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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

full of smoke and fury

I have an increasingly irrational, or perhaps irrationally increasing, desire to make a short-barreled, in-line muzzle loader rifle. Why? Because it would be fun.

So far I have determined that building one off a T/C Contender, T/C Encore, H&R 1871, Rossi S50, and a few other frames/actions would be a Very Bad Idea in the eyes of the government (at least, as I understand it, and it is probably always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the authoritarian halfwits at the BATFE), that the muzzle velocity will, of course, suffer, and that the smokescreen from setting it off would be somewhere on the order of "epic". Is there anything else I should consider / be aware of, given my knowledge of black powder is… limited.

Anything other than "this is plain bonkers", that is.

Oh, and the serious reason behind doing this? Muzzle loaders, aside from the specific models mentioned above, are not considered "firearms" by the BATFE, and, as such, are not regulated in any fashion – you can, literally, purchase them online and have them delivered straight to your door. Likewise, they are not, so far as I can tell, regulated by the National Firearms Act, which means slapping a short barrel on one – arguably useless though it may be on a black powder rifle – requires no exorbitant tax stamp. Plus, with the general cost and unavailability of ammunition these days, BP might be a cheap way to get some actual trigger time.

Or, at least, it would have been until it started looking like the Boston bombings might have used black powder / gun powder, which means we can look forward to all kinds of interesting restrictions on either/both in the near future. So much for that plan.

14 comments to full of smoke and fury

  • Nope. They used the powder from everyday fireworks.

    Because of this I think it means the politicians will want to ban “.50 Caliber sniper rifles” or maybe the Tea Party. I’m not sure which.

  • dave w

    So, why not just buy a muzzle loader kit and make one that way?

  • B

    Why limit yourself to black powder? My brother has a muzzleloader that uses smokeless, and IIRC, his isn’t regulated any more than a black powder arm. It’s a hell of a rifle though.

    But getting a barrel blank and making a breechplug and all that shouldn’t be that hard (although not that easy, either) and using pistol powder, you could, conceivably, get some serious velocity and energy.

    (all advice given does no mean that you can sue me when you blow yourself and several bystanders up though)

  • David W.

    Um… I know B means well, but make sure you get an actual like, smokeless powder barrel if you decide to use smokeless powder in a muzzleloader.

    Seriously. Do NOT use smokeless in a normal black powder firearm.

    Just in case you don’t know why: http://seanlinnane.blogspot.com/2010/04/savage-model-10mlss-50-caliber-muzzle.html SERIOUSLY GRAPHIC PICTURES DO NOT LOOK AT IF YOU PLAN ON EATING WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR OR SO. OR IF YOU JUST ATE.

    I am not an inline muzzleloader guy, I prefer just plain old percussion caps cause they are usually cheaper and less complicated for neanderthal me.

    You can get some pretty good velocities out of a muzzleloader with fast burning powder. Basically more Fs in front of the G = faster burning. Like in a flintlock you might use FFFFG on the pan and FFFG in the barrel.

    You also have to worry about rate of twist too. 1/24 = best for conicals, 1/48 = okay at both conicals and round balls 1/66 = best for round balls. Truthfully if all you want is a lulz gun, wait till June 8th-16th and go to Friendship Indiana for their muzzleloader shoot and GIANT flea market. You could probably pick up everything you need there to build one from scratch along with the know how to do it. Show up early and wear good shoes and spend the day looking at literally everything in the world. Lots of guns and knives and furniture and other things you can’t even think of. There is five parts to the flea market during the NMLRA shoot, the normal every weekend flea market, the big flea market, the muzzle loading flea market, the primitive flea market, and the hippy flea market. It’s worth going just to see everything there. If you want to see each day though you’ll need to reserve rooms now for 2018’s shoot though. But I doubt they will care if you sleep in your car/truck if you wanted. Some people bring tents. If you really wanted to rough it you could go there and buy a buffalo skin and sleep under/on that.

