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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm building a .36 long rifle. Got my barrel and breech plug from Track of the Wolf. Started to fit the breech this afternoon and discovered that its about .08 too long. Anyone here know of any reason I can't file or grind the plug to fit? Even cutting .08 I'll still have more metal in the rear than this caliber could ever call for
 

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I'm building a .36 long rifle. Got my barrel and breech plug from Track of the Wolf. Started to fit the breech this afternoon and discovered that its about .08 too long. Anyone here know of any reason I can't file or grind the plug to fit? Even cutting .08 I'll still have more metal in the rear than this caliber could ever call for
I would do a little research to see if the breach plug is case hardened before filing it down. If so, you'll need to get some hardening compound and a torch to reharden it where you filed it down. Otherwise, I can't think of a reason you couldn't file it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would do a little research to see if the breach plug is case hardened before filing it down. If so, you'll need to get some hardening compound and a torch to reharden it where you filed it down. Otherwise, I can't think of a reason you couldn't file it down.
It's not hardened, but thank you for thinking of that.
 

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With NO IDEA what the issues might be...what about a crush washer or even an O-ring?
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
With NO IDEA what the issues might be...what about a crush washer or even an O-ring?
An O-ring would burn out in no time - possible with....interesting results to my eyes and face. A crush washer MAY work, but it would look strange on an 1830s style rifle. However, I do appreciate your suggestions
 
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Are you going to use anti-seize grease on the threads after you get it sized?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are you going to use anti-seize grease on the threads after you get it sized?
You bercha dupa. Don't plan to ever take it out again, but, if need be, I want to get it out without a blowtorch and a hammer.
 

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Teflon pipe tape will be better than any grease (I usually use both). Nice to be able to take the breach plug out sometimes for cleaning.

Not being smart, I just want to know, why the 36 caliber? I've always wanted a 32 but wonder if a 36 might be better since appearantly I'm going to end up having to make one and barrels cost about the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Teflon pipe tape will be better than any grease (I usually use both). Nice to be able to take the breach plug out sometimes for cleaning.

Not being smart, I just want to know, why the 36 caliber? I've always wanted a 32 but wonder if a 36 might be better since appearantly I'm going to end up having to make one and barrels cost about the same.
First, anti seize grease is not the same as what you are thinking. Teflon and blackpowder do not, in my experience, mix well. Also, it is highly doubtful I'll ever remove the breechplug, as PA rifle barrels are more difficult to remove than the tennoned barrels of the western/Hawkin style. For a caplock, I use a piece of small rubber tubing that fits the nipple tightly. Put the other end int a bucket of very hot water and use a tight cleaning patch on a jag. wet the patch and start pumping. It'll pull a vacuum and the water from the bucket will fill the barrel. Continue the process until the barrel gets too hot to hold in your bare hand. Run one or two dry patches through to remove and fouling still in the barrel and let it stand. Oil when cool if desired.

As for the caliber - I want one. I do DO think the .36 carries better than the .32 at longer ranges and, although illegal in my state, the .36 will kill deer size animals in an emergency. Not my first choice, but it can be done. It's all a matter of usage and preference. I don't trust a .32 over 50 yards or on game bigger than turkeys. If I shot like Rach, I may think different. In the words of Harry Callahan - "A man's got to know his limitations" Hope that answers your questions.
 
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First, anti seize grease is not the same as what you are thinking. Teflon and blackpowder do not, in my experience, mix well. Also, it is highly doubtful I'll ever remove the breechplug, as PA rifle barrels are more difficult to remove than the tennoned barrels of the western/Hawkin style. For a caplock, I use a piece of small rubber tubing that fits the nipple tightly. Put the other end int a bucket of very hot water and use a tight cleaning patch on a jag. wet the patch and start pumping. It'll pull a vacuum and the water from the bucket will fill the barrel. Continue the process until the barrel gets too hot to hold in your bare hand. Run one or two dry patches through to remove and fouling still in the barrel and let it stand. Oil when cool if desired.

