Using Magnets to Retain Barrel

Discussion in 'The Gun Builder's Bench' started by Dale Allen Raby, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. Sep 13, 2019 #1

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Has anyone here ever tried to use a strong magnet, e.e.: a cow magnet epoxied into the stock to retain a barrel in lieu of a screw, barrel band or wedge/pin? Got a project involving a 5 1/2" barreled rifle and it seems to me that this might work. I had the experience once of firing a 12" New Englander without the wedge pin. As near as I can tell, the barrel raised up a bit under recoil and then dropped back into the stock with no harm. An hour later I found it with a magnet on a stick, but that magnet gave me an idea...

    What do you think about the idea of using a magnet to keep the barrel in place instead of a pin or wedge?
     
  2. Sep 14, 2019 #2

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

    Phil Coffins

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    It would be bigger and less secure.
     
  3. Sep 14, 2019 #3

    bubba.50

    bubba.50

    bubba.50

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    Think I’ll stick with wedges.
     
  4. Sep 14, 2019 #4

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Bigger and heavier yes, but less secure? Not sure about that having lost a few wedges. Though I suppose losing a wedge that I can make in the smithy is better than losing a barrel. Still might try it. Only thing I am wondering about is whether or not the magnet will lose its magnetism under repeated recoil when not in a magnetic field that duplicates its current alignment. Hard to believe that NOBODY ever tried this in hundreds of years, but I suppose that once they found wedges/pins and barrel bands, there was no need to look further They didn't have Alnico back then, and the magnets they did have were not very strong.
     
  5. Sep 14, 2019 #5

    ppg1949

    ppg1949

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    DAR, A wedge or pin would be much better. You did not mention the caliber. The weight of the barrel, how heavy a powder charge your using and placement of the magnet in relationship to the muzzle may have an effect on how well a magnet holds. Also if the barrel raises up even a little upon firing it could begin to have an unwanted side affect on the tang. But since it is a project and should not affect any cosmetics, I'd say go for it. You may well have come up with a new (but not HC) way of securing the barrel. I would start out with light loads. If you try this, you definitely need to keep us posted. Whether your results are good, bad or indifferent.
    Thanks
     
  6. Sep 14, 2019 #6

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Caliber is .54, most often with a patched round ball and a very light charge of fff black powder... typically less than twenty grains. Right now the barrel is 9" in length and that is the load I use in it's current stock. Heavier charges than that are kind of silly as you have essentially a pistol length barrel. I guess you could use sixty grains and have a single-shot Walker Colt, but I tried that with the nine and twelve inch barrels. You get a huge muzzle flash and a cloud of smoke you could hide in. After the cloud dissipates, and you can breathe again, you have a fouled bore that is difficult to load. With fifteen to twenty grains of powder, you have no noticeable fowling and a much easier task in loading the second shot.

    This load should provide a MV of between 600 & 800 FPS with a .530 patched round ball. Less velocity with a conical bullet, but better penetration. With the 12" barrel, the PRB penetrates three one-gallon milk jugs filled with water and I can hit that target at fifty yards. With my 63-year-old eyes, that's about the best I can hope for.

    I created this gun for a character in a series of stories in various stages of completion, but I wanted to make certain that it would actually work, so I built a few of 'em. The character's name is "Yellow Bird" and is a young woman who is being hunted by creatures that are something like a cross between a large dog and some kind of bear that weigh anywhere from 800 pounds to 1600 pounds. She only gets one shot at a large target which is very close and getting closer very fast. Because tracking beasts do not get along with each other, her enemies can only send one of them after her at a time, so the single-shot is enough.... so long as she never misses. In my stories, her gun is duplicated by others and is generally known as the "Yellow Bird Gun". In addition to being effective, it had to circumvent the gun control schemes that the rulers of her world have imposed upon humanity. LIke our current rulers, they pretty much ignore muzzle-loaders. It's a post-apocalyptic world poor Yellow Bird resides in, and one that I would not like to live in.

    The plan is to cut the barrel to 5 1/2", which will take out the staple and wedge pin. I would want to use the ramrod hole to stiffen up the cracked stock and also cut it down so that there is less leverage on the cracked section, perhaps putting an ebony cap on it instead of the brass hardware. I'd also be scraping out the octagon channel to accommodate the round New Englander barrel.

    With a barrel that short, all I need is a ball & bullet starter. I'm already using this method successfully with twelve inch barrels.

    I would probably place the magnet (potentially an Alnico cow magnet) in the stock below the barrel for most of it's length. Should be a pretty strong bond.

    When I fired my 12" fifty caliber with a similar load and without the wedge pin, it raised up just a bit... maybe a quarter to a half inch from the front of the stock. I'm thinking that a strong magnet would have held it down.

    If the magnet idea doesn't work out, i can always fire up the forge and make myself a barrel band. in any case, I will keep you advised on results.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2019 #7

    Walkingeagle

    Walkingeagle

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    Why not still cut in a dovetail and inlet for a pinned tennon?Or solder on a tennon? Or even just drill a shallow pin hole directly through the bottom of the barrel (no deeper than a dovetail would go) and pin it?
    Honestly just throwing ideas out there.
    Walk
     
  8. Sep 14, 2019 #8

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Might actually do one of those, but I thought I'd try the magnet first... just because. If it works, it should make take-down much simpler and easier. Also, the potential is there for quick barrel changes, possibly to another barrel that is already loaded. Can you say "three second reload"? ;) I've got some cut-off barrel sections that would then only need a breech plug, so I'd have a 12-gauge and a .50 caliber barrel as well... though I have some concerns about the holes that used to hold the barrel lug making the bore walls pretty thin at the breech. A patched .690 round ball would be pretty cool to shoot at close range... if I could only figure out where I put my .690 round ball mould. Also thought about putting a barrel liner in it so I'd have a sixteen gauge barrel that is a little heavier. Could be an interesting winter.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2019 #9

    Larry (Omaha)

    Larry (Omaha)

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    Won't work. I tried using a magnet (100lb pull or there about) for a sight. Every time anything metal came near it if it was small stuck to it. Don't even try.
    Flintlocklar:(
     
  10. Sep 15, 2019 #10

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    WARNING: This is sort of "thinking online" and my mind is a scary place to visit!

