Author Topic: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project  (Read 2265 times)

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Offline edgemark

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45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« on: July 18, 2007, 06:39:26 am »
A few months ago I purchased my first Handi-Rifle in 45-70, it is a plain Jane 45-70 with a synthetic stock.
With the exception of the trigger, something that I have addressed in another post, I love this rifle.

I also love to shoot smokeless muzzleloaders. The Handi platform with a 1:20 twist makes for a great lightweight carry rifle.
I had thought about buying a second 45-70 barrel and threading the breech for a breechplug, but with access to a machine shop I thought that I could make a "False cartridge" breechplug that would kill two birds with one stone.

The following are some pictures of my trial project:

Left is 45-70 case, right is my breechplug with module.



Once again, left is 45-70 case, right is my breechplug with module



Here we have the 45-70 case on the left, the module in the center, and the breechplug on the right.



The "false cartridge" is made from ampco bronze which is very tough. It is machined to the mirror image of my chamber with the exception that the open end is flared a few thousandths to ensure a very tight fit.

The first shot is done with a mild load and this seats the breechplug so that it is not removable without considerable effort.
The primer is a cut down base of a 45-70 and the primer pocket has been machined out to receive a 209 primer. The hole in the breechplug is 0.031 which prevents excess pressure from reaching the 209 primer, since they are not designed for 40,000 psi. loads.
Another advantage of a 209 is that it is longer than the thickness of the 45-70 head web thickness. This means that the 209 extends through the bottom of the case and adds another level of sealing to the system.

My first few sessions at the range show promise, but I need to work on the trigger before I can be sure how accurate this will be as a muzzleloader. I see no reason that it should not be as accurate as a cartridge rifle, once I find the right load.

edge.


Offline eskimo36

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2007, 02:01:11 pm »
I like your thought process....the handi is a versatile gun that anyone can modify or personalize without having a fortune invested.
"one shot is usually enough"

Offline handirifle

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2007, 02:30:58 pm »
Very cool project.   What would be ideal, to be able to "sell" this idea to F&G officials to use in ML only seasons.  That way one barrel would serve both functions.

I especially like the faster twist, allowing for heavier than normal ML bullets to be shot accurately.

Thinking back to your original plan, what if you reamed out the chamber, say, 1/4", threaded it and could have a pair of sleeves.  One sleeve, with the end closed off, would serve as a breech plug, the other, open and with extractor, a standard 45-70 chamber.

I have no idea if that would really work but sounds cool to me.

Keep us posted on your project.

By the way, how much effort is "considerable effort"?  Would it damage the chamber?
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Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2007, 02:57:43 pm »
SNIP

By the way, how much effort is "considerable effort"?  Would it damage the chamber?

It does not damage the chamber, IMO, using a range rod with a small brass end on it I can knock it out with effort just short of needing a mallet.
I have considered adding a hex to the end so that I could twist it with a socket wrench to break it loose.

I used bronze so that it would not hurt the chamber.

edge.

Offline handirifle

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 03:17:34 pm »
Pretty cool idea.
God, Family, and guns, in that order!

Online burntmuch

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 04:22:28 pm »
Im asking this ? cause I wanna watch your progress.   Wheres the extractor or ejector?
I dont care what gun Im using as long as Im hunting

Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 04:28:52 pm »
burntmuch, this is an extractor model. I have never tried an ejector model, but I would think that if you open an ejector model slowly you should be able to not shoot the primer module too far.

edge.

Online burntmuch

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 04:35:55 pm »
So doesnt the extractor try & push the module out. All my guns are ejectors ,
I dont care what gun Im using as long as Im hunting

Online burntmuch

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2007, 04:42:29 pm »
Or is that what you want, so it can be reloaded with another module with new primer??
I dont care what gun Im using as long as Im hunting

Online trotterlg

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 04:51:33 pm »
H&R produced a muzzel loader using a push in breach plug very close to what you have.  I think it was one of the causes of their going bankrupt, several people shot the breach plug through their head when they opened the rifle after a hang fire. These are very dangerous things.   Larry
A gun is just like a parachute, if you ever really need one, nothing else will do.

Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2007, 06:40:03 pm »
burntmuch, the case portion with the primer is extracted. The breechplug stays put, stuck tight to the chamber.

trotterlg, This is for smokeless powder only, perhaps with BP this might be a problem but when the rifle is opened a regular cartridge can't eject straight back since the rifle does not break open far enough.

edge.

Online trotterlg

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2007, 06:52:26 pm »
Just remember, if you have a hang fire and open the breach the rifle can shoot out of both ends, point it up and down and keep you feet and head out of the way, there are several dead people who would probably tell you the same thing.   Larry
A gun is just like a parachute, if you ever really need one, nothing else will do.

Offline handirifle

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2007, 07:49:56 pm »
H&R produced a muzzel loader using a push in breach plug very close to what you have.  I think it was one of the causes of their going bankrupt, several people shot the breach plug through their head when they opened the rifle after a hang fire. These are very dangerous things.   Larry

Wow!  Never even thought of that occuring.  That could really ruin your day.
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Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 09:30:25 pm »
I agree that BP can be very dangerous, but quite honestly I have never seen it happen with smokeless. Smokeless either goes off or it does not, at least modern powders.

If that happened then you would have heard about many Hadirifle owners being hit with cartridge cases too, and I have never heard about a single one. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that some Politician would have outlawed break open actions as being too dangerous.

edge.

PS I am not dismissing this as a legitimate concern, but mainly for BP and not smokeless powder.

Online trotterlg

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2007, 10:18:40 pm »
It is mainly a BP issue, however with a very long flash hole like you have the ignition may be far different than with a cartridge, you are proabaly in uncharted territory here, just be careful with what you do with it, it is a good project I would say.  I am wondering if it would be a legal muzzel loading rifle, most state laws say that the rifle has to be designed to be loaded from the muzzel, so I am not sure a 45-70 would qualify even if it was loaded from the muzze, as it was designed to be a cartridge rifle.  Guess the lawyers could hash that one out. You could take any modern rifle, chamber a primed case, dump the powder charge down the barrel, ram down a bullet and have a bolt action muzzel loading 300 Win Mag.   Larry

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Online burntmuch

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2007, 05:41:34 am »
If you get this to work you could take once fired brass from some one elses 45/70 & make them one. I think it would be legal to o, All the  game warden would have to do is open it up & see that it is  loaded from the muzzle.
I dont care what gun Im using as long as Im hunting

Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2007, 05:47:53 am »
trotterlg, perhaps with this rifle I am in uncharted waters, but I have fired close to 10,000 shots in various smokeless muzzleloaders. The vent hole on this is much shorter than in my original Savage that used the modules and also shorter than the current Savage design. All of my Savage breechplugs have been modified to reduce the vent length. The Savage breechplug has a length from primer to powder of 1 5/8 inches. My Savage modified plugs reduce that to about 7/8, and this Handi version is right at about 5/8 inch from primer to powder.

I have never heard of a hang-fire in a smokeless muzzleloader, and the progressive burning nature of smokeless would seem to make it all but impossible. If you use the wrong powder in a smokeless, one that is hard to ignite, the primer may push the sabot/bullet out of the muzzle but fail to fire. This was very common in the early days using 4227 with loose fitting bullet combinations, and Savage has dropped 4227 from its recommended list of powders.

Clearly a rifle that is loaded with a regular cartridge, something that is removed with each shot would not qualify in most places as a muzzleloader. My design, once the breechplug is inserted you can't easily remove it. Only the primer module is extracted between shots, and I have not seen any regulations that require a breechplug to be screwed in. If anyone knows of any I would like to see a link so I know where NOT to go  ;)

I do appreciate the safety concerns, and any new projects need to proceed slowly and carefully. There certainly is no sense having a design that gets you hurt!

burntmuch, a cartridge springs back too much to be able to use it as a template for a breechplug. I used a low temperature melting alloy to get the exact dimensions of the chamber, then I made the breechplug to those dimensions flaring the end slightly. Once fired the thin walls expand slightly forming a very tight fit.

edge.

