Building a Fowler for the smoothbore shoots

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by Matt Ruesink, Aug 18, 2019.

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  1. Aug 18, 2019 #1

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

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    Hello everyone I am a new member. I'm planning on building another new England Fowler for the smoothbore clanger and trap shoots at rendezvous. I can't decide if I want a .54 ,.58, or .62. I'm thinking of getting it in a 46" rice octagon to round. I would appreciate any opinions.
     
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  2. Aug 18, 2019 #2

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    You want a barrel profile that matches your caliber of choice. A 54 caliber bore in a barrel sized for a 20 gauge will be too heavy. You should base your decision on the weight of the configured barrel.

    I recommend a 54 caliber smooth bore for shooting at clangers at rendezvous. Its not a bad caliber for trap either. The 54 caliber ball will have a flatter trajectory which will improve the chances of hitting a hanging target. The 46 inch long barrel will give you a few more inches of pointing improvement.
     
  3. Aug 19, 2019 #3

    dave_person

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi,
    Most modern-made smooth bore barrels are thicker walled than the originals and don't have the thick breech and rapid taper that creates the balance of the old guns. The smaller calibers likely will be heavier and less balanced. The first fowler below is strongly inspired by the Hawk fowler at Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, MA. It uses the barrel sold by Davis for their French trade gun kit, which is made by Ed Rayl and is 48" long, 1.25" at the breech, and 0.62 cal. The barrel wall thickness is pretty thin from the transition forward resulting in the gun weighing 7.5 lbs. It shoots shot and round ball very well and has the right taper from the breech. The second fowler uses a 46" 0.62 cal barrel by Getz. It likely is very close to your Rice barrel. The breech is 1 1/16" but the taper is more gradual than the Rayl barrel. The barrel wall thickness is pretty thin but would be much heavier in 54 and 58 caliber. I included a photo of a target I shot with it while testing before handing it off to the owner. At 85 yards it did very well.
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    dave
     
  4. Aug 20, 2019 #4

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

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    Thanks both of you for all the great advise. I had no idea those French trade guns were so ornate and beautiful . 1.25" breech on a 20 guage, wow. My 46" 10 guage Ed Rayle breech is 1.87".
     
  5. Aug 20, 2019 #5

    Stumpkiller

    Stumpkiller

    Stumpkiller

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    Fowlers invariably were designed primarily to use shot. A .54 doesn't hold much shot (that would be a 30 bore). My fowler is a .662 (16 bore) which was the lightest of the 12,16,20 bore choices based on available barrel blanks.

    If trap is on the menu with a flintlock I wouldn't want to go below .62/20 bore. But I don't need any more handicap than I can avoid.
     
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  6. Aug 20, 2019 #6

    Treestalker

    Treestalker

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    Hello,Matt, welcome to the forum! I would second Stumpkiller's choice of a 20 guage, but I would be using it for shooting everything from doves to bears. Back in the day a lot of trade guns were 24 guage, which is about 58 caliber. That I believe would be fine for an all around piece, and for shooting a decent sized ball at range. The biggest round ball mold Lee makes is a .60 and that is probably going to be my next smoothbore, a 20 guage. I believe you will be happy with any of the bores you mentioned, if made by one of the gentlemen you specified. A heavy breech is no problem on a tapered barrel; and it will contain the pressures you need for a ball load achieving a decent velocity/trajectory.
     
  7. Aug 20, 2019 #7

    dave_person

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi Matt,
    Those are not French trade guns although the original that the first was based on used old parts probably from a French buccaneer musket perhaps captured at Fortress Louisburg. The second uses parts made in rural New England but rustic copies of French designs. The French made their Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac versions of guns exported to new France. Both guns are of a style made along the Connecticut River during the colonial period.

    dave
     
  8. Aug 20, 2019 #8

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

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    That's very interesting , I did not know they were made in the new England area.
     
  9. Aug 20, 2019 #9

    smo

    smo

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    I’ve got a Friend who shoots a .58 smoothbore and he does real well with it at events.

    .54 are popular as well, but like SK said.... they don’t hold much shot.

    For roundball shooting a .58 or .54 would be a good choice, but for shooting shot I’d go larger in size...if it were me.
     
  10. Aug 20, 2019 #10

    sawyer04

    sawyer04

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    A single barrel shotgun can be had fairly reasonable. A right nice shotgun can be built out of an old gun that has been abused, but the barrel is still useable. I found that getting the rib on two barrels of the same make can be a bit challenging to assemble into a double barrel percussion.
     
  11. Aug 20, 2019 #11

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

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    Is this a kit gun or a scratch build?

    Will you use it for anything other than matches which will be round ball, mostly?

    If a kit, and for smoothbore match round ball shooting, yes the smaller bore barrels will likely be heavier. But still less muzzle heavy than a comparable rifle with same barrel length. As Mike said, a .54 is a good choice for such use and also good for deer. Less so for turkey or wingshooting with shot. There you’d want a 20 gauge I’d think.
     
  12. Aug 21, 2019 #12

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

    Matt Ruesink

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    It's a scratch build, still on the drawing board, nothing baught yet. Yes mainly clanger shooting and probably deer hunting. I kill deer with a .54 44" rice rifle barrel.
     
  13. Aug 21, 2019 #13

    smo

    smo

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    If you will be mostly match shooting and hunting with the smoothbore, then I would definitely go with the .58...

    From what I’ve seen at most smoothbore shoots the targets were at a reasonable distance, which too me means I’m not so much concerned with a flat trajectory but more so as a former forum member called it “Whompability” I think it was....

    Plus the .58 gives you that few extra thousands on those tough novelty targets.

    I don’t own a .58, but I do think it’s a great caliber for hunting and match shooting..
     

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