New Dickert Slow Build Start & Opinions On Colerain Barrels

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Cpl. Ashencheeks, May 5, 2019.

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  1. May 5, 2019 #1

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

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    I really thought my first serious flint build was going to be a Southern Poor Boy rifle, but somehow I got side-tracked from what I considered my dream rifle and recently started up with a Pennsylvania Long Rifle in the Jacob Dickert configuration.

    I have already purchased a non-inlet pre-shaped stock, and just ordered a Colerain barrel and flared breech plug in .45 caliber at 13/16" dia. straight octagon with the 1 in 56" twist. I intend on doing this build in short sections as my finances are limited to buying only a few parts at a time rather than buy a whole kit.

    I for the most part am confident in my ability to carve the inlet area of the lock and for all the other areas of the stock that need carving attention. Since this is a slow build and the stock has no lock inlet yet, I still have time to decide what kind of lock to use in this rifle, but I will probably most likely stick with the Dickert lock. Perhaps after I finish this build, I will get to the Southern Poor Boy starting from a stock blank rather than something pre-shaped.

    As far as the barrel is concerned from what I understand the rounded rifling grooves on Colerain barrels are supposed to make them easier to clean. I am not sure if it is true or not, but one of the other sale pitches I have heard on these barrels is that patches might make a more complete seal into the rifling.

    What advantages or disadvantages might the Colerain barrels have with the 1 in 56" twist compared to slightly slower in 1 in 60" or 1 in 66" twists?
     
  2. May 5, 2019 #2

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

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    In a .45 you want a faster twist than in larger calibers.
     
  3. May 5, 2019 #3

    S.Kenton

    S.Kenton

    S.Kenton

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    My experiences with Colerain barrels are quite good. I have a 45 currently. But in the past I had a 50 and a 54.. all very very accurate and all very easy to clean compared to the other types of rifling available... you won’t be disappointed.
     
  4. May 5, 2019 #4

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    Is this your first build, or simply first flintlock build? You have not made that clear. I'm only asking this because of your desire to build from a blank at some point. I'd make sure I had plenty of experience in inletting etc before attempting anything from a blank. Some day I may just attempt a build from a blank, however that day hasn't arrived yet. I'm only on my third build and IMO that isn't enough experience to go right to a blank.
     
  5. May 5, 2019 #5

    EC121

    EC121

    EC121

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    I have several Colerain and Rice barrels. Both are fine barrels. My Colerains are .54s, because I could get a good deal on them. For me the deep round grooves don't clean any better than the square ones. They also end up using a thicker patch to seal better. The Rice barrels are no better in that area. I ended up using a smaller ball and thicker patch to get a good seal and easier loading. Polishing the crown helps\ed loading some, but I could still see where the patches were blowing until I went to .023" patches and a .526 ball. A .530 might work, but I had some .526s. When I run out of them, maybe I'll try the others.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  6. May 5, 2019 #6

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

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    The faster twist for a smaller ball seems to make sense when you consider squirrel rifles usually have twists set anywhere from 1 in 48 and faster.

    Sidney, this would be just be my first flintlock build. I have built two kits which only required fitting, finishing and some minor metal work and metal finishing.

    I do have one scratch build from a maple plank of a hunting matchlock rifle that is almost finished. I made the lock parts from scratch and have already inlet the lock plate area, the barrel channel and lug inlets, the ramrod groove and drilled the ramrod hole to the breech end of barrel.

    The few problems I have encountered from carving this stock from an available wood plank was that the plank was not broad enough to accommodate the drop at the heel of the flared buttstock, so I just added an additional piece at the butt of the rifle. Other than that I had some minor problems with lining up the holes for the barrel lug pins, but those problems have since been resolved.

    Before I might get to the flintlock Poor Boy, I might do another scratch build of a short barreled matchlock of either a Caliver or Spanish Arquebus designs.

    I do have some very nice Addis & Sons chisels that have stayed very sharp for years even after moderate use. For any use of a carver's mallet I only use my cheaper chisels. I have done Viking spoons, carved faces, and even mock wooden tools like screwdrivers with just pocket knives; so as long as I am slow and careful when shaping and inletting and the wood cooperates I should be alright.

