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Thread: Springfield falling block?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Another shotgun to rifle conversion.

    Or, what to do with old gun parts...

    A couple years ago I bought some Trapdoor parts from webfoot10 here on Cast Boolits. Used some, traded some and kept some for projects. I kept a barreled receiver because it was special in a couple ways and webfoot made sure I knew it was special and gave me a great deal on all the stuff.



    Both were in bright finish, which isn't real special. The receiver has an 1886 serial number and that ain't special neither. But looking inside the bore... Now that's special.



    Now the other thing special was... well just lookie here...



    After unscrewing the receiver, a closer look.



    After talking to a couple folks then contemplating what to do I decided this would make a good barrel for another action. So I turned the bad breach off and removed the threads.



    I then found these two Hopkins and Allen falling block 12 gage shotguns for sale locally and got a good deal on them.

    Last edited by tbx-4; 05-20-2019 at 09:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    I started to convert the bottom shotgun but found the hammer spring too light to fire rifle primers. Tried a few thing but no go, put a nice dent in them but no fire. Will test on pistol primers and if that works will save it for a pistol cal conversion.

    I did shoot a couple game loads through the top shotgun so I knew it was solid with good hammer spring.

    I cut the shotgun barrel off at the front of the chamber. Ran a boring bar through it to remove the chamber taper then silver soldered the Trapdoor barrel into the chamber stub.



    Welded a tab on the end of the extractor, dremel cut relief in the breach and fit new extractor. Also, recut chamber to proper depth.



    Made a new forestock and assembled it all together.



    Got it all working yesterday, Moday and shot 20 rounds of 405 gr hard cast .459" boolits over 22 gr IMR4198 working on sighting it in. Loaded up 20 more rounds today and got things dialed in better. Might need to put a shorter front sight on because it still shooting a little low. But I was able to hit targets off hand at 100 yards.

    Still need to decide how to finish it. Leave it original kind of well used look or steam the dents out of the wood and lightly sand and oil and re-blue the barrel and action?
    Last edited by tbx-4; 05-15-2019 at 11:26 AM.

  3. #3
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    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    I've only seen and touched one Hopkins and Allen falling block shotgun. They are very cool.

    I started to convert the bottom shotgun but found the hammer spring too light to fire rifle primers. Tried a few thing but no go, put a nice dent in them but now fire.

    Shotgun and older BP rifle firing pins tend to be larger than modern rifles. Bushing and reducing the firing pin may resolve this with increased gas handling safety.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 05-15-2019 at 12:23 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  4. #4
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    M-tecs,
    H&A made falling block rifles and shotguns that used the same frames. I've seen some old advertisements that showed cal up to 38-55 but I'm not sure of 45-70. Jedman here has converted one to 50-70 and it works great so I thought I'd give it a try.

  5. #5
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    Very nice project, I picked up a HA 12 ga action with the thought of making a slug gun, but Rockwell tested the action and it came out in the B range.
    I'd keep loads on the light side and watch the breach block for wear...

  6. #6
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    Lar45,
    Yes, I ran across your write up on that project but there wasn’t a conclusion and wondered what happened. My smokless loads are in the Trapdoor range or a little less. I’m keeping an eye on it for stress and wear.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I don't know why trap doors were welded but I have had a couple come in with weld in the chamber. Was able to save one by lining the chamber. Several years back I had an H&A 12 gauge that I made into a 32-40. I didn't think to highly of the pin holding the barrel in so I made a tap and threaded the action. The actions are not hard at all and threaded very easy. The bolt thrust of the 32-40 is much less than a 12 gauge so I thought it would be safe.

  8. #8
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    John,
    The breach on this barrel has not been welded on. It looks like someone took a die grinder with a burr head bit and gouged out two big divots or maybe just a lot of work with a dermal tool (?). Webfoot 10 who I got this from actually had at least another done the same way but not as bad. He was able to save the chamber by filling in the divot with brazing rod then lightly ran a chamber reamer through it to clean it up. Says it shoots fine.

    He thought whoever did this was trying to make lamps out of the barrels.

    So I'm using this without silver soldering the barrel to the frame like Jedman did on his 50-70 conversion of a similar H&A shotgun. So far I've shot 45 rounds with the load listed above through it. I've taken it down and inspected the take down pin and socket as well as inspecting the breach block and frame for any signs of stress or wear but haven't noticed any. Will be keeping a close eye on it though.

    Like I mentioned in another post H&A used this frame for 38-55 and maybe even 45-70. I'm still trying to dig up old catalogs to find a list what calibers were sold.

    I also saw an H&A falling block set on an auction site that had three rifle barrels and one shotgun barrel. It was the medium frame falling block action and the barrels covered were 44-40, 32-40, .32 center fire and 20 ga.

    Last edited by tbx-4; 05-16-2019 at 09:08 PM.

  9. #9
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    Very nice, thanks for taking us along for the ride!

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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