Cutting barrel down?

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

boker

40 Cal.
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
171
Reaction score
7
I am was thinking I'd like to try a shorter version of the cva Hawkins rifle , in 50 or 54 , I'd like to cut the barrel down to 18" to 20". Has anyone ever done this?
 

AZbpBurner

54 Cal.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
190
Location
Arizona Territories
Your hacksaw & your barrel to do as you see fit. If it doesn't shoot worth a darn, it's just a lesson on why you don't see commercial BP rifles available with such short barrels.
 

Toomuch51

40 Cal.
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
318
Reaction score
0
This you could do however the barrel would have to be re-crowned at the very least. Then there is the issue of how short do you want it, anything less than about 26 inches and you would have little to no accuracy left thus defeating the purpose of having a rifle in the first place, remember a CVA Hawken is only 28 1/2" to begin with.
 

azmntman

Cannon
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
7,103
Reaction score
880
Location
Northern AZ
Google Cabelas "carbine" hawkin. I ordered one in .58 YEARS ago and when I opened the box I quickly resealed and returned. Just looked wrong. Thats my opinion. :idunno:
 

BrownBear

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
14,767
Reaction score
262
Can't recall who it was, but a couple or three years back a guy wanted a shorter barrel on his Renegade (If I recall the model correctly) for something like hog shooting in swamps. The model, location and uses are immaterial. The point is that he wanted a shorter barrel, and he did it.

I watched pretty carefully, and I recall that he had stellar accuracy and the short barrel met his needs perfectly. Certainly your gun and your barrel, but also your own hunting fields and challenges.

There's some work involved though. In addition to hacksaw and recrown, you'll need to mount a new front sight. If there's an under-rib you'll have to deal with that too, and potentially remount the front ramrod pipe.

If that's all in your reach and you want the shorter barrel, I say go for it. But think through ALL the mods you're going to have to make along with the barrel cut.
 

nwtradegun

50 Cal.
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
1,481
Reaction score
5
I would highly recommend you send it bobby hoyt barrels. he is a master barrel smith
 

Rifleman1776

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
16,729
Reaction score
1,276
Location
Arkansas Ozarks
Barrel length is not a factor of accuracy. Long sighting plane can be a big help but cutting barrel will not hurt accuracy.
That said, in my experience, anything under about 22" long brings the muzzle too close to the ears and can sound like the world is exploding. My wife won many medals and matches with her short barreled H&A underhammer Buggy rifle. But, every time she fired everyone on the line ducked for cover. It sounded like a huge cannon.
 

Zonie

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
MLF Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2003
Messages
32,990
Reaction score
7,112
Location
Phoenix, AZ
As you know, black powder doesn't make as much pressure as modern, smokeless powders when it burns.

At these lower pressures, a long barrel has a lot more effect on the projectiles velocity because there is more length for the pressure to act on it.

Years ago, Dixie Gunworks made a study where they wanted to see what effect barrel length had on velocity for a given powder charge.

They used a .40 caliber barrel (I don't know why) and started off with it at 40 inches long.

They fired a bunch of different powder charges, shooting several shots with each charge thru it and measured the velocity. That gave them an average velocity for each powder load.

They then cut 2 inches off of the barrel and ran the test again with each powder load.

Figuring you asking about shortening the barrel on a hunting rifle I looked at the "hotter" powder loads in their tests. (Remember, this is in a .40 caliber barrel.)

A 75 grain 3Fg powder load gave them a velocity of 2059 fps in the 40" barrel. Cut to 20" long the velocity dropped to 1818 fps for a 14% loss.

With a 47 grain 3Fg powder load the 40" barrel gave them a velocity of 1770 fps.
At 20" barrel length the velocity dropped to 1509 fps for a 17% loss.

If you are shooting at very close ranges, the velocity loss might be acceptable but at longer ranges it might not be.
 