    Thank you all for the replies and I guess it really does not matter if I had purchased either a Colerain or a Green Mountain barrel. I think would have been satisfied with either. The Rice barrels cost a little more than I want to spend right now.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  7. May 6, 2019 #7

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

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    I have a Colerain on my .54 Lancaster deer rifle I built around 20 years ago. As for cleaning, I've had rifles with square bottom rifling and round bottom, I think the round bottom does clean a little easier and faster, I like the round bottom.
    I built a turkey rifle with a rice B profile 40. caliber barrel. It took this barrel a long time to start shooting well but now it's a one holer if I do my part. Comparying my Rice to my Colerain, the Colerain started shooting tight groups right off. I've done nothing to the bore and I shoot a .530 RB with either .015 patch for ease of loading or .018 for hunting. Here's a photo of a 3 shot group, this rifle will do this every time if I do my part.
    [​IMG]
     
    Shot deer and shane a gress like this.
  8. May 6, 2019 #8

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

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    Back in the day most gunshops had one rifling bench with one twist rate and it was, more often than not, one turn in 48”. I’ve been re-cutting rifling on original barrels lately and most I’ve worked on are 1 in 48. I guess that suggests that such a twist rate works across s variety of calibers.
     
  9. May 7, 2019 #9

    billraby

    billraby

    billraby

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    Building from a blank is easier than building from a pre-carved stock.
     
  10. May 7, 2019 #10

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi,
    This comment is probably too late but I would not choose a 13/16" diameter barrel for a Dickert. All the Colerain barrels I've used were good shooters but often needed a bit more work cleaning up the outsides than Rice barrels. A 13/16" barrel will result in a thin breech and wrist area unless the lock has a very thick bolster. You can use a shim to kick out the tail of the lock creating a wider wrist. I am no fan of any L&R locks so I would probably use a Siler. However, I must admit that the last 2 Siler locks I used (from Chambers directly) were mediocre at best and needed a lot of work. I eventually turned them into good locks but the locks when received were disappointments. For an early Dickert, I likely would use a swamped barrel at least 1 1/16" at the breech and then work over either a Chambers early Germanic lock or Davis' early colonial lock.

    dave
     
  11. May 14, 2019 #11

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

    Cpl. Ashencheeks

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    You are correct about being too late because the straight octagon stock had already been delivered as well a Colerain barrel in 13/16". I still have not ordered a lock and still have some time to consider what kind to use.

    I am not quite sure what you mean by that size barrel resulting in a thin breech and wrist area, but perhaps when it comes time to carve the lock inlet this issue will become more apparent. Do you mean that I should add more wood at the tail end of the lock?

    Currently I am in the process of lightly draw filing the barrel flats and fitting the breech plug which is a tiny bit too long against the internal shoulder leaving a .0937" gap between the back of the barrel and breech plug tang face. The flared plug also has not yet been indexed to bottom flat where the barrel information writing is.

    After this I will be fitting the barrel in stock which is one process that worries me a little considering how fragile the full stock seems for the length of the barrel channel.

    The reason I choose the 13/16" barrel is because I thought it might make the rifle fairly light for carrying in the field.
     
  12. May 14, 2019 #12

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi CA,
    I don't know how experienced you are building muzzleloaders so let me assume you are fairly new to it. I apologize if I am wrong about that. Forty years ago, when I built my first gun, I chose a 13/16" straight barrel in 45 caliber and 42" long. I chose it because I thought it would be light and it was relatively cheap. At that time my sole sources of info were the Dixie Gunworks catalog, Kaufmann's book on the Pennsylvania-Kentucky rifle, and a little how-to book by Bill McCory. The barrel was a poor choice. It was fairly heavy and the balance was terrible. Moreover, I could not begin to build a rifle like the ones I liked in Kaufmann's book because the breech dimension was too narrow unlike any of the original guns I admired. I teach seminars at Dixon's on how to shape the wrist and lock panels from a blank. In that seminar, I describe a typical scenario for new builders in which they buy a 13/16" barrel and Siler lock. With that combination, the width at the tail of the lock panel will be no more than 1 3/16". If you taper that in properly toward the wrist the width at the wrist may be as little as 1 1/16". The end result for most new builders is the stock cross section at the wrist looks like a 2x4 on edge with the corners rounded off rather than a nice fat oval. In addition, instead of shaping the wrist nice and round and letting that process naturally form the lock panels, the new builder chisels in a border around the lock before the wrist is fully shaped. Once they do that, they have almost no chance of avoiding 2 x 4 architecture with a 13/16" barrel. A competent gun maker can make a pretty good southern mountain rifle of later period Pennsylvania rifle with a 13/16" barrel if they are careful but not earlier colonial and Rev War period rifles. You purchased a stock already profiled so that should be a plus. You might want to wait for the stock to see how much wood is left around the lock and side plate panels before selecting a lock.

    dave
     
  13. May 14, 2019 #13

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    In what ways?
     