    And about legalities of SBR muzzleloaders, there is no real laws against them. My 4-H instructor built a very small .50 cal muzzleloading rifle for a kid in our 4-H group who had dwarfism, but that was a percussion cap. I think the “It’s not a firearm” only applies to original ignition systems like Flintlock, Caplock, Match lock, Wheel Lock, Snaphance and a few others. I’m pretty sure In-line muzzleloaders are firearms just because of the ignition system.

    Truthfully if you wanted MASSIVE lulz, get a chunk gun. Show up to the range with one of those and EVERYONE will ask you about it. Imagine a gun barrel as thick as your wrist taller than you are with a heavy duty stock on it making it taller than a Mosin rifle (not carbine) with the bayonet on it. They are super accurate muzzleloaders too. Caliber wise they range from .32 to .68 or more. They are epic really. Can’t find any good pictures to show you but it’s like porn, you’ll know it when you see it.

    http://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php is a good place to get started. They sell everything from books about old timey guns and old timey survival and old timey people to cannons. I’m serious you can mail order a full size cannon, from what I understand Shipping and Handling is a biiiiiitch. And Gatling guns, either .22 LR ones or the real .45/70 ones.

    Muzzleloading guys are like the gun culture concentrate. I’ve had rifles that were hand made, silver and gold inlaid, with sugar maple stocks that cost more then what my parents paid for the house I grew up in just put into my hands with an offer of shooting them. They will help you out a LOT. All you got to do is ask. Expect information overload though.

    If all you want is a basic SBR muzzleloader, you can get a wooden stocked percussion one for about 250-300 dollars, cheaper if you buy them as a kit.

    Just to remind you, DO NOT USE SMOKELESS POWDER IN A BLACK POWDER GUN!!!!!!!!

  • B

    Dave: There ARE muzzleloaders DESIGNED for smokeless.

    I was NOT suggesting that anyone use smokeless in a black powder barrel.

    Sorry I didn’t spell it out better for those with reading comprehension problems.

  • David W.

    @ B:

    Sorry I just remember when I first started into black powder when I was 13 or so and heard the stories and was shown a barrel that had been peeled like a banana and I kind of panicked and wanted to make sure anyone who reads it that there was a big difference. In doing so I sounded like a dick.

  • B

    Dave:

    The firearm you referenced WAS a Savage 10…the specific firearm I was referring to. This is a smokeless powder muzzleloader. IIRC, he used the wrong powder for the load that ate his hand.

    Having said that, being a dick isn’t such a bad thing if it keeps someone reading these comments from blowing their hand up(or hurting the guy next to them).

    Apology accepted.

  • Geodkyt

    Federal regs do not discriminate against in-lines, unless they are built using a “firearm” (GCA or NFA definition) frame or receiver, or they actually use a primed cartidge case as the ignition. An in-line that uses, say, shotgun primers, as if they are percussion caps is fine.

    There are some states that regulate in-lines as if they were modern firearms, either in their hunting regs (meaning an in-line doesn’t qualify for muzzleloading season), or in the general gun statutes (meaning an in-line is no different than a T/C or a Rossi single shot.)

    @ David W.:

  • If’n ya got a hanker’n fer summin diffrn’t, why not a Volley gun?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volley_gun
    A sort of seven barreled shotgun for shooting slugs. Maybe a break-action breach-loader in .357 instead of a muzzle-loader, to be more “practical”, if you desire to stretch the word a bit, or perhaps .45.
    Hmmm… Wonder what sot of chapter and subsection THEY would fall under? Machine gun? No, not really, any more than a shotgun using buckshot is. Rifled barrel, so some other things don’t apply. AOW, perhaps?

  • “the smokescreen from setting it off would be somewhere on the order of ‘epic'”

    Your enemies can’t hit what they can’t see. Which seems to me to be a good argument for a weapon that produces an epic smokescreen.

    “Anything other than ‘this is plain bonkers’, that is.”

