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Old May 5, 2011, 12:54 PM   #1
cloud8a
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Question about Powder Horns

Just got one in from ebay. Is the cap supposed to come off? The top cap at the widest part of the horn.
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Old May 5, 2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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Probably not!!

You would have to post or refer to a picture but probably not !! ...



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Old May 5, 2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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So powder horn caps are supposed to be sealed?

Second question, how tight does the drum need to be on CVA sidelocks?
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Old May 5, 2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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Deleted !

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Old May 5, 2011, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
So powder horn caps are supposed to be sealed?
To a certain extend, yes but your may not be. In one of my previous lives, I worked with two terms; Rain-tight and Water-tight. They should be rain tight , at least. There are as many variations of power horns and there are powder flasks. A picture of what you have would really be helpful. ...
Of the powder horns that I have made and seen, most are sealed but not perfectly so. I do seal my horns. ....
Your horn should be empty so lightly blow into the spout end and see if you can hear a leak. ...

Quote:
how tight does the drum need to be on CVA sidelocks?
Cannot speak to that. ....


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Old May 5, 2011, 03:09 PM   #6
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Let me add to my powder horn question.

Is the top cap supposed to be sealed permanently?
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Old May 5, 2011, 03:27 PM   #7
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You don't give up, do you??..
What do you mean by permanent? I seal mine but can not speak for others. Are mine sealed permanently? I hope so but then, I'll never know, nor care ....


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Old May 5, 2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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what I mean is I ordered my 1st powder horn. I was under the assumption that the large cap comes off so that one could pore black powder directly out of the container it comes in at Cabela's or Bass Pro into the horn, put the cap back on snug and then use the plug to release the powder into a measuring flask as needed.
My horn came in and I cannot remove the top. Was I wrong in my assumption? Do you have to fill the horn from the plug end or did I just get a horn from someone who mistakenly sealed the large cap in?

Sorry if I did not explain myself better before.
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Old May 5, 2011, 04:55 PM   #9
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I also have made many, many powder horns over the years. And I am also confused by what exactly you are asking. Normally, the butt plug is sealed in and secured by some means - tacks, nails, I've even used locust thorns. I am now talking about the plug on the open end - that portion of the horn that is from the "head end" of the cow, buffalo or whatever. I usually turn my plugs, boil the horn to soften the horn, and push the plug in. I seal it with beeswax. SOME horns have plugs that have a removable screw in finial that usually attaches to the strap which can be removed for filling. MOST horns do not. Normally, the horn is filled from the "spout" end. This can be done by the use of a small brass funnel - I just roll a piece of paper into a cone, tape it, snip off the point and use that for a funnel. For safety sake, you never want to pour directly from the horn inot the muzzle - you pour from the horn into a measure and then pour from the measure into the muzzle. The purpose of the horn (or powder flask) is to "keep your powder dry". That being said, you want your powder horn to be as air tight as possible so that it stays dry and doesn't pick up humidity from the air. The "spout" end of the horn is sealed with a stopper of some sort. I utilize used "fiddle pegs". (I also restore fiddles). I use a tapered reamer to taper the hole in the spout end which matches the taper on the fiddle peg. Not having those things, a stopper can be made by whittling one out of a hardwood dowel, etc. Powder horns can be as simple or as decorative as you want. I've scraped them so that the horn is almost transparent so you can see the level of powder in them and I've made some and left them rough. In essence, they are a "utility item" with the purpose of carrying the gunpowder and keeping it dry.

