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Thread: Making a Hudson Bay Smooth Bore Musket with Modern Materials

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Making a Hudson Bay Smooth Bore Musket with Modern Materials

    I think for some purposes the old Hudson Bay or Trade musket was the idea firearm for hunting and living off the land. But it could be improved using modern materials. The ignition to remain as flint strike or something similar to it.

    Either a stainless-steel barrel or one that is chromium plated.
    Must resist corrosion when the gun is not cleaned. Also use the best metallurgy to allow usage of any powder that one happened to have on hand. Such gun could be used with steel irregular projectiles if needed.

    Coil springs of modern steel for the lock and robust lock mechanism.

    A synthetic stock.

    What other things could be done relative to materials to improve it?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Maybe you can print the stock on a 3d printer if you want to be really modern in your build.

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    Incorporate an interrupted thread into the breech plug to allow quick disassembly for cleaning, much like a modern artillery barrel.

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    Whatever you are making, it sure isn't a trade gun.
    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.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Whatever you are making, it sure isn't a trade gun.
    Agreed.
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    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Don’t know if coil springs in the lock are a step forward or backwards well I do BUT , imo nothin wrong with properly made main and frizzen spring. Compare a chambers late ketland to a TC Guess which I’m picking !
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    Donít know if coil springs in the lock are a step forward or backwards well I do BUT , imo nothin wrong with properly made main and frizzen spring. Compare a chambers late ketland to a TC Guess which Iím picking !
    I can not speak with experience or knowledge relative to muzzle loaders vs springs. But anyway you are saying that properly made flat springs are just as durable as are properly made coil springs. i know on old guns, flat springs, especially small ones are often broken as in top break revolvers and maybe modern made ones are better.
    Below is the lock type you were apparently writing about.




    Early Ketland Flintlock that is offered for sale


    From the mid-1700's through the mid-1800's, three generations of the Ketland family were heavily involved in the gun trade from Birmingham and London, England to Philadelphia. Our early Ketland is the type of lock that was produced in Birmingham during the 1760's and 70's and exported to America. These "export quality" locks were not fancy, but were entirely serviceable. They were used on a wide variety of rifles, fowlers, and trade guns produced during the second half of the 18th century. This lock uses the same internal parts as the Colonial Virginia and Round-face English locks, and has the same cam-type action and a sear that returns to the same position at rest, half-cock, and full cock. As with all our locks, you can expect an abundance of sparks for fast, reliable ignition.

    Then there was a later Ketland Lock
    By 1800 the style of lock being produced by the Ketlands had changed to this later form. This style was commonly imported and used in virtually all areas of the country involved in producing guns. This lock incorporates a roller on the frizzen spring and uses the time-tested and proven internal parts from the large Siler lock. This lock is fast, reliable and easy on flints.

    Early Ketland lock https://www.flintlocks.com/locks5.htm

  8. #8
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    You obviously think the SHTF is going to happen.
    If I were 30 years younger, I would probably be making the same preparations.
    I say go for it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I guess everybody has their "fantasy gun" for proposed SHTF scenario. I have a French Fusil de Chasse - a flintlock - and it is ab all around gun - rb or shot - small game or big - easy to clean and reliable. But follow your dream and enjoy it . . . . things are learned bt "doing". Just remember if the SHTF there are no guarantees that anybody will have 100% of what they need to make things work.
    I have seen guys spear fish with nothing more than a sharpened stick - can"t get any more "basic" than that.

    The ideal gun you describe is also a basic decent single barrel shot gun. Smokeless or BP - can reload shells with very basic tools/componets, etc. Yea . . a person can argue "what if you run out of primers . . just remember that the same goes for flints - knapper flints don't just appear on the ground . . . so learn what rock to look for, learn how to snap flints and make sure you have the needed napping tools. Perhaps a hollow buttstock on that trade gun to carry needed things would not be a bad idea?

    I'm a "traditionalist", but nothing says you need be or shouldn't explore new possibilities. People scoffed at "in-lines" - I was/am one of them, but the fill a niche. No different than the "all weather" Henry lever actions. Good luck and if you do a ?modern version build" - I'm sure there are many of us who would love to see what you come up with.

  10. #10
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    I've got a trade musket, based on what I can tell they must of got it right the first time they designed it or The Hudson Bay Company wouldn't of sold the exact same gun for 300 years.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.Ē

    ― Confucius

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Michel View Post
    I've got a trade musket, based on what I can tell they must of got it right the first time they designed it or The Hudson Bay Company wouldn't of sold the exact same gun for 300 years.
    That is what has impressed with the trade musket was just how good it was as a do anything firearm. I am impressed with the design and really do not want to change that very much, but thought that with modern materials it could be made better. i do not have have a smooth bore firearm, but older guys in past, and I am no longer young myself, tell me that a smooth bore when properly patched has very good practical accuracy.
    Fact is for survival hunting traps are the more practical way of game harvest. Some how or other I am really interested in the trade musket. I believe such were sold into the early 1900's.
    For survival the touchy subject is using powers other than black powder or substitutes for it. I have watched videos of people blowing up muzzle loaders with huge charges of fast smokeless powder that would also damage modern brass cartridge firearms. Like 120 grain equivalent load of H110 or in some cases it was other fast powders like HS-6.
    Last edited by barnetmill; 07-21-2022 at 11:53 PM.

