View Full Version : what to do with it

04-25-2007, 02:44 AM
hi guy's i have a 58 cal replica. i cant remember the name but it starts with a Z, i think. i got it from a friend many years ago and he had loaned it to someone to hunt with. they fired it and left it dirty in the trunk of there car. the outside of the gun looks real good, BUT the first inch of barrel at the muzzle looks bad. deeper in it looks good. anyway my friend didnt want it anymore and gave it to me. i shot it some a wile back and accuracy was terrible. i got to thinking about cutting the barrel back some and moving the barrel bands, and shortening the stock some. what do you think? its a shame for it to just sit here.-phil

04-25-2007, 04:20 AM
................Probably a Zouave repro mabe by A. Zoli? Does it have brass bbl bands and a brass patchbox, and buttplate? Someone at one time did offer a 'Sporter' Zouave. That patch of rough bore at the muzzle may not be the accuracy problem.

If you want to do a couple simple checks, try these. Number one is to remove the barrel bands, remove the barrel and the lock. Now lay the barrel back in place. Does the stock bind anywhere? If so, make it so it doesn't anymore.

If not, or after un-binding it put the tang screw in and tighten it down. Does the muzzle raise up any? If no, you're good. If yes, you'll need to bend the tang down some, or bed under it. The barrel is in a bind so it's needs this.

Now that that is all done if it needed doing, try to lay the lock back in place (with the barrel in the stock, cinched down. If the lock will not easily go in, it's because (probably) it's hitting the underside of the nipple snale. This is bad ju-ju because it also binds the barrel. Grind the part of the lockplate away that hangs up. They shouldn't touch, but you also don't want a big honking gap there either. So don't break out the 8" anglehead.

You may now find yourself with a fine shooting muzzle loader. BTW, when re-assembling it, coat the barrel channel with a good sealer. Then coat the underside of the barrel with some hi-temp wheel bearing grease. This will protect things for a long time, as you don't want to be taking the barrel off and back on all the time. When cleaning, you can remove the ramrod and tie an old towel around the barrel, a couple inches below the muzzle to catch any solvent that gooshes off the patch or bore mop (and that's why the grease under the barrel too).

The lead boolit in a MLer does NOT do any expanding after ignition, while traveling down the barrel. That was established back in the 1860's, so my thinking that the pitting at the muzzle may not be the issue.

However, if it STILL won't shoot, or you get excessive powder fouling there were the pitting is, cut it off by all means and make a sporter. I did it to an old Zouave I bought back in the mid 60's.


This is before I had the nosecap made and installed. I made it to kind of look like an artillery or cavalry carbine deal.


04-25-2007, 08:59 AM
Or you just may not have been using a good ball/patch combination, or conical or powder mix for that combination. What buckshot suggests are all sage recommendations. Before I'd break out the hack saw, I think I'd take some fine lapping compound to the bore and see if that could smooth things up a bit. You might even "fire lap" it with lapping compound on a light greased patch. In that way you would be buffing the lands of any "pits" or scratches.....

04-25-2007, 10:42 AM

I recieved an 1841 Mississippi rifle with a similar barrel problem.

You might consider back boring the muzzle. Removing the rifling in the rusted out area. Just be sure not to leave a burr at the new "crown" to catch the load.

My solution was to rebarrel with a trapdoor barrel and action. I bedded the metal in place and then had to bend and lengthen the hammer to contact the firing pin. New sights and a refinish of the wood and I had a very unique 50-70.

04-25-2007, 10:57 AM
When you shot it, what was your load? Mini-balls, conical, patched roundball????? What is the twist rate. Were you using the right bullet for the twist?
I'd give it a real good scubbing and possibly lapping, then try different loads. I'll bet after a bit of work, you'll get that thing shooting.

Have fun with it.

04-25-2007, 10:42 PM
I had a CVA I built from a kit. A guy I knew kept hounding me to buy it. It wasn't a great gun but it shot great and I knew the guy. He tookcare of nothing. I finally gave in and shure as heck he shot it and threw it in the back of his truck and left it for 6 months at least. I almost wanted to cry when I saw it. Never again!

Ditto on what everyone said. I'd try those things first.