As for the caliber - I want one. I do DO think the .36 carries better than the .32 at longer ranges and, although illegal in my state, the .36 will kill deer size animals in an emergency. Not my first choice, but it can be done. It's all a matter of usage and preference. I don't trust a .32 over 50 yards or on game bigger than turkeys. If I shot like Rach, I may think different. In the words of Harry Callahan - "A man's got to know his limitations" Hope that answers your questions.
You are spot on about anti sieze. And with your cleaning process.

As to the .32 caliber round ball. It’s a dandy for skwerlz, rabbits, and groundhogs. 30 grains of FFG was my accuracy load and I used it out to 100 yards, 20 grains was good for the skwerlz out to 50 yards or so which is about as far as I can see the critters. Even 10 grains made a viable hunting load about equal to the 22 long rifle. And I used buckshot and cotton ticking. Very economical to shoot. If my range were to average 70 to 100 yards and increase in size up to coyote, I would likely choose ite .36. If I were to shoot deer sized critters, I would want at least a 40 caliber ball, preferably larger.

William Blane authored a book titled An excursion through the United States and Canada during the years 1822–1823 mentioned muzzle loader ammo by balls per pound instead of caliber.

150 balls per pound was the .32 caliber
100 balls per pound was the .36 caliber
80 balls per pound was the .40 caliber
60 balls per pound was the .43 caliber
50 balls per pound was the .45 caliber

I found it interesting that he stopped at 45 caliber, but to take it out a bit further

.50 = 38 balls
.54 = 30 balls
.58 = 24 balls
.62 = 20 balls
.75 = 11 balls

i do like a front stuffer!
 
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Yes, anti seize grease is exactly like I'm thinking. There's a tube of it next to the bore butter in my MZ box and another tube in the cleaning kit and some more in the trunk.

I stole the trick about pipe tape from inline shooters who've probably never even seen black powder, but it did as good with black as with pyrodex. That being said the only breechplug I've used it on was a CVA Buckhorn 209 and it's taken apart, cleaned and new tape put on every time. I've used it on revolver nipples and rifle nipples too. I can't say how it would work if cleaned several times then trying to remove years later, probably would turn to goo after a while. I got a handful of Traditions rifles I wish other's had done that to as the breech plugs are welded in at this point. A lot easier to get a stuck ball out that way. I wish I'd known it sooner as it would have saved me a lot of trouble with that CVA.

What's the minimum dear caliber there? Just curious, not that I'm going to be hunting up that way or deer hunting at all. I can legally hunt squirrels with my 54 caliber here, even though the ball is pert near the size of their head. I can still walk a bit in level ground and I've done something special if I kill a squirrel bigger than the 20lb weight limit the doctor's have me on. I know for my purposes, a 32 is big enough for things light enough for me to carry, I wonder about fouling and accuracy. Then again, I ain't going to be shooting with it all day long to worry about fouling so much, I can swab after every shot and that should let me finish the day out before I break out the soap and water.

What's the outside diameter of your barrel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, anti seize grease is exactly like I'm thinking. There's a tube of it next to the bore butter in my MZ box and another tube in the cleaning kit and some more in the trunk.

I stole the trick about pipe tape from inline shooters who've probably never even seen black powder, but it did as good with black as with pyrodex. That being said the only breechplug I've used it on was a CVA Buckhorn 209 and it's taken apart, cleaned and new tape put on every time. I've used it on revolver nipples and rifle nipples too. I can't say how it would work if cleaned several times then trying to remove years later, probably would turn to goo after a while. I got a handful of Traditions rifles I wish other's had done that to as the breech plugs are welded in at this point. A lot easier to get a stuck ball out that way. I wish I'd known it sooner as it would have saved me a lot of trouble with that CVA.

What's the minimum dear caliber there? Just curious, not that I'm going to be hunting up that way or deer hunting at all. I can legally hunt squirrels with my 54 caliber here, even though the ball is pert near the size of their head. I can still walk a bit in level ground and I've done something special if I kill a squirrel bigger than the 20lb weight limit the doctor's have me on. I know for my purposes, a 32 is big enough for things light enough for me to carry, I wonder about fouling and accuracy. Then again, I ain't going to be shooting with it all day long to worry about fouling so much, I can swab after every shot and that should let me finish the day out before I break out the soap and water.