Here is a sketch showing a cut a way view showing the relationships of the components.

The Green is the breechplug, the Blue is a hardened drill bushing that serves as the vent hole, Yellow is a cutdown 45-70 cartridge that the breechplug headspaces on, and the Brown is the 209 primer which forms a secondary seal inside the breechplug.


Offline Mac11700

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2007, 08:07:43 am »

Quote
It does not damage the chamber, IMO, using a range rod with a small brass end on it I can knock it out with effort just short of needing a mallet.
I have considered adding a hex to the end so that I could twist it with a socket wrench to break it loose.

Edge...If this plug can be removed and still allow a center fire cartridge to be used...then I really doubt they would consider it a muzzle loader...because technically your rifle is still a center fire.If you made the front half so it was permanently affixed inside...then it would no longer be one...

Quote
If that happened then you would have heard about many Hadirifle owners being hit with cartridge cases too, and I have never heard about a single one. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that some Politician would have outlawed break open actions as being too dangerous.

There has been many Handi owners that have been hit in the head with flying cases from the ejector barrels...or in the chest...or hit someone standing behind them...most won't admit it...and it usually only happens 1 time to someone...Their switching to the extractor barrels did away with that issue..(even though it really is a non-issue) and also made the old stuck case issue go away as well...and saves them money to boot...

Sounds like you've put a-lot into this...for your love of shooting the black...Good luck...and be careful..

Mac
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Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2007, 08:35:21 am »
Mac11700, not to argue the point.....too much  ;D, most any centerfire action muzzleloader could be made to shoot a centerfire cartridge by making a breechplug with a chamber instead of a vent hole running through it. I also have a smokeless muzzleloader built on a Savage 110 action and I don't think that it would be very difficult to make a removable chamber interchangable with the muzzleloader breechplug.

I may be wrong, but I have not seen any regulations that prohibit what I have done, admittedly I have not looked too hard  ;)

edge.

Offline Mac11700

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2007, 10:06:34 am »


I understand..but..what your building is still considered a fire arm...not a muzzle loader by the A.T.F. It is no different than the Huntsman according to them..If it starts out on a center fire or shot gun frame it will be considered the same..and fall under those rules..per them...You can call the  A.T.F. Technologies department at 1-304-260-1699 and ask them about it...As long as it is legal to hunt with the NEF center fire/shotgun...it will be legal to hunt with your conversion......It's quite interesting...and can give a new spin to re-doing a 38-55 barrels to some neat old cartridges...

Mac
You can cry me a river... but...build me a bridge and then get over it...

Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2007, 10:25:44 am »
There is no doubt that it must go through a FFL, but so does an Encore which is a muzzleloader. IMO, the distiction is in the hunting regulations and not BATF.

For instance, the Bad Bull is clearly a muzzleloader, but it also needs a FFL transfer agent:

http://www.badbullmuzzleloaders.com/

Since I am new to Handi rifles, isn't the Sidekick built on a smokeless frame? I assume that it needs a 4473 too since you can interchange the barrels. Am I wrong?

thanks, edge.

Offline Smoke Wagon

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2007, 10:39:11 am »
you're not going to able to use it in Florida... here is the definition of a Muzzleloader according to Florida Game and Fish Commission....

The term muzzleloading gun means a firearm using black powder as the propellant or a nonnitrocellulose substitute and fired by wheellock, flintlock, or percussion cap ignition and which is not adaptable to the use of any self contained cartridge ammunition. (FAC 68A-1.004)
" Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God" Mathew 5:9

Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2007, 11:12:17 am »
Smoke Wagon, I'll cross Florida off of my list ;D

They had me with no smokeless, sounds like no in-lines either.

edge.

Online quickdtoo

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2007, 11:23:39 am »
The Sidekick is a muzzleloader only, it doesn't require a 4473, centerfire barrels won't fit on the frame, it's totally muzzleloader. Cabelas wouldn't sell it online if it was a firearm. ;)

Tim

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Offline Mac11700

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2007, 11:27:39 am »
There is no doubt that it must go through a FFL, but so does an Encore which is a muzzleloader. IMO, the distiction is in the hunting regulations and not BATF.

