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Old 2nd April 2021, 11:18 AM   #1
SchildaBrit
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Default Shooting a jezail rifle

OK, it took a long time, thanks to Covid range restrictions etc.

But I did it.

This is the first shot (after a century or so) with my Jezail rifle (not smoothbore!). Just a functional test, with which I am very satisfied-

[IMG]

A "chicken" load of 47 gn S3. It should have been S4, because of the long barrel, but I took the wrong canister.

Dead central horizontally. And hits the black at 50m.

[/IMG]

Poor group, hardly fit for publication. It needs a lot more powder, so I'll be working up to a "service" load in the next weeks.

Finally, I have searched the Internet back and forth, but can find not a single instance of someone shooting with an all-original jezail. The ONLY reference is to Ricky shooting with a jezail fitted with a liner - and that is no longer original.. And no photos either!

More to come!

Patrick
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Last edited by SchildaBrit; 2nd April 2021 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Photos are driving me crazy
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Old 2nd April 2021, 11:28 AM   #2
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Patrick,

Congratulations on getting it to shoot.

All pics need to be added as attachments.

Ian
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Old 2nd April 2021, 11:51 AM   #3
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OK, got the photos attached, but I don't know how to get them in line, which would be better for understanding.

Anyway, please note that the rifle shoots dead centre horizontally. The poor group @ 50m should be improved by a serious powder charge. The POI being 9cm above POA at 25m and 15-16cm above POA at 50m shows that the drop is quite small, i.e. the long barrel is getting every Joule of energy out of the powder. However, the S3 is probably exhausted before the ball reaches the muzzle, so S4 should do better.

Watch this space!

Patrick
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Old 2nd April 2021, 12:40 PM   #4
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Beautifully done Patrick!!!!
What a perfect augmentation to my 'jezail' thread of 2019, "Frontier Arithmetic"! You have nicely illustrated how formidable these tribal guns really were! Thank you!!!

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 2nd April 2021, 02:10 PM   #5
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Default Frontier Arithmetic

Jim, I must confess that this thread was the inspiration to get out and do it.

After weeks of Covid frustration, I had a great session at the range, shooting 3 extremes:

The oldest - Rouma bench-rest rifle from 1670.
The biggest bore - 2. IP Brown Bess.
The longest - the Jezail, which at 1 meter 60cm
makes the Bess look like a carbine.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 02:37 PM   #6
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Default It's heavy

The jezail weighs in at a touch under 6 kilograms! With the centre of gravity being about 76 cm out from your shoulder, quite impractical for unsupported shooting. This must be thought of as a kind of bench-rest rifle.

However, the Khyber Pass being somewhat bare of proper benches, consider it a "rock-rest rifle". Maybe I'll get around to making one of those spindly bipods that are sometimes shown in old prints and photos?

Btw, I am still cleaning it. I had expected to find rust in the barrel. Instead, the grooves seem to contain a residue of pitch-like gunge. So far it has resisted all reasonable solvents (Ballistol, Ed's Red, paint thinner, even acetone and oven cleaner) and so I am stuck with shoot...clean...shoot...clean.

It will thus be a while before it reaches its full accuracy potential.

Last edited by SchildaBrit; 2nd April 2021 at 06:19 PM. Reason: C of G at 76cm
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Old 2nd April 2021, 05:13 PM   #7
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The residue might be cosmoline or old dried oil.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 06:22 PM   #8
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Default Tar-like residue

Whatever it is, it's resistant to everything that I dare to put down the barrel!

I think the barrel might be some kind of damast, which is why I would not like to use aggressive chemicals.

Photos now inserted. Unfortunately the software limitation means that I cannot post the picture of the barrel with adequate resolution to show up the wavy patterning. Just use your imagination!
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Last edited by SchildaBrit; 2nd April 2021 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 2nd April 2021, 06:29 PM   #9
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Wonderful thread. Thanks and keep us informed.
Peter
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Old 2nd April 2021, 08:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchildaBrit
Whatever it is, it's resistant to everything that I dare to put down the barrel!

