View Full Version : Rifled liners in a smoothbore, sacrilege or what?

10-16-2016, 03:32 PM
I am gradually replacing my center fire milsurps with repro ML BP's and recently traded for a bubba'd SMLE an 1809/36 Potsdam caplock smoothbore.
This was probably one of the many that the Union purchased from the Prussians either to supplement their own meager arsenals or to deny them to the CS.
There is a large 'DS' inside a circle engraved into the butt and the usual Prussian Imperial 'FW' cipher on the other side.
Any way, during it's life it has lost a couple of inches from the muzzle, probably due to damage incurred from over-zealous bayonet practice (...or action)
At some stage even this antique was also 'bubba'd' and lost the forestock in front of the mid-band.
This has been replaced and I found a good wax-cast repro + front swivel from S&S Firearms, who also supplied the tulip-head ram-rod and the V-block rear sight.
Here is my dilemma; these are not rare guns and it is an iron barrelled smoothbore so I am never going to get any kind of predictible accuracy out of it.The thought occurred to me that I should cut the barrel back to the midband at about 22" and replace the band with the nose-cap then reline the .72 bore with a 50 cal 1:20 liner. This would create a handy and potentially fearsome 'dissuader' or game getter with some decent sights...?
Do I deserve to burn in hell or will someone rescue this antique from a collector's steam-punk nightmare.

Rory McCanuck
10-16-2016, 04:24 PM
Is it a collectable, historically significant firearm?
Is it in original or restorable condition?
Is it in a 'useful' condition?
Is there significant money tied up in it?

I'd guess that the answers would range from 'nope' to 'not really'.
If so, I'd think you could alter it with a relatively clear conscience.
Whether it's fiscally prudent or not moght be a different matter,
but I think you'd end up with something kinda neat, and maybe even useful.

10-17-2016, 10:08 AM
Predictable accuracy of a muzzle loading smooth bore musket doesn't exist. Stand up battles using 'em were fought at roughly 50 yards max. Cutting the barrel further isn't going to improve that.
Anyway, in all likelihood the only part that might have some value is the lock ands maybe some of the other wee parts. The real issue is the thing's age. It may or may not be safe to shoot in the first place. Get that checked before you do anything.

10-17-2016, 06:50 PM
Some of the smoothbore afficianados out there would probably disagree that polished pipe is inherently inaccurate, that's because they spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that their pieces are firing the most uniform loads of the best possible components. Remembering that a .72 cal roundball received from 100 paces is not something you shrug off, wherever it strikes you...but I digress. The Potsdam is not rare and were it in perfect shape with an un-butchered stock I'd keep it that way. Alas it was turned into a 'turkey gun' years ago. I have fired some light BP field loads from it and it didn't show any sign of stress and if it is lined with an 11/16" rifled bore of 50 cal then it is going to be more than strong enough. I'm not going to be dumping 110 grains of soot down it, more like 40 grains under a sabot. If nobody wants her she will be 'reborn'. Grateful for the input fellows....