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Thread: Un Named Barrel, help please

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Un Named Barrel, help please

    In April of last year I bought a 45 caliber 38 inch long muzzle loader barrel. It has a patent breech and is 1 1/2 across the flats. It also came with a false muzzle and bullet starter. It had the name "Russ Hooks" who is a very prominent Schuetzen person in the San Diego area written in magic marker on one barrel flat. I looked EVERYWHERE including at the breech plug seating face, inside the bullet starter and elsewhere but no info on the maker, caliber or twist. I got out my special marked cleaning rod that I use the get twist rate and the initial measurement looked very weird so I measured at the breech before putting in the plug and it was 1 in 20 inches and then measured at the muzzle and it is 1 in 15!!!!! Wow a gain twist barrel so I called Russ and he thought the barrel was made about 18 years ago but he wasn't sure. I told him the rifling looks exactly like Pope rifling as does the bullet starter but the barrel is not old enough to be a Pope. So far the rifle shoots 1 inch groups at 200 yards with no real load development or such. I called every possible barrel maker I could think of but none remembered making it. Here are some pictures of the starter, ETC. If I had posted this before I apologize as I looked but did not see a post by me so if any one has ideas who might make a barrel like this you can PM me or email me. If this is a dupe the admin can delete it. Thanks, JohnClick image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    An angel made it. Enjoy that thing.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I am for sure enjoying the rifle I put together! It appears to be the most accurate shooter I have, maybe even better than my Pedersoli Gibbs which is better than good. I think Russ had the barrel and acc. made and picked it up at a Schuetzen match like a national level one from the maker.
    John

  4. #4
    Long long ago if my memory isn't playing me tricks, longer ago than the internet, I believe Numrich used to sell 45 calibre gain twist barrels of that length and weight. Numrich weren't among the Shilens and Douglases of the barrelmaking world - I've seen a beautiful-looking .44 barrel of theirs with the hole central at both ends, but not in the middle. But they may well have acquired surplus stock from just about anybody, and if you've got a good one, you've got a good one.

    A constant twist of 20in. would probably be enough for a heavy bullet, so this should be a rifle for extremely heavy ones. Is the false muzzle of groove diameter? A light bullet might not upset enough to fill the grooves if it goes down easily, especially if it is hard. But a groove diameter bullet, requiring force behind the bullet starter, would take care of that. It recalls the days when the best of the Pope-style Scheutzen rifles, with a charged cartridge case but muzzle-loaded bullet, were probably more accurate than any fixed-cartridge rifle in existence.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The false muzzle looks like it was cut from the barrel when I looked inside with my bore scope. The OD is the exact diameter of the barrel flats and the four pins only fit one way so the knob sits on top. If you look very closely at the enlarged picture of the false muzzle bore it appears to match the rifling in a copy of a Pope catalogue that I have. I shoot a 540 grain grease groove Creedmoor nosed bullet of pure lead. The barrel was made somewhere around 20 to 25 years ago so I know it is not a Pope unless someone got it and then just held on to it for many years. The guy I bought it from had it for 12 years or so and Russ had it for about the same give or take some. Since the name was on the flat in magic marker I think Russ got it from a barrel maker at a Schuetzen match who probably had several barrels? It is not stainless steel like a Douglas XX barrel I have that was made a long time ago as this one blued readily with Oxpho Blue. Here are the names of the companies/people I called:
    Douglas
    Colerain
    Bartlein
    Lilja
    Krieger
    Green Mountain
    McGowen
    Shilen
    Bergara
    JC Custom Barrels in Canada
    Ron Smith in Canada

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by oldracer View Post
    The false muzzle looks like it was cut from the barrel when I looked inside with my bore scope. The OD is the exact diameter of the barrel flats and the four pins only fit one way so the knob sits on top. If you look very closely at the enlarged picture of the false muzzle bore it appears to match the rifling in a copy of a Pope catalogue that I have. I shoot a 540 grain grease groove Creedmoor nosed bullet of pure lead. The barrel was made somewhere around 20 to 25 years ago so I know it is not a Pope unless someone got it and then just held on to it for many years. The guy I bought it from had it for 12 years or so and Russ had it for about the same give or take some. Since the name was on the flat in magic marker I think Russ got it from a barrel maker at a Schuetzen match who probably had several barrels? It is not stainless steel like a Douglas XX barrel I have that was made a long time ago as this one blued readily with Oxpho Blue. Here are the names of the companies/people I called:
    Douglas
    Colerain
    Bartlein
    Lilja
    Krieger
    Green Mountain
    McGowen
    Shilen
    Bergara
    JC Custom Barrels in Canada
    Ron Smith in Canada
    That is exactly the way a false muzzle ought to be made. It used to be said that you had to drill the locating holes as deep as they will end up, and then cut it off the barrel. They may have put in sombe sort of spacer to stop the saw-cut from making it line up a fraction out of sync. Actually I think anybody making one nowadays could align it with a cerrosafe cast of the rifling, and drill into the barrel afterwards. I don't see that an ungrooved full bullet-diameter false muzzle would be bad either.

