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Thread: I shortened a 50 caliber barrel.....

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    I shortened a 50 caliber barrel.....

    I put together a 50 caliber patched round ball Schuetzen type stock rifle for our monthly matches that are shot at 25 and 50 yards with open sights. I bought the barrel, lock and trigger from Pecatonica River to use on a finished stock I got from then 4 or 5 years ago and converted the stock to a bench rest stock to go with the 45 caliber fast twist barrel in use at the time. I didn't talk with them much about the barrel, they said 1 1/16 across flats and 1 in 48 twist. The twist is a tad fast but it was the only barrel they had at the time so it is okay. Found out the barrel is 36 inches long.......whoa that is a hand full to shoot off hand. I tried a couple pf sessions and it is too much for me to hold, even with a palm rest. So I shortened it to 28 inches and that is waaaaaaay better and accuracy is spot on at 25 and 50 yards.

    I inserted three sets of tight cleaning patches just below where the cut would be. I wanted to use my 3 in 1 multi tool but the hole in the lathe shaft was a tad too small so I cut it with my electric hack saw. I used a large fine tooth file to smooth the muzzle then a 90 degree cutter and last of all the 11 degree cutter and did the Q-Tip test, no fuzz left behind!

    Tested the rifle after cutting a new slot for the front blade sight and much easier to hold and shoot and accuracy seems the same. As soo as I can find our home scales I see how much weight I took off.
    John

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Well you now have a short 8 inch piece of barrel to make a matching pistol out of. Glad it worked out and have fun shooting the rifle.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun project and would love to see some photos of it!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I think I posted a picture with the 45 caliber barrel and also the scope on this stock then took it all apart. Here it is with the 50 caliber barrel before shooting and with open sights to use in our matches. Since I am battling cancer in my left lung now the match director said I could use a palm rest or even sit down if I need to and now with the shorter barrel I can manage it way better.
    JohnClick image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    A fellow at our local club cut down a CVA from the original twenty-something inches to 18".
    He used a hack saw and crowned it with a rattail file.
    The fact that he could still win a match or two with it doesn't say much for the shooting skill of the rest of us.
    ..

  6. #6
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    John - Thanks for the photo - that's a great looking rifle. The matches have got to be a lot of fun as well. You take care of yourself - our thoughts and prayers are with you!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I have a under hammer 58 cal. muzzleloader I built about 40 years ago that had a 32” octagon barrel that was 1 1/8” across the flats. It was a bear to shoot off hand but great from a rest.
    I wanted to hunt with it so about 20 years ago I cut it back all the way to 20” and have shot a couple deer with it and it is just as accurate as it was at 32”. I originally had a receiver sight on it but now have it scoped with a compact 4 X and like it a lot.

    Jedman

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    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    I did the same with a rifle a year ago. Cut 8" from the barrel, and reduced the weight quite a bit. I can shoot a heavy rifle better,but this one was just too much.
    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!


  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    I shortened a 32 inch 45 slug rifle side lock to 26 inches. Shot just as accurate. Shot 6 deer with it to 150 yards. Sold it to a Florida shooter who shoot pigs with it. I would run a 400 grain lubed bullet through the cut off piece of barrel to preengrave the bullet. Used 100 grain of powder a fiber wad and then the bullet. At 100 yards from a rest it would keep one hole ragged. Have fun with your rifle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I was told by my mentor that 26 to 28 inches shoot well out to several hundred yards. If you are going further then a 32 to 36 inch barrel allows more time for powder burn which equates to a slightly higher velocity. But then you are shooting on a log or a bench.
    John

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    My shorty.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by oldracer View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I was told by my mentor that 26 to 28 inches shoot well out to several hundred yards. If you are going further then a 32 to 36 inch barrel allows more time for powder burn which equates to a slightly higher velocity. But then you are shooting on a log or a bench.
    John
    It took me some time to come around to the long barrel rifles, but I am ready. I'm building my first flintlock, an American longrifle, and I opted for a full 44" long barrel. The key though, is that I went with a swamped barrel. I've only just began, but I think this will be a sweet shooting rifle, and not just off a log. They are supposed to be one of the better offhand shooting rifles. It's not as crazy as it sounds, as this will have an OAL only 8"-12" longer than my favorite wing shooting shotguns.

    The problem in the OP's case is the barrel is a straight barrel, and thick to boot. I'm not sure why they recommended 1 1/16" wide barrel. I think most 45 calibers are 13/16". I believe 1:48" is a standard twist for 45 caliber, so that should be a problem. Anyway, you fixed your problem, and made your rifle work for you.

    @Good Cheer, what is that? It looks like a TC Renegade, with a brass Renegade style trigger guard (which I've not seen before), a TC New Englander lock (or at least the hammer), and possibly a custom barrel, or at least custom sights. The TC New Renegade Jaeger? TC NRJ?

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The barrel sounds like for a slug gun being that thick. long distance competition shooting. 1-48 does sound a little fast for a 45 to me but it also depends on what the individual intends to shoot in it. Most the 45s I've seen with long barrels seem to have a 1-66 twist except for the shorter Hawken style guns, with the classic 1-48.
    Aim small, miss small!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The original build of the rifle was a 45 caliber slug gun with a 1 in 18 twist barrel. With this stock it was very hard to shoot off a bench rest so I made another stock that was straighter and put the Schuetzen type stock away for a later day. The barrel in it now is a 1 in 48 twist 50 caliber round ball barrel and is meant to be shot off hand.
    John

  15. #15
    Boolit Master arcticap's Avatar
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    As the caliber of the round ball become smaller, its "ideal" twist rate becomes faster.
    I'm not so sure that there is an ideal .45 twist, but somewhere I recall a 1 in 59" twist for the .45 as being slow.
    That was only someone's opinion.
    A 1 in 48" isn't very far off.
    And then for the .40 and .36 round balls, the 1 in 48" may be considered to be slow.
    The minor difference in twist rate may only affect how much powder is loaded.
    Like some slow twists for the .50 can be 1 in 60", 1 in 66" or 1 in 72" which are all relatively close.
    And I'll bet that they all also shoot round balls very well too.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The really, really slow twists get up around 1-92 or slower need very heavy charges to shoot well but that is by design for shooting long distances. My 45s shoot very good with 1-66 twist but I wish one of them was 1-48 so I could shoot conicals better. My 32s are 1-48 twist which is ok for RBs but didn't shoot conicals very well but I didn't really try very much with them.
    Aim small, miss small!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    It took me some time to come around to the long barrel rifles, but I am ready. I'm building my first flintlock, an American longrifle, and I opted for a full 44" long barrel. The key though, is that I went with a swamped barrel. I've only just began, but I think this will be a sweet shooting rifle, and not just off a log. They are supposed to be one of the better offhand shooting rifles. It's not as crazy as it sounds, as this will have an OAL only 8"-12" longer than my favorite wing shooting shotguns.

    The problem in the OP's case is the barrel is a straight barrel, and thick to boot. I'm not sure why they recommended 1 1/16" wide barrel. I think most 45 calibers are 13/16". I believe 1:48" is a standard twist for 45 caliber, so that should be a problem. Anyway, you fixed your problem, and made your rifle work for you.

    @Good Cheer, what is that? It looks like a TC Renegade, with a brass Renegade style trigger guard (which I've not seen before), a TC New Englander lock (or at least the hammer), and possibly a custom barrel, or at least custom sights. The TC New Renegade Jaeger? TC NRJ?

    When originally obtained it was like in the photo except for the barrel, having a .56 smooth bore. I was looking for the barrel and reckon I must have sold it. That barrel installed is a Green Mountain .50 carbine fast twist.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Good Cheer View Post
    When originally obtained it was like in the photo except for the barrel, having a .56 smooth bore. I was looking for the barrel and reckon I must have sold it. That barrel installed is a Green Mountain .50 carbine fast twist.
    Really? What model was it? That is definitely a Renegade/Hawken style trigger guard, except in brass, which I have not seen in person. I know they were not all that uncommon though. The triggers are a double set Renegade/Hawken, never available on the New Englander. The stock tells me Renegade, but something just looks off about it. Possibly a shortened length of pull. That hammer is the odd man out. It is either a New Englander hammer, or a bent Renegade/Hawken hammer.

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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