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Archive for the ‘Muzzle loader’ Category

The problem: Top hat musket caps are hard to come by in South Africa and expensive because they usually need to be shipped from some distant gun shop in another province by special couriers that are permitted to transport explosives.

The solution: Make the musket work with small number 11 or 10 caps intended for revolvers & pistols or the modern in the spirit rifles such as the Lyman or Pedersoli.

How: First things first – use this information at your own peril. If you don’t have some engineering and gun smithing experience,  don’t do this or else you might end up with a nipple in your skull or worse. If you do this right, you will breath new life into that old musket.

1.Simply go to the hardware and buy a grease nipple of the same diameter and screw thread as the original nipple of the musket.

Standard grease nipple

2. Acquire some Lyman stainless steel nipples or similar (usually comes in packs of 3).

3. Grind off the top of the grease nipple and remove the ball bearing and spring. Make sure that when the grease nipple is matched with the Lyman nipple that the length of the adapted new nipple is the same length as the original top hat nipple.

4. Drill out the hole in the grease nipple to a suitable width and depth to be tapped in order to screw in the Lyman nipple. Don’t drill the hole all the way through, only as deep as the thread of the smaller Lyman nipple.

5. Tap thread into the hole you drilled to receive the Lyman nipple thread. Here you might encounter a problem since you’ll need an obscure imperial thread tap that nobody ever uses except the Italian black powder rifle industry. Don’t expect that your local engineering supply will have one.

6. No problem, grandpa taught me long ago to use the thread of a screw to tap a hole to receive that thread by cutting 2 small channels in the thread just as in a tap and then by using a lubricant carefully tap the thread into the hole.

7. The stainless steel Lyman nipple is harder than the grease nipple. Therefore you can carefully tap the nipple into the grease nipple.

8. When the 2 nipples are joined to form a number 11 musket nipple, carefully test it on the musket for fit.

9. When all fits together snugly, fire a few caps to test ignition.

Adapted number 11 nipple on musket

10. Finally go to the range and fire some of your favorite charges. My musketoon fired first time and every time without any problems. There are no signs of excessive pressure or wear. Ignition was reliable with BP and Sannadex even though the smaller caps are not nearly as hot as the top hat musket caps.

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Good companions

Although the colt 1851 is a period correct companion to the Enfield musketoon, I prefer the Smith & Wesson Model 10 military & police (38SPL). This one is of 1970’s vintage but retrofitted with 1930’s walnut grips and flatter lanyard ring. It is a very accurate shooter and still used regularly in competition. It is not only more accurate than the colt 1851 but obviously more reliable and powerful in the field.

The first 2 rounds before the hammer is usually snake shot when going into the veldt. Really big black mambas are common in the places I frequent. I don’t want to mess around with a revolver that is not 100% reliable when confronted by a large black mouth serpent.Best companions

Being an Indiana Jones fan, it is an appropriate revolver to have on the belt, especially with an old style flap holster.

Indiana Jones style revolver, flap holster and WW2 gas mask satchel

Indiana Jones style revolver, flap holster and WW2 gas mask satchel

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It seems that musketoons were favoured by the frontiersmen in Southern Africa including the native tribesmen. Every example of an Enfield or Snider (Enfields converted to breach loaders)  rifle that I have thus far come across in museums or private collections were musketoons. Some examples seem to have started out as pattern 53 long rifles but were cut down to musketoon length on the frontier. The reason probably being that the horse was the common means of transport and a long rifle would prove cumbersome in a context other than on foot in infantry applications. Therefore for hunting and military use the musketoon would have been the better option for Boer, Imperialist or native African.

Shorter bushveld rifles are still very popular in South Africa and many of us shortened our .303 Lee Enfields into handy bushveld carbines when we sporterised them .

The picture below is of a musketoon preserved at the Queens Fort in Bloemfontein. This rifle saw action in the Freestate during the Basotho Wars (1858-1868) between the Afrikaner Boer Settlers and the Basotho people of Moshesh over land and cattle disputes.

tower-musketoon-from-freest

Original Tower musketoon from Freestate

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African Patch Knife

A patch knife I made from the blade of a broken pocket knife and the wood from an old walking stick. The stick came from a jumble sale and was cut from some local African tree, probably a thorn tree. It slices patches from the muzzle like a sharp razor shaves a scruffy beard off the chin.patch-knife

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Musketoon

enfield-musketoon 1861

A musketoon is a carbine or shorter version

of a standard (obviously long) musket.

A musket is a muzzle loading firearm consisting

of a lock, stock and barrel.

The lock would primarily either be flint or percussion.

The barrel may be smooth bore or rifled.

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