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Thread: Establishing a musket bore diameter?

  1. #1
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    Establishing a musket bore diameter?

    This may not be the right thread to ask this question, but I have an original ACW Lorenz musket (the right lock plate is stamped 860), but I am unsure of the caliber. According to the man I got it from, he dug it up many years ago along side an old wagon trail near an abandoned Butterfield stage station outside Tuscon, Arizona. He said it appeared that a sand bank had collapsed on top of the rifle many, many years ago leaving it in an almost vertical position with the tip of the barrel about 5 or 6 inches under the surface of the sand. It was cocked and loaded when he found it and the copper percussion cap was still in place. Both the metal and the wood stock are in remarkably good condition with only some minor pitting here and there, and the trigger, lock and spring still function okay.

    The problem is that the top few of inches of the bore at the muzzle is pretty rusted and pitted where I assume infrequent Arizona rain water dribbled through the sand and into the end of the barrel over the years. The breech plug unscrews okay and most of the barrel is clean. BTW, the charge, paper wad, and the ball were removed before I got it. I know most of the original Lorenz rifles were bored to .54 caliber, but sometimes re-bored to .577 or .58 caliber. To the naked eye there's not much difference between a .54 caliber and a .58 caliber, especially with the bore corrosion, so I cannot verify the caliber. I'm asking is there another way to establish the actual inside diameter of the barrel bore? Could I push a slug of something (a lead ball? a slug of soft plastic? clay? soft wood?) through the barrel from the breech end, and then mic the slug to tell me if it is .54 caliber or larger? This is the same model and type of rifle my G-G-Grandfather was issued when he and his brothers first enlisted in the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment in May of 1861, and although it is only a wall-hanger and I would never fire it, it would be great if I could establish what caliber it actually is. Any suggestions you could give me (either posted here or by email to firemarshalbill49@gmail.com) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Here's a translated copy of M1854 Lorenz Manual: “Das kaiserlich ˶ königliche österreichische Infanterie – Feuergewehr. Auf die hohen Vorschriften basirt und zum Gebrauche für den Officeier”:

    http://acwsa.org/Documents/LorenzManualTranslation.pdf


    If you look at the back in the specifications, you'll find the original bore was 6 Linen, 4 Puncte, which translates to .54737 inches.
    Gary Van Kauwenbergh
    Co G, 114th ILL Vol Inf
    # 10143

    "Alle Kunst ist umsonst Wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst."
    (In vain the skill and arts of man, When an angel pisses the priming pan.)
    Field Marshal Gebhard L. von Blücher

  3. #3
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    Thanks Gary. This is great info! My Lorenz also has the original ram rod and I purchased an original bayonet some years back.

  4. #4
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    The ideal method is to use a pin gauge. A precise cylinder that you insert into the barrel that will fit without getting stuck.

    Unless you're willing to purchase them (about $5 each, but you need multiple sizes) you could take the barrel off the gun and take it to a local machine shop. Ask them to gauge it for you.

    Probably only charge a few bucks since they can do it very quickly.

    Work of advise: Place a smaller pin gauge (like 0.450") into the barrel first and make sure it slides all the way to the bottom. THEN start testing with larger gauges. In case any of them get stuck, simply tilt it muzzle-down and that 0.450 pin will slide down and knock it out...

    You often discover that the first few inches of the barrel is larger than the breech end due to wear, or as in your case, corrosion...

    Good luck!!

    -Mike
    Mike 'Bootsie' Bodner
    Palmetto Sharpshooter's, Commander
    9996V

  5. #5
    John Holland is offline Moderator
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    Firemarshalbill - Taking into account that you have said the muzzle end is quite rusted, and the breech plug comes out, I would recommend doing any gauging work from the unbreeched back end of the barrel.

  6. #6
    geezmo is offline
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    FiremarshalBill,-

    According to the info in Todd's "American Military Equipage, 1851-1872", now long out of print, the 3rd Michigan received "Austrian Rifled Muskets, cal .54 or .55" in 1862, later replacements were Springfields. So this would match what Gary told you, which was standard. However, I've been told that there were guns offered on the commercial market in slightly different configurations (ie - no cheek pieces and calibers anywhere from .54 to .58). I have a Lorenz that belonged to a soldier in the 98th N.Y. which has no cheek piece and takes a .580 Minie. So, I wouldn't assume anything. Get your bore measured.

    Good luck

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    The closer I look, the more I think my Lorenz is .54 caliber (and it does have the cheek piece). I think I'll simply remove the barrel and breech plug and have a local gun shop verify the caliber. Thanks everyone for the info.

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    with odd number grooves

    With a good bore, measure across the bore. Add .015 to get the groove to groove. Subtract .015 to get the bore size. Almost all groove depths are .100 to .015. deep. This Gives You A Very Close Idea Of The Size. You will only be off at most .005 for the bore.
    N-SSA Member since 1974

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