Flintlock barrel

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Appalachia Jack

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Im pretty new to making firearms, but I make a lot of other things. This may be a dumb question but can you use steel tubing as a smoothbore gun barrel? Ive seen the like done for black powder pistols and even shotguns on youtube. The old flintlock barrels were handforged right? And to my knowledge they werent hardened either. Some were even cast from brass or bronze. I know that it wouldnt handle the kind of pressures we see in smokeless powders but would a piece of DOM tubing with a 1/4" wall thickness work for say a .36 cal black piwder flintlock? And would it be safe or would I be risking a grenade to the face every time I pulled the trigger.
 

hawkeye2

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If you are going to buy parts and build a gun just buy a proper barrel. The finished piece will be worth much more and will be safe. I'm thinking even if you could find a machinist that would fit a plug to a piece of DOM tubing I would question his judgment, understanding of muzzleloaders and his ability to do the job properly.
 

Zonie

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Im pretty new to making firearms, but I make a lot of other things. This may be a dumb question but can you use steel tubing as a smoothbore gun barrel? Ive seen the like done for black powder pistols and even shotguns on youtube. The old flintlock barrels were handforged right? And to my knowledge they werent hardened either. Some were even cast from brass or bronze. I know that it wouldnt handle the kind of pressures we see in smokeless powders but would a piece of DOM tubing with a 1/4" wall thickness work for say a .36 cal black piwder flintlock? And would it be safe or would I be risking a grenade to the face every time I pulled the trigger.
Yes, the old barrels were hand forged and welded but they also were known to blow up when they were test fired.
DOM tubing is not "seamless" tubing even though it seems to be. The DOM tubing is actually electrically welded and the weld bead is smoothed out so it disappears by drawing the tube over mandrels and thru dies.

I do not recommend using DOM tubing for black powder gun barrels. It is not made to withstand explosive forces. Explosive forces are much more devastating than an equal pressure that is slowly applied to the inside of a tube.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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Im pretty new to making firearms, but I make a lot of other things. This may be a dumb question but can you use steel tubing as a smoothbore gun barrel? Ive seen the like done for black powder pistols and even shotguns on youtube. The old flintlock barrels were handforged right? And to my knowledge they werent hardened either. Some were even cast from brass or bronze. I know that it wouldnt handle the kind of pressures we see in smokeless powders but would a piece of DOM tubing with a 1/4" wall thickness work for say a .36 cal black piwder flintlock? And would it be safe or would I be risking a grenade to the face every time I pulled the trigger.
I suggest not to make a rifle or smoothbore out of anything except a factory muzzleloader barrel, unless you are a metallurgist. If you want a non shootable wall hanger, go for whatever material resembles a barrel.
Flintlocklar 🇺🇲
 

jerrywh

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I made several barrels from that kind of tubing many years ago and they worked out very well [BUT] then a good friend of mine Jim Wilford , deceased, was making barrels from the same thing and at the first test one of them exploded with a normal load. That gave me the creeps and I never made another one from that again. I always proof tested my barrels with a very heavy load at least 3 times. I'm still afraid of tubing and will never use it again.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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I made several barrels from that kind of tubing many years ago and they worked out very well [BUT] then a good friend of mine Jim Wilford , deceased, was making barrels from the same thing and at the first test one of them exploded with a normal load. That gave me the creeps and I never made another one from that again. I always proof tested my barrels with a very heavy load at least 3 times. I'm still afraid of tubing and will never use it again.
Good to hear you did not have any injuries! If a barrel does not meet the specification needed for the intended charge, there will eventually be a failure. The problem with proof testing, is that each and every time you proof, it can progressively weaken the barrel. Now, when you think it is OK, it really is not, you just got by. My proof testing comment is in reference to barrels that are below engineering specifications.
Flintlolcklar 🇺🇸
 

jerrywh

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I have been building muzzle loaders for 65 years and have proof tested every one I ever built as does all modern makers of muzzle loading guns. This has been the standard for hundreds of years, But there is always a genius who knows better.
 

okawbow

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Not that I would recommend DOM for a gun barrel, but nearly all gun barrels made before 1850 or so, were basically a tube made by forge welding a flat piece of iron strip around a mandrel. There is no way those barrels were as strong as DOM of the same thickness. Many barrels failed, and it was common for shooters to be injured or killed by a bursting barrel.
 

jerrywh

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In America, barrels are not proof tested and most of them were not in the colonial days. But all European barrels as well as English for the last 400 years at least. Today it is the same even in the south American countries. In America today we depend on liability. I proof tested mine by the same standard used in England and Europe for black powder proof. I no longer make barrels though.
 

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Having made an Nigerian 'Foo Foo' or' Dane' gun using galved water pipe with but a cursory' fine bore '. I duly proofed it down a rabbit hole. Rabbits objected but it stood fine . The weld clearly visible . I forgo the customary brazed in plug and went with 3/4" unf .Of course to be sure I added the customary amulets with charms to ward of Debil Debils, Togalosi's and other evil spirits .( Such a problem in West Africa ). It shot a rabbit but that was it, Since It was made to set a Nigerian blacksmith made flintlock into context for display . It must be added that water pipe isn't the preffered barrel choice but the car steering collum's where the' high end' and no doubt more expensive . This Was the case in 1965 I believe AK's are more the go these days .

"Beware of the evil bight of Benin, Where few come out though many go in ".
Might amuse old Ex PCV ,s I met but i was just a traveller more' tropical tramp 'once described as "My own National Geographic ".
Rudyard
 

Zonie

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For what it's worth, I think proof testing was done to all of the barrels made from the colonial times up to the middle of the 1800's when solid, wrought steel barrels became common.
 

Rudyard

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I'me afraid I don't pray at the shrine of ' Steel is best'. Much preferring Twist , Damascus or good scelp barrels if I can get them . I can get steel I use it but its not as nice or pleasing to the eye ,No style rather boring . And I weary of FME's trotting out the " Only steel is safe "bumph . I've turned galved water pipe so thin it stood making into cartridge cases it stood just fine that's some weld in my assessment to fire form in cases .

When the 1853 Enfield's where converted replacement new ones had steel barrels and where found to shoot less well so target riflemen had iron barrels made to replace the steel. H M George the 5th had Damascus barrels not liking the new steel his wasn't being thrifty he preffered damascus. Not that such shots much looked at the guns his loader passed a freshly loaded gun while taking the pair to reload . So all they did was shoot . I once watched H G The 10th Duke of Marlborough on driven pheasants . I was just a beater . Winter of 1963 so much unusual snow not much other work about . Think it was 30 shillings and a tot of Vat 69 at lunch break both very welcome.
Rudyard
 

Robby

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Washingtons' General of the artillery Henry Knox was missing two fingers on his left hand as a result of a barrel bursting while duck hunting.
Robby
 

Rudyard

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Since we don't know what he loaded or the state of his gun your implication is it was the barrels fault maybe it was. At this point in time who can say .I do know the proof master at Brum had a down on Damascus but a test trying to burst one prouved they are extremely tough ..The great witch hunt on Damascus largley stems from old BP guns being used with nitro that today are longer than the original chambers where . Plus often cheap imports , add years of abuse . No doubt many burst but the same would be true if steel was used . I have used a fowling piece with a barrel by Alonzo Martinez of Madrid he died in 1720 so it has to be 300 years old but it was kept well so used it put back into context . A shame not too put it back into context only bowled a bunny I do have others one a nice if well used barrel by Henry Tatham still had its platina vent . I've saved a lot worse that have served me for many years instead of cluttering up the junk pile.
Rudyard
 
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