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#551970 - 08/02/19 07:25 PM Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Hello:

I have just become the lucky owner of an Alexander Henry double hammer gun in 450 BPE. I've made a cast of the throat and muzzle and note a definite taper to the bore from .458 to .455. Being new to the mysteries of Henry rifling, would anyone have suggestions on a bullet to start working up some loads? Paper patched? Any advice is welcome, thanks.

Also, this rifle has a folding peep sight on the tang, adjustable for elevation only, and looks to be part of the original manufacture, not added later. Has anyone seen this on other Henrys?

Cheers!

mbatten

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#551973 - 08/02/19 09:00 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
I would use a 270 to 310 grain traditionally shaped paper wrapped bullet of .450" diameter. 16 lb paper usually works well.
A charge of 110 to 120 grains of Olde Eynsford 1 1/2F with a 3/16" lube cookie will get you close, if not right on the money.

A slight adjustment to the charge or bullet weight will bring the barrels together, if they don't do it right off.

There's no mystery to Henry rifling, shoot papered bullets and you'll do fine.

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#552258 - 08/06/19 11:36 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Mike Rowe]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Thanks for the advice, Mike!
mbatten

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#552259 - 08/07/19 12:16 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Huvius Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 125
Congratulations on your purchase!
Mike's advice makes sense to me.
If paper patching or finding a proper bullet is a problem, don't shy away from trying grease groove bullets.
Henry rifling has proven to be quite forgiving for me in single shots, especially in 450 bore.
Also, I vaguely recall seeing an A. Henry with a sight as you describe. A good feature to have on a 450bpe rifle IMO.

Now, let's see it!!

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#552516 - 08/09/19 09:45 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Huvius]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Thanks Huvius!

If I use a grease-groove bullet rather than paper-patched, I presume it should be .458 diameter to match the bore at the throat, correct?

I will try to post a few pictures next week.

mbatten

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#552611 - 08/11/19 10:26 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Huvius Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 125
A .458" bullet will be the easiest to source of course and if it chambers you should be fine with that.
A Henry falling block I have right here in hand has a bore of .449"
and the lands come right to the case mouth from the looks of it.
I doubt this one would chamber a .458" bullet so Mike's advice would be worth heeding for this rifle. Your's may differ.
You mention a "bore" of .458" tapering to .455 but I'm sure you mean the groove measurement, right?
When using black powder, I only focus on the bore diameter and think the groove depth is rather moot.
Are you planning on using real black powder or smokeless?

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#552639 - 08/11/19 08:15 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
I don't bother measuring the bores any more. If I know it's a 450, the .450 papered bullet with black powder will shoot.
Smokeless is a whole nuther can of worms, but I will not use it in a rifle originally made for black.

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#552665 - 08/12/19 11:35 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Richard B Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 90
_________________________
Alexander Henry Rifle Maker - Donald Dallas

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#552695 - 08/13/19 01:28 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Richard B]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Richard:

It's #2311, remains in very good condition, and is under my good care in BC, Canada.

Cheers!

mbatten

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#552696 - 08/13/19 01:39 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Huvius]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
I measured the Cerrosafe bore castings from flat to the top of the opposing groove, since the Henry bore has odd-numbered flats and grooves. Does this give an accurate measurement or is there a better method?

Mike - I'm curious to know why you wouldn't use smokeless in such a rifle? I understand a 40% Nitro for Black charge is common practice in these old firearms.

Thanks for any comments or advice.

mbatten

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#552699 - 08/13/19 04:51 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Richard B Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 90
Originally Posted By: mbatten
Richard:

It's #2311, remains in very good condition, and is under my good care in BC, Canada.

Cheers!

mbatten

Duh. Yes I have your details already - sorry !
_________________________
Alexander Henry Rifle Maker - Donald Dallas

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#552748 - 08/13/19 07:57 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
OP I won't use smokeless because I've seen too many ringed chambers, the type of filler does not seem to matter.

Now we have the Olde Eynsford black powder, getting a BPE rifle to shoot is almost easy.

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#552767 - 08/14/19 10:47 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
obsessed-with-doubles Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 2765
Loc: USA
Hey, Mike.

What's a "ringed chamber" and how does smokeless powder cause it?