For instance, the Bad Bull is clearly a muzzleloader, but it also needs a FFL transfer agent:

http://www.badbullmuzzleloaders.com/

Since I am new to Handi rifles, isn't the Sidekick built on a smokeless frame? I assume that it needs a 4473 too since you can interchange the barrels. Am I wrong?

thanks, edge.

No...the Side Kick doesn't fall under the A.T.F. regulations as what the Huntsman does per the gentleman I spoke with at the Technologies department.....It was designed strictly as a muzzle loader..You might want to call the number I gave you and talk to them..You right about the different states hunting regulations and their definitions...but..all of them take their que from the A.T.F."s definitions as well...Yours is still classified as a breech loader...even though you are using it other wise..I think it's still a pretty cool idea..and like I said..it does open up some other possibility's...

Mac



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Offline Tennessee.Traveler

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2007, 11:57:00 am »
Edge,
You have done an excellent job on the project.  I hope you continue it.  Leagally I think you're OK with BATF since it is already registered as a center-fire.  States will vary on legality.  The question in my mind, is it possible to convert back to centerfire while in the field.  If it is, you are breaking state law but not federal law.

Think about screw-in shotgun choke tubes for a second.  If you threaded the throat of your chamber to match the thread on a choke tube, you could then thread your breach-plug. and screw it into the chamber.  You could cut small notches in the back of your insert to match the choke wrench.  That would make it non-removable in the field.  Just don't take the wrench hunting with you.

If you run into an officer, show him your license, He probably won’t look at your gun more than to admire it.  The breech will appear permanently sealed.  Don’t show him how to remove it.  Until it is removed, the is no question but that it is a muzzle loader!

If he appears unhappy, then it is a total supprise to you, after all you are proud of the gun, you built it!  You are humble!  (by the way, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than get permission) He doesn't have the authority to give you permission but probably has the heart to forgive you!

Dick
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Offline edgemark

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2007, 12:03:38 pm »
I'll give them a call, but I have no doubt that for Firearms purposes it IS absolutely a centerfire rifle, but I am 99% sure that the Encore is too.

After looking at the H&R website I see that the Muzzleloader barrel CAN be added to a shotgun frame!

"Huntsman™ Muzzleloader
Any shotgun, except 10 gauge, or centerfire rifle frame may be fitted with a Huntsman™ Muzzleloader barrel."

I assume that everyone would consider this a muzzleloader, but IMO, BATF would still consider it a 4473 firearm.


Tennessee.Traveler, I agree with your thinking

edge.

  ;)

Offline handi243

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2007, 12:06:43 pm »
Mac if i sent in my rifle frame to have a muzzleloader barrel added would it still be a "centerfire"? just asking

Offline handirifle

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2007, 12:55:38 pm »
For purchasing, transferring this rifle, YES BATF considers it a centerfire, just as the Encore would be.  It's because the RECEIVER can accept centerfire barrels, not because of the barrel that happens to be on it at the time.  The state F&F personnel, are only concerned with the type of barrel on it and what type of tag you are using it with, ie. ML barrel and ML season.

Putting the huntsman barrel on the NEF makes it a legal ML for HUNTING purposes ONLY, not a BATF muzzle loader, which is why you can buy the Huntsman (or any other true muzzle loading firearm) mail order direct to your house, no FFL involved.

I'm sure it would depend on the warden checking on you as to whether or not he considered this idea a legal ML.
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Online quickdtoo

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Re: 45-70 Muzzleloader Project
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2007, 02:12:43 pm »
which is why you can buy the Huntsman (or any other true muzzle loading firearm) mail order direct to your house, no FFL involved.


I dunno if that's what you meant to write, but that statement is not true. The Sidekick is a muzzleloader only, the Huntsman IS a 4473 firearm, and CAN'T be purchased thru mail order without the involvement of an FFL.

Tim
"Always do right, this will gratify some and astonish the rest" -  Mark Twain