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Author Topic: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore  (Read 203 times)

Online Nessmuk

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Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« on: January 08, 2021, 01:14:49 PM »
Friends,
             I have a conundrum. I bought this weapon on Gunbroker because it looked interesting and I had no large caliber muzzleloaders yet. I was the first and only bidder, so I got it cheap.
It has a 1 1/8" x 26" hexagonal barrel and it weighs over 10 lbs. The bore doesn't seem to be rifled, it has 6 lines that correspond to the external hexagonal shape. There is no discernable twist.
My questions are: 1: Is this how it was made and is it considered a smoothbore?
                           2: Would it be possible to bore this out and make it a Shotgun? I think at 1 1/8 " it could go 12 gauge. As a rifle, it's accuracy sucks and its way too heavy to be a practical hunter..

Lessons Learned so far: Gunbroker is addictive, Always ask Questions BEFORE you bid (Like how heavy IS that sucker), there ARE shills on the site that will bid you up, Always check the shipping costs.

I'm  not  H/C or P/C or even a particularly  good shot but I have a hell of a good time!

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Online Uncle Russ

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 08:49:29 PM »
Nessmuk, Is that a "Brass" lock?
Very interesting, I've never seen anything like it.
I think I see rifling there, that may be "progressive" rifling.

Russ...
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Online Nessmuk

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 11:52:37 PM »
It's  a brass cover. I've  been  afraid to try and remove it. What is progressive rifling? I haven't  heard that term before.
I'm  not  H/C or P/C or even a particularly  good shot but I have a hell of a good time!

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Online Uncle Russ

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2021, 03:29:41 AM »
It's  a brass cover. I've  been  afraid to try and remove it. What is progressive rifling? I haven't  heard that term before.

"Progressive" rifling is usually interpreted to mean rifling that is deeper at the breech, and getting progressively more shallow towards the muzzle. English rifles often had this feature beginning with the 1853 .577 Enfield. "Parker rifles", some .22 rim fire rifles were made with bores that had deeper grooves at the breech and taller lands at the muzzle, which is thought by many to be different than Progressive, however the principal remains the same."

Another description;  "A gain-twist or progressive rifling begins with a slow twist rate that gradually increases down the bore, resulting in very little initial change in the projectile's angular momentum during the first few inches of bullet travel after it enters the throat. This enables the bullet to remain essentially undisturbed and trued to the case mouth."

I owned a Colt 1861 "Signature Model" Musket once, and it had "Progressive Rifling", and that old gal was more accurate than what I could hold with a simple  PRB....It also shot Maxi's well, with one particular heavy Mold, a Lyman 575213PH (The PH stands for Parker Hale), this mold has a very thick cavity with thick skirts which allows a greater powder charge without blowing the skirt, which is the one single thing that provides greater accuracy with both Musket or Minie Balls..... I tried to find some pictures of the bore, but Imgur is acting stubborn right now, for no reason. Maybe Later on with those pictures

Russ...
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Online Ohio Joe

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 09:32:29 AM »
Back in 1982 a person could get one of these rifles finished or in kit form. I remember seeing them, and thought there's no way I'm paying that kind of money for one, not when I could get, "CVA Kentucky or Mountain Rifle kits" for half that price when on sale...  :laffing

Now days that looks like a real bargain back then!

http://www.elmerkeithshoot.org/GA/1982_01_Part_1_Sixgun_Reloading.pdf
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Online Nessmuk

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 09:48:03 AM »
Thanks, Joe ,  I  believe that answers my 2nd question  about boring it out to 12 gauge .
I'm  not  H/C or P/C or even a particularly  good shot but I have a hell of a good time!

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Online Ohio Joe

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2021, 09:59:14 AM »
Before you do that, I'm wondering if that rifle takes a Whitworth Hexagon bullet,,, or more likely a .58 Mini Ball???

(Russ' post above got me to thinking about this)

I don't know, and I don't doubt the information you've gathered here so far, but after looking in that bore, it just got me to wondering???

The weight of the barrel alone has me wondering,,, bench gun, or Sniper Gun (as Morse was working at Harpers Ferry at the time the Civil War broke out, and he sided with the South)

It's kind'a tough to find info on this rifle... However, Morse connection with Harpers Ferry and .58 Caliber / prior to the Civil War - suggests to me, that this "Replica" rifle design very well may have been used during the Civil War as a Confederate Sniping Rifle... Therefore looking at a patched ball load - very well may not work and a Mini Ball may?  The brass side plate is also (IMHO) a dead give away that this is CSA design, rather then Union design... :shake
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Online Butler Ford 40

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Re: Navy Arms .58 Cal Morse Rifle.... or Smoothbore
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2021, 11:28:30 AM »
Looks a lot like the bore of a glock.