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DUNKS

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Hi my first post after my intro and it's a question. I have just obtained my first muzzle loader here in the UK it's a 16 gauge Birmingham double gun and I intend to shoot it .It's 200 years old and in excellent condition. Question is the touch holes in the nipples are badly blocked and I intend to drill them out. What size drill do I use please? Not much black powder shot here in the UK It's classed as anti social and expensive! BUT lots of lovely guns available.
 

bisleyjohn

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Sorry friend, I have to disagree. BP shooting is not antisocial, just the opposite. Almost every time I shoot a stranger will make himself known and want to chat. And not expensive either. My nitro rifles cost between £1.00 and £2.00 per bang at home load prices. My BP guns, rifle about 30p. Pistol half that. However, to answer your question, I would get it professionally sorted, how much is your eyesight worth? Welcome to the forum. Heaps of good stuff and lots if good guys here. :thumb:
 

DUNKS

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Hi John. It's not me who thinks it's anti social but local clay grounds who ban black powder shooting. Also folk looking to start shooting black powder 12g cartridges see that a box costs £28 and that is looked on as expensive. I do load my own but compared with nitro 12g it's still twice the price. Yes the gun is going into a gunsmith.
 

bisleyjohn

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Are you a member of the MLAGB? They hold regular BP shotgun shoots. I haven’t tried BP shotgun - yet! I have a few (unmentionable here) toys to sell first.
 

DUNKS

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Tried to join but they are not accepting new members at the moment.
 

Zonie

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In my opinion, the nipple will probably have a larger hole, around .090" part way thru it. There will be a smaller hole somewhere along the length of the nipple and its size should be around .026" to .030" in diameter. The smaller hole will allow the flame from the percussion cap to ignite the powder charge but minimizes the amount of gas that will blow back out of the nipple when the gun fires.

If England uses a numbering system for its drill bits, the right size drill would be a #70 (.028") or a #71 (.026"). In a pinch, a 1/32" drill bit could be used but I wouldn't recommend anything larger than that.

As with all old original guns, I recommend having the barrel "Magnafluxed" (Magnetic Particle Inspection). The person doing this test needs to know that the meal may have small localized "non-metalic inclusions" in it due to the quality of the metal used in the time period when the gun was made. If there aren't too many inclusions, the barrel should be acceptable. If there are any actual cracks in the barrel, they would render the gun as "un-shootable".
 

DUNKS

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Thank you Zonie. Just what I wanted .From what you say the nipples on my gun seem to be OK they do have quite a tiny hole in the top with an open chamber underneath. I will check the actual dia of the holes tomorrow with my wire gauges. Thanks again. The barrels will be going to a competent gunsmith used to working with firearms.
 

toot

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what a word-TOUCH HOLE. is it the same as a VENT HOLE ?
 

Pukka Bundook

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Toot,
The old word is touchhole. (Flintlock)
A touchhole lets something In, a Vent lets something out.
A detonator had a vent in the early days, to vent a little pressure, as they thought with no touchhole, that the pressure could cause problems.
Why so many call a touchhole a vent these days, I can not say.

Welcome Dunks!
(Ex Yorkshire here...North Riding.)
The nipples can have the hole narrower at top, middle (like an hour glass) or bottom. New nipples are available, but the old ones may be fine if cleaned.
If the barrels ring soundly when suspended from a string, they will most likely be good to use. If they thunk/clunk, they are unsound in some way, loose rib or whatnot. Try from a saw-horse for a start though and work up slowly, fired by length of string.
Please post some photos of the gun when you can. :)
All the best,
Richard.
 

DUNKS

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Thanks Richard. Although I do take onboard all you say my family have been collecting hammerguns for years. I almost exclusively shoot 12 g blackpowder which I load myself. Just never had a percussion shotgun. First thing we do is "ring" the barrels. These on my new gun would put our local church to shame. I have checked the "touch holes" and am frankly amazed at how tiny these holes should be (see post by Zonie) Mine are considerably bigger. I will consider photos.
 

Greg Blackburn

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I've heard "touch hole" before and "touch em off" for "shooting something."

I've heard "touch X off" for igniting explosives.

Dang.....I know a lot of older sayings!

DUNKS....welcome to the forum and good luck with your shotgun.
 

Zonie

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what a word-TOUCH HOLE. is it the same as a VENT HOLE ?
In my opinion, when you see either "touch hole" or "vent hole" when someone is talking about flintlocks, they mean the hole in the barrel or breech that is located right next to the lock's pan. It is the hole that the flash from the priming powder goes thru to set off the main powder charge.

I'm not alone in this thinking. Track of the Wolf calls the threaded liner with the hole thru it a "Vent Liner". Their catalog under this listing also adds:
"(also called a "touchhole", "torch-hole" or "flash hole liner)". "Flash hole liner" is what they call the liner in their index in their Catalog 17.
 

toot

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In my opinion, when you see either "touch hole" or "vent hole" when someone is talking about flintlocks, they mean the hole in the barrel or breech that is located right next to the lock's pan. It is the hole that the flash from the priming powder goes thru to set off the main powder charge.

I'm not alone in this thinking. Track of the Wolf calls the threaded liner with the hole thru it a "Vent Liner". Their catalog under this listing also adds:
"(also called a "touchhole", "torch-hole" or "flash hole liner)". "Flash hole liner" is what they call the liner in their index in their Catalog 17.
thank you for the reply.
 

toot

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Few photos of my new 1840 muzzle loader. There are two silver plugs one each side of the breech end of the barrels. I have seen this on other guns. Anyone know what they are?
Thanks.
it is a beauty. hope you shoot it and let us know it works?
 

Pukka Bundook

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V nice gun, Dunks.
The platinum discs you see are vents. I can not see them in the photos, but they should have a tiny hole in the centre to let of a little bit of pressure.
Many of these are blocked, but no worries.
Originally, caps were a bit too powerful, and the cap firing could start a load prior to proper ignition, or so it was thought. Plus, it was also thought that a percussion should vent off a little pressure as they shot harder on the shoulder than a flint, and were accordingly loaded down a little from a flint gun.
(See Hawker, Instructions to young Sportsmen)
Thus a couple of the reasons for the vent.
I have one or two vented in this manner.

Best,
R.
 

BadDaditood

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Lovely fowling piece, even though it’s not a flinter. :doh:
I blame the cannon guys for the touchhole mess, They started it!!!
 

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