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Old March 16, 2014, 05:47 PM   #1
Tidewater_Kid
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1884 Trapdoor (Rebuild)

I have been working on building up this 1884 trapdoor for months. It started on what I was told was a rusty pitted barrel attached to a decent breech. The outside of the barrel is badly rusted and pitted, but the inside only had rust damage in the first three inches. The rest looked like new. I decided to clean the last three inches and the see how it shot. After months of gathering parts, it finally came together. The stock was the hardest part as I just didn't want to pay what they are going for on eBay. I had a piece of a stock and decided to order a replacement section from S&S Firearms. The front piece came in although it was a nice piece of wood, it required many hours of fitting. The first set of pictures are when it was mostly done. The second set is after two coats of stain and one coat of BLO. I purchased a box of Remington Express 45-70 405 grain (Safe for all Rifles) and took it to the range. I was very please with how it shot and I was easily hitting the 12" gong at 100 yards with it. When I got it home and cleaned it, I was surprised at how much of the roughness in those last three inches was gone. I made up some lead 405 grain bullets and reloaded the Remington brass with 60 grains of Pyrodex RS. Back at the range, I was able to put 5 shots in 3 inches at 50 yards with the load. It shoots about 8 inches high. I had two groups of two that were touching. Needless to say, I'm not going to mess with the barrel anymore.

TK



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File Type: jpg 1884-trapdoor-3.jpg (167.0 KB, 29 views)
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Last edited by Tidewater_Kid; March 19, 2014 at 07:44 PM.
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Old March 16, 2014, 09:48 PM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Sweet TK

I admire you for sticking with it to keep it as a rifle.
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:32 AM   #3
Tidewater_Kid
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Thanks Doc. My wood working skills are a struggle. The band springs almost made me give the whole thing up. I didn't have the proper tools and they are not the best, but it functions. I will mostly likely give it another coat of stain.

I shot it the first time with the short stock and it grouped so well that I wanted to leave the barrel as is. I think the jacketed Remington bullets helped smooth up the pitted area.

TK
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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TK

I didn't try jacketed bullets in mine yet, but I agree that it is worth a try.
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Old March 19, 2014, 07:49 PM   #5
Tidewater_Kid
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They seem to work well on smoothing the pitted area. I shot 20 rounds of lead and didn't see any evidence of leading.

One more coat of stain and two coats of BLO.






A few more pictures. I know it's a parts rifle, but I'm happy with it. I looked at some at the Alabama Gun Collectors Show last week and I'm happy with what I spent to build this one.

TK
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Old March 20, 2014, 06:39 AM   #6
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Dog gonnit TK!

Why do you do this to me!?
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Old March 20, 2014, 06:49 AM   #7
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BTW....

I had similar struggle with springs.

I wound up drilling the hole for the pin, Inserting the spring in it's proper position. (That is not as easy as it sounds because it will be crooked if one is not careful.) Then outlining the whole thing with an Exacto knife. Remove the spring and take the wood out with a chisel shaped Exacto knife blade. Exacto does not make a blade small enough to do the job, so I had to grind one down. Of course that meant that the blade got hot and lost some of it's temper. I looked and looked and did not find carving chisels small enough.

Then put the spring back and try it over and over again until the wood to metal interface looked right and also that there was enough relief under the spring so it could be depressed to let go of the barrel band.

I am not thrilled with the results but you can't see the faults if you are looking at the rifle from a hundred yards away.
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Old March 20, 2014, 03:33 PM   #8
Tidewater_Kid
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I did my spring in a similar fashion. I just didn't have a chisel blade at all. I cut parallel lines the length of the slot and used a small stone in my dremel to clean it up. Worked ok, but a very slow process. As you say it looks ok if you don't get too close.

TK
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Old March 20, 2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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I'd like to have a trapdoor. I just can't see paying what they want for them around here.
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Old March 20, 2014, 07:21 PM   #10
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Yes, I can testify that that kind of work is great for teaching patience!

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Old March 20, 2014, 08:13 PM   #11
Tidewater_Kid
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Chestnut,

I'm not willing to pay what they are going for either. That's why I have three built from parts. Two in 50-70 and one in 45-70.

TK
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Old March 21, 2014, 03:42 AM   #12
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TK et al.

Yes...It is pretty amazing that you can build one from parts (shopping carefully) which is worth more than the sum total of the cost of the parts. This also assumes making some parts.

I think that the secret is lurking around an auction for a barrel and receiver or a stock. If you make a good deal on either of those parts, you are well on the way.

And it is monumental fun building the thing. I think that lines of the carbine make it such a graceful piece that is a joy to handle.
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Old March 21, 2014, 12:53 PM   #13
4V50 Gary
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Saw a Trapdoor at Paradise Guns (Colorado Springs) the other day. Didn't see the price.
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