Box Lock Muzzleloader Project

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Sharps40

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
975
With all that's going on, selling the house, frustration at work, hunting season, grandkids learning to drive, etc......I need some sort of outlet.

I have been through a bunch of muzzleloaders. None have really suited me, though all have been nice, some of the builds exceptional. But, I've always wanted a 45 caliber box lock with a scope on it.

A long time ago, I proved to myself that the slow twist green mountain barrels in 45 and 50 caliber would shoot accurately and stabilize Round nose bullets and full wadcutters like the Lee REAL well past 100 yards and always proved wonderful killers of deer.

So, a very long term project. Build my own simplified box lock, twist no faster than 1 in 48" and more likely the slower twist of the green mountain barrel so I can practice with PRB. Caliber .45. Scope as far back on the action as I can get it and I think I'll tweek the action for fitting of readily available stocks, like the Marlin 336/Texan or Win 94....or perhaps one of the readily available Savage/Springfield SxS shotgun stocks. Should save a bunch of carving

I intend to make at least the action and some of the guts by hand, using, primarily, handtools. I have some ideas to build it strong without any welding or casting.

I am reasonably sure that I'll be making some or all of the parts from wood first. It may be best for me to build the wood action first so I'll have the bugs mostly worked out before going to metal.

Looking through the junk box turns up a few parts, some for use. Some just for ideas/shapes. I thought I had a good Davis DSDP trigger to adapt to the lower tang but I think I sold it here last year....so, when the time comes, perhaps I'll buy one and save hours of carving by transferring the guts to this action.

I'm sure my basic action will be thinner, perhaps making up the bolsters on either side using either burled walnut panels or fitting Damascus Steel on the outside to simulate the thick bits of the casting in the photos below.

But, the real gem in the collection of junk pictured below is the length of 5/8x18 steel threaded rod to use as the breach and rear mounting point. I've not decided on hanging a ram rod under the barrel as I may strut from the action to a point forward of the breech to really support the barrel/strengthen the mounting. If so, I suppose I can come up with some form of multi piece ram rod that can fit the cargo pocket of the pack for that occasional slow and educational reload in the woods after a clean miss! I've missed plenty with a muzzleloader! I also thought about doing a side mounted ram rod on the off side of the gun....but that might look a bit goofy, of course, some would opine that a scoped Wesson/Sanftl style box lock with scope will look a bit goofy. Ah well.....it'll be for me in the end.

For now, I've done some rough scales on the action I'd like to try to build and I suspect the tumbler will be the really difficult part to build from scratch and by hand. But I have some nice 4140 steel on hand that if I work at it, should give me several tries at sear and tumbler making....just gotta find the steel! Its around somewhere, probably in the workshop junkbox. All the stuff above came from the Garage workshop junk box.

The idea makers....

NyZ2zwg.jpg


Maybe this is prettier than mine will be (assuming I can even build it) but the Sanftl style trigger guard for target shooting control reminds me of my old Sanftl Schutzen Free Rifle that I won many a chicken or steak or pork roast or can of Goex BP with in my competition days.

ydDAGr4.jpg


And, the initial rough scaling of the action and perhaps this weekend, off to the shop to round up pine and oak and plywood to start ginning up some size and shape that is pleasing to the eye and fully functional.

G8P0Cne.jpg
 

Sharps40

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
975
The first of what is likely to be several iterations of the action in wood before I buy a nice chunk of 1018 and new files, etc to make the action.

I've settled on an action width not over 1.5" to provide thick side walls to support the axle and provide some meat for the barrel to fit the action strongly.

For this attempt, I wanted to get a look at the width, possible overall length, the looks of the front of the action with 8 sides to match an octagon barrel and finally, to play around with the number of degrees I might like to bend the tangs to.

So.....good soft pine to start with....cuts and shapes easy.

yOy5ffa.jpg


A few lay out lines to establish a rough size for the action at 1.5" thick and 2.75" tall and I'm roughing out the tangs at 3/8 thick (but full width) for now....probably thin them a bit in steel to save some weight.

SFllgkI.jpg


A 2" circle cutter cuts out a nice space for the tumbler and its stop and quickly releases the remainder of the unneeded inside of the action.

BvBKDsG.jpg


Back to the table saw for now to mill 4 more flats on the front of the actions, back to where I think the tangs might start to narrow in for the stock. Would have carved em on the jointer but I discovered tonight, the July storm that killed the AC and Garage Door opener also killed my jointer. Rats.

