How would one go about removing a breech plug

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Phil Coffins

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Use a large heavy vice bolted to a solid bench. Place a set of blocks cut to fit an octagonal barrel with the barrel in them clamped very tight in the vice. An action wrench that fits the breech is clamped tightly to the breech plug then hit the action wrench smartly with a heavy hammer. Unscrew.
 

bang

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If not charged a good amount of heat will help. Tighten the vice like you are trying to collapse the barrel. Get a cheater bar and put the pressure on it and heat at same time.
Thought I was going to flip my heavy work table when I did mine.
 

Scota@4570

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Unless I had a compelling reason to do so I would not try. Those plugs were installed by brute force to time them. They have been in place for decades. The threads will be well rusted.

If I had a really good reason I would proceed as follows. I would find a real TC breech plug spanner. I would shim the spanner tight with brass shim stock. On the barrel side I would use large steel V-blocks, lined with business card and rosin. For the vice I would use my hydraulic vice. The apparatus weight over 100#. I would grab the barrel close to the threads and pump up the ram to about 10K #. To grab the spanner I would use giant cresent wrench. On that would go 5' of cheater bar.

I have had a plug let go by leaning on the cheater bar. I have had one that required over 500 foot pounds and wacking the wrench with a small sledge hammer.

The chances of getting the plug out, and not damaging the plug and or barrel, using home shop methods is slim.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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Unless I had a compelling reason to do so I would not try. Those plugs were installed by brute force to time them. They have been in place for decades. The threads will be well rusted.

If I had a really good reason I would proceed as follows. I would find a real TC breech plug spanner. I would shim the spanner tight with brass shim stock. On the barrel side I would use large steel V-blocks, lined with business card and rosin. For the vice I would use my hydraulic vice. The apparatus weight over 100#. I would grab the barrel close to the threads and pump up the ram to about 10K #. To grab the spanner I would use giant cresent wrench. On that would go 5' of cheater bar.

I have had a plug let go by leaning on the cheater bar. I have had one that required over 500 foot pounds and wacking the wrench with a small sledge hammer.

The chances of getting the plug out, and not damaging the plug and or barrel, using home shop methods is slim.
Respectfully, this is not a good idea! One does not want to compress the barrel metal into the breech plug threads. Wrong way to remove a breech plug!
 

Col. Batguano

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soak it for a few days first in ATF and acetone, with a bunch down the bore too. Then heat, and a very long handled wrench, coupled with well-fitting onto-blocks.

Add some morning Wheaties, a can of spinach for yourself and have at it. If you are successful, you are obviously more powerful than a locomotive, and leaping tall buildings in a single bound is in store for you. Go to the fabric store and pick out materiel for your cape.
 

SmokepoleSam

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I removed aT/C breechplug with the t/c breechplug spanner, large crescent wrench and cheater bar, it came off easily no rust on the threads. I put antiseize on the threads and it went back on just as easily and lined up perfectly. Just don't put the vise on the threads but in front of them.
 

Patch

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There's no reason to ever remove a breech plug.

That's why Thompson made them so darn near impossible to remove, but I don't think if they had tack welded them on it would have deterred people from trying. The more important question to ask here is how do you install a breech plug? Because that's where all the marbles are.

The gist of the matter is a properly fitted breech plug is one that does not cause the rifle to explode, that's as good as it gets, Thompson already figured it out for you so you can leave it alone.
 

Eterry

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No one has asked the million dollar question...Why do you feel you have to pull the breech plug?
Inquiring minds want to know.

It can be done, sure, and without a fully equipped machine shop with hydraulic do-dads. But why are you compelled to take on this task?

As an apprentice gunsmith I pulled probably 100 barrels from Mauser 98 actions. NONE came off easily, and we had every tool imaginable at my disposal. Heat was a no- no in this instance, so brute force was called for.
Rosin was used in every single 98 action I worked on. So was a true barrel vise with hardwood blocks.

Im just curious, why do you wanna go thru this?
 
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I didn't know T/C breech plugs were so hard to remove so i just went ahead and did it with what I had. Starting with what some are calling a spanner to fit the breech plug, I clamped the barrel in the wooden jaws of my Workmate, and using a large crescent wrench and a cheater pipe began to work. The Workmate jaws held, but the entire little bench tipped. So, i had my 125-pound wife set on it. That was all it needed. Of course that was 50 years ago and now I know better. Today I'd use a 20 ton press to clamp the barrel and go to all the other trouble advised above, because i now know the right way to do things. I pulled the plug to properly lap the barrel.
 

nit wit

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I actually have the breech plug block that slips over the bp. Kano Kroil is about the best to soak it with. A very large wrench and then wack the end of the wrench. The barrel must be in a vice with leather or lead to protect the barrel.PM me.
Nit Wit
 

Feltwad

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All I have used for many decades { See image } if a hooked breech fasten the barrels in a padded jaws apply heat to the join of the barrel and the plug must make sure that the barrel is free of a charge , When heat is applied sometimes old oil emerges from the join fix the tool to the hook and with a hammer give a smart knock to the top of the tool which will break the seal. After the work is done coat the threads of the plug with copper seal which will for future work will be easy to unscrew. on all s/b muzzle loader that I have restored I remove the plugs for inspection of the bore and the plug threads
Feltwad
100_0725.JPG
 

Eterry

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I didn't know T/C breech plugs were so hard to remove so i just went ahead and did it with what I had. Starting with what some are calling a spanner to fit the breech plug, I clamped the barrel in the wooden jaws of my Workmate, and using a large crescent wrench and a cheater pipe began to work. The Workmate jaws held, but the entire little bench tipped. So, i had my 125-pound wife set on it. That was all it needed. Of course that was 50 years ago and now I know better. Today I'd use a 20 ton press to clamp the barrel and go to all the other trouble advised above, because i now know the right way to do things. I pulled the plug to properly lap the barrel.
I submit if you tried the same thing today it would have 20 more years of rust and fouling built up. Maybe thats why the 98's were so hard to pull...they were WWII vintage and had 60 plus years of rust.
 

Scota@4570

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Respectfully, this is not a good idea! One does not want to compress the barrel metal into the breech plug threads. Wrong way to remove a breech plug!
I wrote CLOSE TO the threads, not over the threads. What I wrote is how to reliably remove the plug without even damaging the blue. This is based on hears of experience and an understanding of how the barrels were breeched a the factory.

To review, TC had zero quality control on fitting breech plugs. TC timed the plugs by brute force. They deliberately mangled the threads to make it time. They actually sheared the threads of some and shooters were injured when they let go. The plugs are all over the board as far as fit. Some unscrew easy some are seized in place. Some have a gap that traps fouling at the end of the plug threads. You will not know until you try. If it is a tight one the micky mouse methods will damage your barrel and or the plug. There are lots of makeshift ways and they will usually damage something. IF you do not have a barrel vice and spanner it is a crap shoot you will usually loose. TC is not like any other ML breech plugs. I am advising the correct way to do it. Giving advice based on speculation is not fair to the OP.
 
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