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Author Topic: Chassepot Mle 1866  (Read 5831 times)

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Offline necessaryevil

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Re: Chassepot Mle 1866
« Reply #75 on: May 13, 2019, 09:36:34 AM »
 I have always found T7 to burn much cleaner than genuine BP and subsequently much easier to clean the gun after the range. I know I am talking about revolvers and eighty grains of BP is a LOT of powder in that rifle which leaves an awful lot of crap behind, but T7 MIGHT improve things.......even a little ?

Offline Racing

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Re: Chassepot Mle 1866
« Reply #76 on: May 13, 2019, 06:27:08 PM »
My findings are on par with yours as far as T7. No argument.

What puzzles me is that this rifle was ordonance at one time. As such the least to expect is a rifle that can be fired,repeatedly.

What i´ve found,and others claim as well,is that these rifles for some reason seem to accumulate soot and fouling to a greater degree and extent than other blackpowder rifles.


Hm. A few quirks specific to the Chassepot i guess we can arrive on. First up although the rifling twist is on par with the "new" insights on the matter is for sure.
Alphonse Chassepot no doubt had listened in to what Joseph Whitworth and his team had dreamed up,and the manner in which to produce rifle barrels was changed for all time.


As you know i´m fortunate enough to own a number of these historically fabled rifles,the Whitworth included,and thus have 1st hand experience firing and using the damn things.
None of them comes even CLOSE to fouling up like the Chassepot does. No matter how i toss n turn this..fact remains. It is a 1 turn in 22" twist 45 caliber barrel and done deal.
Major diameter of 0,460" (11,68mm) and minor diameter of 0,436" (11,08mm) hands us a pretty stout rifling depth. In short there´s 3/10ths of a millimeter worth of rifling depth,and that IS a whole lot.
Footnote here is that this WAS a problem adressed at the time,for rifles in general. Thomas Turner for instance even patented rifling that was "non fouling" at the time for his 451 caliber volunteer muzzle loaders. His solution to the matter was a varied depth as well as width of the rifling along its length.


I don´t believe that to be the culprit here. In contrast..what really IS different is the actual chamber.
Enclosed is an era correct drawing of it it´s just that...it is false to a degree. Point here being that the forcing cone of that thing,them insane last 8mm worth of it alone,just can´t end in 11mm flat.
Well. In such a case a bullet would be "swaged" beyond them 11,68mm of rifling depth diameter right so..something IS out.
In turn. Look at the pictures of the chamber.
1st one up is of the approx 18mm worth where the rubber obturator sits. That cones into the 14,5mm (measured 14,55mm)
of major diameter chamber. Where i suppose the main charge is to burn really.
But see,that´s where we´re turning into "hell in a handbasket"....because the next pic..is of the final part of the chamber,and mind you i´ve seen my fair share of Chassepot by now and they all look like this.

Pic 2 of the chamber..yep. There´s even a ledge in there. A ledge in rather poor shape in this case,and i suspect that to be the REAL forcing cone of this thing.
Would a chamber casting be of assistance? I guess... But the main issue here is that the chamber was "built" sans any real knowledge and experience to draw upon. These guys were basically the first ones out and..the Chassepot hasn´t been called "the first modern rifle" for nothing.
Ie;these guys were on their own and most likely..they settled on what they really didn´t know,cause i believe the issue to be complex this time out NE.

Over the years THIS particular rifle has seen use. No doubt,but out of some very peculiar reason the actual rifling is way better than ok. I´d rate it,for an original,as maybe an 8/10.
The chamber though..not so much. Like..the rifling has been cleaned without prejudice and the chamber has been left on its own. The rifle then sitting like that,for years.
Thus the chamber is (was) rusted. Not beyond reason but it WAS rusted. Rust,no matter how minor,of course lets soot and fouling settle harder upon firing than would polished steel do...
So indeed as i had the thing apart i took some 240 grit and oil to that chamber on the lathe. All good n dandy then?
Better,granted,but far from an issue settled. Now,as i´ve had the barrel off the receiver it isn´t the end of the world to unbolt it once more,and i will to hit that thing with emery and oil once again.
First up 240 ´til happy..followed by 400..followed by 800. At 800 grit though i´d state that we´re into more show then go if we push any further. I would,furthermore,LOVE to clean that ledge out while at it! As pitted as it is it sure can´t HELP making the bullet stay its path as is!

My take on the bore-rider bullets carries merit in this case,no doubt,and indeed the rifle has turned into a tack driver if ever. Accuracy is a delight,and especially so for a 150 year old barrel.
Pics don´t lie,and as always the proof is in the pudding right. So..accuracy wise we´re home free,let´s agree on that for starters.
As far as we KNOW these rifles lacked in accuracy when new. Reading up on reports from way back the Chassepot was indeed known for shooting far,just not very accurate.
The stock proposition cartridge is a rather complex,to the build,paper ordeal but be that as it may it STILL comes down to the stock bullet vs how it sits vs that last piece of forcing cone - that sketch remember..
Enter the fact that no matter the *amn thing in PRACTICE had to combat that ledge that we KNOW is in there. Ergo,an ever so slightly cone shaped bullet most LIKELY bottomed out vs that FC and THEN had to climb that ledge hip hap as they come. No wonder the thing printed like a *amn scattergun in stock form!  {_K
Then? HOW and WHY was that type of ammunition that is GI arrived on? It just eludes me.

