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Posted By: Tinker Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/10/05 05:30 AM
Hello gang-

I have an absolutely fabulous pinfire double. It's a two barrel set with twelve bore shotgun barrels and sixteen bore rifle barrels, probabally made in the mid late 1860s.
Both barrel sets are in near new condition, with what is likely original laquer over the finished damascus.
Once I get myself set up with some brass and make some loading equipment, I'll have it out somewhere in the woods of California and Oregon.
Hopefully someone out here on the list is running a sixteen bore rifle and can help me get started with a load and some suggestions for projectiles.
The gun's cased in oak and leather, there is a pile of round balls that mic out to about .666 in diameter.
The gun's bullet mold has somehow gone lost over the years, but I recently found a sixteen bore ball mould (a nice belgian pistol came with it at no extra charge...) that seems as if it'd throw a ball of similar size.
I just got a brick of chamber casting alloy and will likely cast the chambers later this evening or some time tomorrow.
I'll post what I find here on the list when I have something to note.

I really don't know where to start with bullet alloy. I'd like to hear what others have done with bullet types in the sixteen bore size too. I'm guessing that the balls that were in the case may have actually ended up working out with this gun, but I don't have a proper hardness tester for bullet alloy or even know if these are of a batch that even worked with this gun.
As yet, there are no bulges in the rifle (or shotgun for that matter) barrels, so at least no one's murdered this thing yet. I'd rather not harm it myself before I get the chance to run it as a hunting gun.

I expect the immediate -good luck finding reloading gear and hulls/brass- comments, I'll likely manufacture the cartrige cases myself out of brass, using pistol primers in the cases and some sort of semi-hard bronze rod for the striker pins.
I'd happily take directions to find case dimensions (web, base...) from anyone who knows where to find them.
I'll be making my own loading tools too and would love to see a decent capper/decapper that someone knows to work well and somewhat elegantly.

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say here, thanks for taking a moment to read my note.

Posted By: shep Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/10/05 10:21 AM
Congrats on your wonderful gun. If you somehow tire of it than I will be glad to give it a good home in the wilds of MO. In the Autumn 2004 DGJ there is a writeup of pinfire tools that you will find interesting. Good luck and safe shooting.
Posted By: BrentD Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/10/05 02:14 PM
I have an 18 bore percussion double rifle (Joseph Lang) that I use with roundballs. I got a mold from Dixie Gun Works - they are cheap scissors molds made in any diameter in 0.005" increments. Frankly they work perfectly for me. I was amazed.

I cast pure lead bullets at a slightly hotter than normal temperature (about 800-825 degrees F).

If you measure the rifling twist and decide to try for a conical bullet check out Mountain Molds . If you can figure out how to work the Online Bullet Design, you can have a mold made to any diameter you want. I've not done this yet, but I'm contemplating it.

Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/10/05 07:46 PM
looks like a dream combination

I shooting my 16 bore pinfire double shotgun with shot and roundball loads and be the only one in europe making brass pinfire cases in all gauges and all length.
What have you for brass, which length?. think this gun was build for pure lead round balls, dont try hard aloy. pinfire cartridges are a science, have two very big books, the work of many collectors in over 20 years. you find all different bullet in all case length but the most common is the simple round ball load.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/10/05 10:35 PM

Do you have a copy of the book or books you speak of?
I'd love to see those texts, that would be great.

I will be casting these chambers tonight. I'll know what things really are in there once my chamber casts stabilize in temperature when they get out of the gun.


Thanks for the note, I'll look at the autumn journal for what they have on the pinfire tools.


Thanks for the note on molds. I'll start looking at that once I see what the dims are in the chambers.

Fun fun fun...

Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/11/05 06:18 PM
this is a collection , maybe over 1000 pages, dont know it exactly. it contains every pinfire cartridge or case knowing today. many cartridge collectors( I have done a little help) have work for this books. its not for reloading this things again, its a collector book.
would like to see your cases, the old one's you get with the gun.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/12/05 08:35 AM

Did the chamber cast tonight, also measured some other features of what I have here.

To start, the rifling rate on this gun is about 1 in 40 inches. That was measured having pushed a tight patched jag through the bore on a dewey rod with timing marks drawn in pen on a piece of tape at each hundred and eighty degrees. A half revolution took about nineteen and seven eighths inches, measured once the patched jag was started and -just- got the rod turning.

