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Smooth Bore Rifle

dodge69dodge69 Member Posts: 954 ✭✭
edited August 2014 in Ask the Experts
Would somebody tell me why you would want a smooth bore rifle vs one that has rifles in it

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    FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
    edited November -1
    What type do you mean? I don't of anyone who prefers that. Except maybe an Primitive reenactor.
    The Japanese made some smooth bore trainers before WW-2 that look nearly indentical to their battle rifles. But they were for BLANKS ONLY and will blow if you fire one with live ammo. They were for training children in gun handling.
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    gruntledgruntled Member Posts: 8,218 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    If what you are referring to is polygonal rifling then look it up on the Internet. There are many references to it & the supposed benefits.
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    Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,374 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not a very clear question, but...
    There were "smoothbore rifles" in frontier days.
    They probably cost less and could be loaded with birdshot when wanted.

    I would not have wanted one. A smoothbore fowling piece would be even more versatile and weigh less to hump over the mountains.


    A number of modern tank guns are smoothbore. There are technical advantages you probably need an ordnance man to explain.
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    MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    Some trickshooters used to use smoothbore rifles loaded with shot cartridges in their act.

    Winchester produced a few factory made smoothbores. Probably mostly 1892's in 44-40. Some '86's in 45-70, too, I think.
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    babunbabun Member Posts: 11,054 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Almost all companies offered smooth bores in several "normal" calibers. Many were/are used for pest control, galley shooting, skeet shooting, [on reduced targets and ranges}.
    The everyday,common .22lr shot shell works much better in a smooth bore than a rifled barrel which tends to ruin the shot pattern because of the lands and grooves tend to made a "donut hole" in the groups.
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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Something like 20% of the available energy goes into spinning the bullet. The current 120mm (Rheinmetall) cannon on the M1 Abrams is a smoothbore. 5200-5600 feet per second with a 20 pound penetrator projectile. I don't think they would get that velocity in a rifled bore. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinmetall_120_mm_gun

    Routledge bore
    https://forums.GunBroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=427523
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    SoreShoulderSoreShoulder Member Posts: 3,138 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Until recently Marlin offered their Garden Gun which was a 22 bolt action in a smoothbore. It was for shot cartridges.

    There were 44 caliber smoothbores of one make or another.
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    KAMsalesKAMsales Member Posts: 1,672 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "Smoothbore" and "rifle" are a contradiction
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by dodge69
    Would somebody tell me why you would want a smooth bore rifle vs one that has rifles in it

    By definition a "rifle" has a rifled barrel. So a smoothbored gun isn't really a rifle, strictly speaking.

    The rifling, of course, spins the bullet, and stabilizes it, permitting FAR greater accuracy and effective range compared to an unstabilized bullet.

    As to why you would want something that was otherwise like a rifle, but had a smooth bore, there is one main reason:

    Shotguns have smooth bores. In the case of a shotgun (which is loaded with multiple small pellets instead of one solid bullet), rifling disperses the shot and creates a poor pattern, typically with a "hole" in the middle.

    If you were interested in firing a conventional rifle cartridge loaded with shot pellets, a smoothbore rifle would create a better pattern. EG, smoothbore .22LR rifles intended for "garden" or exhibition-type use with .22LR shot cartridges are probably the most common smoothbore "rifle".

    Presumably, you aren't asking about artillery pieces here.

    As an additional point, with enough shooting and/or vigorous overcleaning, its possible to wear down the rifling of a conventional rifle until its nearly gone. This isn't really desirable, since the guns accuracy will be ruined, but it can happen, to create a "smoothbore rifle".
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    nononsensenononsense Member Posts: 10,928 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    dodge69,

    quote:Would somebody tell me why you would want a smooth bore rifle vs one that has rifles in it

    rifling

    The obvious answer to a nebulous question would be to accommodate particular types or styles of ammunition. Smooth bore rifles are still available in a variety of cartridges and shot shells. Historically correct black powder muzzle loading rifles were smooth bores and use patches with round balls. Then there are the examples already pointed out above.

    quote:By definition a "rifle" has a rifled barrel. So a smoothbored gun isn't really a rifle, strictly speaking.

    This is incorrect by exception alone if nothing else. The 'modern' definition does involve the use of the term rifling in its definition but the exceptions are the Steyr ACR as well as other types of rifles utilizing a smooth bore barrels to control flechette or fin stabilized dart held in a sabot. The smooth bore barrel when combined with the flechette ammunition allows for extremely high velocities (4700 - 4900 FPS as opposed to the 3100 FPS for standard M16 ammunition). This is an example of where a definition becomes far too specific for the rapidity of changes in the modern day. Other exceptions are the smooth bore muzzle loading rifles of yesterday and currently.

    As far as shotguns are concerned, many of us have successfully used rifled slug barrels when shooting skeet. Not a common place occurrence but successful nonetheless. When I was involved with making barrels, we made a large number of variations of shotgun barrels for a company experimenting with rifling and accuracy for competition shotguns. These covered the gamut from full length (shallow) rifling to straight line rifling and very slightly rifling the last couple of inches of the barrel at the muzzle. I cannot reveal any of the absolute information since it's proprietary but general observations were that some mild forms of rifling were successful in demonstrating a slight increase in accuracy. Just as obvious though is the fact that the increased cost was not substantiated by the increase in accuracy.

    Best.
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