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Old 18th October 2015, 05:19 PM   #1
rickystl
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Post Torador Barrel Investigation - Part II

Hello all.
Well, I received the barrel back. On the YouTube video "Mughal Matchlock" there is a very brief skeletal type interior view of a loaded barrel showing the distance of the patched ball from the loose powder in the chamber. I tried putting the video on still, to copy this view, but can't seem to do it. Maybe another member with better computer skills than I can do it ? It does seem to be a accurate likeness of the interior of my barrel. Would sure like to have it.
Anyway, here is what I found: This barrel is 55.5 inches (141cm) long and .59 caliber (15mm). From the muzzle end, the bore travels towards the breech to about 51.5 inches (131cm) where it NARROWS to a smaller cone shape for about the next 1 inch (2.5cm) and into the large powder chamber that is about 2.5 inches (6.35cm) in length and very large diameter. The breech plug material was about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length (about 1.25 to 2cm).
So it does seem to portry an accurate account of what is shown in the video. To get this shape inside of the barrel, it would have required the barrel being forged around a pre-shaped mandral of some sort. Another interesting note is the vent hole is drilled just ahead of the breech plug, which is typical, but drilled at a 60 degree angle similar to Japanese matchlocks. Hmmmm.
I tried to get the best pics I could with and without flash. But you really can't see the interior properly without specialized photographic instruments. Thus my description above.
Well, I've finally answered my question about the interior of these barrels. It's likely that the other Torador barrel interiors are similar.
Here are some pics............
Rick.
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Old 18th October 2015, 05:21 PM   #2
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Now the breech end.........
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Old 18th October 2015, 05:22 PM   #3
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Last ones.............
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Old 18th October 2015, 05:54 PM   #4
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Hi Rick,
Well I have to admit I am surprised! The thing which interests me is that if the patched?? lead ball when loaded has to be forced past a swamped area of the barrel, what happens when it reaches the more "open" part? I would have thought that the ball would then not be a snug fit anymore, and pressure would be lost past the ball at the time of ignition of the powder.
Also when fired the pressure inside the barrel would be markedly increased on the way out, again when the ball reaches the swamped area, which I would have thought would have increased the chance of the barrel bursting at that point.
Swamped barrels would be safe if lead shot was used rather than a solid ball.

I do not for one moment doubt your findings, but it goes against the safe laws of ballistics as I know them.

I also need to comment on the barrel itself. You would be correct in thinking the barrel was forge welded round a mandrel. That is how the beautiful pattern you have there is created. This method was also used in England and European countries, and we know there are some really exquisite barrels which have come from there.
Regards Stu
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Old 18th October 2015, 06:41 PM   #5
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Hi Stu.
It's very unusual to say the least. There is a short 1-1 1/2" narrow section (smaller than the bore diameter) between where the ball sits in the barrel, and the loose powder in the breech. And the ball not sitting on top of the powder would seem to reduce velocity. And, could even be considered a bore obstruction!
But they seemed to believe this design, along with the long barrels, was more accurate. Which, of course, defies what you and I understand of black powder ballistics.
I think the best explanation for this bore design was posted by Forum member Richard in Part-I of my original Thread. The ancient "meal" powder versus the later "corn" powder. Apparently the old meal powder would not reliably ignite if compressed. If this is true, than that would explain the loose (non-compressed) powder in the large chamber funneling through a narrower chamber to help increase pressure/velocity to the ball make more sense.
Of course, I would not shoot the gun with this bore configuration. Especially with today's black powder, which is more powerful than even the 1880's powder. Which also means, that this barrel will require a new steel liner if I intend to shoot it.
Rick.
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Old 19th October 2015, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
On the YouTube video "Mughal Matchlock" there is a very brief skeletal type interior view of a loaded barrel showing the distance of the patched ball from the loose powder in the chamber.


Rick,
I hope this is the image you want.
I certainly wouldn't consider trying this as an experiment.
Berkley
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Old 19th October 2015, 05:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Stu.
It's very unusual to say the least. There is a short 1-1 1/2" narrow section (smaller than the bore diameter) between where the ball sits in the barrel, and the loose powder in the breech. And the ball not sitting on top of the powder would seem to reduce velocity. And, could even be considered a bore obstruction!
But they seemed to believe this design, along with the long barrels, was more accurate. Which, of course, defies what you and I understand of black powder ballistics.
I think the best explanation for this bore design was posted by Forum member Richard in Part-I of my original Thread. The ancient "meal" powder versus the later "corn" powder. Apparently the old meal powder would not reliably ignite if compressed. If this is true, than that would explain the loose (non-compressed) powder in the large chamber funneling through a narrower chamber to help increase pressure/velocity to the ball make more sense.
Of course, I would not shoot the gun with this bore configuration. Especially with today's black powder, which is more powerful than even the 1880's powder. Which also means, that this barrel will require a new steel liner if I intend to shoot it.
Rick.

