.54 cal-24 ga. smooth bore

FTTPOW

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I rebuilt my old Trade Gun into a Fowler. It's actually a .58 cal-24 ga. smoothbore. The old wood was junk, so I reused the barrel and lock with new wood and brass furniture. Thirty years later my inletting went from looking like I used a tomahawk to a throwing knife. Now I need to get another underway for next winter's project. I'm thinking of a .54 cal Hawken style.
 
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Jake F

Well-known member
Nice! That's a beautiful gun!

I have a Cabela's Hawkins .54 Cal it is by far my funnest gun to shoot. Although it kicks worse than a nasty mule. But I still love it. It was a kit I got for Christmas one year. Super fun to build and funner to shoot!
 

FTTPOW

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It's just a smoothbore. When I first made it, it was for use in the Trade Gun matches at the Nationals. Round balls were used on knockdown targets and shot was used on clay birds. I'd like to try it again, now that I finally have the smoothbore back in one working piece. I tried patterning it, thinking I'd try it on turkeys, but it would cover a whole sheet of newspaper at 25 yards. I'd have to fill the barrel half full of shot in order to get rid of the holes in the pattern.
 

ltdann

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Is that a chambers round faced lock? I love those. Put one on my latest build and its positively the most reliable lock I have used.
 

FTTPOW

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The lock and barrel are stamped with a sitting fox. I think they were made for Northwest Trade Guns as a package kit. I'm not sure of the maker.
 

ltdann

Well-known member
Got it that time. Man, that thing is beautiful!
LOL...I did that one as an experiment to try different building techniques. Some worked, some didn't. I had to play with the finish a bit to get it where I liked it.

I went with the 54 cal, swamped barrel which really lightened it up on the front end. Swings like a dream.

It was the first time I tried soldering silver to brass and the worked out great. There's fine silver on the buttplate, toe plate and the front and back of the ramrod thimbles. The side plate is nickel silver and really should be on a fowler, but I couldn't resist stepping out of school a bit.

Just a little bit of carving around the entry thimble and the tang area because the wood was just awesome and I didn't want to take away from that.

Because that huge english round faced lock, it fires EVERY time and it should, it has a big honking piece of flint boulder in there. It's not the fastest lock, but it's the most reliable.

The wood finish is tannic acid wash followed by ferric nitrate, which yields a iron tannate reaction that is quite dark and permanent...add a little red aniline dye and wow. That's my new finish schedule.
 

FTTPOW

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That's not the same lock as I used. Your rifle is a thing of beauty! I stained mine with chromic acid for 15 minutes, neutralized it with baking soda then rubbed with 0000 steel wool soaked with linseed oil. I finished it off with a couple applications of Rotten Stone and then more steel wool and linseed oil.
 

ltdann

Well-known member
Have you tried permalyn sealer and finish from Laurel Mountain Forge? The stuff is the bomb. It penetrates and seals the wood like nothing I've ever seen. Much better than BLO...and faster. I seal first and then go to the finish, putting on 4-5 coats with my finger. I knock the gloss back with mineral oil and rotten stone. If you ding the finish, it's easily repaired. In hot weather, I can have the finish done in 3 days.

My.54 is throwing me fits at the range @ 100 yds, doesn't group at all. Still haven't found the right patch thickness yet. Got to make a trip to the fabric store with my micrometer... .017 is too tight.
 

FTTPOW

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Dan, did you ever get the .54 shooting right, yet? What size ball/patch are you using?
 

ltdann

Well-known member
Not yet, went to Joann's and got 3 different thickness's of cloth. .012, .014 and .018. Varies between denim and cotton duck. I'm shooting .530 balls. I head back to the range this Friday and see what I can do. I'm hoping it'll be .014.

It's weird, my Lancaster .50 loves a .490 ball and .018 patch.
 


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