View Full Version : Recutting Rifling to freshen or deepen lands & grooves
11-03-2011, 04:41 AM
I good old friend of mine has a Bown & Tetley muzzloader from the 1830's. When he was a teenager in the 1950's he took it to a gunsmith name of Shufelt in Michigan. Shufelt taught him how to cut the rifling on a hand machine-jig. It had been a 40 caliber and was shot out . When they finished with a 45 caliber which is what it still is 60 years later.
So my question is who still does this? It is a simple process that seems to be a lost art. I think that modern barrels could be re-cut and be made to shoot better if sometimes the rifling were .005" deep , instead of mirror image of rifling being .0025" deep.
The old way involved a log with spirals cut in it down the length of the log, Tooling would follow these grooves and a shimmed cutter in the barrel would be tapped through the barrel, then reset the cutter/shims to begin the process again till the rifling was deep enough, and all the grooves were cut. I've seen two of these log/rifing machines over the years hanging on the wall of gun shops.
11-03-2011, 06:56 AM
One of the Firefox books has an entire chapter on how Appalachian gun makers used to lay out the twist for rifling and cut it into their barrels.
I will go to the library and find out which volume it is, check it out, and share some of the information here.
11-03-2011, 07:00 AM
There was a display at the Colorado Gun Collectors Show in May of 2011 where one such apparatus was on display. And a gentleman was there working it. I will have to dig through my stuff to see who it was, they are custom muzzle loader maker though. Maybe one of the other members who attended will have more info.
You can freshen with just a good bench and a freshing cutter. With the barrel off the gun and the breech plug out. First cast a hard lead lap in the bore of the rifle you want to recut. Then take one groove of the lap and cut it out and replace it with a hardened steel cutter made from an old file and fit it so it just rides in the groove and barely touches. Lube the bore with unsalted lard and pull the fresher through from the breech once in each groove. Pull out the cutter and put a slip of onionskin paper under the cutter, put it back in the fresher and go through all the grooves again. You repeat this with another layer of onion skin till you get the grooves recut 5-6 thousnads deeper then ream and lap the bore and you have freshed the rifling and the gun will go back to shooting.
Re cutting the bore is a whole different deal and requires a rifing bench and heads. There you wil ream the bore smooth and re rifle just like you are starting with a new barrel.
I have freshed a couple barrels and it works fine but the problem is TIME. You are taking maybe a 1/2 thousands at a pass from a groove and if you do the job right it takes darn near a whole day to put a barrel back in shape. If you figure 8 hours work at even 10 an hour you could have just bought a new barrel. Freshing only really is practical for say and original rifle that you want to keep shooting and cost is not an object.
11-03-2011, 09:05 AM
Robert Hoyt in Fairfield Pennsylvania can do this. He makes barrels, relines barrels, and rebores. Most of his work is for MLers.
11-04-2011, 08:05 PM
Perhaps this is something that some can do at home, in a work shop. Refreshing grooves, deeper grooves, and cutting rifling from a smooth bore.
12-21-2011, 09:04 AM
It's explained in volume 5 of the Foxfire series, both with a rifling guide and with cast lead laps the same volume also explains how to make the rifling machine. It is interesting reading.
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