In regards to the drum tightness on a CVA - can't answer specifically as I've only had one CVA. Normally the drum has a "shoulder". This is intended to be bottomed out on the flat of the barrel - the end witht he threads on it that screws into the barrel should be the length that comes to the inside bore of the barrel - if it extends into the bore, it will catch wiping patches. If it is too short and ends before the bore, it will accumulate "fouling" which can be dangerous. If fouling is collected there, it can hold an ember after the rifle is shot and even wiping the bore between shots with a spit patch, the ember can still remain - this can cause the next powder charge to go off when introudced into the bore. A drum should never be "loose". If you are having problems with your drum and are unsure about how it should be, I'd suggest you take it to a gunsmith who has experience with muzzleloaders and have him check it out and show you how it should be. If my memory serves me right, on some CVAs, the drum is "locked in" with the breechplug or vice versa. They have to be removed in the correct order or you can cause some damage. Hopefully some CVA owners will chime in here and clear that up and be able to help you out.
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Old May 5, 2011, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
SOME horns have plugs that have a removable screw in finial that usually attaches to the strap which can be removed for filling. MOST horns do not. Normally, the horn is filled from the "spout" end.
That is what I was looking for. just needed to know if my standard powder horn was supposed to have a non-removable cap. I had assumed wrong.
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Old May 5, 2011, 07:25 PM   #11
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The "cap" is called "plug" or "butt plugs" by horners. They are permanently attached by glue and sometimes tacks or pins (could be iron, brass or even wood pegs). It varies according to the maker. Whatever means it is attached, the horn should be both waterproof and airtight. The test for airtight is to blow down the pouring spout and feel with your free hand any air leakage.

Some fancier horns have a finial which is turned to screw into plug. This allows for a bigger hole with which one may refill their horn. Otherwise, one used a funnel (even a rolled up paper one) and refilled the horn via the pouring spout.

Losing the plug can be a disaster, especially if it was the only powder a frontiersman or trapper had. It meant a trip back to camp or even to a sutler/trading post to refill the horn.

Traditional glue included stuff boiled down from hooves. I've never read it anywhere, but resin from trees may have been used too. One thing to consider, if your horn is an antique horn, you don't want to use something that will expand or contract drastically from the rate that the horn or plug expands or contracts. That can cause the horn to crack.

The best resource on horns is the Honourable Company of Horners.
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Old May 5, 2011, 10:58 PM   #12
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A good horn will be air tight. The 5.00 horns on ebay are good decorators.
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Old May 6, 2011, 12:43 AM   #13
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Well I got me one of those cheapies. It is not air tight. I blew into the small end of it and felt air coming out of the plug. It should not be hard to seal that up though right? I was thinking a little rubber cement. Anyone have better suggestions for me?
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Old May 6, 2011, 06:43 AM   #14
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When I made my horn I sealed the big end plug with pine tar and used wood pegs to secure it. I have a second .750 removable plug in the big end for refilling the horn.

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Old May 6, 2011, 07:14 AM   #15
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Beeswax. Melt and pour/rub in.
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Old May 6, 2011, 08:00 PM   #16
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Where can I get beeswax?
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Old May 6, 2011, 08:13 PM   #17
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Hobby stores.
Sewing stores.

Best to get it from a bee farm. Petroleum products is added to commercial beeswax and the pure stuff is the best.
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Old May 6, 2011, 09:24 PM   #18
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If you only need a little bit then here's 1/4 lb. for $5 shipped on eBay.
Save the gallon of gas needed to drive around to find it and shop online.

http://cgi.ebay.com/4-1-OZ-BARS-100-...item35aebb18cb

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Old May 6, 2011, 09:57 PM   #19
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What is the benefit of using this as opposed to using rubber cement or some other kind of product I could get at Home Depot.

Is it just a traditional way?
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Old May 6, 2011, 10:50 PM   #20
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You can use rubber cement. However, if your horn will be exposed to inclement weather and hot muggy days, remember that expansion and contraction rate should be pretty even between the materials.

Also consider that if the horn is only a $5 starter horn, go ahead and use rubber cement or even caulking. Just don't have any show on the exterior. We're talking about a functional horn and not a restored antique or a hand carved.
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Old May 6, 2011, 10:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Where can I get beeswax?
Bees?


Seriously though, I just fill mine through the spout end. I make a funnel out ofa 5x8 notecard. It works.
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Old May 6, 2011, 11:38 PM   #22
cloud8a
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It is the same horn one can get at Bass Pro (made in India).

