View Full Version : Is it safe to shoot?

July 30, 2010, 11:11 AM
I have a friend that bought a 45 cal. muzzle loader, it had no sights on it and he showed it to me and asked about what I would do about putting sights on it. the previous owner had drilled the barrel for a rear sight and when I checked out the hole I found that he had drilled all the way through the barrel into the chamber of the barrel. Now I am no gun smith but to me this is a no, no. Now my friend said that when you screw the rear sight into place the screw will seal the barrel off and it should not be a problem, I disagree, who is right? is this gun safe to shoot?

July 30, 2010, 11:17 AM
Well, I'm no gunsmith, either, but I wouldn't shoot it until that hole was properly filled. It seems to me that there already exist plenty of ways to kill or injure yourself, so it seems sort of foolish to create your own.

Gator Weiss
July 30, 2010, 06:09 PM
There are ways to repair the damage. You are not supposed to drill all the way through. A gunsmith who works on BP guns can take care of it. It will not be cheap a thing to do.

The very best way for you to get through this is for you to get yourself a new barrell.

The old barrell can be used to make carbines and pistols by those who have the tooling and the experience. You have to tell them what is wrong with the barrell. They will cut what they need from the barrell, thread it, plug the breech according to their kit or need, and life will go on.

You can shoot the old barrell with BP or Pyrodex, but it will vent through the hole. It will not blow up if loaded properly, but it will create a hazard and it will begin to erode and weaken the barrell wall if unplugged. You can also be blinded or seriously injured by the pressure coming through that hole. I dont know how big the hole is, but I do know you dont need a hole in your barrell ! If you try to plug the hole yourself with a threaded bolt, it will hold for a while, but might eject forcefully and unexpectedly at bullet speeds. If the bolt is too short, an erosion will begin inside of the barrell and it will weaken the barrell wall. Eventually that will fail under pressure or cause the screw to eject at bullet speed. If the screw is too long, you are creating an obstruction in the bore that will give you trouble loading the weapon, and it would not be a good thing to pull the trigger if there is a large airspace between the load and the charge. Not safe to do.

Buy another barrel and put the new barrell on your piece. Have sights dovetailed into place or soldered on. If you have a thick barrell, let the gunsmith drill and tap if you want.

Mark the old barrell and tag it with an explaination of it's condition and sell or trade it to a kit maker or gun maker for cutting.

There is no reason to waste time and money and engage in risky shooting on a damaged barrell. There are too many barrells for sale out there. They are cheap enough and it is the safest course of action. Remeber, you are dealing with massive pressures and projectiles here. It can cause serious injury. It can even cause death. Just get another barrell.

July 30, 2010, 08:54 PM
If a hole drilled in the barrel and then threaded and filled with a bolt is so dangerous, how do all the drum bolsters manage to not come apart frequently?

Most, if not all, the drum bolsters on the current guns sold by Traditions and many of the old CVA/Jukar guns leak enough that water can be seen coming out from under the drum during cleaning. Nobody has yet been injured by 'the pressure', maimed or blinded.

The hole can in fact be filled and sealed with no serious implications, and it won't be expensive. It's a very simple matter to size a bolt to the proper length and seal the threads against leakage and corrosion.

If you're concerned about the barrel being safe, send it to me and I'll give it a good, working home where it will be appreciated.

August 1, 2010, 12:38 AM
I tend to agree. Look at the small size of the clean out screw on the older TC guns and those are located behind the powder charge.
The other major brands of sidelocks have clean out screws too, only larger.

T. O'Heir
August 1, 2010, 02:33 AM
"...drilled all the way through the barrel into the chamber..." No.

August 1, 2010, 03:07 AM
Not a problem. Just make sure screw doesn't extend inside barrel.

August 1, 2010, 11:42 AM
I would also take the screw out and clean the hole thoroughly after shooting, just like I take out the nipple and clean it and the threads in the barrel after shooting.

August 1, 2010, 12:57 PM
Didn't anybody ever hear of a clean out screw?

August 1, 2010, 06:06 PM
If the screw hole was left open it could be considered to be a primitive compensator! :D

I guess that the open hole would be similar to the vent of a flintlock rifle. :rolleyes:

Doc Hoy
August 2, 2010, 05:59 AM
One of the first pistols I owned was a Colonial Pistol which I got used from an acquaintence who bought it as a kit.

When I shot it I notice that the sight had come off of the pistol. I found the sight, put it back on but after a coupla more shots I noticed it was on the ground again.

Examining the pistol I realized that for some reason the fellow had drilled the hole all the way through to the bore. I never asked him, "Why?".

I threaded the hole and turned a brass sight I made from a bit of braising rod. Problem solved.

August 2, 2010, 08:02 AM
Can be plugged but is not a reccomended approach.
It would fall into the category of "It ain't blowed up YET!"

August 4, 2010, 09:53 AM
Not a problem. Just make sure screw doesn't extend inside barrel.

Ditto. Between us, I'm sure we've shot HUNDREDS of pounds of black powder. It'll be fine. The only problem is you might tear the patch as the ball is seated. Not unsafe at all, but it could lead to accuracy problems.

August 4, 2010, 10:08 AM
If the hole is over the powder chamber, it might be a auxiliary touch hole in case the cap won't fire the charge!:rolleyes:

August 4, 2010, 11:22 AM
IMHO, very irresponsible to flatly state it will be fine. This could be a serious safety issue. The integrity of the barrel is unknown and the possibility of a blow out is very possible. I am not a fan of the "It ain't blowed up yet" crowd going on with their dangerous habits.
BTW, by myself, I have shot hundreds of pounds of black powder over the nearly half century I have been an avid muzzle loader. I lived near the home of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and know, and knew, the finest experts in the world on this subject. My opinion is not from guess work. It is from expert advice and first hand observations. Some of those observations were not so pretty after the fact. Some of those that "ain't blowed up yet" do blow up. It is not worth your hand or eyes or injury to those standing nearby to risk it.
I will not post further on this thread. Advising people to continue unsafe practices risks making ME blow up. :eek: I want to remain civil.

August 5, 2010, 09:29 PM
Well my son took it to a local gunsmith and he said he did not see anything wrong with putting in a correct length screw, so my son had him do it and now has fired it about 30 times with no problems showing up.

August 9, 2010, 11:21 PM
A new muzzeloader is only 169.00at traditions the pursuit I belive your lifes worth more than that,the manufacturer would say the same:eek:

August 9, 2010, 11:41 PM
What exactly is it that some of you fear about the hole? Seems pretty far away from one's face even if hot gases did blow out. What other damage could result? One problem with the screw- could it be a target for a future rust/pit to form? I'm not sure.
A few others implied if something like that was done to the gun maybe there are other issues. Dixie Gun Works Catalog shows how to put a muzzle loader in an old tire to hold it and use a string from a safe distance to proof the barrel. Maybe a gunsmith could do the same for a nominal fee.

August 17, 2010, 08:48 PM
good idea!:cool::cool::eek:

August 17, 2010, 08:54 PM
That's what ex-wives are for.

August 17, 2010, 09:26 PM
...hold a muzzle loader in an old tire and use a string...

I'm not carrying another thing with me to my deer stand:mad::D.

Thats what ex-wives are for

I can't pick my ex-wife up let alone carry her to the deer stand:eek:

You've got a screw in it and it working fine, yah!
My suggestion was going to be take the barrel, weld the hole shut, mount barrel on wheels and build a little cannon out of it:D.

Hopefully your gunsmith used some 'red' locktite on your screw.