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I Forge Iron

Help with a damascus project.

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First off thank you for taking the time to help someone with virtually no knowledge in this area. I am a gunsmith by trade and am working on a personal project as a gift for one of my sons. I am building a rifle and would like it to have a damascus barrel. Obviously that isn’t terribly practical but I’ve had a barrel blank made that would essentially be a liner that I would like to put a damascus sleeve over. The barrel is 1.125” for the first three inches or so then it takes a step down to .550” for the rest of its length. My original plan was to buy a round bar of Damascus that is 32mm (that seems to be a pretty common diameter) and 20” long. I would then drill it out to match the external profile of my custom barrel and then bond  the damascus via solder or epoxy to the barrel. At that time I could then turn the outside diameter to my desired finished profile. It’s turned out that I can’t seem to find anyone that sells 32mm anywhere near long enough; I can find up to about 11” but not longer. My question for you guys is do you know of a source to find something this long or can someone take this 32mm (1.26”) and stretch it out by making it thinner tapering it to .700 or so. Is there someone that you guys would recommend? I’m in Northern California. Do you guys think this is even feasible? 
Thanks again


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Another option would be to make a sleeve the way damascus barrels were made originally, wrapping a strip spirally around a mandrel, removing the mandrel, and then inserting the liner.  However, that is really a high skill job that only a few folk around can do.  There are people who make custom back powder guns the traditional way but their work is expensive, as it should be, and with a long wait time.  They might be able to produce a sleeve to your specifications.

It might be easier to forge weld damascus to the outside of a high carbon mandrel and then drill and rifle the mandrel if that is within your ability. 

An alternative would be to forge weld several of the 11" blanks together to make a longer bar and then use your original idea of turning and drilling to take the barrel.  There would be an interruption of the pattern of the blanks at the weld but I don't think it would be recognizable as a weld to anyone but a smith.

You could also salvage an old black powder damascus shotgun barrel and turn the rifled barrel to fit it as a liner but that would give you a pretty heavy bull barrel but if you could find a small gauge (20 or 28 ga.) shotgun barrel it might be made to work.

There are also ways to etch a barrel to give it a faux damascus pattern.

Just thoughts off the top of my head.  I don't attempt to evaluate feasibility, cost, or time involved.  Others may well have better suggestions.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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I would start by contacting ABANA and finding a local smiths group in your area. I know there is the Cali blacksmith association but there may be others closer to you, then again i have no idea where the Cali one is located to start with.

Also if you go to the home page and scroll down, past machinery, past bladesmithing, past non-ferrous, past welding, all the way down to misc. at the very bottom of the misc. category is a section for "Gunsmithing, muskets, flintlocks, etc." May want to try and search in that section. 


You beat us to it, just relocated his post to that area

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