Smoothbore help needed

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kentucky bucky

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My next big project will be a fusil or a fowler type long gun. My problem is that I will want to keep it in my safe, and the barrel needs to be as short as possible. What is the shortest smoothie, in a .62, that will throw a decent pattern and still look right? Also, what company offers such a beast in a kit or component set?
 

roundball

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There is the "Jackie Brown Canoe Gun"...a short barreled smoothbore...don't know if it's offered in a kit though
 

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Telling us what the measurement limit is might help some!

Jackie brown's canoe guns are mostly done on the NW trade gun pattern and would not look right for your area Bucky. He might offer one on another style though. I think he even offers a "blanket gun" cut down to nearly nothing.

I would try Caywood also. Their game gun is an excellent short smoothie in several calibers and I believe they offer it in the white.

If you are planning on building this one from a kit why not order what you want and then buy a good quality hacksaw?

I'm not kidding or being a SA. If you have the ability to finish from most kits you also have the ability to saw and square the tube to the length you desire, reposition the rod pipes and reshape the forend to suit your needs and do a good job with it. That way you will get exactly the gun you want in one of a kind form.

I have cut down literally hundreds of shotgun barrels, at customer request, over the years. The real key is a good quality hacksaw blade and a machinist square. Mark the cut square, stay on the mark (hard to do with a Walmart blade) and clean the cut up with files and constant reference to the square. This used to be a standard procedure posted and priced on the work list. $25 for 30 minutes work and good money at the time.

If you special order a shortie from J. Brown or Caywood that is exactly what they are going to do! They might go so far as to trim the tube on a layte, but you can have that done too. A layte cut, couple of licks with a file, brush the burrs with sandpaper and add $100 to your bill.

Less is more!

BTW Rogers Rangers cut the barrels of their Bess carbines down to 30" during the F&I War. You will be in good company.
:thumbsup:
 

musketman

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Lets see, you could cut a hole in the top of your safe to allow you to make a full length fusil or fowler... :rolleyes: :crackup:

I agree with ghost, :eek: we do need to know the inner dimension of your safe to get an idea of the max length for this musket...
 

kentucky bucky

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I'm limited to about 54"+/- over all length. I have other guns that are a bit longer and it's a bear sometimes getting them in there good enough to close the door! I've contemplated cutting a hole and welding an extension onto the top, but my wife won't let me weld in the house! :nono: Plus the paint is poisonous from the factory to deter cutting torches! Would a 36" barrel be enough to look and shoot decent or would it have to be 38" or 39"?


Thanks for the info so far!
 

musketman

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A 36 inch barrel would look OK, IMO...
Don't see why it wouldn't unless you are trying to be period correct...


Its a shame you don't want a bess, they have a carbine with an overall length of 47 1/2 inches...
 

kentucky bucky

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I love the looks of the fusils and/or club butt fowlers, although I have no problem with a bess. Do they make quality bess kits in the carbine lenth?
 

kentucky bucky

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That would be fine as I already have a 14 bore shotgun! So, what do they call a short Bess? I've heard of an ""Elliot", I think it's called, that was shorter. Is the "sea service" bess much shorter than the land patterns?
 

Musketeer

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Bucky, Dixie offers a Pedersoli Bess carbine in kit form. It's got a 30.5" barrel in .75 cal.(11ga.) and an overall length of 47". Check it out at http://dixiegunworks.com/ and type FR0600 in the search bar. :thumbsup:
 

Wes/Tex

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North Star West also has an Officer's Fusil with a 37" barrel in .675" caliber available in kit, in-the-white, or finished. They also have accessories including waist belt with drop for bayonet & sword holders that actually hold the bayoner and tomahawk they can provide. Belly bullet box, worm to fit the metal ramrod and pattern for paper cartridges. It falls into the officers, sergeants, artillery category...even a modified version of the light dragoon carbine if you could rig up a slide and bar.
 

Musketeer

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Bucky, I durn near forgot! TOTW offers two different English fowler kits. Either kit can be ordered with a 30" or 36" barrel in 20 ga.(.625cal.). Further, both kits sell for just under $600. Go to http://trackofthewolf.com/ and look under their 'Gun Kits' section. These guns look to be of excellent quality, too. Looks like just your thing! :thumbsup:
 

robinghewitt

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So, what do they call a short Bess? I've heard of an ""Elliot", I think it's called, that was shorter. Is the "sea service" bess much shorter than the land patterns?
They called them "short" ::

Sea service tended to be cheap rather than short, but the shortest musket (.75") was the short sea service at 3'6". The shortest carbine (.65") was Paget's at 2'7", weighed only 5lb.

Elliot's carbine was 3'7
 

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So- it would appear the 30" barreled Bess is not even close to an original issued gun, especially for a .75 cal. The barrel would have to be 35 to 36" in length and with the Sea Service flat butt plate, short trigger guard, probably wooden rod and cheaply whacked from a piece of timber. That isn't to say some enterprising individual didn't shorten a Shortland Pattern to that length as in those days, shortening was just difficult but not impossible. Not too many people had metal cutting saws.
 

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Any competent blacksmith at any military post or in any village would have had the capability of cutting down any musket barrel. They forged them by hand and had the capability of trimming them if needed. Hacksaws were part of the blacksmiths kit, along with proper files for finishing. Check with Colonial Williamsburg.

Hacksaws were just not in every tool box on every farm in those days.

Even the Native Americans in remote areas managed to cut down their fusils, or trim off the ragged stubs of barrel when they blew, keeping them usable for extended periods.

Build the smooth bore of your choice and shorten it to the length you desire. As I posted before. Rogers Rangers did the same, shortening their Bess Carbines to 30". It's not issue length, but is PC, as is shortening of any firearm when necessity required it.

I myself, have shortened modern firearms to meet my needs on many occasions, all legal I assure you (except for that shotgun I carried back in '72 when bad people were trying to do bad things to me. That was a bit stubby!). I once did a very professional trim on a .22 autopistol so it would fit in the clove box of an AMC Gremlin (showing my age here).

I thought they called them "CARbines" because they were short enough to use inside the car!!! Guess they would have been wagonbines beck then. :hmm:

The artifacts show that our ancestors did the same things we do. If you are fighting in the woods or close in and the barrel is too long you cut that sucker off! If you are running buffalo you cut it even shorter! I can see that 18th century frontiersman right now, rubbing his chin, trying to decide if cutting his $.50 musket barrel down is going to be a confusing factor to some 21st century history buff! :hmm: :crackup:

We can only offer opinions. You must make your own choices, just as you would have made while standing in front of the blacksmith as he reached for his hacksaw.

Unlike us today, they had the option of doing anything to any gun they owned with out repurcussions from the legal system.
 

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I didn't realize I'd said it could't be done- That's not what I meant. There are so few original cut-down ML's today - if a normal practise I'd expect more would have urvived, but then ther aer so few survivers of anything. I seems to be normal with Indian guns, but few others. Many people believed the barrel had to be long to be effective. Perhaps that's why so few remain today?
 

robinghewitt

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trying to decide if cutting his $.50 musket barrel down is going to be a confusing factor to some 21st century history buff! :hmm: :crackup:
Why don't you ask one? This is the 21st century :crackup:
 

musketman

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Many people believed the barrel had to be long to be effective.
That could have been because of the quality of the powder back then...

The guns needed a longer burn time to ensure the whole charge was consumed...
 

robinghewitt

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So- it would appear the 30" barreled Bess is not even close to an original issued gun
Those were overall lengths not barrels, short sea service was 26", long sea service was 37"

Would you like a copy of the table I'm reading these from?
 
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