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#121752 11/15/08 05:03 PM
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I have just finished reading an English translation of Espingarda Perfeyta (The Perfect Gun) first published in Portugal in 1718. Even in English this book takes some interpretation, but I think that a form of "jug" or "relief" choke boring is clearly discussed. Bird shot is called "hail-shot" and the section I quote is preceded by a wood cut of a hunter shooting flying birds with a flint-lock.

The translator and editor say the book was in process in the "17th century" (late 1600s) and the authors quote another book, Arte de Ballesteria by Spinar (possibly Spanish or Italian), which would date the information back to the late 1600s. Here's what they were saying about improving pattern by modifying the barrel at the muzzle, two centuries before Fred Kimble, in his senility post-1910, decided he had retroactively "invented" choke boring in 1868:

At p.361: "...Good adjustment of the barrel consists of firing far with the hail-shot close together and this length, that gives it esteem, until now the ultimate point to which art can cause a shot to go with undispersed ammunition, is fifty paces..."

The authors then discuss the proper boring of a ball musket and return to a "hail-shot" scatter-gun at P.371, quoting Spinar:

"'...The most proven remedy for correcting this ill [1], is to widen it at the muzzle two or three fingers within [2], in such a manner that this widening becomes an adarme [3], or an adarme and a half more hollow [4], than the remainder of the gun.'"

I other words: [1] The "ill" is blowing a pattern and not keeping the shot charge together to a killing distance;

[2] The gunmakers would go in the muzzle "two or three fingers" (being about 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-inches) and open up the bore size, making it [4] "more hollow," by about [3] "an adarme or adarme and a half," an adarme being a unit of weight of lead, or, in effect saying that a 12-balls-to-the-pound "12-bore" should be relief-choked a couple inches from the muzzle to ten-bore.

And Spinar, being quoted by the authors, explains: "'...This widening serves for two things, which are that the pressure, and force which the powder makes in the narrow part of the gun may be less with that widening, in order to give ease to the hail shot that it may leave well, and keep together, for in this I have great experience, and never err, and have therewith corrected many guns...'"

Then the authors of The Perfect Gun conclude their discourse on choke boring: "We could add other authorities, but reasons are unnecessary, where there is experience to teach the best manner..."

There it is: Choke Boring is described by method (bore-size relief behind the muzzle), effect (that the hail-shot should leave the barrel well and stay together), and by in-practice experience sufficiently well-known in the trade so the authors don't bother quoting additional authorities. This in a Portuguese book published in 1718 referring to another book published in the 1600s. EDM


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An excellent book. One of the earliest surviving accounts.



Notice the anvil. Typical for an armour of the period. At the bottom of the image are gauges, used to measure the work. This type of gauge was still in use in the 1920's.



From the Beretta archive:


Again notice the anvil in the far left, from Jan Brueghel the Younger Venus at the forge of Vulcan.


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Pete,
Beautiful pictures of barrel making. In your first picture I'm afraid that if it was left up to the two with the hammers that they would still be working on that barrel. I think they were props. The next two pictures show true workmen with heavy swings of the hammers.


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David,

Those anvils and many of the tools had been developed to produce blade weapons and armor. Take a good look at what they are doing. Wrapping metal around a mandrel. This was the primary barrel making method for centuries. It remained the major production method for damascus barrels to the very end.

Here (circa 1924) the anvil has been specialized even further. It has grooves to hold the barrel as it is formed. This specialization had occurred much earlier.



Here is a modern (circa 1970) recreation of making barrels (circa 1750) by forge welding fluid metal around a mandrel. Notice the hammer, very similar to the one shown above.







What Ed notes is important. They had begun to "play" with choke boring. Something that most people think was a later development.


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Originally Posted By: JDW
Pete,
Beautiful pictures of barrel making. In your first picture I'm afraid that if it was left up to the two with the hammers that they would still be working on that barrel. I think they were props. The next two pictures show true workmen with heavy swings of the hammers.


Here is a man who has not seen PeteM's 25 minute DVD of Damascus barrel making. Anyone and everyone who is interested in this sort of thing had better order one before they are gone. While it seems that PeteM could simply burn more DVDs, this is not the case on this seminal copyrighted 1920s foreign film.

As to which image fairly represents the process: The metal was heated to a plastic state and did not need to be beat into a pulp. The labor involved was heavy work, but not heavy-handed. The hammer forging of the iron plate around the mandrel is better represented by the first image. The skilled barrel forgers used the weight of various size hammers, which had to be kept perfectly under control to achieve the desired result.

The thing that impressed me most by PeteM's video was the ease, simplicity, and informality of the barrel forging process--no drama, no sparks flying, no automobiles exploding in a ball of fire--just workmen preforming every-day procedures with physical exertions much like doing steaks on a grill.

The exaggerated images of the forgers swinging their hammers overhead like pick axes in a rock quarry is as non-authentic as having a nude woman posing in the middle of the forging operation. EDM


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just workmen preforming every-day procedures with physical exertions much like doing steaks on a grill.

I didn't see the film, and maybe the paintings have some exageration in the worksmans blows, but in the real picture the gent holding that 6-8 lb. hammer with the 24"+ long handle isn't for show. If he didn't need it that long he would have cut it. Forming steel and getting it round is not going to be done without some force, later on the need for heavier striking is over.
As far as the nude with the cherub, you know as well as I do that it was common then for the commissioner to have the painter include them.


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Originally Posted By: JDW
I didn't see the film, and maybe the paintings have some exageration in the worksmans blows...


The beauty of the Internet is that everyone can get in their argumentative two cents, even if it is prefaced by "I didn't see the film..." I suggest you view the film and get back to us when you are thus informed.

What seems to have gone astray on this thread is my original point that I traced choke boring for a close pattern of "hail-shot" back to the continent in the late 1600s. Ho, hum. C'est la vie! EDM


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Ed I got the point and found it very interesting and certainly that is the earliest report of choke boring I have heard of. It is interesting that it took 150 years or so for it to show back up in the gun trade.

Best.

Mike



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I think they are referring to enlarging from the muzzle itself down a few inches like we would think of the inside of a blunderbuss. In other words a 12 bore barrel would be opened up to about a 10 bore from the muzzle down for a few inches. This was common on English fowling guns and the breech area was sometimes also enlarged and "roughed". This is not a jug or tula as we know it where you go back some distance behind the muzzle and enlarge an area for the shot to expand and then be contracted again.

According to J.N. George concerning smooth bores in the early 18th century in "English Guns and Rifles"... "The fowling piece proper was, moreover, distinguished from the "fusil" by the form of it's barrel, which was not only considerably lighter than that of the ball gun, but was flared or enlarged at the muzzle, instead of being bored in true cylinder.... "

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EDM...as one who has had a couple of Flint single barrel guns Jug Choked and know how effective they are, I think this is an outstanding find that dates them, and appreciate you sharing it like you have...I'll refer a number of folks interested in Jug Choking to your posting as well

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