Hi Rick, I see Berkley has provided a very clear illustration of what you have described. Thanks Berkley for clarifying that.
Your comment about long barrels is a slightly different subject. The reason that (most) black powder guns have long barrels is due to the way black powder reacts when ignited. On ignition black powder gradually builds up pressure as it pushes the ball down the barrel. This does not happen with nitro powder which instantly creates the pressure upon ignition.
The other difference is that NITRO powder requires to be COMPRESSED if it is to explode. If not compressed it will only flare up. You can try this for yourself but DO NOT do it inside...... and DO NOT try to ignite black powder in this way!!
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Old 19th October 2015, 07:27 PM   #8
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Looking at the illustration, it seems that wadding must have been used between the powder charge and the ball. Otherwise, the loose powder would have spread along the bottom of the rear chamber when the barrel was lowered to a horizontal position after loading. Such an arrangement would likely have produced less than optimal results.
This comports with the observation of the old charge removed from my torador by its previous owner:
Quote:
I dug out some very dry bits of paper that was serving as an over shot wad. Then I dug out a bunch of corroded shot. It was so corroded that it was just a mass of granular white gunk but could be recognized as having been lead shot at one time a long time ago. Following the corroded shot, there was more dry crumbled paper and then I dug out the original powder charge.
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Old 23rd October 2015, 02:50 PM   #9
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In a bit of a rush this morn, but a couple of things;

BTW, good photos Rick!

For a breech like this to work, where wadding cannot pass through the small (narrow) section of the barrel, the mealed powder would have to fill the breech area more or less full, but not compressed much. Very light compression at most.

The other point is that Nitro powder should not be compressed like black powder normally. Many loads for cartridges have the case maybe half full at most.
I Do know what you mean though Stu! Nitro on it's own burns like a garden fire. :-)
I think the term with Nitro powder is it has to be Contained.
As in, a few grains contained in a cartridge case are contained but not compressed, but develop pressure quickly in such a case.

Rick,
I do not know how difficult it would be for your gunsmith, but how about boring out the chamber area with an end mill cutter, and threading the whole chamber for a screw-in breech? This breech would look like a cartridge case with threads on the outside, making the powder area much smaller than at present.
I have read that these Indian matchlock barrels used very heavy charges of powder; Can you figure out How much?
Also, I Think, (Think!) that such powder chambers Must have been used with the newer corned powder as well, as I can't imagine India and surrounding areas continuing to use mealed powder into the mid 19th century.
If this was the case, then such a breech would not be required, but maybe used because it always had been.
When my barrels turn up, I will compare them and see if made same.
If my breeches are made the same as this, and are in good condition, I will be tempted to try one of them out with fairly coarse powder, and see what happens.
Not from the shoulder though!

Richard.
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Old 24th October 2015, 02:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berkley
Rick,
I hope this is the image you want.
I certainly wouldn't consider trying this as an experiment.
Berkley

Hi Berkley.
I've been out of town on business - again!
THANK YOU !!!!!!! Thank you soooooo much for the image !! I've added this to my library. I've found this image of the inside of the bore to be identical to my barrel. For now, I feel I've at least solved the mystery of the bore/breech configuration of the barrel. It would not surprise me to find out that all the Torador barrels were designed similar.
NO! I would not fire the gun with this bore configuration. A normal load of 80-90 grains of FFG black powder in the breech cavity with that much distance between the ball and powder, would be similar to a bore obstruction in my opinion. The only other way to fire it (assuming the entire inside of the barrel can be satisfactorily burnished clean) would be to fill the entire chamber and narrow portion with powder all the way till where the ball seats. My guess is about 200 grains of powder. So, we won't do that either. LOL!
Thanks again for the images. Much appreciated.
Rick.
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Old 24th October 2015, 02:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Rick, I see Berkley has provided a very clear illustration of what you have described. Thanks Berkley for clarifying that.
Your comment about long barrels is a slightly different subject. The reason that (most) black powder guns have long barrels is due to the way black powder reacts when ignited. On ignition black powder gradually builds up pressure as it pushes the ball down the barrel. This does not happen with nitro powder which instantly creates the pressure upon ignition.
The other difference is that NITRO powder requires to be COMPRESSED if it is to explode. If not compressed it will only flare up. You can try this for yourself but DO NOT do it inside...... and DO NOT try to ignite black powder in this way!!

Hi Stu.
Well, of course you are correct. The longer barrels gave more time for the powder to burn and build up velocity. Also, the longer barrels often offered a better sight plain.
But this 55.5" barrel is so long, I would probably have to put a dab of white paint on the brass front bead sight just to see it - with my old eyes. LOL!!
Rick.
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Old 24th October 2015, 02:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berkley
Looking at the illustration, it seems that wadding must have been used between the powder charge and the ball. Otherwise, the loose powder would have spread along the bottom of the rear chamber when the barrel was lowered to a horizontal position after loading. Such an arrangement would likely have produced less than optimal results.
This comports with the observation of the old charge removed from my torador by its previous owner:

Berkley: Thanks for the Link to your Torador - that was still loaded !!!! Very nice gun, especially the western style trigger. Very unusual. I think these barrels were loaded with bare ball (no patch UNDER the ball). Then a tight wadding on TOP of the ball to keep it from rolling down the barrel while the gun was in transit. They seemed to believe that the loose powder would build up most of it's pressure in the chamber, then forced through the narrow section. Rather than building pressure while traveling down the barrel. It's certainly a curious theory for black powder ballistics.
Rick.
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Old 24th October 2015, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
In a bit of a rush this morn, but a couple of things;

BTW, good photos Rick!