I think the barrel might be some kind of damast, which is why I would not like to use aggressive chemicals.

Photos now inserted. Unfortunately the software limitation means that I cannot post the picture of the barrel with adequate resolution to show up the wavy patterning. Just use your imagination!
Are you sure its not just old hardened black powder residue?? Try scrubbing with boiling water. We always used that to remove (most of) black powder residue. Then used black powder solvent to finish off.
Stu
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Old 2nd April 2021, 10:49 PM   #11
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Default Hard residue

"Are you sure its not just old hardened black powder residue?? Try scrubbing with boiling water. "

Could well be rock-hard BP residue. About a century old!

I'll give hot water a try. But since I can't remove the barrel from the stock, I need to make an effective plug for the touch hole.

BTW, everything is glued together with what appears to be a kind of pitch. Has anyone got a clue as to what the Afghans actually used? Pine pitch?
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Old 3rd April 2021, 12:05 AM   #12
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Well the barrel is evidently damask aka twist, and a very nice piece indeed. I would suggest that whatever is in there is "better out than in" ...and it's your jezail and we are just onlookers. Not surprised by the quality of the barrel, these guys were happy to pay the price for their gear, blade or barrel.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 12:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchildaBrit
"Are you sure its not just old hardened black powder residue?? Try scrubbing with boiling water. "

Could well be rock-hard BP residue. About a century old!

I'll give hot water a try. But since I can't remove the barrel from the stock, I need to make an effective plug for the touch hole.

BTW, everything is glued together with what appears to be a kind of pitch. Has anyone got a clue as to what the Afghans actually used? Pine pitch?
Don't worry about the touch hole, just leave it as it is. A bit of water on the woodwork won't matter, but if you want to, use a match stick/s to fill the hole. If it breaks off it can easily be removed by pushing thru into the bore and it will drop out.
Stu
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Old 3rd April 2021, 06:47 AM   #14
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"A bit of water on the woodwork won't matter, ..."

My worry would rather be about getting water between the barrel and the stock. Where it would start to rust and be inaccessible.

"...but if you want to, use a match stick/s to fill the hole. If it breaks off it can easily be removed by pushing thru into the bore and it will drop out."

Thanks Stu, that is an excellent suggestion!
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Old 3rd April 2021, 07:54 AM   #15
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Hello,

Not very wise of you to shoot an original antique rifle.
But what am I saying?!
"Not wise" is waaaay too polite!!!

Did you wonder why there aren't many people putting out this kind stunt?!
May it be because they treasure and respect their historical antiques?!


In other words, shooting an antique rifle is equivalent to trying to cut a steel plumbing pipe with an antique wootz shamshir or with a Kamakura period katana.

Are you aware that steel like any other material is subjected to aging and in time it changes dramatically its mechanical properties?!

The fact that your rifle didn't simply blow up in your face may be mere luck. Luck for the rifle!

Last edited by Battara; 3rd April 2021 at 06:59 PM. Reason: inappropriate wording and response
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Old 3rd April 2021, 08:33 AM   #16
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Hi Patrick,

How was the recoil? I would imagine it a bit like the kick from a mule? Did you have the butt against your shoulder like a conventional rifle? I was always curious about the strange shape of jezail butts. Some say they were fired with the butt held firmly under the armpit but not sure how they could look along the barrel to take aim properly if that was the case.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 06:04 PM   #17
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Default Recoil

Forget the ímplausible stuff about having the butt under the armpit. It seems that no-one has ever produced a photo or an eye-witness account to substantiate this theory. You hold it just like any other rifle. And in fact the drop makes it easier to hold your head upright and get your eye squarely behind the peephole, rather than in the usual skewed position.

As for recoil - what recoil? this was only 47gn of S3 powder in a rifle that weights almost 6kg.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 06:20 PM   #18
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Default Post #15

The contributor of post #15 is entitled to have an opinion.

