Having been around guns my entire life it eventually got difficult to find new takes on things.
So.
I got into blackpowder (in the late -80s). Now. Dont get me wrong, i LOVE history and read up every chance i get, still do and will continue doing so.
But primarly im a shooter at heart. Have competed one way or another since the -80s, started hunting with my dad already in the -70s.

Getting into blackpowder i believe itd be downright hard not to have heard the myths about the Whitworth rifle, yes.. so had i and thought to myself that id get me one.... one of these days.

Having turned 50 and change i happend to have a few quid over so i started to follow the various British gun auctions. The one Whitworth more expensive than the other.. why i finally thought to myself that.. to hell with it. Just bring it.

Living in Sweden i basically just had pictures to go on, and the Whitworth i had in mind sure looked like it had seen better days (more like to hell and back) but i reasoned as such that i could no matter make it work, and thus that dream of mine would come true.

Auction day. Smoke cleared and as it turned out i had bought myself a Whitworth 451 Military match at a quite reasonable rate. No wonder seeing the looks of it though.
But.
This story has a twist to it, and then some.

https://i.postimg.cc/kgKt4y1R/40.jpg

What made the gun look as bad as it did was.. "goo". Some talented b*stard being had draped the thing in what looked like a sorts of body paint used for the undercarriage of cars approx. With a broad brush. Just hardened.
This though fired a light within me.. what IF? So a rather anal cleaning process commenced. This IS a Whitworth after all, serial C832, and i truly see myself as its caretaker more than anything, albeit i do compete with it and shoot it every chance i get.

Well. Underneath that goo was.. a rifle in basically pristine order. I guess that "paint" must have protected it, and protected it well over the yrs, because as i dug further and further back it just showed more and more promise.

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Sure. As in the one picture there was the occasional splinter but on a general whole seeing the rifles age it was about mint - for my use and take on it.

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Lockwork for instance basically just needed an in depth clean to be all it could be. A testament if ever of build quality id say, and see.. that kind of is the red thread here... Everything in sight is numbered for the rifle and fit is.. insane.
Just insane.
If my facts are straight this particular rifle was made in 1861 and to see that type of fit and finish still on a gun this old... just mind boggling. Really. Its to the point where i as an engineer.. my heart race just thinking about it. Yes, nerds DO have more fun!

https://i.postimg.cc/SR9zM7SP/44.jpg

Dave Minshall, i believe it was, once told me that all Whitworths left the company with blued barrels. Might be, and loads can of course happen over the span of more than a 150 yrs, but truth of the matter is that the barrel of mine carries like an extremely fine layer of rust above the stock line and is then bare metal beneath.
No. Doesnt look to have been cleaned. Tail plug had been out though as you can see, which i regarded as a good thing as my intent sure was to shoot this thing. Make no mistake.

https://i.postimg.cc/QN7BSmD4/45.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/FF0R0Kbw/46.jpg

Ah. Yes. Whats there to add really?

https://i.postimg.cc/HW0YVhdg/47.jpg

Right. Tail plug. Of course its about impossible to explain in text the feel of that thread. But please trust me when i say that ive spent an entire life around metals and that thread there.. this is where i take a bow and take my hat off pointing at Sir Joseph Whitworth grave. Threading the tail plug in there, not ONE glitch or "feel of restraint". Its like the damn thing was teflon treated, and then some!
I can just IMAGINE the orders from management as far as what was expected. Phew!

https://i.postimg.cc/0y4xTgdp/55.jpg

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Then of course.. the fabled hexagonal bore. Sry theres a tad of lint and what not in there but just take my word for that the bore on this thing looks like it just about has never been fired. "Sluggin" it tells about the same story. Shoving a piece of all soft lead through there is just.. smoooooth.

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Tail plug. Indeed. I was in no hurry but then on the other hand VERY anal about results why the cleanup of the rifle was done off n on for approx 2 months worth. Every step of the way so to say, leaving basically nothing to chance.
So yes. Even the color case hardening came to life, at least to bits.
Neat!

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Yep. Lock cleaned up nice too.

https://i.postimg.cc/LsZq73f8/62.jpg

Here how the safety works and operates. Rather crude seeing how the rest of the rifle is built but truth be told.. safety carries an indent and is very positive as far as engagement.

https://i.postimg.cc/ZR8WYYwk/65.jpg

Ah, yes! The famed rear sight that sports two different progressions. One for conicals and one for hexagonal projectiles. Speaking of which.. well come to that.

The one thing this rifle lacked, sorry to say, is the adjustable globe front sight. So i made one myself a couple of yrs back. As far as sights, i do compete with the ting at our nationals, im still undecided.
Why?
Well. I truly cherish this piece of art, cause thats what it is, while i could REALLY do with a set of "Dr Goodmans". Ie; a diopter setup. Thus far, our nationals dont stretch that far when it comes to distance, weve managed just fine with the open sights.
But. Im first up on the board of the club of ours and second up part of a group of gents that want to get longer range shooting organized with these old boomsticks. As is im kind of limited to 600 meters and albeit thats a fair bit and change too i sincerly hope to be able to make it to Creedmoors 150th coming up in 2024..
..where max distance will be 2000 yards.
First up i need to get my ass in training for that and second of all.. aint going to happen with the stock irons and these by now 57yr old eyes. Not that i complain as seeing my age ive actually got good vision but.. them eyes ARE 57 yrs old after all..
This is a dilemma to me.