The balls that came with the gun weigh in at 28.3 grams, they measure .666" in diameter.

There were two RWS gastight paper cartriges that came with the gun, they'd been cut to just about 1.695"
A cartrige with one of the sixteen bore balls set into the hull by having the ball sitting on the rifling then pushing the hull into the chamber gets the overall cartrige length from the head of the cartrige to the tip of the ball to 2.038"

The sixteen bore ball mold I got throws a cerrosafe casting of a ball at .666" in diameter.

The bore diameter of the rifle barrels is .650"
The groove diameter of these barrels is .666"

The chamber allows for a cartrige case length of 1.650"
Rim diameter is .785"
Rim thickness alowance is .053"
From the rim to the origin of rifling it's 1.666"
Diameter at the base is .756"
Diameter right at the throat of the chamber is .740"

I have yet to throw charges of black powder from the powder measure at each setting and weigh them, but I'll share that info once I do. I can't be sure the measure is the one made for this gun, but we'll just see...

Thinking about cartrige case designs tonight with an associate, we noted this thing definitely seems as if it's set up for paper hulls, the twist rate seems appropriate for one ounce balls.
I'll likely make my cases out of stainless and brass, with the heads of the cases done in stainless with inserts to hold pistol primers and the case walls made of brass, the walls silver brazed to machined stainless heads, the primer inserts done in stainless or brass (just typing this gives me the thought that brass will likely be the material for the inserts) and doing pins from a hard brazing (bronze alloy) rod. This'll make them easy to get the primers in and out, the pins will be cheap and easy to make, and the whole system should be relatively easy to load and clean.

Stuff to consider from here...

Bullet jump?
I wonder if this should be set up to slightly engrave the balls. The case walls will have miles of meat to work with and shouldn't stretch at all. They can be set up to cradle the balls -juuust right- to get the bullet jump to whatever would be optimal.
Powder charge?
The barrels and action on this gun look nearly showroom fresh. The rifle bores are absolutely goregeous. Load the thing till it hits at point of aim?
The powder measure that came in the case with this gun's been 'adjusted' with a cut plug of cork in the base of the cup. I found it in it's shortest adjustment. One of the cartrige hulls has what seems to be a pencil line on the outside, holding the powder measure next to that hull gets the base of that cork and the base of the cartrige to relatively the same spot when the top of the measure is at the pencil line.
Also of note about those two RWS Gastight hulls is that there's a liner of very thin sheet metal (very thick foil...) inside the hulls, it sets deep into the base of the hull and stops at about that pencil line.
For whatever it's worth, an Eley Gastight hull that I have that appears as it's never been fired or even loaded with powder or shot has a similar foil liner that is about as long as what I see in these specially cut RWS hulls.
I'd get about .330" or something like eight millimeters (or just better than 5/16") for wadding between the top of the powder charge and the ball when loaded out to where the ball just touches the rifling.

The evening's getting old, time to put the tools away till the sun comes up again.
Looking forward to what y'all you have to say about this.

thanks for your time

Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/12/05 06:46 PM

your gun have an unusual small barrel dia, if the word "unsual " exist for pinfire guns. the only standard we know is the old RWS bullet catalog. the 16 bore "catshead" bullet have a .711 dia., the upper "stopring" have .716 dia. .
the 20 bore have a .657 / .659 " bullet.
I think you can load any blackpowderload you can get in you case,it will be safe.
The case length your gun was chambered is 40mm / 1,57". what you have measured with your old cases is only a "home"cut. pinfire case for bullet cartridges are 33, 40, 50, or 65mm long. bigger ones like 10 or 8 bore can be found with longer cases. the fact that your gun have such a small bullet diameter shows it was build for paper cases. RWS had have 2 different bullets for brass and for paper cases. the paper case have a thicker wall and this help to fit your small roundball. I am working now only with Magtech shotgun brass cases, have made pinfire cases from paper and plastik center fire shells, also from copper tube with steel base. lot of work but only the magtech brass is it worth. I have an old box with 100 unloaded shells also old reloading tools but never shot an old case. collectors dont like to destroy collector stuff.
I believe you have a lathe, rigth?
working with magtech brass will be the best, you have work with any basic case. the magtech brass will survive all other many times.
I am a maker of rare cases, if you are interested.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/12/05 08:56 PM
I had noticed that the bore on this gun had seemed somewhat undersized compared to other sixteen bore rifles I'd seen. I feel quite lucky to have found a sixteen bore ball mold that throws a ball of appropriate size for this gun too, it makes balls the same size as those found in the maker's case the gun came in.