He is, however, not entitled to express that opinion rudely, with unfounded assumptions and personal denigration.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 07:01 PM   #19
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SchildaBrit is right - if we can't be civil and not call people names, then I will shut down this thread.

Opinions are fine, but please keep this to the subject at hand.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 09:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Hello,

Not very wise of you to shoot an original antique rifle.
But what am I saying?!
"Not wise" is waaaay too polite!!!

Did you wonder why there aren't many people putting out this kind stunt?!
May it be because they treasure and respect their historical antiques?!


In other words, shooting an antique rifle is equivalent to trying to cut a steel plumbing pipe with an antique wootz shamshir or with a Kamakura period katana.

Are you aware that steel like any other material is subjected to aging and in time it changes dramatically its mechanical properties?!

The fact that your rifle didn't simply blow up in your face may be mere luck. Luck for the rifle!
I realize this is a rather 'direct' reaction, more emotionally based and not necessarily properly phrased or worded, and I know that Marius' first language is not English. However I do understand the reaction from his perspective, I do not like the idea of an antique gun being subject to damage, and naturally do not wish anyone to be hurt or worse from such an accident.

Still, I do respect those well versed in firearms who wish to experience and study the dynamics of these weapons. With that, I realize most who handle and shoot firearms have distinct safety protocols they observe, and these 'tests' are not haphazardly done. I never doubted that Patrick was a well experienced 'shooter' and appreciated his sharing the results of this test.

In truth, these weapons were often dangerous even in their own period, and quite honestly, gun 'explosions' were quite common. Usually these were from improper loading, and many aspects of the loading and firing activity. In actuality, most typical cause of explosion was excessive charge, not weakness in the barrel. With multi chamber revolvers, I have seen cases with cap and ball where multiple chambers fired simultaneously with naturally fatal result to the unfortunate shooter.


Getting to these 'jezail' guns, I bought one two years ago, and while I would fear myself or anyone else firing it, I commend Patrick for his courage and careful method of providing fascinating insights into the true accuracy of these guns.

I very much enjoy the TV series "Pawn Stars", and without exception, one of the key criteria is whether the antique guns they are buying will shoot. If they do not, it is a mark down on the value.
It would seem that experts are able to determine the viability of firing a gun regardless of age based on careful examination of components.
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Old 3rd April 2021, 10:36 PM   #21
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If you get anywhere near a decent charge in that, I'd tie it to a heavy bench & use a long cord to pull the trigger from a safe distance, and preferably behind something solid, like a concrete wall. Whatever max charge you use, i'd not shoot it thereafter with more than half the load you 'proofed' with. Even then.... Get some Bubba and shout 'Here, hold my beer! as you apply for your Darwin Award. If you have a misfire, wait a good while before going anywhere near the front end. 2 days outta be enough.

p.s. - I read something I didn't know recently, Colt's Walker .45 six-shooter was renowned for blowing up with a full 70 grain charge. The steel was essentially crap. One reason they are so rare & expensive now. They backtracked and recommended not more than 50 grains of FFFG and oversized balls to better seal the chambers to prevent the ajacent chambers from firing all together. A rather spectacular occurance. FFFFG was priming powder for flintlocks and a bit too fast for the main charge. FFG was for cannon. FG for BIG Cannon. Colt stopped making them & made the Dragoon instead, with a shorter cylinder that held less powder, and used better steel. (and had a redesigned loading lever that actually stayed in place when firing) I'm glad my Walker was a modern steel version proofed for the full 70 grains (I used 50). It kicked a mite. - I sewed up a thin leather belt for the loading lever thing. Thought I was smart and wondered why no-one thought of that. Turns out that's what many dragoons did with their Walkers.

Pee ess 2. Civil war sojers, when it got hard to ram home their mini balls, would urinate in the barrels to dissolve the residue, rather than waste water. Works best with a hot barrel. Smells better with a cold one. No one probably noticed as battlefields were very smelly places anyway.

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Old 4th April 2021, 07:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchildaBrit
The contributor of post #15 is entitled to have an opinion.