Now. Theres a few manufacturers of casting molds for hex boolits around the world and ive tried what there is, then at the same time ive got very very close access to rather advanced multi operational CNC machinery why weve come to develop a downright crapload of molds and swaging dies both for this rifle.
As sorts of a "happy" pet peeve ive come to dwell on nose cone shapes for especially the hex versions.. one thing has led to another and.. you guys get the drill.
This simply CRAVED that i could take myself out of the equation so to say, to be able to evaluate the various bullets performance, why a sorts of non intrusive bracketry for a scope was born. One that has come to be modified to work on all sorts of MLs.
So.. when i do that it is at a bench, in a cradle with a high powered scope and then starting at 300 meters. Eeeeeeasy does it. Never mind me, that there is about bullet performance.

This has turned out to be a sorts of blessing in disguise and weve learned LOADS (sry bout the pun lads! ) But.. ill get to that.

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Yes. Even the little things got dire attention.

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At this state for better for worse the stock had been cleaned out from that black goo and thus needed to be protected again. I guess it could be reasoned that i removed part of the rifles history in cleaning it out, but then youd have to consider the work of a 6 yr old with a brush and body paint something to dwell upon.
I did not, and as you can now clearly see.. that there is a Whitworth in downright amazing condition. Yes. Of course linseed/turpentine only. Layer upon layer, these pics are years old by now..
..and she just turned a darker hue for every layer applied, and still do!

https://i.postimg.cc/VLc3bf4G/93.jpg

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At that point the by now since yrs residing front sight by me wasnt done and as the rest of the rifle was i sure as hell wanted to shoot it! So what i did, and what later evolved into that "non intrusive" manner in which to work any sights youd like on old guns.. i opted for a very early Winchester such at 2 5/8 powers. From the 1930s i believe.
That soon enough got replaced, but this gives you an idea of what came out the other end at least. Truly a lovely piece of kit.
What had gone through that former owners mind as that black like 5mm thick goo was applied ill never now but.. here she is in all her glory.
Shoots about as she looks.

These rifles can be REAL hard on cones/nipples why most install platinum lined ones, at rather great expense seeing what were after all talking here.
Well. I have a past within the racing industry and i dawned on me that we often use a material known as Inconel for high temp,high stress areas. Mainly then whats called Inconel 600.
It is one seriously tough material why i coupled with good friend Daniel set out to cut cones for it out of Inconel. As it turns out, a wise move. Cause.. this thing has been fired you wont believe and im STILL on that original cone!
A regular stainless steel one will last you MAYBE 50 shots, so thats saying something!

Anyways. Boolits.

https://i.postimg.cc/NF5g8LGr/21.jpg

Yep. Even three piece swaging dies.

https://i.postimg.cc/vTdJTBgs/27-1.jpg

A very crude "slug" mold to just cast slugs to be shoved into the swaging die.

https://i.postimg.cc/jjp935h7/29.jpg

We soon learned that ridges are a bad move. Something mold manufacturer Hensel doesnt believe to this day..

https://i.postimg.cc/5y0ww5Fq/127.jpg

Then CNC cut casting molds. Mark that the parting line follows the 1:20 rifling twist, making it possible to make the mold only two piece. Works a million bux to be clear, and weve since made all in all our 10th design just recently.
..and i guess that saga will never end.

https://i.postimg.cc/Cxyq1pJ4/128.jpg

Yes. More swaging dies. Although you dont really use up Whitworth bullets by the train load swaging boolits the way I do is rather time consuming vs casting them. Have to say. Use a 15 ton workshop press..

https://i.postimg.cc/HWR3CxcZ/139.jpg

..then again..

Why? Well, truth is that im an aeronautic engineer from the onset. Due that i of course know a thing or two on aerodynamics while bullet technlogy was entirely novel to me. But.. i sincerly wanted to understand and as you push beyond say the Miller twist rule and Greenhill and what not.. it becomes a tad harder to evaluate if its to be done with at least reasonable accuracy.
Yes. Of course we use a LabRadar and i sure had high hopes as we got it but.. then i realized that it really needs larger range. It hands us an idea though, that much is true.


Welp!
There you have it! Me and fellow team mate Patric are to have a sit come friday to determin what rifle to use for this yrs nationals. Yes, theres actually a few to pick from, and thus far i feel the Whitworth has served us well and chances are that it will still.
Well see what he feels though. Since last season a few more rifles have shown up and i guess we need to evaluate them all.

To shoot an original?
It sure cant be escaped that you do feel the wings of time every time you as much as handle it. Every charge and boolit is of course carefully weighed, and its to the point where i actually bring a scale to the range to be able to "learn" to use reasonably the same force loading the thing time after time.
So yes. As shooters we certainly take this on as a serious matter, if ever.
Then again.
It IS a Whitworth.. and im content just being its caretaker for a while lads