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Underhammer Actions?

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JIMHAY97

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I have built an underhammer on the Blue Grouse variant of the H&A action. While it is certainly a reliable and capable rifle, I cannot recommend that style of action for several reasons. For one, they are darn heavy for what they are. For another, the set up of the rear of the breech and the through bolt that attaches the buttstock makes for rather limited geometry options and requires lots more drop than I like. Thus, recoil is more significant than it needs to be. I am not a huge fan of the mainspring trigger guard either.

Finally, it was difficult, in my case, to keep the nipple ahead of the breech plug and yet reachable for the hammer. This may have been due to the way my Blue Grouse action mounts the barrel (screwed, not pinned), but be ware that you want your nipple not only in front of your breech plug but in front if it with a bit of a margin to spare - maybe 1/10" or so, if possible.

Trigger options the H&A are pretty limited, but you can make a decent single, nonset trigger with a bit of tuning.

Overall, I think there are many other underhammer styles I would prefer. The Billinghurst style is better in my opinion, but there are others as well. I cannot comment on the Pete Allen version.
Just curious about why you want the nipple in front of the breech plug. How about a Patent breech plug? The reason I'm asking is because I'm nearly complete with a scratch built rifle and I used a Patent brech plug.
 

hawkeye2

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If you study the H&A action and breeching you'll see that trying to build with a patent breech isn't practical. Nothing is impossible but it would be extremely difficult and absolutely nothing would be gained by it. It would require fabricating a breech from scratch and would add to the gun's complexity. The beauty of the H&A is it's simplicity, fast ignition and very good trigger pull.

I have a Blue Grouse and as near as I can tell he bought everything from Deer Creek and assembled guns and also sold kits. He did do some custom work.
 

Brent

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Just curious about why you want the nipple in front of the breech plug. How about a Patent breech plug? The reason I'm asking is because I'm nearly complete with a scratch built rifle and I used a Patent brech plug.
Well, I suppose you could do that and then defeat one of the two primary advantages of the underhammer.

But we were discussing the pluses and minuses of the H&A action, and it does not incorporate a patent breech.
 

Brent

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If you study the H&A action and breeching you'll see that trying to build with a patent breech isn't practical. Nothing is impossible but it would be extremely difficult and absolutely nothing would be gained by it. It would require fabricating a breech from scratch and would add to the gun's complexity. The beauty of the H&A is it's simplicity, fast ignition and very good trigger pull.

I have a Blue Grouse and as near as I can tell he bought everything from Deer Creek and assembled guns and also sold kits. He did do some custom work.
Nothing from BG is from DC. It is all better made, and he would do it to order, including using 4140 steel if requested, and threading for permanently vs, pinned breech, among other things. It is a nice action for what it is, but I have become disillusioned with the H&A style as I noted in my first post on this thread.
 

lonewolf172

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Nothing from BG is from DC. It is all better made, and he would do it to order, including using 4140 steel if requested, and threading for permanently vs, pinned breech, among other things. It is a nice action for what it is, but I have become disillusioned with the H&A style as I noted in my first post on this thread.
Hi. Which under hammer action are you talking about? I want to build one hopefully after the new year.
 

JBeardNC

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Laurel Mtn Forge browning solution works great and is pretty easy to use. I've did a rifle, a pistol and a few knives with one bottle and still have some left over. I would just steam my bathroom up and hang the barrel from the shower curtain and wipe on the solution. Takes a few coats, but you can get a nice dark chocolate brown with it.
 

lonewolf172

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Laurel Mtn Forge browning solution works great and is pretty easy to use. I've did a rifle, a pistol and a few knives with one bottle and still have some left over. I would just steam my bathroom up and hang the barrel from the shower curtain and wipe on the solution. Takes a few coats, but you can get a nice dark chocolate brown with it.
That's what I'm also looking to use when I built my .54 cal Pectonica River under hammer. Not sure I want my barrel that dark but II may on the action, trigger and trigger guard. Be a nice contras. Great idea about the shower. I didn't think of that.
 