As far as machinery goes, I have five lathes, one of them is a 3-D capable five axis tool maker's lathe.
I have mills too, one of them a CNC machine with 3-D capabilities.
Making the cartriges for this gun will be fun.
Even more fun will be making the 32ga cartriges for the Lefaucheux made pinfire garden gun.
Those will be tiny.

Do you have any images of your special pinfire cartriges you can send me?
I'd like to see what you've done with the pinfire system.

I took volume comaprison measurements with the powder measure the gun came with, it throws 75, 90, and 105 grain black powder charges as it's set up with it's cork 'adjustment' plug.

The chamber walls are quite thick, 5mm at the breechfaces, and the metal is perfect.

Do you load the bore rifle cases with cloth or felt wads between the ball and the powder charge?
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/12/05 09:10 PM
Oh yes, and for what it's worth, this gun has nine groove rifling.
Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/13/05 07:16 PM
maybe have some time on the next weekend to make pics. a CNC lathe is great, you can make all kinds of cartridge systems. for pinfire cartridges you find so different ways to prime the fired case again. A little door on the side, base and tube fiting together with a thread and more.thats because we collectors classify the pinfire cartridge under "patent ignition systems".
i dont load a wad under my plinking roundball load but this is in a short case( hold only 65grain FG). When you need a real good cartridge for a shotgun barrel with 65mm long chamber load allways a wad under the ball. the short rifle case is not intendet for a wad, you need all space in the case for powder.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/13/05 09:02 PM
With as large a flame front as the sixteen bore will have I wonder about leading when shooting without wadding.

Looking at British proof loads from the time this gun was made, it seems as if the proof load was 75 grains of powder. I'll have to look again to see just what powder they were using, but I think the documents I was looking at stated 75 grains for ball or shot at an ounce of either at sixteen bore.
That would make sense with the powder measure this gun came with will throw 75 grains at the setting that I found it at and with the cork plug in the base of the measure.

I'm also interested to hear about what the typical practice is in respect to bullet jump.
Should this gun be loaded with the ball touching the rifling or with a little set back to allow for a bit of jump?
I have the sense that with black powder, it'd be best to have the ball touch the rifling.
With the paper cases, it couldn't be set up to engrave the rifling, the paper just won't hold tight enough.
I've seen crimped brass bore rifle cartriges loaded with ball, I'm sure that makes them much easier to care for in storage and in the field, but it seems it'd be a bit of a task to set up crimped cases for ball that would engrave in a nine groove rifle.

As I'll be building metallic cartriges, and will likely stick to ball loads unless I hear of a good conical for this system, I can set up to load ball in a light friction fit and still touch the rifling, given that I taper the outside of the cases at the chamber throat end of things.

I don't have a website to post photos on, so if I do photograph what I have here, I'd just have to send them to you if you wanted to see what's going on here.


Is lead buildup a problem when shooting without wads? Do I engrave the rifling, just touch it, or set up for a little bit of bullet jump?
What's the best way to go for this big of a bore and charge of black powder?
The .577-450 Snider military round was loaded with a paper sleeve in the case to reduce its capacity appropriately. Your cases seem to have a similar sleeve, albeit not paper. My inexpert guess would be that it would be good to measure the volume of your cases and duplicate that volume when you choose the weight of metal to make your new cases. The appropriate powder volume would be that required to fill the case below the ball.

I would also think a round ball would not require a wad. The very shape of a ball spreads the heat over a larger surface than the base of a conical bullet, thus avoiding the melting/vaporization that causes leading. Recall that muzzle loading rifles use only a cloth patch with a round ball, sufficient to engage the rifling but of little use in protection from heat.

What a wonderful gun! You are very fortunate.

