matter. It definitely has some issues and I don't know what caused them, I don't believe it will be shootable without major intervention. I attempted to better photograph the chamber area, hopefully the photos below better reveal what is going on.



    The most obvious defect is that there appears to be a segment of the rear end of the barrel threaded into the receiver missing. It does not protrude past the receiver as it should and as a result there is some play in the rolling block when the hammer is down. The back end of the barrel is rough and there appears to be a slice taken out of the top of the barrel as well (from the 11 o'clock to the 2 o'clock position). As you have pointed out, there is no visible extractor cutout.

    The metal that you point out might be rifling, is not. It appears to be peened into the chamber area towards the muzzle. Other than that there is a clean chamber area that comes to a "shoulder" before the rifling begins. Using the depth gauge on my calipers, I estimate the chamber length to be 1.95" from where the rifling begins to where I estimate the barrel would end at the receiver. The cartridge base must have been at least .620" as this is what I measure best between the peened metal into the chamber.

    I have acquired a copy of The .58- and .50 Caliber Rifles and Carbines of the Springfield Armory, 1865-1872. My rifle very much resembles the Remington transformed rifle described therein, the barrel length and sight attachment points match exactly. Except that those rifles were chambered in .50-70. However, it appears that they were sleeved from barrels taken off .58 caliber Springfield muskets. Is it possible that this is one of those rifles that lost its conversion sleeve? The process for doing so was not described in the book, I wonder whether the original rifling was left intact and whether the barrel sleeve would have a portion that extended around the back of the old barrel. That might partially explain what is going on here, through it still wouldn't explain a lack of an extractor. I can't imagine that a catastrophic failure would cause the breech of the barrel to fail in this manner.

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