For a breech like this to work, where wadding cannot pass through the small (narrow) section of the barrel, the mealed powder would have to fill the breech area more or less full, but not compressed much. Very light compression at most.

The other point is that Nitro powder should not be compressed like black powder normally. Many loads for cartridges have the case maybe half full at most.
I Do know what you mean though Stu! Nitro on it's own burns like a garden fire. :-)
I think the term with Nitro powder is it has to be Contained.
As in, a few grains contained in a cartridge case are contained but not compressed, but develop pressure quickly in such a case.

Rick,
I do not know how difficult it would be for your gunsmith, but how about boring out the chamber area with an end mill cutter, and threading the whole chamber for a screw-in breech? This breech would look like a cartridge case with threads on the outside, making the powder area much smaller than at present.
I have read that these Indian matchlock barrels used very heavy charges of powder; Can you figure out How much?
Also, I Think, (Think!) that such powder chambers Must have been used with the newer corned powder as well, as I can't imagine India and surrounding areas continuing to use mealed powder into the mid 19th century.
If this was the case, then such a breech would not be required, but maybe used because it always had been.
When my barrels turn up, I will compare them and see if made same.
If my breeches are made the same as this, and are in good condition, I will be tempted to try one of them out with fairly coarse powder, and see what happens.
Not from the shoulder though!

Richard.

Hi Richard.
Thanks so much for your reply. I ran a wood dowel down the muzzle area till it rest where the ball would seat. Then filled up the breech chamber and narrow area to the front of what would be the breech plug material. Took about 210 grains of FFG.
I understand what your saying about using the whole breech area as a screw-in breech. But the one thing we can't change is the position of the vent hole from the pan to the breach area. It's drilled just in front of (what was) the breech plug, which is normal. But the vent hole travels to the large area of the breech. So I believe we are back to the complete liner again. But we'll se what the gunsmith thinks. Should be interesting. (Actually, he will probably be cussing me LOL ).
Here is how I visualize this happening: The current bore size at the muzzle is .59 caliber. From the muzzle end, the bore will have to be drilled out to that size, plus 4-5 calibers to accomodate the liner, all the way through the breech end. This will also eliminate the narrow section. But the liner will have to be made with a tapered, wider outside diameter to accomodate the breech area and meet flush with the existing vent hole location. This might end up with a longer travel area of the vent hole, which would slightly delay ignition. But we can't re-position the vent hole. The new threaded breach plug can be made any size.
But we'll see what the gunsmith thinks. Should be interesting. I'll send the barrel to him in the next couple weeks.
By the way, the gunsmith who does the liners is different than my regular gunsmith. He is the only guy I know in the USA that can do this.
Rick.
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Old 24th October 2015, 05:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Berkley: Thanks for the Link to your Torador - that was still loaded !!!! Very nice gun, especially the western style trigger. Very unusual. I think these barrels were loaded with bare ball (no patch UNDER the ball). Then a tight wadding on TOP of the ball to keep it from rolling down the barrel while the gun was in transit. They seemed to believe that the loose powder would build up most of it's pressure in the chamber, then forced through the narrow section. Rather than building pressure while traveling down the barrel. It's certainly a curious theory for black powder ballistics.
Rick.

Hi Rick, Not quite right. What I think is that the ball would be patched ----wrapped in a greased patch. Common practice in early times.
Stu
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Old 27th October 2015, 01:39 PM   #15
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Rick,

Just to clarify;
When I suggested the breech alteration, I was meaning with the interior bored out so that the original touch-hole could be used, not screwing in a solid piece of metal.

Best,
Richard.
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Old 30th October 2015, 03:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Rick, Not quite right. What I think is that the ball would be patched ----wrapped in a greased patch. Common practice in early times.
Stu

Hi Stu.
Well, you're right. The greased patch was probably the most common method of loading, as it still is today. That's how I load my muzzle loaders that use a single round ball. In a rifled barrel it's a must. But with a smooth bore barrel, there is more than one way to load it. Even today, some shooters like to load their smooth bores similar to a shotgun, even though they are using a single round ball. With some guns and load combinations it seems to work just as well.
Rick.
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Old 30th October 2015, 04:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Rick,

Just to clarify;
When I suggested the breech alteration, I was meaning with the interior bored out so that the original touch-hole could be used, not screwing in a solid piece of metal.

Best,
Richard.

Hi Richard.
No, I know what you meant. And that may very well be a possibility. It would actually be great if the barrel could just be drilled out and burnished clean, with a new threaded breech plug made. As long as I end up with the same interior bore diameter from muzzle to breech, for ease of loading and cleaning.
I'll send the barrel out next weekend when I get home.I'll let you know what the gunsmith and I decide to do. Thanks again for everyone's interest in this Thread.
Rick.
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