Thanks,

OWD
_________________________
Good Gun Alerts & more:

www.DogsandDoubles.com

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#552792 - 08/14/19 07:46 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
HalfaDouble Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 10/18/16
Posts: 86
Oversimplified but I'll give it a try. Because smokeless powders in the small amount necessary to produce BP equivalent pressures don't come near to filling large black powder cases, some shooters feel it is required to put a wad down on the powder to keep it at the primer end of the case or to fill the rest of the case with various and sundry fillers. You may recall that certain antitank projectiles have a small "shaped" charge which is not sufficient to blow anything up but will by focusing the shock wave of the explosion cut a hole right through the armor. The shock wave produced by powder levelly retained by a wad propagates up the case until the wad contacts the base of the bullet where the shockwave is deflected sideways against the chamber wall forming a ring in a chamber. This may happen on the first shot or increase through several shots until the case starts to stick in the chamber. If you'll look up Charlie Dell and chamber ringing you will find where he was able to do it even without a wad by shooting straight up. The key factor is that the powder had a level surface at a right angle to the axis of the case and had free length to propagate itself until encountering the bullet. Some fillers allow the propagation to happen and form a wad from the pressure. Using a wad but keeping it a small distance (say 1/8 inch) off the powder so that the powder's surface can be not at right angles to the bore is OK for some folks. Best to just use a powder that is easily ignited and just tilt the case up a bit when loading to let it mostly be towards the rear.

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#552794 - 08/14/19 07:54 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
The way I've had it explained to me, is that there is a secondary pressure wave which bounces of the base of the bullet. Upon ignition, the air space (including whatever the "filler" is) will compress and push the bullet forward, but the compressed air and stuff wants to go back toward the breech face - remember, compressed anything is basically stored energy - and this meets the still rapidly expanding propellant gas charge causing a localized radial pressure spike, which creates a ring in the soft steel of the black powder barrels.
The ring is usually seen about where the base of the bullet would be - it is very slight, and not a bulge seen on the outside surface. Do it enough, and it'll cause extraction issues.
There are some who will say I'm full of it, but I was in this business a long time, and I've seen enough rings I will not use nitro for black loads.
Besides, black powder is easier to get to shoot, and easier to clean the gun.

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#552806 - 08/14/19 11:42 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Huvius Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 125
Both of the above pretty well sum up the science of chamber ringing.
One thing I’ve always wondered about is just what types of bullets were utilized when ringing occurred.
My bet is this.
Since most nitro for black loads are used with full groove diameter bullets, I would think that the bullet, especially one of jacketed construction, would act as a momentary obstruction as it meets the rifling causing the pressure spike described above which is the obvious culprit in chamber ringing.
Has ringing been observed when using comparatively soft all lead projectiles?
Haven’t heard anything definitive about that.

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#552839 - 08/15/19 02:16 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
obsessed-with-doubles Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 2765
Loc: USA
Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

So black powder it is...

OWD
_________________________
Good Gun Alerts & more:

www.DogsandDoubles.com

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#552841 - 08/15/19 02:30 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
HalfaDouble Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 10/18/16
Posts: 86
You might say it is analogous to bulging a barrel by having one bullet stuck down it when another is fired. In this case the second bullet is like the "shockwave". In chamber ringing the shockwave is caused by the level surface of the powder perpendicular to the length of the case propagating (and intensifying) down the case. Having the bullet seated in the rifling is not a problem. This is a standard Scheutzen practice. The bullet is seated about 1/16 inch ahead of the case and often there is a wad at the mouth of the case to prevent the powder from spilling into the chamber on loading. No problems there because the powder is more or less angled along the length of the case and the burning is happening in more random directions.

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#552845 - 08/15/19 03:50 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: HalfaDouble]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Hello:

Thanks to everyone for your observations and comments!

For those interested, Graeme Wright's "Shooting the British Double Rifle" (Ch. 6) discusses the 'chamber ringing' phenomenon as well.

Here are a couple of photos of the rifle showing the folding tang peep sight. I've yet to see another on a Henry double rifle. It is adjustable for elevation only.

https://s1243.photobucket.com/user/rmbatten/slideshow/

Also, this rifle has an interesting extractor mechanism. There are two angled prongs or cams threaded to the end of the extractor rod. These prongs fit into slots cut into the water table. When you open/close the action, these angled prongs cause the extractor rod to slide back and forth. Very simple and sturdy, but you have to carefully align them with the slots when assembling the rifle. You can see the left one in the photos as a thin, near vertical white line just behind and above the hinge pin.