P.S. Graving rifling with a bullet, especially one lightly crimped, is usually a recipe for a bullet left in the bore if the unfired case is extracted. I'd back off a little.

Modern rifles usually like a little jump, but not a lot, but it can vary from rifle to rifle (according to Don Zutz). I'd leave about .005" leade and see how it shoots. BTW you are also probably in for a lot of fun trying brands of BP to see what the rifle likes. Whatever it was regulated with is certainly no longer available.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/14/05 02:46 AM
Aaahh yes, the patched ball...

I have the patches from the first few rounds my father fired through his custom squirrel rifle.
That thing's beautiful, it was made at the Thompson Center custom shop, it was finished just before the place burned to the ground.
The barrel has the most beautiful high polish blue job I've seen on a gun in quite some time, the wood is unbelievable.
That little thing's a small bore gun, and the patches are for the most part fully intact.

I'd figured this gun with it's much greater bore would punish the lead and somehow deposit the pains of said labor on the bore. Thanks for the note there.

I'd been looking at musket loads too to compare bore/bullet weight/powder charges. Most things seem to point in the 75-90 grain neighborhood.
Tonight's my night to do volume/weight comparisons between the fired cartriges I have from this gun and the powder measure that came with it.

My plan with the metallic cartrige design is to look at the Sharp's patents, study what pinfire hulls I have here (ten or so assorted hulls, most unfired) and consider overall volume and bullet seating issues in my initial drawings.

I also have some concerns about gas sealing in the chambers. With paper hulls, like those this gun seems to have been built for, the casings essentially 'inflate' and swell during the time of combustion. This action tends to be enough to keep, for the most part, the pressures of combustion from escaping through the breech end of the gun.
Brass cases are typically designed with rather thin case walls in comparison which have little trouble ballooning out to seal the chambers during ignition.
If I build brass case walls thick enough to emulate the shape (and so also emulate the volume of...) of paper hulls, I may end up with a cartrige that is too rigid to deform enough during ignition to seal properly. Or I might not.

So far, the design notions I've come to over discussion with my closest associate here at the shop is to build the cases in a two-part process.
This is to make the interior of the case head and webbing of the cartrige easier to machine (long reach + skinny cutters = tool chatter) and more economical in the long run as I won't have to spend much machine time or material on boring the bulk of the powder room of the cartrige from solid stock.
The case heads will likely be made from 316 or similar stainless and the case walls from brass, the pieces silver brazed then finished after brazing.
Stainless for the heads so it won't anneal during brazing, and brazed instead of threaded for greater durability. We're thinking of running a removable primer pocket and a nice little tool to make repriming easy.

My thoughts on wall thickness and interior architechure have been 'run it thick and have relatively straight interior walls, easier to run wadding if necessary'
I've also thought of running a slight hemispherical (hemitauroidal might be a better way to say it) seat ledge near the mouth of the cartriges to allow the brass to support the seat of the balls against the rifling, I wouldn't expect a thick-walled cartrige to stretch, especailly at the relatively low pressures expected with this rifle.

Much to consider really.
Still at this point I'm doing some homework on the proofs on this gun, and my proof book has gone missing. I'm feeling rather dead in the water without it, but really, the standard guide of proofs is often not nearly enough information for the stuff I end up looking at.
Someone should have a few pages of proof marks images on a web site out there...

I may end up in the machine shop tonight turning out a couple of prototype stainless case heads, if I have the right brass tube stock, I might even turn out a couple of complete cartriges.
If I end up doing that, I'd be in serious need of an all-night testing range or soome very good sleeping pills in order to hold me over till the sun comes back up in the morning.
I have a sense once I have metallic cartriges for this gun I'll end up needing to fire it in short order just to satisfy my curiosities.
heh heh heh...
Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/14/05 06:44 PM
look at your PM, I need you e-mail address
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/14/05 07:23 PM
Got it, check your mail for an address.

Also of note, last night while fiddling with the shotgun barrels for this gun I discovered they're choke bored, .005" and .009"
Hadn't thought to even look before as I figured the time of this gun preceeded the days of choke boring.