What's the outside diameter of your barrel?
Minimum for deer in PA is .45. Knock on wood, I've never stuck a ball in 40+ years of shooting front stuffers - but it could still happen. My barrel is a straight 13/16 X 42. My "big" rifle is 15/16 X 36 at .54 caliber. There's nothing wrong with a .32, I just want the bigger caliber. IF, and that's a BIG IF, I can build one more, it'' be a fowling piece, probably 12 gauge/.75 caliber with a flint lock.
 
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Definetly keep knocking on wood. I bought a Traditions 50 cal with double set triggers for $40 because it had a ball stuck. I thought "no problem, this is simple and easy and I'll just pop the breach plug and have that out in no time". I'd done that with inlines that got damp a dozen times. Breech plug would not budge and I was not going to use a torch on a loaded rifle.
No problem, one of those little mantainence kits I'd bought had a ball puller. You've got to keep some serious pressure on one to get the puller to dig into the ball, which can be nerve wracking when you don't know if it's stuck because the powder got wet (which may have dried out by now) or hopefully was just loaded with no powder. Finally got the puller to bite and couldn't get the rod to budge, broke my "T" handle pulling on it. I was lucky to get the ball out since when I went to unscrew it off the puller half the screw stayed in the ball. So the rifle, a new T handle and a new bullet puller and a new nipple I still came out to the good I think, but wouldn't want to do it again. Luckily the new ball puller is still sitting in the package.

45 seems like a good minimum. Until we had an elk season I don't think we had any caliber minimums. For deer, other than airguns, it's still "no more than 10 round magazine, not full auto and no FMJ or tracer", so I could legally hunt with a 25 Auto and 35gr XTPs! Muzzleloaders of any caliber are kosher. This leads to a few idiots with cap and balls out there.

I think 13/16ths is the diameter/width of the 32 barrels I was looking at. The 36 would be lighter. I got two Traditions that are basically the same model, one 50 and the other 54. I like the way the 54 balances better, not as nose heavy. I got triggers and a lock, next things a barrel I guess and I'm going to try to make a stock. The 32's powerful enough and the 36 is not overkill, so it'll probably boil down to what I catch on sale first. That and I got 15 other projects at any given time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@OVERKILL - I'd jump on a $40 rifle myself. Tried helping some guys I know pull stuck balls a couple of time. Never had any luck with a ball puller. I usually pull the nipple, work 5 to 10 grains of 4F into the breech, put the nipple back and touch it off. If the ball doesn't come out, it creates enough room to put 20 grains of 2F in, reseat the ball and fire it off. Easier with a Flintlock and removable touch hole liner. I don't do inlines - too much the traditionalist - but to each his own
 
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I still got the inline I bought at about 18 for hunting, just because it was the cheapest thing I could find before season and a Mossberg 500 conversion barrel that is the most accurate Iron sight rifle I've ever shot. The rest are flint or cap. They're prettier and neater, well the 500 conversion is pretty neat. Won't say I won't ever get another inline if it's cheap and interesting.

I've never actually built a muzzleloader. If you've not posted a step by step by then I'll probably try to hit you up for tips when I get a barrel and start my small bore project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I still got the inline I bought at about 18 for hunting, just because it was the cheapest thing I could find before season and a Mossberg 500 conversion barrel that is the most accurate Iron sight rifle I've ever shot. The rest are flint or cap. They're prettier and neater, well the 500 conversion is pretty neat. Won't say I won't ever get another inline if it's cheap and interesting.

I've never actually built a muzzleloader. If you've not posted a step by step by then I'll probably try to hit you up for tips when I get a barrel and start my small bore project.
Start by getting a copy of Building the Pennsylvania/Kentucky Rifle. Most blackpowder supply shops carry this one. Very well written step by step to build a traditional rifle from scratch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
No blackpowder shops around here, Dixie Gunworks should have it though.
Dixie's good. Track of the Wolf, Natchez Supply and The Rifle Shoppe Inc are also pretty good bets
 
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