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Thread: H&R Trapdoor Questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Aug 2010
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    H&R Trapdoor Questions

    At a recent auction, I ended up buying a H&R 1873 action and barrel. My original plan was to unscrew the barrel and use it on an original trapdoor that I crushed the barrel (another story) . Anyway, when I got the H&R home I thought why not just drop this in the stock (cut just in front of the rear band) you have and make life a little easier for yourself. The H&R is what I'm guessing is from a deluxe model carbine as it is silver plated (barrel too) and has what I think is cast in place engraving and a two digit sn. However there are no threaded holes on the barrel for the rear sight and since the plan for this is a hunting gun, I think an aperture sight would be preferred in any case considering my old eyes. So how does one mount a aperture sight on a trapdoor? I could not find my original tang screw so I made a new one and left the head of said screw tall, maybe an inch above the tang. At the present I am thinking of just filing a notch in the top of this screw to get an idea of how tall an aperture sight would need to be. Can a tang sight be screwed to the wood and still be repeatable? I do have one that was made for a TC Hawken that could be used if screwing to the wood would work okay. Now I have find the rear band from original and also make up forend extension to make it look right.

    Also, are the H&R actions any stronger than the originals? I'm pretty sure the breech block and receiver are cast and probably of an alloy that is a bit tougher. I am also thinking the barrel is probably a better grade of steel too. I do not plan to make this an elephant gun or anything like that as I will only be chasing whitetails with it but just wonder if they are stronger. If they are stout enough for deer, I'm thinking of the 12-15gr Unique loads for it. Thanks for your comments and I'll try to get some pictures up in the next few days.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    My opinion is that a Trapdoor is a Trapdoor regardless of vintage. As far as tang sights, they can be mounted directly on the wrist or onto a plate inlet into the wood. Check out smokeless loads for your gun, or use BP/subs. They are plenty potent enough!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
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    Sounds like your H&R was originally one of the 'Officer's Models' (which had a tang sight mounted to the stock wrist) but never saw one factory-plated. My 'cavalry issue' H&R Carbine came with a mickey mouse leaf sight with a folding blade but now wears an original 1884 'C' rear sight (which required a slightly taller front blade). So far as strength, I imagine the metals of your reproduction are stronger but it's still a trapdoor lock-up. Hold your loads to BP pressure levels...or use BP...and you'll be just fine. Using the original carbine load of 55 gr. FFg under a 405 gr. RNFP, at 100 yds. mine will easily hold inside 3" so long as I do my part.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    So okay to mount a sight to the wood? I was trying to avoid that but if it is a repeatable and accepted method, I'll give it a try. Going to stay away from black powder for now but thanks for that info!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    When you say repeatable....are you going to be removing/reinstalling the sight? If so, I would consider a sight base plate, either inlet or screwed to the wrist Depending on the sight base length, you may be able to drill/tap the tang itself, at least for one hole.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for all the help.

    My comment about repeatability was based on what would happen if you removed the action from the stock for thorough cleaning and replaced it - would it still be zeroed?

    I have the carbine all put together now but did something different for a rear sight. I did think about the TC tang sight I had but it seemed like a lot of machinery right in front of your face for a hunting gun. Since I did not not have a tang screw, I made one with a 1/4-28 male extension on it. Then I made tube with internal 1/4-28 threads, whittled away part of it and drilled an aperture hole through that. There is no adjustment for windage but seems well centered when using a laser bore sighter and I will have to shoot it to find out if I guessed the correct range of elevation. I am not 100% happy with it but will continue to see if I can make it work well enough to hunt with. I will try and get some pictures posted this weekend. I do have another tang sight that may work out if this one does not work out - I was saving it for the Peabody rifle though.

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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