He is, however, not entitled to express that opinion rudely, with unfounded assumptions and personal denigration.

I sincerely did not want to offend you, and I sincerely appologise if I did!

My message was posted under an impulse as I felt that the test you did was extremely dangerous since, in this case, is impossible to predict how metal aging has affected the steel.

Aged steel ca become alarmingly brittle and crack under minimal stress. And antique gun barrel steel is quite well known for aging badly.

All the best and HAPPY EASTER!

Marius

PS: Effects of aging on steels is well studied and it can be predicted... providig the original compsition of the steel, and the heat treatment are accurately known. Without knowing precisely the composition and heat treatment of the steel, the effects of aging are unpredictable... no matter how deep and sound is one's knowledge on powder loads and firearms safety.
And since, contrary to surface oxidation, aging shows little if any signs discernable with the naked eye, most peope are completely unaware of it.

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Old 4th April 2021, 07:27 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
... it is impossible to predict how metal aging has affected the steel.

Aged steel can become alarmingly brittle and crack under minimal stress. And gun barrel steel is quite well known of aging badly.
...
Marius
I read somewhere (Churchill?) that at the battle of Omdurman in 1898, many of the Mahdi's men wore rather old maille. It was noted that it had a bad habit of shattering when hit with a sabre or lance (or a bullet). Pre-industrial steel was rather variable before the mid 19c. Early primers as well as gunpowder residue were rather corrosive to barrels if not washed out quickly after use.

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Old 4th April 2021, 08:25 AM   #24
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Hi guys,

I just want to say that Marius is a very polite and respectuous forum member, a gentleman like many forum members. Marius can be ironic and he does some jokes, and as I remember, I was also his "victim", but it was well placed and I wasn't offended.

Now the two points of Marius are very valid:

Can we use antique weapons?
Is it dangerous to shot with antique guns?

I love this thread and I admire Schilda, Bobi and of course Rick!

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...t=26201&page=2

But I don't know if you are unconscious or if your knowledge of antique firearms is such that you know that you can use such weapons.

Please tell us more about this point how did you check that you can use an antique gun? And how are you sure that it won't explode in your hands?

The second point is: can we use antique arms? Is it serious and respectful?

For Bobi13, it is part of his culture and there is a cultural link and continuity that I can understand. I use antique incense burner and I don't feel guilty...

So it's more an ethical problem and each of us has his own response. After all you are free to do whatever you want with your possession...

Now I have to look for my egg...
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Old 4th April 2021, 09:52 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
I read somewhere (Churchill?) that at the battle of Omdurman in 1898, many of the Mahdi's men wore rather old maille. It was noted that it had a bad habit of shattering when hit with a sabre or lance (or a bullet). Pre-industrial steel was rather variable before the mid 19c. Early primers as well as gunpowder residue were rather corrosive to barrels if not washed out quickly after use.
To the best of my knowledge a lot of that Mahdist mail had been made in Birmingham (UK) originally as dress armour for the Khediv's troops, and then looted by the victorious Mahdists. They were made of split rings, and so were in fact spring steel. Swords weren't the problem, but high velocity jacketed 303 were.
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Old 4th April 2021, 10:28 AM   #26
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Default Some answers to reasonable questions

1) Can we use antique guns?

2) Is it dangerous to shoot with antique guns?


-----------------------------

Good morning everybody!

I shall endeavour to answer the above questions in a satisfactory manner. In the course of which it is also appropriate to make some presentation of myself, so that you may judge whether my answers are worth reading.

-------------------------

I first shot full-bore rifles as a CCF cadet more than 60 years ago, having started with small-bore rifles a year or two previously. And safety was stressed from Day 1.

As a rifle shooter, I thus permit myself the predicate "experienced".

Despite one's inner conviction of being an "advanced teenager", there comes a time when one realizes that it is futile to compete with those in their teens and twenties. I became more interested in the historical aspect of what I was shooting than in squeezing out a couple more 10x's.