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    The exact gun you describe has already been made. It's called the Thompson Center Firestorm. Just have it bored out to a 54-58 caliber smoothbore, and there you go.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    The exact gun you describe has already been made. It's called the Thompson Center Firestorm. Just have it bored out to a 54-58 caliber smoothbore, and there you go.
    It looks good. Likely it is made of decent barrel steel and that is what I would have to check. I would want the same bore as a typical trade musket that was from my reading: 0.58 being intended to shoot patched 28 ga ball.
    The Fire Storm was designed specifically for reliable ignition with modern Pyrodex Pellets. It has a removable breech plug for easy cleaning and its unique recoil lug assures solid and consistent barrel lock up for repeatable accuracy. Features Tru-Glo adjustable fiber optic sights and the patented Pyrodex Pyramid which directs the ignition fire 360 degrees around the entire base of the Pellet. These 50 caliber flintlock rifles weigh just 7 pounds and have 28" barrels with a 1 in 48" twist. Includes black composite stock, sling swivel studs and an aluminum ramrod. Drilled and tapped for scope mounts.

    Technical Information

    Specifications:
    Ignition: Flint Lock
    Barrel: 26" Round with QLA Muzzle System
    Rifling Twist: 1 in 48" Twist for round balls and conical bullets
    Overall Length: 41-3/4"
    Approximate Weight: 7 lbs
    Sights: Click adjustable steel rear sight with Tru-Glo Fiber Optic inserts; steel ramp front sight with Tru-Glo Fiber Optics
    Trim: Sling Swivel Studs
    Stock: Composite Buttstock and Forend
    Extra Features: Drilled and Tapped for Scope Mounts. Aluminum ramrod is standard.
    Loading: Accepts magnum charges of up to 150 grains of FFG black powder or Pyrodex equivalent (or 3 of the 50 grain, 50 Caliber Pyrodex Pellets)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Agreed.
    have seen a decent few smoothie barrels made from hydraulic tube - estimated burst pressure rating on the one I looked up is a bit over 13K psi ......not a huge safety margin ? -- never seen nor heard of one of those blowing either tho. - compared to a forge welded mild steel barrel like the old days ?

    Can buy Assab 4140 hollow bar,....... big dollars and a huge lot of work turning that down to size

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    Don’t know if coil springs in the lock are a step forward or backwards well I do BUT , imo nothin wrong with properly made main and frizzen spring. Compare a chambers late ketland to a TC Guess which I’m picking !
    I vote the Chambers -- seen a couple of busted mainsprings in L & R locks but they were some kind of cast deal
    I have wrecked a dozen old cheap shotguns over the years never saw a broken flat spring in any of em - my Dad replaced the coil springs in his Browning trap gun - think the main advantage of coils is cost in manufacturing.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    have seen a decent few smoothie barrels made from hydraulic tube - estimated burst pressure rating on the one I looked up is a bit over 13K psi ......not a huge safety margin ? -- never seen nor heard of one of those blowing either tho. - compared to a forge welded mild steel barrel like the old days ?

    Can buy Assab 4140 hollow bar,....... big dollars and a huge lot of work turning that down to size
    Hydraulic tubing was used for the infamous homemade Luty submachine gun that a Mr. Luty made out of common parts available at hardware and auto parts stores. The tubing was used to fire 9x19 parabellum cartridges that in a rifled barrel develop over 30 k psi(CIP (235.00 MPa (34,084 psi)), or SAAMI (241.3165 MPa (35,000.00 psi)), I have no idea how the strength of hydraulic tubing is rated. Seems better to be get a barrel from a barrel manufacturer. Saving money is not the goal here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    It looks good. Likely it is made of decent barrel steel and that is what I would have to check. I would want the same bore as a typical trade musket that was from my reading: 0.58 being intended to shoot patched 28 ga ball.
    It's a Thompson Center. Some people aren't crazy about their choice of shallow rifling at a 1:48 twist, but TC barrels are some of the highest quality barrels ever made. They are better quality steel and rifling than most barrels you can buy today.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    It's a Thompson Center. Some people aren't crazy about their choice of shallow rifling at a 1:48 twist, but TC barrels are some of the highest quality barrels ever made. They are better quality steel and rifling than most barrels you can buy today.
    I took a look at their website and only saw 2 inline muzzle loaders. They are now apparently owned by S&W and that is dictating what they make and removing much of the diversity from their line of products. They did at one time make smooth bores I see.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    I took a look at their website and only saw 2 inline muzzle loaders. They are now apparently owned by S&W and that is dictating what they make and removing much of the diversity from their line of products. They did at one time make smooth bores I see.
    Well you are a little late to that. Thompson Center was bought about 2 decades ago. The Firestorm was made up until about 10 years ago. Thompson Center doesn't even make guns anymore. I'm pretty sure they shut the doors down 2 years ago.

    TC used to make the coolest stuff. That all ended about 1998 when they had a big fire and lost most of their machines and plans. They were basically a cookie cutter inline factory after that, although they did still make a few cap and flint guns. Luckily TC guns are not that hard to find used, and they aren't worth a fortune either. Some are more difficult, but I don't think you will have too hard of a time finding a firestorm.

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Problem with a frontstuffer as I see it is once loaded....ball, buck or shot, a quick change to match the game is nearly impossible. I would suggest a single shot 20 ga break open shotgun with the weather resistance features you mentioned would be feasible.

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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