If it loads and shoots with Black Powder ~ muzzle or cartridge ~ y'all come to the right place!

** BPGang Forum Rules **

For smartphone and tablet users, a BPGang mobile theme is available!


Author Topic: A Fowler  (Read 179 times)

Offline Rob DiStefano

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Location: NJ
A Fowler
« on: November 30, 2020, 08:45:14 PM »
I think I finally found a smoothbore that might work out well ... or not.  Amateur built, it sports a 42" Rice .62 bbl, L&R Trade lock, maple stock w/aqua fortis stain, some wood carvings, and mostly iron furniture.  It's been fired a few dozen times, so I'll need to take it all apart, pull the breech plug and see what's inside.  The seller is the builder and he used a slotted touch hole liner, so that's gotta get pulled and drilled and tapped for a Chambers White Lightning.  There are some other things that I can see need fixin', but this might be a keeper ... or not. 

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

I don't know of what metal those brass colored screws are, but they've got to go because they're Phillips heads instead of slotted.  I have a good assortment of round head slotted iron wood screws that I can torch-blue the heads for a better look and fit for the period of this fowler.  That just leaves the pipes, which appear to be rolled sheet brass, and if so I'll leave them as is because many a gun of the 18th and 19th centuries were repaired, and even built, with whatever was on hand.  The architecture of the stock, furniture and lock could easily allow this fowler to have been birthed anywhere from the early 1700's all the way to the early 1800's.   

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

The fowler arrived on Thursday and had only time to look it over.  The carvings are really excellent ... I mean professional artist quality Excellent.  As to the overall build, it's at least somewhat lacking judging by the exterior.  No time to begin the disassembly, so I let it go until this past Sunday.  In the meanwhile, I built a pair of proper length tapered ramrods, with brass ferrules on both ends.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

There's one bolt holding on the lock and it was tight but no big deal using a gunsmith screwdriver.  About 1/3rd of the lock internals were rusted, meaning it was never removed and cleaned after shooting.  There were 2 through-bolt holes, meaning he missed on the first attempt.  I spritzed the entire lock with pb-blaster to loosen the rust and left it soaking for a day and it looks near new now.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

I went to tap out barrel lug pin and for some reason it hung up internally on the lug.  Tapped it out the other way and found that a brad was used and it's head was never clipped off.  The tang bolt came out easily and the barrel released.  Now here's were it gets a little interesting.  A few days ago i asked why there was no front sight on the bbl and was told there no the means to solder on a front sight.  I countered with, how then were the lugs attached to the forward round of the OTR bbl?  However, the lugs on the bbl appear to be all be soldered, even the one on the octagon part (rather than dovetail it in!).

I pulled the breech plug and it was in there Tight, but no match for the Rice wrench and a 3ft black pipe for leverage.  It's a standard classic flat faced plug and it was Corroded, never cleaned.  Dittos for the chamber.  I spritzed the bbl innards with pb-blaster and let it soak, then went to push a wd-40 soaked patch in from the breech end and it wouldn't go through - the touch hole liner is sticking 1/16" into the chamber.  geez.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

I couldn't unscrew the touch hole liner because it was never fully homed, just filed it flush to the barrel which lowered the liner's screwdriver slot and it had no purchase.  I had to grind a carbide wheel down to 3/8" in order to deepen the slot for a proper screwdriver removal.  The bbl got tiny dings at the slot ends but no big deal as it's a 1/4x28 liner and I'll drill it out for a 5/16x32 Chambers White Lightning (the Best touch hole liner, IMHO).

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

I pulled off the trigger guard and the iron screws used were a good 2" long!  ACK!  So wrong in every way imaginable.  They'll all get replaced.  There is no side plate, which is actually a good thing, i'll order out a side plate along with a nickel front sight.

The builder a master carver, no question, but lacks in traditional muzzleloader construction.  On the other hand, I could care less about wood carvings and I'm far more into gun function, not art adornments - the gun itself is the art for me.  I knew there was gonna be work to do, and glad it's not all that bad and relatively easy for me to accomplish.  If it wasn't, i'd return it.  But as is, it will be worth more than the $1k i paid when i'm finished with it.  Life is still good.

Forging ahead with the fowler, decided to hold off installing the White Lightning liner and had a 1/4x28 liner handy.  I Nikal (superb hi-temp anti-seize) lubed the breech plug and homed it, then Nikal lubed and screwed in the touch hole liner, then drilled its hole to .060" after filing the liner top flush with the barrel.  It uses a deep allen key to install and remove, so it'll provide plenty of purchase even after I've filed the top flush.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

To properly set up the front sight, I flipped bbl over on a dead straight surface (Corian kitchen counter top), put a file on top of a piece of paper, set the file under the bbl near the muzzle and moved the paper and file back and forth a few times.  The resulting bbl file mark is dead center and will be used to align the sight during soldering.

While the bbl was out of the stock I wicked in water thin CYA to the barrel channel and the lock mortise.  This both seals the wood and hardens it at the same time.

I put back the bbl and lock, polished up the brass side plate that just arrived, along with the nickel-silver front sight, but forgot to order another lock bolt as the original is 1/16" too short and only a few threads capture the lock.  So, off with the side plate for now.

The nickel-silver sight was well rusted, so after cleaning if off with an emery board I put some 600 grit production paper over the bbl and pushed the sight base over the paper to both clean it up and conform to the bbl's radius.  After adding soft silver solder to its base, I secured the sight with some wire and hit it with the propane torch.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline Rob DiStefano

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Location: NJ
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 08:48:46 PM »
Sight's on, barrel and lock are back, fired a few blank shots with Swiss 3F in the tube and pan, she's good and fast.  I cast up a bunch of .575, .595 and .610 balls, now waiting for some decent weather to take her out for a maiden.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline Rob DiStefano

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Location: NJ
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 08:59:46 PM »
Not a bad little popper.  She might do just fine 'til the Kibler fowler kit gets introduced next year and I build me one.  :)

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline Soonerlonbow

  • BPG Member
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2020, 04:24:41 PM »
That’s awesome!

Offline Yewbender

  • BPG Member
  • **
  • Posts: 288
  • Location: Pennsylvania
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2020, 10:00:27 PM »
Thats a nice looking Fowler! Thanks for sharing the fix-along and awaiting your range report :thumbs:

Offline Rob DiStefano

  • Administrator
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Location: NJ
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2020, 07:19:06 PM »
Brass serpent side plate arrived a few dayze ago, along with the necessary longer lock bolt.  The plate is cast so it needed cutting, grinding and buffing out, as expected.  Now to wait for good weather and a free schedule so I can hit the range.  At this rate, that'll be next Spring.  :o  ::)  :(

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline Terry Lightle

  • BPG Member
  • **
  • Posts: 29
  • Location: Okla
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2020, 07:01:48 AM »
Looks like you have done well for yourself

Online doc nock

  • BPG Contributing Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1053
  • Location: North east TN
Re: A Fowler
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2020, 12:37:05 PM »
Looks like you have done well for yourself
Terry,

i believe that ole boy will have forgotten more then most of will ever know...

Having tools, knowledge and ability goes a long way toward success, but I wouldn't know... I lack tools and knowledge to even try a full blown kit ::)