Recessed crown

Discussion in 'The Gun Builder's Bench' started by theoldredneck, Jun 12, 2019.

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum by donating:

  1. Jun 12, 2019 #1

    theoldredneck

    theoldredneck

    theoldredneck

    40 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Alabama
    Didnt want to hijack crown thread with this question. Watched a guy loading and shooting a muzzleloader rifle that had a recessed crown. It was made so the patched ball could be thumb seated smooth with end of bore. Then seated with ramrod. Is this something from old traditional muzzleloaders or something that the builder of this gun did to make loading easier? He said gun was that way when he got it years ago. Don't know who built it or when. No name or markings, full length stock, percussion, double triggers, very nice old gun, 45 caliber. It wouldn't be hard to recess a crown if it was something traditional. I'm learning the old craftsmen were capable of doing some amazing work with what they had to work with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. Jun 12, 2019 #2

    hanshi

    hanshi

    hanshi

    Cannon

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    9,076
    Likes Received:
    292
    I think the recess you're referring to is a cone. A cone is when the first half inch or so of the bore is opened up with a tool that allows a prb to be pushed down even with the muzzle. Although not an especially common mod, some swear by it but some also swear at it. For some guns there is no effect on the accuracy while other owners report accuracy problems after the procedure.

    A simple smoothing of the crown with sandpaper and thumb does as well and with no accuracy degradation; though a short starter is still usually needed.
     
  3. Jun 12, 2019 #3

    FishDFly

    FishDFly

    FishDFly

    69 Cal.

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    4,369
    Likes Received:
    214
    What is the difference between coning and crowing barrel and the advantages and disadvantages to each?
     
  4. Jun 12, 2019 #4

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

    40 Cal.

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    118
    Location:
    Colorado
    Here's a smooth traditional crown and a coned one both 54 calibre. I haven't a recessed crown to show but the ones I've seen on TC rifles are straight reamed into the muzzle. The TC recess is I believe is for starting a saboted bullet. The original rifles I have seen that were in good shape are not coned. Having no problem with loading a traditional muzzle I haven't tried any other.
    [​IMG]IMG_0421 by Oliver Sudden, on Flickr
     
    Woodnbow and Artificer like this.
  5. Jun 12, 2019 #5

    Eterry

    Eterry

    Eterry

    45 Cal.

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    139
    As I understand it, Crowning the muzzle recesses the lands and grooves so they aren't flush with the muzzle and coning is actually opening up the last half inch or so of the bore, with a tool or abrasives, so the ball will start easier without the need for a short starter.

    You rarely see a rifle barrel that isn't crowned...sometimes not much, just a small ring at the muzzle, and sometimes more pronounced like the target crown on modern rifles. The thought is you want metal at the muzzle that protects the lands and grooves from being damaged by dropping, hitting something hard like a rock while hunting, and so forth. One ding on the lands and there goes any accuracy you had. This has been proven so many many times in monthly magazines. Crowning is also a way of smoothing up the lands and grooves, for the same reasons...accuracy. The point where the bullet leaves the muzzle is probably the most important relating to accuracy. Any minor flaw or imperfection will distort the bullet's path.

    To the contrary, you rarely see a rifle barrel that is coned, it was a method of easing the loading process back in the day when you didn't want to lug around a short starter. As stated above...some swear by and other swear at the process.

    I think much more is placed on having a tight patched ball then 150 years ago, target shooting excluded.

    When I got my 45 CVA, I was 14 and used a .440 ball. I read where you needed pillow ticking for patches. I had no idea what it looked like, (this was in 1979) so I asked my mom to get some from the fabric store. She brought me home a yard of cloth with pretty flowers and such. I used it, it loaded pretty easy, I didn't even need a short starter. I killed squirrels, birds, rabbits, turkeys, coyote, snakes, lizards...every small critter in the woods with few misses.

    A couple years later (I was still working on using up a yard of cloth), a ML shooter saw my patching and said it was WAY TOO thin. Mom had gotten pillow case material, not ticking.
    He cut me off a piece of blue stripe ticking...and i needed a short starter. I'm still using one, btw.
     
    FishDFly and Baxter like this.
  6. Jun 13, 2019 #6

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Moderator Staff Member MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    28,504
    Likes Received:
    1,171
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    A crowned muzzle on a muzzleloading gun has a short, smooth shape that removes the sharp edges of the bore and rifling at the muzzle. It rarely removes very much material and the rifling can be easily seen.

    A coned muzzle often extends an inch or more down the bore with a taper. The taper removes most if not all of the rifling at the muzzle. Because the rifling at the muzzle is removed the patched ball can be easily started into the bore with thumb pressure.
    Coned barrels also have the sharp edges of the cone broken or dulled so there are no sharp edges.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2019 #7

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

    40 Cal.

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    118
    Location:
    Colorado
    By the way I don’t use a short starter to load a traditional crowned muzzle with pillow ticking and in this rifle .530 ball.
     