  14. May 14, 2019 #14

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    The squirrel rifle I'm building, I chose a 13/16ths wide barrel, and a siler lock. I too bought a precarve (from Pecatonica River), however they recommended the aforementioned barrel size, and also a 7/8ths wide I think. Both were available for the Verner stock I picked. Since mine is a .32 I didn't think a 7/8 ths wide .32 caliber would make sense(do they even bore barrels that wide in .32, not sure), as it would be extremely heavy. The advantage of the precarve ,especially one from Pecatonica is, they tell you which locks they recommend will fit. Mine has plenty of room, in fact too much room around the lock, and will be trimmed away when the time comes.
     
  15. May 14, 2019 #15

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    I'll be interested in how carving a full stock longrifle out of a blank hunk of wood is easier than using a pre-carve as a basic starting place when building a rifle.

    Having built over 13 pre-carved stocks into rifles and carved one pistol from a block of wood leaves me wondering.

    IMO, just getting the basic stock shape can be a challenge as there are small but important differences in just the shape of the butt as is shown in this picture from a Dixie catalog.
     
  16. May 14, 2019 #16

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    I don't know why but I can't edit my last post to add the picture.

    Let's try again.

    upload_2019-5-14_10-31-34.png
     
  17. May 14, 2019 #17

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

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    When building from a precarve one is totally constrained.

    One needs to do a lot of backwards fiddling if the lock is inlet. The barrel must be moved to get the touchhole positioned right. One cannot lower the barrel to get a slimmer web between barrel and ramrod groove because then the touchhole will be too high on the barrel.

    The buttplate is much harder to inlet on a precarve versus a square blank.

    Worse is a pre-made nosecap on a precarve resulting in the ramrod 1/8” lower than nosecap. Happens a lot, looks bad, and collects grass and vines.

    If there’s a pre-made sideplate and it is inlet, now one is really constrained. All one can make us that rifle with precisely that architecture.

    For anyone who likes to make guns based on particular originals, precarves are a major hindrance.

    Furthermore most have issues that must be fixed.
     
  18. May 14, 2019 #18

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    Your comment about the pre-inlet lock is a valid point but I know that Pecatonica River will supply all of their stocks without the lock mortise cut if the buyer asks for it that way. That allows the builder to change the lock style to whatever is needed. Not having the lock mortise cut also allows the builder to lower the barrel channel and position the lock to suit it.

    Because all of the pre-carved stocks have extra wood on all of their surfaces I think of them as just being "rough stock" for what I want to build. If the stock has more wood on its shape than the final gun should have, (for instance you buy a stock with a high comb on it but you want your gun to have a lower comb) the excess wood can be removed easily.
    That gives the builder a piece of wood that is somewhat close and it comes with the barrel channel and ramrod hole already drilled.
    If the gun is going to use a swamped barrel, just having the barrel channel in an almost finished condition can save the builder hours of work. :)
     
  19. May 14, 2019 #19

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

    rich pierce

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    Different strokes for different folks. Lots of builders I know get their swamped barrels inlet into a blank and ramrod groove cut and the hole drilled. Good move for folks counting their time.
     
  20. May 15, 2019 #20

    45man

    45man

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    I hung out at the Log Cabin in Ohio a lot and he had a large selection of pre carved. It was hard to find parts to fit. Most stocks were warped since wood was cut before fully dry. If you inlay without dry, inlays can pop out. The fit to a human was missing and raising to the shoulder with a barrel in would have you hunt for sights. I suppose the worst was I used to carve my stocks and there was not enough wood. They are like the fully engraved, fancy patch boxes sold where there is no way on earth to inlay them. I made my own boxes from sheet brass, inlayed and engraved after. I left wood 1/8" proud to carve, made my nose caps with ramrod grooves and all the thimbles and side plates.
    Then there was price when making a few bucks an hour. I found a Kiln that sent me a card when they opened one so I could pick wood. I would get a large plank of curly for $30 and get 4 rifles from it. Still not dry enough out of a kiln. I had to pass on a plank of curly cherry when out of money.
    When I moved here I would use an Alaskan chainsaw mill to plank trees that fell in my woods, dry them and built guns stocks and furniture.
     

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