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Thread: Removing the bolster

  1. #1
    Senior Member  
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    Removing the bolster

    Hi guys...

    Need a bit of help if you can. I do freelance writing and have been assigned an article on how to remove the bolster on a bp rifle. I know that will violate the warranty on new rifles but I am sure there are many that it can be done with.

    The problem is I've never been a bp shooter... just plain ol' rifles and handguns.

    If someone could walk me thru a couple of quick steps if that is all it takes it would certainly be helpful.

    This is the basic article I am using for a rference...

  2. #2
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    Kingsport Tennessee
    I have owned and shot muzzleloaders off-and-on for four decades and consider myself a rank amateur.

    I have heard bolster used to refer to the part that the nipple screws into when it is made as part of the breech plug either by machining, casting, or welding.

    The other system is the seperate drum that screws in to the breech plug. The nipple screws into the drum.

    Most manufacturers and users regard the bolster/breech plug as a semi-permanent assembly to the barrel. I think such information should be published with a lot of caveats: "for educational purposes" or "for gunsmith information".

    I would think that a drum should be as easy for a user to replace or repair as a nipple, but I would want someone with more experience with the system to say so.

    CVA FAQs

    2. Can I buy just the bolster/drum and breech plug for my side lock muzzleloader?

    Answer: The bolster/drum and breech plug for sidelock muzzleloaders are only available on an installed basis. If you need to replace the bolster/drum and breech plug you will have to send your barrel to the attention of: CVA Repairs, ....
    The old time gunsmiths would remove the breech plug when they "freshened" the rifling and bore of a worn-out barrel to a larger caliber (along with re-cherrying the bullet mold to fit). Otherwise, it was not commonly done.
    Cogito me cogitare; ergo, cogito me esse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    North Idaho/Eastern Washington
    Hmm. In buying parts for a rifle build, I noticed there are at least two parts called a "bolster"

    One is an integral part of the lock plate. It's the thicker part of the plate that fits against the barrel, in both flintlocks and caplocks.

    The other bolster is an integral part of the breechplug, sometimes called a snail or snail bolster. I assume you're talking about the latter. Neither can be removed, strictly speaking, because they're an integral feature of another part. We'll assume then that you refer to removing the breech plug.

    On one hand, it is a huge deal, in that REPLACING a breech plug with a new one requires very careful fitting, to ensure that the plug seats tightly against the barrel's inner shoulder and that the flats of an octagonal barrel align at the same time. A new plug must be fit to the shoulders, and also the flats are typically hand-fitted to the barrel flats, and then it all needs to match with a separate hooked tang if that's part of the design. SO; barrel plug and tang are all hand fit together.

    On the other hand, removing one for some other reason and then putting the same one back in-- that's not such a big deal. You just want to make sure it goes back in the exact same position, after treating the threads with anti-seize lube.

    In building a new rifle, you invariably end up removing a breech plug and reinstalling it at some point after it's all been carefully fit. I've done it once. No big woof.

  4. #4
    Senior Member  
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    Western MO
    On one rifle I messed with, it had rusted up from no cleaning, the bolster screwed into the breach plug. So you had to take it out before you tried taking the plug out.

    Commom sense isn't very common anymore.

  5. #5
    New Member  
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    It is interesting you comment on the recoil. Years ago when I was researching a Civil War rifle, the recommendation was to shoot both Enfield and Springfield as the stock design made them very different to handle even with the same load. The Enfield stock being straighter tends to smack the cheek more than the Springer with its' more exaggerated drop. I'd own one if it weren't for that.

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