Mark Herman

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Nothing wrong with the H&A actions. I don't care for the thru pin style but have had a few and changed the pin to a cap bolt. I use them to compete in both table and chunk shooting and have made the trigger adjustable which is usually the main concern. They are simple, accurate based on your barrel and relatively inexpensive.
 

lonewolf172

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Nothing wrong with the H&A actions. I don't care for the thru pin style but have had a few and changed the pin to a cap bolt. I use them to compete in both table and chunk shooting and have made the trigger adjustable which is usually the main concern. They are simple, accurate based on your barrel and relatively inexpensive.
This is going to be my very first project after the new year. Pectonica River under hammer kit. .54cal, 32"X1" Green Mountain barrel. Curly Maple stock
 

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Mark Herman

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I didn't think they were making them with single pin actions any more. Check with Deer Creek Products in Waldron Indiana. If their price is comparable with the 3 screw action that is what I would go with. Everything else will be the same.
 

Brent

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Hi. Which under hammer action are you talking about? I want to build one hopefully after the new year.
Blue Grouse's version of the H&A. If I were to build another one, it would be a home built Kendall type action or a Billinghurst from a kit. I would not do another H&A or Blue Grouse type of underhammer.
 

lonewolf172

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Blue Grouse's version of the H&A. If I were to build another one, it would be a home built Kendall type action or a Billinghurst from a kit. I would not do another H&A or Blue Grouse type of underhammer.
I really dont have a choice on actions if I get their complete kit except the H&A or Allen
 

Larry (Omaha)

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"The Gun Works underhammer action is very different from the H&A, however. It has an internal coil spring, rather than using the trigger guard as the mainspring. I believe it is a modern design."

R. Olsen from Herman, NE. made some under hammer pistols, I have one of his boot pistols. You might do a Google search to see if he is still making under hammers and if he made any rifles. Might be worth the effort
Rod is now living in Blair NE. As far as I know he is not doing custom work. Meaning a specific gun for a client. He still makes guns, but just what he wants to make. If someone is really interested in a gun from Rod, PM me and I will ask him.
Flintlocklar🇺🇲
 

Mark Herman

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I have used the H&A and the pete Allen underhammers and have no problem with either. The Billinghurst "kit" makes a good action if you have experience in tempering springs.It is a true kit.
 

lonewolf172

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I have used the H&A and the pete Allen underhammers and have no problem with either. The Billinghurst "kit" makes a good action if you have experience in tempering springs.It is a true kit.
Well I have no experience in tempering springs. In fact this will be the very first black powder rifle I'll be trying to make from a kit. If think it might be too much for me I'll just buy a completed Lyman Great Plains rifle.
 

Mark Herman

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The Billjnghurst kit action is the only one that would require tempering. The H&A can be assembled in an hour or two, not finished (wood and metal).
 

lonewolf172

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Question for anyone. I see a lot of videos i.e. part 1, part 3 etc on building a ML but is there any where to go and watch a video maybe 1-3 videos from start to finish on building a ML?
 
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Mark Herman

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There are a lot of ML building videos but not related to underhammer rifles.
 

Plainsman53

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Mark,
Would you compare the Pete Allen and the H&A actions for me? Durability, ease of maintenance, shooting quality or just which you liked the best for handling and shooting?
 

Mark Herman

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The H&A type action is the simplest action available. 2 moving parts and the trigger guard/main spring. Single pin or 3 screw barrel attachment and the action body can be cast or machined. Cost is minimal compared to any other action available. Trigger can be made adjustable and butt can be modified to suite the shooter. Accuracy will be based more on your barrel/sight package than anything other than your ability.

Pete Allen actions have become difficult to acquire since Pete hasn't been very active for a while. They are an enclosed action in a cast action body. Working on them is more difficult than the H&A actions but they seem to be durable. Barrels are mounted rigidly to the action and the triggers can be modified to be adjustable, by a gunsmith and the butt can be modified. Cost is considerably more than the H&A's. A new Pete Allen action can cost the better part of a H&A.

These are the pros as I see them, there are not a lot of cons with either one. I would start with the H&A, see if it's what you want then move up to the Allen. Your cost will be minimized but your fun will not be diminished.
 

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