  8. Jun 13, 2019 #8

    MSW

    MSW

    MSW

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Messages:
    7,183
    Likes Received:
    61
    while many decry the use of a cone as the best way to destroy accuracy, my results don't seem to have any adverse effect (I will confess to not being a very good shot, so the comment that my barrels can all shoot better than I can hold them is not really that complimentary).

    If you have a 'tackdriver' barrel, I would leave it as it is.

    I like my coned barrels because they're much easier to load.

    just one guy's observation: free and no doubt well worth the price.
     
    Coot likes this.
  9. Jun 13, 2019 #9

    Grimord

    Grimord

    Grimord

    Fyrstyk MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    618
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    SE CT
    I have a T/C barrel with one of the infamous QLA muzzles (Quick Load Accurizer) I hate it. The cone is too deep into the barrel, which has caused me to have trouble loading a patched ball because sometimes the patch gets dragged off to one side so that the ball is no longer centered on the patch which throws accuracy out the window. I have been thinking of having the barrel shortened and re-crowned to ease loading, but haven't got around to it yet.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2019 #10

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Moderator Staff Member MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    28,504
    Likes Received:
    1,171
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I don't own one but as I understand it, the T/C QLA muzzle has a large, straight diameter, slightly larger than the groove diameter in the barrel.
    Because these are made for loading conical bullets which may be engraved by the rifling, the rifling edges at the bottom of the QLA are left fairly sharp.

    While this might be good for loading things like the REAL bullets, it also could create problems for a patched ball.
    (One of my requirements for a patched roundball barrel is the edges of the rifling and where the bore meets the crown must be dull so they don't cut the patch.)
     
  11. Jun 14, 2019 #11

    theoldredneck

    theoldredneck

    theoldredneck

    40 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Alabama
    The great thing about asking questions here is people answer and explain why they like or don't like something. What he has looked good and works for him. I think about what MSW said about "If you have a tackdriver barrel, I would leave it as is." Probably try it on a build or rebuild some day. I can't see modifying something I have that shoots good with the negative replys. The old "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies. Thanks to everyone that replied. The photos Phil Coffins posted were great. The guys barrel looked more like Zonies description than the photos. His was deeper, about a patched balls diameter deep. Looked like reamer had been ran in and just removed rifling. It wouldn't be hard to duplicate, but there is no guarantee it would be accurate. Having to cut barrel and recrown a muzzleloader with full length stock and nose cap wouldn't be fun. Thanks again for all replies
     
  12. Jun 14, 2019 #12

    Grimord

    Grimord

    Grimord

    Fyrstyk MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    618
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    SE CT
    Zonie: I agree with you that the QLA system was designed most likely for conical bullets. I have no idea why they put it on my custom Renegade with 30" barrel with a 1:66 round ball twist. Makes loading patched round balls tricky to start.
     
  13. Jun 19, 2019 #13

    Captjoel

    Captjoel

    Captjoel

    45 Cal.

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2009
    Messages:
    995
    Likes Received:
    29
    There was a time during the mid-late percussion era that a few rifles were made where the barrel's muzzle was "honed" out to accept a specially made ball starter. The starters shank fit the barrels recess like a glove.

    I have owned one small bore rifle with this feature that was made in New York state around 1860 ish. Unfortunately, the ball starter was lost before I acquired the rifle and all of my pictures of this rifle were lost as well.

    From reading the OP's description of his friends rifle, I believe it may very well be a gun with this honed muzzle feature.
     
  14. Jun 19, 2019 #14

    BillinOregon

    BillinOregon

    BillinOregon

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,825
    Likes Received:
    127
    Green Mountain also offered a recessed crown on some of its T/C replacement barrels.
     
  15. Jun 19, 2019 #15

    jbwilliams3

    jbwilliams3

    jbwilliams3

    45 Cal.

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    10
    When you examine original rifle bores, you will see that most have been filed down a bit, to allow a patched roundball to be started without a mallet. While starting a roundball can be done relatively easily with modern crowns (though usually done with a short starter), it is nearly impossible to start a tight fitting PRB on an uncrowned muzzle without a mallet. Mike Miller is one builder amongst several I’ve seen who finishes their rifles by filing a period correct relief with a small file on the lands of the rifling at the muzzle. It’s subtle, and not altogether noticeable especially on older guns with a lot of patina build up. I’m not sure about the commonality of the more pronounced coning, though using one of those coning tools (such as Joe Woods used to sell) without being too aggressive would probably achieve a similar result of the more subtle hand filing that Mike Miller does.



    I’ve had one hand relieved rifle (without the modern crown) and a rifle that had been crowned and later coned. Both shot well.
     
    rich pierce likes this.
  16. Jun 21, 2019 #16

    Artificer

    Artificer

    Artificer

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    9,194
    Likes Received:
    733
    I have become convinced the original (up through the 18th century and into the early 19th century) purpose for having a slight angled chamfer/angle around the outer edge of the bore was to ensure there was not a sharp edge to cut the patch, which will result in poor groups on the target. The idea is not unlike modern machinists who "break" the sharp edges on machined metal, so there no burrs on the edges or corners. The Rifle Crown on the left of Phil Collins' Post Number 4 is similar to how it was done most of the time, though it was usually done by hand.