04-26-2007, 01:36 AM
thanks fella's, as you can tell i dont know much about muzzle loaders! the bad barrel section in the first inch aint going to clean up with any kind of work cept maybe a hacksaw, it real deep. its odd though cause after the first inch it looks like new????? i shot round balls with diferent patches and some big hollow base bullets. i cant remember the powder charges, it was many years back. i remember i shot at 50 yards with a large paper target on a huge wood backstop and never found any impacts. after i got my thompson white mountan carbine i just forgot the zouave. the picture i think buckshot put here is about what i was thinking of doing, but not that short. ill take some time to look at the bedding and stuff.--phil

04-26-2007, 07:48 AM
Phil, I suspect I know why the first inch of barrel is crap. People who are not familiar with muzzleloaders, seem to like putting thier finger in that big ol' bore, as if they could guage the caliber with the digit. Well, they can't. What they do accomplish, though, is to deposit acids and moisture in your barrel, which starts rust. Some people have body chemistry that will cause extremely rapid corrosion. So, if ever looking at a ML, keep your fingers out of the bore. It is considered very bad manners.

04-26-2007, 09:15 AM
You might also look at a conversion similar to the old Navy Arms "Buffalo Hunter". This was basicly a Zouave with a shortened barrel and a 1/2 stock. It was made up to copy the popular sporter conversions that were made up after the Civil War and sold by Monkey Rowbucks ect.

When I was young I was taught that it was bad manners to TOUCH anyones gun without permission, period. I cna't believe the gall of some folks today. I had a new uncycled John Wayne Commerative rifle on the bench the other day and was wiping it down with rig for the owner when a kid came in and when I walked over to get his 22 he picked up the Wayne, spin cocked it and then worked the lever rapidly about 5 times while going POW POW POW RIFLEMAN! He is no longer welcome.

04-26-2007, 11:05 AM
i found the brass bullet mold that goes to it and steel plates and pivot pin is rusted up due to poor storage after moving twice. i have to check it out for spec's as i cant remember what weight it casts. i soak'ed it good with penatrating oil. i also have to look for some round balls i think i have somewhere. will you folks give me some load recomendations for it? i think i was told once i may have been overloading it with powder, to cause the bad eccuracy?????? also is the term rifled musket correct for this gun?-phil

04-26-2007, 11:52 AM
I'd start out with 60g. and move up 5g at a time. Generally I start out at a grain that is equibalent to the caliber for rifles i. e. 45g for a 45 cal. 50g for a 50 and so on. Some times you have to round it off. I start out and half for pistols like 20g for a 44/45 and so on. I know some BP loaders say poo poo on that but you have to start somewhere and that has worked for me.

Yes, Rifled musket is correct. That is what they called them when they first started rifling muskets. Let me know if you can't come up with some RB's and I will send you some. You can figure out the rifle twist by running your cleanning rod down the barrel with a tight fitting jag. Mark the jag with a pencil and push the jag in like 2 or 3 feet and do a little math to figure how many revolutions it would make. If it goes half way around at 2 feet then it is a 1-48 twist. A tight twiast like 1-48 would better stablize a bullet and a slower twist like 1-66 would be better for a RB.

04-27-2007, 03:58 AM
................I shooting a Minie' bullet, it should not just drop down the barrel. You should have to thumb press it in. That's not the rapid fire military way, but it's the way to get good accuracy. And I don'tmean you have to hammer it in either. It should 'just' ride the lands.

Re: Minie' bullets. Easy to cast them with a void right over the HB. Maybe even a skim of lead may cober the void so you can't see it. After casting Minie's, naturally any with a void are shucked. Every other one I probe the base with a small jewelers screwdriver. SOmetimes this will just punch through a thin lead layer and reveil a void.

My Zouave in the picture was a cheapy. However it is a nicely accurate rifle, er carbine now. It has a true .575" bore. Like most Zouaves and the originals it has a 66" twist.


04-27-2007, 09:02 AM
................I shooting a Minie' bullet, it should not just drop down the barrel. You should have to thumb press it in. That's not the rapid fire military way, but it's the way to get good accuracy. And I don'tmean you have to hammer it in either. It should 'just' ride the lands.

I Read a nice article about a fella who was having great success paper patching his mine’s and I tried this. While I didn't get the success he did, if one had a minie that was just dropping into the barrel, this would be worth trying. I got pretty good, pretty fast wrapping the suckers, and prior to loading, I'd rub a little beeswax based lube on the patch to slicken it up. They loaded just as you described: requiring thumb pressure to push down below the crown. Of course, past that they practically dropped to the bottom as there is a significant internal size difference in this barrel. I may re-visit these with my new "piwo peep sight" and see if some of my issue's were merely sighting ones :oops: