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Thread: Drilling a flash hole

  1. #21
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    Ok, I wrote my first post before ever seeing any pictures. That is definitely not a cheap import, and a Douglas barrel is top quality.

    Drilling a flash hole is one of the last steps in gun building, which maybe this was a project that never quite got finished. Odd that whoever did this, carved and finished the stock before drilling the flash hole. I can take pictures of how to do the flash hole from "recreating the american longrifle". Lots of people recommend the Jim Chambers white lightning liner. It's probably just me, but when someone uses a bizarre thread just so they can make life harder for others, I get put off. In my own build, I'm going to use a liner with a 1/4"-28 thread, a common thread that has been used for centuries. You can buy those liners from Track of the Wolf.

    That said, there is nothing wrong at all with simply drilling a hole through the side of the barrel and calling it good. If you don't like the performance of it, all you then have to do is drill and tap it for a liner after the fact. I think most people recommend a 1/16" drill bit as a good size.

    I agree, don't care for the threads on the White Lightening, although the tap isn't all that hard to come by. They were popularized by the eastern cult. They work no better than a standard 1/4 X 28 vent.

    Another point on that. Vents DO wear out. The hole gets larger with a lot of shooting, and accuracy will suffer. I recommend buying a few extras if you use them. Sure as hell, some day they won't be available, then you are stuck with making one, or paying a machinist to do it for you.
    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!


  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch-1 View Post
    If you want to check the inside of barrel and don't want to take it apart, buy a cheap endoscope of Amazon or Ebay, that will attach to your phone or computer. These typically run under$20.00.

    Also, on the picture of the lock you posted, is there a gap between the barrel and the breach plug or is that an illusion?
    If you mean post #10 the 1st pic, yes thats an illusion, I saw that too once I posted it and had to go double check myself.

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I would just drill the hole. If it gets enlarged eventually, then you can add the liner.
    Aim small, miss small!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooman76 View Post
    I would just drill the hole. If it gets enlarged eventually, then you can add the liner.
    Its a 32 cal x 7/8" -- a fair bit of meat in the barrel wall - I reckon a straight drill through might end up with scratchy ignition (flash in the pan or hangfires/ slow ignition) - nice looking piece with a Douglas barrel - last thing I would want is be out on the line cussin cuz it wont light off properly. (its fine for a bit of testing though)

  5. #25
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    A lot of this wont apply to you anymore, since the gun is already built. Essentially at this point all you can do is verify your touch hole will clear the breech plug. At that point you mark your hole level with the top of the pan, and centered front and back in the pan. Mark it with a center punch. Drill a pilot hole. Drill whatever size you need for the threads you are going to use. Tap it with whatever tap matches your liner. Very lightly chamfer/deburr the hole. Thread in liner. Most also recommend filing the installed liner off flush with the barrel flat, rendering it permanent, but more visually appealing.








  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    A lot of this wont apply to you anymore, since the gun is already built. Essentially at this point all you can do is verify your touch hole will clear the breech plug. At that point you mark your hole level with the top of the pan, and centered front and back in the pan. Mark it with a center punch. Drill a pilot hole. Drill whatever size you need for the threads you are going to use. Tap it with whatever tap matches your liner. Very lightly chamfer/deburr the hole. Thread in liner. Most also recommend filing the installed liner off flush with the barrel flat, rendering it permanent, but more visually appealing.







    Thanks for that info. Kinda what I thought, the location has been decided for me already. And I had verified already, it will clear the breechplug in the barrel. Was looking on Track of the Wolf, looks like they have a kit with everything needed to do one, might go with one of those.

  7. #27
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    Just a idea , if you not sure and do not want to spend the funds to get what you need and have it done right . Take it to a gunsmith you trust . Since alot of what you need to get will be used once. just a idea to past on .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by trapper9260 View Post
    Just a idea , if you not sure and do not want to spend the funds to get what you need and have it done right . Take it to a gunsmith you trust . Since alot of what you need to get will be used once. just a idea to past on .
    I would specify a MUZZLELOADER gunsmith. Many modern gun mechanics are not that familiar with them. You want someone who knows where to put the vent.
    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. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I would specify a MUZZLELOADER gunsmith. Many modern gun mechanics are not that familiar with them. You want someone who knows where to put the vent.
    Definitely! And if he hasnt shot flintlocks a good bit he's still likely to come up short --

    my 7/8 barrel is .35 across the flats, that will take a 5/16" liner and thats what it will get. Seeing that I am ten thousand miles and a lot of legal complications away from TOW I will turn it myself from brass (or maybe bearing bronze) and if / when it wears to the point its a problem - replace it

    Drilling a straight hole is fine to test the gun out but I reckon (specially in a 32cal) its gonna drive me nuts with erratic ignition - proper coned touch hole liner is a no brainer if you gonna shoot it much.
    Last edited by indian joe; 05-06-2021 at 07:32 PM.

