View Full Version : 45-70 Trapdoor

January 14, 2013, 12:52 PM
Got a new one, vintage 1883.
It has been shortened and a new dovetail cut for the front sight. Cut badly off to one side.
I need to cut the barrel off more for a new dovetail?
Weld up the bad one and cut another?
Back up a half an inch, cut a new dovetail slot and fill the old with JB Weld?
Or any other suggestion you might wish to make.

Doc Hoy
January 15, 2013, 07:04 AM
I am facing the same issue with mine.

I need to take about seven inches off the barrel.

I am assuming the stock of your rifle was cut when the barrel was cut and depending upon how that was done, that may inform your decision as to the method.

The trapdoor came in three barrel lengths. The rifle was just over 32, the Cadet rifle was just over 29 and the cavaly/officer was right at 22.

When the stock is shortened to the proper appearance for a cavalry model, the 22 inch barrel looks right. If the craftsman kept this in mind, (Cut the barrel to 22) then my opinion is that if you go back the inch and a half to clear the existing dovetail, (Cutting the barrel to something like 20) the rifle may not look and shoot right. Another thought is that in cutting the tappered barrel, the wall is thicker at the new muzzle than it was at the original muzzle. Some folks think this looks "funny".

When the barrel was cut, did the craftsman (?) crown the barrel with a ream or is it a flat crown? (Original is a flat crown.)

I am thinking you could straighten up the crown by smoothing it off such as with a file, or a file wrapped in sandpaper, and then just see how it shoots.

In this way you have not changed the looks of the rifle appreciably.

If this does not work, you can always go to a more intense method. If you start with the more extreme methods, you can't reverse the process.

I shot mine two days ago for the first time, and it has become an "1860 Colt" for me. I want to own about eighteen of them.

Mine has the pre-buffington sight. It is darned hard to use. When I shorten the barrel and hence reduce the distance between the front and rear sight, I think I will be able to better keep both sights in focus.

Some photos of the rifle would be good.

Doc Hoy
January 15, 2013, 09:04 AM
Is the barrel cut crooked or is the dovetail cut crooked?

If it is the dovetail that is hosed, just disregard my whole post.