So. Bore-rider design seems to be the obvious solution. Might be. As far as accuracy,and that alone sure IS a feat - that we´ve made the thing actually hit what you aim at. I guess most would settle for that?


This is supposed to be the main arm of the french armed forces at the time and one of the main advantages vs a muzzle loader is rate of fire. Or..rounds fired per time unit.
Where a trained soldier could get maybe three rounds of per minute with a muzzle loader the Chassepot,as the Dreyse and the early Italian Carcanos,were claimed at like 15-20 rounds per minute.
Now..that´s an advantage beyond dreams at the time and indeed entire wars in Europe were won due this.
Ok. We get it. Fast to reload,you can reload from behind cover and what not. Great.


How´s that supposed to happen with a gun that fouls up so bad from a few shots that the next round can not even be chambered?
True is that many a Chassepot shootist THESE DAYS thus carry different rounds. One COAL for a clean gun and one COAL,normally around 3mm shorter,for a fouled one. Not only that but the soldier in case is supposed to keep the two different rounds apart in the heat of battle? That said,how ever are we going to get an accurate gun that doesn´t take to consistent cartridges?
Excuse me while i kiss the sky. Ain´t gonna happen.

So. The obvious line of thought here is that there NEEDS to be something more to this that i´m failing to see/realize. There just HAS to be.

Grease is what we use to keep fouling soft. Normally. This is nothing new and was certainly done back in the day too. But it seems that no matter how i add grease to THIS particular rifle,the Chassepot that is,that grease simply doesn´t do what we normally can expect it to do.
Sure. As i increase the amount of grease i finally end up with the all fabled star pattern at the muzzle but even with that happening..hard as diamond residue at the forcing cone.
Something IS happening in that chamber,let me assure you. Keep in mind that the chamber is sealed off with a rubber ring that obturates upon firing.
In other words all left in there is exposed. That said i can smear grease on that "umbrella",which then certainly sees the burn, where the needle comes out,the part that moves backwards and make the rubber expand,and have parts of that smeared out grease still sit on the umbrella as i open the bolt after firing.
Like..the grease couldn´t have cared less.

Firestorm anyone? Hello! That i get decent combustion is also clear as that umbrella which is exposed comes out a nice rust red color after a round or two.
Yeah well,i kinked this piece of el-cheapo cleaning rod into a "Z" so i can shove it in there with the bolt in place and wiggle around to hearts content.
Almost no matter how much grease added i STILL get like "cakes" of fouling coming out as i do. As i basically "rasp" that thing back n forth. In my book,seeing the amount of grease added,there should be rather precisely NONE of that rock hard fouling in there. Just soft "goo" should be left.

Could it be that i need to alter grease compound to make it interact more abruptly,or whatever you want to call it,with the burning blackpowder?
Might very well be brother..might very well be.
One thing is for sure though. You can tell n talk about 20 rounds a minute all you want when it becomes impossible to close the bolt after three expelled rounds that HAS HAD grease added. Just ain´t gonna happen.

Has anyone ever looked into what grease does as far as the burning of the blackpowder in itself? If it for instance slows flame front speed down or the likes?`
Is there any evidence based material to read up on as far as different compounds? Up here in the cold north we normally just divide that there into "for cold weather" and.."hot days",and that´s it.


Is there more to it to be had? Grease compound that is.

This just escapes me thus far NE..and it annoys the living *rap out of me. There HAS to be a viable solution to this. One where i can both have the cake and eat it too.
One where i can have an accurate Chassepot where i can toss cartridges in there at a rate of 20 pops a minute and the rifle will just digest whatever and keep running.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 06:37:43 PM by Racing »
DVC - 2019

Offline Racing

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Re: Chassepot Mle 1866
« Reply #77 on: May 14, 2019, 06:19:21 AM »
After setting up with some serious lighting that ledge there in the pic turns out to be the bottle neck angle of the stock chamber,just in REALLY poor shape.

Well. That didn´t really help did it?
DVC - 2019

Offline necessaryevil

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Re: Chassepot Mle 1866
« Reply #78 on: May 14, 2019, 09:04:54 AM »
I was going to suggest honing and polishing the chamber to a mirror finish, like a shotgun bore. But you beat me to it. Regarding the GREASE have you tried using LITHIUM grease ?

I use it on my revolvers and it reduces cylinder binding dramatically especially on the Uberti Remington, indeed it reduces fouling in general.

The other thing I use is an OLIVE OIL cooking SPRAY which I buy from Mercadona supermarkets here in Spain. Again reduces binding and fouling dramatically.

You are using shrink sleeve cartridges not loose powder right ? So spraying the chamber with olive oil between cartridges might help and T7 instead of BP won't do any harm either ?

Offline Racing

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Re: Chassepot Mle 1866
« Reply #79 on: May 15, 2019, 06:03:42 AM »
Thank you,cause that there with spray on olive oil might be an idea.

T7. Check on that one too.

Since yesterday the chamber´s been polished. We´ll see where that takes us.
DVC - 2019