How do you apply the wax? I know it is melted first but what is the best way to apply it?
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Old May 6, 2011, 11:40 PM   #23
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Melt the wax and drip it on. Then scrape off the excess. Blow on the pouring spout and see if there's any air leakage.
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Old May 7, 2011, 02:42 AM   #24
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Although they have changed materials to rubber and silicon over the years, you can still get beeswax toilet seals at Home Depot/Lowes. Or if you don't need that much, look for jars of honey that have the honeycone (beeswax) included in the jar. Take out the honeycone (beeswax), break it up and chew it to get the honey out. Chew it until it is nothing but a wax blob in your mouth. (I used to do this as a kid). Similar to those colored and flavored wax lips sold in the candy stores that we used to put on and hold in our teeth to look like we had huge lips that as a kid I also used to chew until all the "goodie" was chewed out of them and they were then nothing but wax too. Then simply melt that wax and use it.

Both the jar of honey with the honeycone in it and the wax lips will be cheaper to buy than a wax toilet seal if you don't need that much wax. But with the honeycone you are getting REAL beeswax without any additives. So if you want to use real natural beeswax, just get a jar of honey with the honeycone in it.

You could also just buy a block of paraffin at the grocery store and use it like wax. Back in the days when I used to surf on surfboards I would sometimes melt paraffin onto my surfboards to increase my foot grip and keep the water off the top of the board. Course regular surfboard wax worked much better cause I could rub that on whereas I couldn't rub on paraffin but had to melt it on, otherwise it broke up into tiny giblets if I tried to rub the paraffin on the board.

Or even easier, just get a candle and melt it in a cup, remove its wick and use that wax. But if you want to use your horn for hunting, don't use scented candle wax. The animals would smell it.


.
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Old May 7, 2011, 08:04 AM   #25
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beeswax toilet rings are not pure beeswax - they have additives. The last one I purchased, I had "sticker shock" as well. As Bill says, parafin will work as well. This really isn't "rocket science" or a "major job". As statded, if it's an antique or a fancy, carved, expensive horn - then I would think you'd want to use a "traditional" way of sealing it such as beeswax or brewer's pitch. If it's a cheapy, starter horn - then use a product that will seal it, won't be really "blaring" to look at and that will make it watertight/airtight. If the end plug is stained or even natural, a "putty stick" will work like you use in finish carpentry to cover nailholes. For no more beeswax than you'll need, you probably can go to a Joanne's Fabric or similar and pick up a small amount of it that is commonly used to wax thread in sewing. It is usually in a small "cake" within a plastic holder that has slots in it for running thread across before sewing such things as buttons on a garment. You can buy parafin at a grocery store or hardward store usually - if they sell "canning supplies". I at one time had over thirty original horns in my collection - dating from the early 1800s to the late 1800s. Some had turned end plugs that swere forced into the horns after they were boiled and the horn conformed to the plug shape. This method was pretty foolproof for making it watertight although over the years, the end plug might dry out and shrink. Others had end plugs that were cut to fit the horn's contour. It was very common to find these types of horns "sealed" with beeswax or pitch. Some of the horns I had were made for straps to carry them and others were "Day Horns" - smaller horns that were designed to carry enough powder for a day's hunt and they could be carried in a pocket or inside of a pouch. I'll also make the comment that "powder flasks" - metal flasks - are not necessarily "air tight" due to the "cut off" mechanism. A lot of the originals I've owned over the years had a tight fit at the cut off as the quality was much higher than the Italian flasks that are commonly sold today. I use a repro metal flask when I target shoot as it fits in my pouch well and I just like it. If I was going to be hunting or trapsing around in wet weather, I would use one of my horns that is airtight. A lot of shooters like the flasks and don't have any problems keeping their powder in them though even if the cut off is not 100% airtight. It's just a matter of personal preference. Good luck in getting your horn sealed up - seal it, forget about it, and enjoy your shooting.
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