It has taken me a further two decades to progress from shooting replica muzzle-loaders to the jezail rifle. It is not a spontaneous whim, but the result of a long progress back through the development of rifles. A kind of experimental archaeology of the recent past.

Among the armchair experts, of which there are far too many with time on their hands to propound secondhand prejudices based on no personal experience whatever, there is a simple equation "old = inaccurate = useless". It is demonstrably not so.

So we come to the first question:

Can we use antique guns?

I am restricting the comments to guns, as that is where my knowledge and experience lies. The contributors to this forum appear to be mainly collectors, and there is very little comment on actually using antique guns.

Leaving aside the vexatious question of what constitutes an antique, I therefore suggest that those who have further interest in following this thread go here:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/brit...ssion-arms-f4/

where one may see that there are quite a few serious people who share my predilection for shooting old guns.

I shall continue in a day or so, but please take the opportunity to take a look around the above forum in the meantime.

A pleasant Easter to All !

Patrick Chadwick

Last edited by SchildaBrit; 4th April 2021 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 4th April 2021, 11:40 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Without knowing precisely the composition and heat treatment of the steel, the effects of aging are unpredictable... no matter how deep and sound is one's knowledge on powder loads and firearms safety.
And since, contrary to surface oxidation, aging shows little if any signs discernable with the naked eye, most peope are completely unaware of it.
"Can we use antique guns?"

Of course we can! We can use whatever we want.

Is it safe?! Is it wise?!

Certainly not!

But... this is only my oppinion...
... based on my knowledge...

PPS: I am mechanical engineer.
Studied metallurgy since high school and still learning...
as I am currently working in the field of machining steel and other metals.

https://qr.ae/pG8xES

The comment at the link above touches several issues I did not mention. But there are even a couple more that should be taken into condideration, like the presence of internal micro-cracks resulted from prolonged use.

Last edited by mariusgmioc; 4th April 2021 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 4th April 2021, 01:05 PM   #28
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I do not like guns and do not use them.
In short, I am a complete gun ignoramus. Therefore, a naive question.

Should not damascus barrels present higher risk of blowing up after a certain period of active shooting? After all, they are composed of multiple layers of steel forged together. There must be some areas of poor contact between the layers. Afghan gunsmiths likely did nor employ the same degree of accuracy and quality control as their Belgian and British colleagues. I have quite a few Indian and Afghani swords, and some of them have areas of poor forging and delamination.
On top of that, depositions of some material within the barrel must increase pressure of the gases there.
We all get old and frail with age, and barrels, like all mechanical thingies , are not an exception.
In short, it is better to be a coward for one minute than a corpse for the rest of your life.
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Old 4th April 2021, 01:30 PM   #29
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I am not aware that age alone degrades metals. ​
When the elastic limit is not exceeded and barrels have not corroded they retain their properties.

If age alone degrades steel I'd like to see the references for this.

Failures occur in old arms due to corrosion with some methods of manufacture that allow unseen corrosion to exist in flaws in the metal or where joined and hammer welded. Other failures come from overpressures and severe erosion from gas washing.

For the ages we are concerned with of up to a few 100 years, firearms in "good" condition can sustain the same stresses as they could when manufactured. Stay within the original pressures, the barrels will perform as intended.
I fire old Snider/Enfields circ. 1850's and they work well.
I would not fire any old firearm that I cannot view the bore and breech. Lack of cleaning and preserving can lead to corrosion at the breech end that could lead to a pressure failure.

Nothing more than a judgement call as to whether you fire an antique firearm. Many can be enjoyed as functioning arms while others that have been neglected it's best not to.
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Old 4th April 2021, 01:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel

Should not damascus barrels present higher risk of blowing up after a certain period of active shooting? After all, they are composed of multiple layers of steel forged together.
In short, it is better to be a coward for one minute than a corpse for the rest of your life.
Ariel we all become corpses sooner or later! Shooting damascus barrels represents no risk when they are in good condition and loads do not exceed the intended pressures. Use does not hurt them, abuse does.
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