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Thread: Harmonica rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Harmonica rifle

    Anyone know if someone has made one?????
    Kind of interested in it.
    I'm guessing it's considered a black powder muzzle loader.

  2. #2
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    Actually, one of Johnathon Browning's early projects was a percussion 'harmonica rifle' (circa 1853) at least one example of which still exists. Also, there are still some original examples Porter Turret Rifle from around the same period. However, I'm not aware of anyone building a modern reproduction of either.

    Bill
    Last edited by Kraschenbirn; 08-12-2019 at 07:05 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Any bio of John Browning will have a photo of his dad's harmonica rifle. An interesting design but clumsy in the hand. About like to old Hall rifle for leaking at the breech.

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    Not a harmonica, but interesting.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    didn't yul Brynner use one in the bounty hunter?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    didn't yul Brynner use one in the bounty hunter?
    There's a couple of Hollywood ones.
    They had a few in the old Joules Vern movie I think was called "Mysterious Island".
    About some guys in the Civil War escaping a POW camp in a Balloon, and ending up on a island with Capt. Nemo & the Nautilous.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I had to do a search because I had never heard of such a thing. It is a very interesting concept.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I wonder how hard it would be to make one????
    Looks simple enough.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    From the one I just looked at on line I don't think it would be to hard to make. No indexing and a coned barrel and block provide alignment between block and barrel. The bib thing would be the hammer and lock parts. Its a simple design with manual indexing. The lock and is mortise would need to be held square and parallel to the bore so it didn't cock the chamber block in relation to barrel. The rest would be simple tolerances and the right materials. On a one of home build. the length of the charge bullet any wads would need to be found. Then the action machined and the block recess cut. Then the chamber block cut to fit. It could be fitted together as built. I believe a small press for loading the block would be very handy. Also would want to consider a wad or grease as chain fires might occur like in cap and ball revolvers

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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    From the one I just looked at on line I don't think it would be to hard to make. No indexing and a coned barrel and block provide alignment between block and barrel. The bib thing would be the hammer and lock parts. Its a simple design with manual indexing. The lock and is mortise would need to be held square and parallel to the bore so it didn't cock the chamber block in relation to barrel. The rest would be simple tolerances and the right materials. On a one of home build. the length of the charge bullet any wads would need to be found. Then the action machined and the block recess cut. Then the chamber block cut to fit. It could be fitted together as built. I believe a small press for loading the block would be very handy. Also would want to consider a wad or grease as chain fires might occur like in cap and ball revolvers
    There must be some sort of indexing for proper chamber/bore alignment I would think .
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    From the one I saw on line being operated it was hand indexed the male cone and leade in barrels breech aligned it with the female cone in chamber block by hand and the eccentric clamp bar locked it in place. This was on RIAs site. While even with hand indexing the mating cones and square clamp would make for very accurate indexing and breech sealing. This rifle had a chamber block with 5 chambers spaced along it.

    It is an interesting design concept anf the one I seen was made By JM Browning SR father to John Moses Browning

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Yes. Only indexing is the cone/seal between the block and the barrel.
    Not made for fast shooting.
    But there are reports of some being used during the Civil War.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I think it would be an interesting project and be a lot of fun to play with. One thing I would add is a set of spring detents not for indexing but to keep the block from falling out when released. Would be neat in 36 or 38 caliber. Might not make a legal Ohio deer muzzle loader 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