AZbpBurner

54 Cal.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
190
Location
Arizona Territories
Toomuch said:
This you could do however the barrel would have to be re-crowned at the very least. Then there is the issue of how short do you want it, anything less than about 26 inches and you would have little to no accuracy left thus defeating the purpose of having a rifle in the first place, remember a CVA Hawken is only 28 1/2" to begin with.
Actually, after some measuring, my .54 cal flint Lyman Deerstalker barrel is only 22" long. For years I've used it to plink grapefruit at 100 yards with boring regularity. 75 grains 3F and a .535" RB & .018" thick patch make it happen.
 

hanshi

Cannon
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
10,783
Reaction score
2,305
The shortest barrel I've owned is 25". It's a .45 and is the rifle I use in all rifle postal matches. It has won me a first place and several in the top three.
 

bubba.50

54 Cal.
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
2,278
Reaction score
442
I've shortened a T/C barrel or few due to them bein' damaged. due to the lighter weight, recoil will be a bit harsher but not unbearable. but, muzzle-blast will be TERRIBLE at anything over about 50 grains of powder. a lot of fun to touch off after dark though. :grin:

my opinion & yer welcome to it.
 

tenngun

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
14,936
Reaction score
6,343
Location
Republic mo
I cut a. Cheap smooth bore down to 18 inches it had shot good before and stayed that way. I didn't hunt with it, but it looked good with my Tandy dearskin mountiney man out fit. It was fun to shoot, but useless and I gave it to a friend.
 

Titus Bass

32 Cal.
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Messages
27
Reaction score
8
I've got a TC TreeHawk .50 (Ugliest thing you ever saw) it measures 21" back to the snail haven't shot it a time or two so can't say it's a shooter but dandy to carry did I mention it was Ulgy :rotf:
 

boker

40 Cal.
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
171
Reaction score
7
Thanks guys , I have a Tennessee poor boy I can slide down the barrel to get out of my deer stand lol , seriously I'd like to have a shorter gun for my small shooting houses etc, but I certainly don't want to mess up a good gun. Thanks for the replies.
 

don hepler

58 Cal.
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
2,260
Reaction score
2
I'm wondering if the White Mountain Carbine, would be a good alternative.

I have a WMC, but I cut it down into a pistol. The twist is 1-20, which is very close to the correct twist for a pistol. I would think the twist could have a lot of effect on accuracy.

These can often be found a much lower price than a Hawken.
 

boker

40 Cal.
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
171
Reaction score
7
I have had a 50. Wmc, I was thinking just this morning that a 54. Would be a sweet carbine. I never could get the 50 to shoot accurately , maybe I just didn't invest enough time to find the right load. I believe the 54 wmc is a 1:48 sh it should shoot a round ball decently.
 

don hepler

58 Cal.
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
2,260
Reaction score
2
Different WCM's had different twists. I'm not sure about the 54. My 50 had a 1-20 which was intended for the Maxi-ball, but with a reduced load, it shoots a round ball just fine.

I shot a nice deer, with a WMC and a Maxi-ball and it dropped a large buck, in his tracks. Pretty rough on my end too. That's been a long time ago, but they are handy little carry rifles and would work well in a stand, also.

Due to the shallow rifling, in the TC's, I've had better luck experimenting with patch thickness and amount of powder, until I find the right combination.
 

bubba.50

54 Cal.
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
2,278
Reaction score
442
from what I understand, at various times the 50cal White Mountain Carbines had twists of 1 in 20, 1 in 28, and 1 in 38 but for some reason the 54cal WMC had the T/C standard 1 in 48 twist. :idunno:
 

Col. Batguano

69 Cal.
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Messages
4,414
Reaction score
629
tenngun said:
I cut a. Cheap smooth bore down to 18 inches it had shot good before and stayed that way. I didn't hunt with it, but it looked good with my Tandy dearskin mountiney man out fit. It was fun to shoot, but useless and I gave it to a friend.
That brings up an interesting point. Since in the eyes of the feds, BP firearms are not firearms, do the rules of 18" minimum barrel length for shotguns, and 16" for rifles apply? I tend to think not, but it could be that some states have their own rules that might.
 
Top