  10. #30
    You guys are worrying me about this gunsmith talk, I was kinda figuring on doing like Megasupermagnum mentioned above, not sure what other choice I have at this point. I'm not sure what else a gunsmith could do either other than drilling a hole where the pan is and hope it works.

  11. #31
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    Its not that big a deal to drill a hole for a touch hole liner.

    You need a drill press. You need a drill bit and tap (the size of each to match the liner you want to install).

    The diameter of the *threaded* hole is taken into consideration, and if the breech plug is flat, a ramrod down the tube will tell you precisely where the plug ends with regards to the precisely where that hole needs to be drilled so that its threaded diameter will barely touch the plug face.

    Measure thrice, proceed.
    The only government I trust is the .45-70 ....

  12. #32
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    Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. They are not that fuzzy on my phone. Apparently sometimes they upload in lower resolution for some reason. I can retry if anyone cares.

    No need for a gunsmith. Remember these guys used to build these out of hand tools, and intern labor. Drilling and tapping a hole is one of the easier tasks of building a rifle. As I'm finding out, simply making a barrel fit the stock is way harder.

    @indian joe, as for using brass for a touch hole liner, I wouldn't do it. Some bronze would be ok if you know what alloy you are using. Brass has a yield strength around 20,000 psi. I have no doubts blackpowder rifles can run 15,000 psi. I'm not an engineer, but based on monkey wrenching, I would not trust brass for such a job. Bronze is a whole other matter, and certain alloys have been used to make gun barrels and even cannons for a long time.

    That said, you are probably money and time ahead to just make it from steel or stainless steel.

  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. They are not that fuzzy on my phone. Apparently sometimes they upload in lower resolution for some reason. I can retry if anyone cares.

    No need for a gunsmith. Remember these guys used to build these out of hand tools, and intern labor. Drilling and tapping a hole is one of the easier tasks of building a rifle. As I'm finding out, simply making a barrel fit the stock is way harder.

    @indian joe, as for using brass for a touch hole liner, I wouldn't do it. Some bronze would be ok if you know what alloy you are using. Brass has a yield strength around 20,000 psi. I have no doubts blackpowder rifles can run 15,000 psi. I'm not an engineer, but based on monkey wrenching, I would not trust brass for such a job. Bronze is a whole other matter, and certain alloys have been used to make gun barrels and even cannons for a long time.

    That said, you are probably money and time ahead to just make it from steel or stainless steel.
    I couldn't see any pics at all. I could see when I replied with quote to your post earlier, it looked like image links, but something has been messed up here for me lately, I can only see pics in threads once in a while. But thanks for the effort anyhow.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Optimal position for say a 1/4 liner you would center punch and drill your pilot hole an 1/8" (.125) forward off the face of your breach plug this way your not into the threads of the barrel and plug . You will need to measure to verify that position is close to the center of your pan on the lock . It can be off slightly in the pan without issues so don't fret if it's not exactly centered you can always open up the pan a little
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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkenhunter50 View Post
    ... Also closer inspection shows a dimple in approximate location of the touch hole, like someone marked it with a punch but just never drilled it out.
    Gotta good shot of both the lock and bbl dimple?

    If the dimple is in a good spot with regards to the lock's pan, and if you take a ramrod measurement inside the bbl, of where the breech plug face sits with regards to that bbl dimple, it might be the correct, or a correct spot for touch hole liner drilling. If all this looks good, yer good to go, easy job.
    The only government I trust is the .45-70 ....

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Definitely! And if he hasnt shot flintlocks a good bit he's still likely to come up short --

    my 7/8 barrel is .35 across the flats, that will take a 5/16" liner and thats what it will get. Seeing that I am ten thousand miles and a lot of legal complications away from TOW I will turn it myself from brass (or maybe bearing bronze) and if / when it wears to the point its a problem - replace it

    Drilling a straight hole is fine to test the gun out but I reckon (specially in a 32cal) its gonna drive me nuts with erratic ignition - proper coned touch hole liner is a no brainer if you gonna shoot it much.
    I keep some 1/4 X 28 stainless all-thread in the shop to make vents if needed.

    I don't mind installing a vent that somewhat over laps the breech plug. The drill will make some clearance on the face. I then unbreech the barrel, and smooth the transition on the breech face for easier cleaning.
    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!


  17. #37
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    @waksupi
    That is exactly how I set up the liner on the Blunderbuss Kit I am building.
    It works good.
    My Flash Hole center is about 1/16" ahead of the breech plug face.

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