9FBZddK.jpg


Its obvious that I'll need a sturdy jig and a series of bits to drill the hole on center to be tapped for the breech plug. I'll be using a 7/8" 45 caliber barrel and I want to set the barrel close to the top of the action. Ideally, the top of each will be in the same plane.....but, I'll figger that out later.

7Xpkjpk.jpg


The tangs are cut to 1/2" thickness for now. I may well make them a different size later but for now, its just to get the initial feel.

5cPQOvj.jpg


And finally, Selecting a 20 degree down angle for the tangs, I cut them off and glued them back on just to get the look. When I get to metal, the angle may be different. It'll depend on the stock selected. Win 94 Stock is a very fine shape but too thin in the wrist. The marlin 336 stock is rather clublike but has a nominal 1.5" width that will match the action. (Since I'll be making a laminated action, I am also considering making a laminated stock....two slabs of oak, matched and epoxied. The milling cuts inside will be easier to make with router and table saw and I'm not locked into a down angle that I might not like. Later, I may well be matching my wood action to a wood stock so I'll see when I get there.) The down angle in the photo of the cast action appears to be about 30ish degrees and that's probably right to give the hockey stick shape to the muzzleloader action. I'll be scoping the action and its possible I can make the tangs straight back on a home made stock, it'll make a nice cheek rest for a head up position when shooting. The gun will be heavy and a good head up position, thought not traditional, will make for fine off hand shooting.

WOe7duv.jpg
 

Sharps40

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
975
Life mighta just got a bit simpler. Perusing the web for tumbler making ideas and simple techniques I stumbled across the L&R back action lock. Well, looks like the perfect donor of hammer and guts to mount on this rifle providing a fast lock with a fly in the tumbler for set triggers. I do believe it'll work fine and the wear parts will be common/easily acquired when replacements are needed.

Too wet to hunt right now. Besides, the only way in and out of the house is under about 5 feet of water and downed trees.....not even Pixie can cross it safely right now. I hope I have enough tobacco for the day and tomorrow but lets see......a rainy day and I spent the morning and much of the afternoon in the workshop listening to branches fall on the roof......

Each thump on the roof reminded me that I wasn't missing anything by not being out back on my chair with widowmakers fallin on my head.

But. A ruger 10-22. Nothing special. Except that it could make a fine map for the way forward on my box lock muzzleloader.

9RtiYnu.jpg


The second iteration of the box, in wood. 1.25" thick so saving over a 1/4 inch of width and weight over the initial plan and shorter and lighter overall. I believe, with some grunting behind files and hack saw, I can carve this action from solid steel with strength in the right spots.

GWOdegb.jpg


Its essentially a four piece action. One piece is U shaped, two side panels, one of which can be silver soldered or even welded into place, and a filler for the rear tang.

EtON5k0.jpg


Very little wood to remove from a 10-22 stock.....none removed rear of the action lug. And, possibly none to remove below the action lug. For now, I think this is a 75% solution. Next job will be to add a faux barrel and get an L&R Back action lock to see how the guts fit inside before going to a steel action.


From above, 1.25" wide front to rear, just like the 1022 action.

OgZ5kc0.jpg


From the side, I can make the action as tall as I like but for now, the action sits above the stock the same height as the 1022 action.



And from the bottom, the stock cut out for the magazine and the angled portion at the rear of the tang can be filled by making the bottom steel tang longer overall or fill the stock with matching wood. Barrel channels are about right for the 13/16" octagon barrel and should work also with the beefier 7/8" octagon barrels. May not be able to add an underlug for ram rod but I'll figger that later.

TbBX6Qe.jpg
 

Slenk

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 27, 2013
Messages
235
Sharps
Your project reminded me of the old Mowrey muzzleloaders. I used to hunt with a guy that had one.
 

Sharps40

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
975
This will be sorta old and new. I'm thinkin laminated thumbhole stock for the good head up position when shooting off hand. Plus, the box will have the old style hammer and bolster coming out the right side. Should make a neat hybrid, just getting it all figguered out. The box is good to go...just got to build it and get the barrel set up. From there the next big wicket will be gutting an L&R back action lock and transferring it to the right sidewall of the box. Depending on the position of the trigger in the stock, I may use a lever in between it and the sear to gain some advantage in reducing the trigger pull. Plus the L&R has a fly in the tumbler so, if I decide to I might fit up DSDP triggers instead of a single trigger. Time will tell. First to choose a stock and get busy building the box from steel!
 

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