    I have yet to see an original rifle in most of the time period of this forum, that was "coned" as is done by modern angled piloted cutting tools or those meant to be used with Emery Cloth (Sand Paper for metal). The CLOSEST thing to that in the 18th century was when some gunsmiths rounded the edges by hand filing for both the lands and grooves of the bore. However, those hand rounded crowns were not nearly as deep as modern "coned" muzzles. I don't know how common the hand rounded crown was, but it seems to only show up in more expensive rifles. However, those hand rounded crowns seem to have fallen out of favor by the early 19th century on many/most rifles.

    I also don't think they understood how important a good uniform crown was in the old days. They "freshed out the Rifling" on Iron Barrels when the rifle accuracy fell off and that took care of a muzzle that had eroded into a non uniform shape at the same time. They also then made sure the crown did not have a sharp edge.

    I have also become convinced they did not load balls that were as close to bore size as we do today. So there was no need for a short starter. The most it seems they used was the wood grip of a knife to push the patched ball into the barrel, then just held the ramrod close to the muzzle to start the ball.

    I like to use my 11 degree included angle or 79 degree angled piloted cutting tool to "touch up" or "re-crown" the muzzle. This is a gentle enough angle that works well to keep from cutting patches and by using the pilot, it centers the angle or makes the crown uniform all the way around.

    Gus
     
    Pete G and Phil Coffins like this.
  17. Jun 21, 2019 #17

    bpd303

    bpd303

    bpd303

    69 Cal.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    3,338
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Carroll County, Arkansas
  18. Jun 22, 2019 #18

    JB67

    JB67

    JB67

    36 Cl.

    Joined:
    May 2, 2019
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    NY's Hudson Valley
    Coning, or relieving, is a very slight flaring of the bore at the muzzle. Doing a web search on it brings back interesting and educational results. It appears to have been fairly common, and I suspect more so than we realize. It can be anywhere from about a half inch deep tp 4 inches. The deeper coning would be harder to notice just looking at the barrel. I'd be curious to see the results of some hands-on measurements of antiques.

    I coned my CVA Frontier. I can start my loads with just my ramrod, and it's still plenty accurate, more so than I am.
     
  19. Jun 22, 2019 #19

    jrdavis

    jrdavis

    jrdavis

    40 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    30
    when I read about the development of the Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifle the one point that stands out over it's predecessor the Jaeger rifle is ease of loading. Our rifles we not just used to hunt as they were in the old country but for defense against bands of hostile Indians intend on doing harm to them. having a rifle that was easy to load, was and asset tho them. I think when our sport was re-birthed back in the early part of the 20th century every one was still influenced with Harry Pope. that being said how many of the old rifles were freshen out, we have no way of knowing. I believe the were coned all along...all the ones I shoot are coned and I like not having to use a short starter.
     
  20. Jun 23, 2019 #20

    Artificer

    Artificer

    Artificer

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    9,194
    Likes Received:
    733
    Before I begin, please allow me to say that whether or not someone wishes to use coning on their muzzle is completely up to them.

    However, as to historical use or absence thereof, if one believes something close to modern coning was done, then I ask where is the evidence?

    One would expect that if coning was popular in the 19th century, when the technology of the Industrial Revolution would have made it much easier for riflesmiths to accomplish, then there should be plenty of original percussion half stock rifles that have coned muzzles. OK, so where are they? Further, if it was deemed advantageous, then it would have been done after the rifling was "refreshed" and/or the bore opened up to a larger caliber. So again, where is the evidence? Unlike 18th century American made rifles, there is a much, MUCH larger quantity of these rifles extant and such coning should be easy to document.

    In the 18th century and especially during the AWI when the advantage if not need to have coned muzzles for extended fast reloading for combat, what evidence do we have of what they actually did to really speed up loading? What is most often historically documented is after the barrels got too fouled to easily load a PRB, they usually shot bare balls. There is a very tiny amount of documentation they used smaller diameter balls after the barrel became fouled, but not much documentation. After all, that would have required either a Rifleman having a second mold or been just lucky that someone else's mold was just the right size for his rifle. In the days of everything having been handmade and NO precision measuring instruments, no wonder there is so little documentation of using smaller balls as a battle went on.

    OK, so where is the documentation of the tools that 18th century gunsmiths used to "cone" muzzles as deeply as is done in modern times? I'm completely open to evidence showing such tools were available and used, but there is absolutely no evidence I know of to support that theory; either by original tools or letters, or diaries, or log books or probate inventories.

    As I mentioned earlier, there IS evidence on some 18th century rifles where they hand filed rounded edges into both the lands and grooves of the rifling, but that is nothing like modern coning.

    For living history and trying to be HC/PC, then modern theories are not enough to validate what was done in the period without supporting evidence.

    Again, not trying to say folks should not have it done to their modern replica rifles if they prefer, but there really is no evidence of any kind that coning as we know it today was done in the period.

    Gus
     
    Pete G, Phil Coffins and hawkeye2 like this.

Share This Page

arrow_white