Cheers!

mbatten


Edited by mbatten (08/16/19 03:55 PM)

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#553415 - 08/27/19 11:00 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
pamtnman Offline
Sidelock
*****

Registered: 03/15/15
Posts: 161
Loc: pa
Your Henry rifle is in great condition. Used and not abused.
I shoot a Alex Henry double rifle and I suggest using paper patched bullets (per Mike's directions) and a slightly reduced powder charge. Put a dry wad over the powder and some lightly greased felt wad over the dry wad, then your bullet. Make sure the bullet is snug in the case, but most BPE rifles do not like a lot of neck tension (friction force holding the bullet in the case). It is why BPE bullets were manually crimped into place with a crimper. Have fun and post more photos. Congratulations on your nice gun
_________________________
NRA Life
FOAC Life
PA Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Life
PA Trappers Association Life

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#553632 - 08/29/19 10:21 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: pamtnman]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Thank you very much!
I'll report on my progress as time goes by.

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#556718 - 10/12/19 05:17 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Bob Jurewicz Online   content
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 824
Loc: SW NYS
Here are two of my recipes:
1. 300 gr Valiant .458" Cast Bullet, 48 gr 4198, 14 gr Dacron, Rem 9 1/2 Primer--1900f/s

2. 300 gr Valiant Hollow Pointed to 285 gr, 46 gr RL #7,14 gr Dacron, Rem 9 1/2 Primer--1820 f/s

Chamfer bases on each and OAL of 3.63" (gun specific)

Bob Jurewicz

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#556843 - 10/14/19 10:59 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Bob Jurewicz]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Thanks Bob!

Are you using these loads in damascus or steel barrels? Do they have Henry rifling?

My rifle is a vintage 1870 Alex Henry with damascus barrels; I'm wary of 'chamber ringing' if I use smokeless with case fillers.

Would be happy to hear your comments, thanks.

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#556904 - 10/16/19 02:47 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Bob Jurewicz Online   content
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 824
Loc: SW NYS
Joh Haberda hammer S/S rifle with steel barrels.
Bob Jurewicz


Edited by Bob Jurewicz (10/16/19 04:09 PM)

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#557083 - 10/20/19 12:04 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
CJF Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 138
Loc: North Carolina
Hi there - is the photo link still working for others? I don't see anything

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#557150 - 10/21/19 04:50 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
GaryD007 Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 146
Loc: Ohio
Mike knows what he is talking about! I owned a fabulous Purdey .450 3 1/4"BPE top lever, Whitworth barrels. 5 or 6 small rings in each barrel. It was tested by a writer you would all know. Don't know if the rings were caused by him or after but he used smokeless powder with a filler. I also have a friend that ringed an Alex Henry barrel with smokeless loads (damascus barrels). I will not use anything but blackpowder in my old double rifles!

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#557217 - 10/22/19 04:18 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Bob Jurewicz Online   content
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 824
Loc: SW NYS
It is my understanding that possible "ringing" could be caused by use of smokeless without filling the case with a filler like Dacron.
Bob Jurewicz

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#557227 - 10/22/19 06:16 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
You are correct.
And it'll happen with fillers in the case, too.

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#557253 - 10/23/19 01:00 AM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: Mike Rowe]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
Oops! I accidentally deleted the photos of the rifle. For the gent looking for them a couple of posts ago, here is the link and previously posted description:

http://s1243.photobucket.com/user/rmbatten/slideshow/

This rifle has an interesting extractor mechanism. There are two angled prongs or cams threaded to the end of the extractor rod. These prongs fit into slots cut into the water table. When you open/close the action, these angled prongs cause the extractor rod to slide back and forth. Very simple and sturdy, but you have to carefully align them with the slots when assembling the rifle. You can see the left one in the photos as a thin, near vertical white line just behind and above the hinge pin.

mbatten

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#557481 - 10/27/19 08:50 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
I finally test-fired this Henry double rifle for the first time today, with pretty decent results for the first attempt, I think.

The load was 110 grains of Goex FFFg with a 280g PP bullet from Accurate Molds. I used .002 thick onion-skin paper, with a grease cookie under the bullet. I was shooting at 100 metres and elevation was pretty much right on with the 100 yard leaf. However, the left and right groups shot about 8 inches apart, so I think I'll try increasing the charge about 10 grains. Also, I should get hold of a chronograph and check the velocity next time, too.

It's sure fun - lots of smoke and flame, big boom, and a big push back for recoil!

Any observations or suggestions are welcome, thanks.

mbatten

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#557485 - 10/27/19 10:07 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
Mike Rowe Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 136
Loc: Arkansas.
I would stick with 1 1/2F or 2F like I said before.
I've had 3F pressure tested in the .450, and the pressures are two tons over service.

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#557486 - 10/27/19 10:36 PM Re: Alex Henry 450 BPE double bullets [Re: mbatten]
mbatten Offline
Boxlock

Registered: 05/03/16
Posts: 29
I'll definitely follow that advice; thank you Mike!

batten

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