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Old December 18, 2011, 10:13 AM   #1
9ballbilly
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follow up question to my earlier post

These are probably stupid questions but please bear with me, I'm a beginner.

I found two 42" octagon bbls from Rice in the .32 cal I was looking for. One is 3/4" and the other 13/16". Can someone explain why to choose one over the other?

Stupid question number two: Since I'd like a left-handed side lock percussion does the barrel have to be specifically ordered left handed?

Thanks very much, Bill
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Old December 18, 2011, 10:29 AM   #2
Hawg
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The 3/4 will be thinner and lighter. In a percussion the nipple is in the breech plug.
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Old December 18, 2011, 05:03 PM   #3
prof marvel
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Hawg Haggen wrote:
> In a percussion the nipple is in the breech plug.

Not necessarily - if one uses a percussion drum the breech plug is similar if not identical to a flint breech plug. The hole is drilled as for a flint, threaded, and the drum installed. As a result only the lock is different in a left-handed rifle.

hope this helps
yhs
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Old December 18, 2011, 07:48 PM   #4
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That's true indeed but most are going to use a snail breech for more reliable ignition.
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Old December 18, 2011, 08:04 PM   #5
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The reliability of ignition can also depend on the size of the drum and flash channel in comparison to the size of the flash channel within the patent breech.
IMO the degree of reliability of a patent breech is not absolute.
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Old December 18, 2011, 09:32 PM   #6
bedbugbilly
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I've used 3/4" and 13/16" across the flats barrels for constructing custom built rifles over the years. To answer the OP's question - the 3/" barrel will be lighter. If you are making a Southern Rifle - such as a Bean style, etc. - the 3/4" barrel is nice - it makes a nice sleek and light rifle. As far as ignition - it will work fine for either flint or percussion.

In regards to breeching the barrel - yes, you could use a patent breech OR a drum and nipple. I've always used a drum and nipple as most Southern style rifles used them. I've always preferred a "plainer" rifle and I once used a 3/4" barrel (42") with steel furniture - made my own ramrod pipes - no "entry pipe", no nosecap, no buttplate and a hand forged triggerguard that I bought from Myron Carlson years ago at Friendship. I did use set triggers and a very plain lock. No capbox (patchbox) but I did put a "grease hole" in the butt stock with a bone inlay around it.

If you are building your rifle from scratch - keep in mind how your are going to inlet your barrel. I custom ground moulding heads to match the various barrel sizes I used. If you use a 3/4" barrel, you can easily make your initial barrel channel cut with a carbide straight 3/4" router bit. This channel would be cut to the depth of the bottom of the side flats. You can then switch and use a 1/4" carbide straight bit and cut a channel in the middle of the 3/4" channel to the depth of the bottom flat of the barrel (3/4"). It is then a matter of taking what is left and with a chissel, bevel it off to 45 degrees to match the barrel profile. Depending upon the caliber I am making, I use either a 5/16" or 3/8" round nose router bit to cut the ramrod groove. I make a jig that will allow me to cut it so the bottom of the groove is parallel to the bottom of the barrel channel. I route this groove from the end of the stock to the forearm end where the entry pipe would normally be located. I then drill the ramrod hole with either a 5/16" or 3/8" bit that I had welded up. These bits are 4 feet long - made by welding a "center drill" on to the end of a piece of round cold roll. The bit lays in the routed ram rod channel with several wood guide jigs clamped to the stock to keep it straight.

I'm sorry that I can't post some photos but I've sold the rifles over the years. I used to pick up hand forged furniture from Myron Carlson when I went to Friendship but he passed away a number of years ago. He made some terrific buttplates, triggeerguards and end caps for Virginia and Bean style rifles. He sort of specialized in Bean style rifles and he built a number of them that were really pieces of art. He got bored and then began to build miniatures that were fantastic. I regret not stocking up on his furniture as I wish I had some now. I have a 3/4" barrel back in MI (I winter in AZ) that will eventually be put in to a Bean style rifle that will have a Persimmon stock.
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Old December 18, 2011, 09:48 PM   #7
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I forgot to address your question in regards to "left hand".

First off, no question is stupid and never be afraid to ask - the only stupid question is the one left "unaasked".

If you are ordering a barrel - say a Green Mountain or another brand - it will usually come with the muzzle "crowned" and the breech end threaded. The threaded end will have to be fitted with either a "patent breech" or a standard breechplug. If you are going to make a left handed rifle (lock on the left), it may and probably will be a problem coming up with a left handed patent breech. If you use a drum and nipple (or if you are making a flintlock and installing a "vent liner" - you just drill and tap the barrel on the left side instead of the right. Basically you are building a reverse of a right handed rifle so you locate the barrel channel, lock, ramrod hole, cheek piece (if you are going to have one), capbox or patchbox (if you are going to have one) on the reverse of where they are on a right handed rifle. Most locks are available in either right or left hand and you use the same trigger (single or set) on either a left or right hand rifle.

If you are going to build your rifle, I'd suggest getting one of the excellent books that are out there on constructing rifles. While you may be building a different "style" than what is illustrated in the book, the construction basics are the same. Not knowing your level of skill, you may want to look at getting a "precarved" stock with the barrel channel, ramrod hole and lock mortise already cut for the barrel size and make of lock you are going to use. Since they are also "contoured", it can save you hours of work compared to using a rough stock blank and starting from scratch.

Parts are available from many suppliers but I would recommend that you get a copy of Track of the Wolf's catalog. Even if you don't order from them, their catalog shows most of the current parts available from the lockmakers, etc. and they are illustrated "full size". This can be a great help when trying to layout a rifle and deciding what makes/parts you want to use as they can be easily measured from the illustrations.
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