Posted By: pwm Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/15/05 04:12 PM
hope you got the mail with the pics, have some more on
if someone here can say my how to bring it on this website.
Posted By: Ron Vella Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/19/05 02:26 AM
Tinker, You need to look at the thread titled "Mag-Tech Brass" over on the shotgun page. A chap who calls himself Jeb Stuart quotes a source for all-brass pinfire shells. The name he gave is "Hammer Double Co". Many of us are waiting with bated breath for him to come back with contact info for this supplier.
Tinker try this site.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/20/05 01:57 AM
Thanks guys-

I've been busy lately, buried in the barbed wire of a nasty schedule and juggling through the catch-as-catch-can ergonomic adjustment from my (for now dead as a brick) PC to this mac laptop a friend gave me recently to tie me over till I get my desktop rig back up and running.
I'll try to get some photos up somewhere to show some of this nice gun and the work I'm doing building some rather pretty cartirges and loading tools for it.
I'm going the -engineered for my own darn love of pretty things- route in setting myself up with ammunition.
I've seen cases made from standard modern ammo with spent 209 primers hacked to take normal centerfire primers on edge, inside the cases, running pins through nothing more than a hole through the side of the brass and plastic case.
Ultra simple and without a doubt effective as anything else could be.
Instead of following the well laid path of my contemporary fellow enthusiasts, I've casted the chambers of my gun and am building cartriges with steel heads and rims with brass walls turned specifically for these chambers, the projectiles that I'll be running, and the volume of whatever powder I settle on in the end once I've fired it through testing and regulation.
I'm going with smal primers, this gives me a range from standard small pistol through mag pistol, small rifle, and on into the range of match grade small rifle primers.
I'll hsve some choices there to get something to flick the black powder to life, while having plenty of room in there to pull and reprime the brass either in the field or at the bench.
The primers are to be set into simple inserts, the little primer pocket inserts will be easily set or removed with an elegant tool that won't look funny sitting beside wood stocked turnscrews. That tool will actually look quite a bit like a turnscrew.
I want plain smooth heads on my cartriges so I can have more freedom with head stamps or engraviing on my ammo.

For the first ones the case heads have been milled from steel, the run of production I'll do for my kit will likely be done in 316 stainless.
Steel for the heads so it won't anneal during brazing, brass for the walls, and silver to join them.

I have a 24 and a 32 bore gun to feed as well, those are also pin fire, and the inserts and tools should run fine in the smaller cases without any trouble.

Posted By: winwun Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/20/05 12:41 PM
You might consider sabots for your initial shots.

This would allow greater latitude in bullet selection and would give lower pressures.
Posted By: Tinker Re: Sixteen bore, double rifle, pinfire... - 01/20/05 07:03 PM
I have considered sabots.
Although the use of sabots would definitely increase the possible range of projectile choices, I wonder what kind of saboted projectile would work well at a rifling rate of one in fourty inches.
At this point, the sixteen bore balls are looking like a decent choice for this gun, especially as they were found with it in it's case and having seen what I've seen while looking closely into the chamber and barrel dimensions in light of the ball and cartrige sizes the thing came with.
I wouldn't expect to run this gun at greater ranges than 200 yards. The sights on it just aren't long range sights, the front blade is smallish and wedge shaped, the rear sight is short and the leaves have small notches. I wouldn't run it with telescopic sights or hack it to take any other kind of sights either.
I just want to run it as it is. And it's in absolutely beautiful shape. Not just good shape for a hundred and so-odd decades old either, but really beautiful and clean.

If you know of a ligther bullet type that should give good accuracy in a 1/40 twist barrel, let me know. Zippy performance might just be fun.
I intend to run only black powder in this gun. With chambers this huge and with as many different types of black powder that are available I'll have a fair bit of latitude setting it up with a load that will shoot and regulate properly with the round balls. Running sabots would surely put quite a spin on things and I can imagine getting a load developed that would shoot right would be quite a bit of work.
Still I'd be happy to hear about what's worked for you.

Hi, You mentioned in one of your previous discussions that you have a 32ga pinfire Lefaucheux garden gun. I have one as well and am trying to estimate the value for insurance and also possibly for sale purposes. It is in excellent condition, about 75% bluing, and is really a neat gun. Do you have any idea what its value is? I appreciate your response. Thanks.
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