    Your bullet sounds just right. Apart from the likely date of manufacture, I doubt whether Pope made many barrels of that calibre, or as long and heavy. But it surely incorporates a lot in which he led development.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 02-20-2018 at 02:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    One of the really old members of our "Rod and Gun Club" told me it was a Pope made barrel and accessories as he remembers when the first local buyer in our area bought it. It was a national match and the seller had several barrels, lots of stocks (semi completed) and other things for sale in the vender area. He wanted cash only so Russ put a large down payment on it, ran to town and got more cash and bought it. The seller had several barrels like this one that Pope had made and he never got around to selling them until just before he died. He had never marked them but the seller did have a receipt showing who he bought them from. They were all muzzle loaders and when they were made the Schuetzen matches had really took off so no one wanted a 40 or 45 caliber muzzle loader barrel? Since this is mostly hearsay all I can do is to just enjoy the way it shoots.

    Last week at the range I was testing sight adjustments at 200 yards since you Unertl scope turrets were made for a 30-06 sort of cartridge. I found 2 clicks moved the impact 2 inches, not quite what the instructions say.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Old Racer. on the external adjustment Unertals the click movement is also dependant on the ring spacing. MVAs scope manual has a sheet showing the adjustment with ring spacing in inches.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have an original Unertl manual and when I drilled the barrel for the scope mounts I spaced them at 7.25 inches. That seems to be most popular?
    John

  10. #10
    A barrel as heavy as this is a special case, in which that should work fine. On a thinner walled one I would probably soft solder on scope bases, or plates to which they could be screwed - milled to extend a little down the northwest and northeast sides of the barrel if it was octagonal. Not that I think holes that size would be a danger, but I would be afraid of stripping threads if I was afraid of making them deep enough.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Good points on drilling the barrel. I checked with Doug Knoell, my black powder mentor and a pretty fantastic gunsmith and asked about drilling the scope mounts and also threaded holes for several machine screws for holding the fore end to the barrel. He said the 1.5 inch width across the flats and only a 45 caliber hole down the middle leaves me plenty of metal to drill into, so I did. Thanks for the info.
    John

  12. #12
    Thank you for your thanks. Another point is that if there is only thin metal left beyond the hole, and the screw is a little too long, it isn't that hard to press it out into a bump in the bore. Or if you don't, the scope mount isn't as tightly held on as it ought to be.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Good points about the screws bottoming out in the hole and then causing a bump in the rifling. The mounts I bought were from Steve Earle and the first ones were too low for my large diameter scope as when I tried to adjust it to 300 yards the front end touched the barrel before I got there so I order a second set that were taller. I used a digital set of calipers and depth gauge to measure how much the screws stuck out and calculated how deep the holes had to be. I had to buy some very small diameter bottoming taps to get the hole completely threaded. As a backup I set the block with a screw inserted on the end of the barrel to insure there was what I considered to be enough metal after the drilling. I bought several drill bits of the correct size for threading and with one I ground the point of the bit away to do the final smidgen of the hole. I have all these bits and taps and even a tap handle in their own little storage box to prevent getting mixed up as I can't read the letters on the taps even with my big magnifying glass! I did several practice drill/tap/fit the block on a piece of scrap aluminum as I am a slightly paranoid sort of person! Oh yeah, I use Crisco for lubing the drill bits and taps as any heat generated melts the Crisco and also lubes things.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    For the maker what about McMillian or E.R. Shaw? I don't know if they ever made a barrel like this but?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldracer View Post

    the rifling looks exactly like Pope rifling as does the bullet starter but the barrel is not old enough to be a Pope.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and shoots like a duck - It's most likely an older/saved Pope barrel.

    AFAIK, nobody was copying the Pope rifling in the last quarter of the 20th Century.


    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by oldracer View Post
    Good points about the screws bottoming out in the hole and then causing a bump in the rifling. The mounts I bought were from Steve Earle and the first ones were too low for my large diameter scope as when I tried to adjust it to 300 yards the front end touched the barrel before I got there so I order a second set that were taller. I used a digital set of calipers and depth gauge to measure how much the screws stuck out and calculated how deep the holes had to be. I had to buy some very small diameter bottoming taps to get the hole completely threaded. As a backup I set the block with a screw inserted on the end of the barrel to insure there was what I considered to be enough metal after the drilling. I bought several drill bits of the correct size for threading and with one I ground the point of the bit away to do the final smidgen of the hole. I have all these bits and taps and even a tap handle in their own little storage box to prevent getting mixed up as I can't read the letters on the taps even with my big magnifying glass! I did several practice drill/tap/fit the block on a piece of scrap aluminum as I am a slightly paranoid sort of person! Oh yeah, I use Crisco for lubing the drill bits and taps as any heat generated melts the Crisco and also lubes things.
    I thought I had invented grinding away the tapered portion of a tap. Once you have a good thread started with another tap, you can thread right down to the bottom. If you have a Dremel tool a tiny diamond burr is worth having for writing the size on taps and dies for when the makers' lettering wears off. It isn't too bad when you only have American sizes, but when metric and British Association, Fine and Whitworth creep in, it saves a lot of measuring.

    The Unertl scope, or the Lyman Super Targetspot which was remanufactured fairly recently are pretty much in keeping with this kind of rifle, although not strictly its contemporary. On the same principle I like the 1950s/60s external-adjustment Bausch and Lomb sporting scopes for early bolt actions like my Mannlicher-Schoenauer. You give away next to nothing to modern optics with any of these.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check