    “This is plain bonkers” sounds like an excellent reason to do just about anything. And your “plain bonkers” idea seems a lot easier to attain than mine. Somehow, I just don’t think there’s enough demand for a Smith & Wesson N-frame revolver chambered in .221 Remington Fireball…

  • JohnG

    It does not meet with what you want, but I always thought that a BP revolver with a ‘buntline’ like detatchable stock would be a pretty cool shorty carbine.

  • @ Joe Huffman: Ah, this is what I get for posting week-old posts without catching up on my weblog reading. Thanks for the update :).

    @ dave w: So far as I am aware, there are not in-line muzzleloader kits, but if you know of one, I would be all ears.

    At this point, given the complications of using a T/C receiver, the best alternative seems to be Traditions Firearms – their Vortek line comes in both rifle and pistol configurations, and I would imagine it would not be that hard to buy a spare stock for the rifle and slap it on the pistol (or just order it straight from them in that arrangement… guess I should ask). That at least would save me the cost of having someone cut and recrown the barrel, though I am not sure if the pistol barrel is long enough to reach past the rifle handguard. Hm.

    And, as it turns out, Traditions is unwilling to take my money in exchange for a pistol frame/barrel on a rifle stock. I am inquiring as to where I can purchase a stock separately, but no response on that yet.

    @ B: My understanding – and I do not even claim to look like a lawyer – is that unless it uses cased ammunition or can be readily converted to use cased ammunition (see T/C), the BATFE does not care, so a smokeless muzzleloader would be a non-firearm to them as well. That said, the Savage 10ML has been discontinued, Bad Bull’s rifle prices are positively absurd (though a falling block muzzle loader is just plain awesome), and loading them is much more… entertaining, since everything has to be done by weight, not volume. I kind of like the pelletized BP solution, given reloading them is a bear as it is.

    @ David W.: That market sounds like a hoot, but it is a 5 hour drive for me, and if accommodations are that impossible to procure… whee. Guess I could see if there was anything in Cincinnati.

    Regarding the legalities, of the firing mechanisms, check out the first link in the post:

    (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

    Many modern in-line muzzleloaders including those that use #209 shotgun primers for ignition now meet the definition of “antique firearm” and are excluded from the provisions of the GCA. However, there are some muzzleloaders that are still firearms subject to GCA controls. For example, firearms which can be switched from muzzleloaders to breechloaders by exchanging the barrel are still GCA firearms. In addition, a modern firearm that is altered to function as a muzzleloader is still a firearm

    I think that means that in-line muzzleloaders (except those that can be converted to centerfire) are still legally not firearms. Of course, this is all by way of a BATFE “determination”, which can change at any time, but once I have it, I have it…

    The only problem with a kit is I would have to get a rifle kit, then procure a pistol barrel that would work in the same action and the appropriate charging rod, and then figure out how to shorten/inlet the stock to allow for it all. Certainly not impossible, but a lot more challenging than just a stock swap.

    @ Geodkyt: Yeah, I do not plan on hunting (without even considering that an SBR probably generates an insufficient muzzle velocity to consider doing so), and Tennessee, thankfully, largely does not care :). I am sure it would create all manner of interesting conversations with cops, though…

    @ Rolf: I think the goal was to create something small and compact while still keeping on the happy side of the law. Volley guns are fun, but they fail the first test ;).

    But, really, there is a falling block .45-70 at my local dealer that keeps calling to me…

    @ Dwight Brown: I would shoot one, but I am not sure I would actually buy one…

    @ JohnG: I would have said that such a thing is fairly easy to do these days, except all of my quick searching for examples has shown them out of stock, discontinued, or otherwise unavailable. Odd.

  • dave w

    @ Linoge:
    Well, darn it, i was all set to prove you wrong and i cant find a in line muzzle loader kit. Everything else, but not that.

  • Hell, I would have been happy to have been proven wrong, but yeah.