    I think I may change my plans a bit. I purchased some cow magnets today that are made from square bar stock and have a ceramic coating on them. When applied to a flat ferrous metal surface, they seem to hold with about twice the strength of the round magnets. I would assume that removing the ceramic surface would make them even stronger.

    As my stock is already set up for an octagonal barrel, it seemed to me that it would be easier to use an octagonal barrel. Also, the magnet would hold better on the bottom flat of an octagon than it would on the bottom surface of a round barrel. I have a round barrel fragment that has a rusted exterior but a fairly decent bore. It is long enough to get at least two and maybe three 5 1/2" barrels out of. The exterior diameter matches the exterior diameter of the T/C Hawken barrel across the "points".

    You guys know where I am going with this don't you? ;) I would cut the new barrels, face them off and crown them properly. Then get the bastard out and start draw-filing the new barrels into octagons to match the original barrel from that stock. At this point, I would leave one barrel at .54 caliber, polish one out to a .56 caliber smooth-bore, drill & ream the remaining barrel to sixteen gauge. Alternatively, I might make one smooth-bore sixteen gauge and one 16 bore rifled barrel. As the muzzles are planned to extend beyond the stock, I could also continue to draw-file them and make them half-round barrels... or maybe just quarter-round barrels. Pretty sure I can get access to a lathe, so could turn the round portions. At some point, breech plugs would need to be installed.

    Now, at this juncture, I still have a great deal of research to do. It's been many years since I last stood beside a lathe, but I think I remember most of what I learned in 1975... though I am probably a little rusty on calculating cutting speeds. I've seen reams the proper size to do 16-gauge, though to go from a .54 caliber rifled bore to a 16 gauge smooth-bore, it probably ought to be a piloted ream. Could probably also just drill it out to the proper diameter for reaming. A drill bit of that diameter would not wander all that much as the work is already sort of "center drilled". Some of this work could also be hired out I suppose.

    I'm guessing I'd probably be better off fitting the breech plugs before machining the bores. Not sure just how shotgun breech plugs are fitted, but I'd bet that they are not bored straight through at bore diameter before cutting any internal threads.

    I'd also guess I'd be better off machining the bores before any draw filing.

    Then there is the rifling project. I've seen a few videos on home-grown button rifling using hydraulic rams to pull the button through the barrel... and this would be a pretty short barrel. It didn't look all that complicated.

    The life-plan is to retire in about three years. That is probably just about the time-span I will need to complete this project... which is perfect as I will then have plenty of time to actually shoot the finished product before I croak and have to give it to somebody else to play with.

    Stay tuned...
     
  11. Sep 15, 2019 #11

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    I could see this being a problem if you are using the magnet itself for a sight. You'd probably need that kind of a pull weight to keep the thing from flying off under recoil, but I don't think I need a magnet anywhere near 100 lb. pull weight as the barrel is already secured at the hook breech and most of the recoil forces are straight back. Doing a little testing with my barrel and the magnet I thought to use, I found that the barrel acts as a "keeper" for the magnet, greatly reducing its external magnetic field. Iron filings and the like would stick to it near the magnet's attachment point, but most of the magnet and the part of the barrel that becomes temporarily magnetized will be covered by the stock. After a certain number of shots, the barrel might need to be de-gaussed I suppose as it would become magnetized by being vibrated while within a magnetic field... leading to the problem you mentioned. Probably do some experiments with scrap wood and a magnet before doing anything else, just to make sure the magnet actually holds the barrel down good enough.
     
  12. Sep 15, 2019 #12

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Hmmmm... apparently ceramic magnets do not have a ceramic "coating". That gray finish is the actual surface of the magnet. Learn something every day.
     
  13. Sep 15, 2019 #13

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    I'd use duct tape before I'd use a magnet.
     
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  14. Sep 15, 2019 #14

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Why?
     
  15. Sep 15, 2019 #15

    BEP

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    Just curious - assuming your magnet works as desired; how will you ever remove the barrel?
     
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  16. Sep 15, 2019 #16

    Stophel

    Stophel

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    Frankly, I find it hard to believe that anybody would think of trying it today....
     
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  17. Sep 15, 2019 #17

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Just lift the barrel off. The magnet I propose using is not overly strong..
     
  18. Sep 15, 2019 #18

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

    Dale Allen Raby

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    Well... believe it. I'm thinking of trying it today. Most likely that dude in China who first thought of mixing sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal together was told the same thing. Right now there is this Mexican dude, Dr. Miguel Alcubiere who came up with what was called the Alcubierre Metric. Another brainy dude, a Dr. Harold White took his work and ran with it. I looked over Dr. White's paper and found a spelling error... which I quickly told him about (doing my bit, y'know). NASA is now doing experiments that will lay the ground work for a working warp drive. Pretty sure these guys were told what they are working on is impossible and silly and a waste of time. So, I figure I am in good company and no offense is taken.
     
  19. Sep 15, 2019 #19

    JB67

    JB67

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    If the magnet is strong enough to hold the barrel down under recoil, I highly doubt you will be able to just lift it off to change.
     
  20. Sep 15, 2019 #20

    Stophel

    Stophel

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    Yeah, you're the next Edison. Good luck building that better mousetrap.
     
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