Damascus Gun Barrel

Steve Culver

Well-Known Member
I thought that I would post up the results of a damascus project that I have been working on. I have successfully made and test fired a twist damascus gun barrel.
Accomplishing the making of this barrel has been a major challenge. I have spent two years of research and literally months of shop time on it. I have finally managed to make a damascus barrel and I conducted proof firing tests on it September 26, 2012.

This barrel is made by the traditional method used for twist damascus barrels. It started as two billets of 26 layer damascus. The billets were drawn out into 1/2" square rods. The rods were twisted, one to the right, one to the left. The twisted rods were forged welded together into a single rod; or riband, in damascus barrel terminology. The riband is wound around a mandrel to form a coil. The coil is forge welded to make a solid barrel tube. The tube is then drilled and reamed to the final bore dimensions and the outside of the tube is turned to final dimension.

The barrel was proof fired with a patched .490" round ball. The powder charges were FFF black powder. First load, 30 grains of powder. Second load, 35 grains. Third load, 40 grains.
Below is a photo of the barrel. It only has a light etch on it at this time.


I videoed the entire proof firing sequence. There is a 21 minute video of the entire process, including loading, firing and inspection of the barrel after firing. There is also a short video of just the barrel being fired. Below is a link to my Youtube channel, were the videos can be viewed.

Steve Culver

Well-Known Member
Thanks Brad,

Sorry for the super slow response. Been a little busy around here.

I'm building a cut-n-shoot. I figured that it would be weird if a guy who was a bladesmith and also a gunsmith didn’t build a cut-n-shoot.

The project is basically a flintlock pistol, with a bowie blade on one side of the stock. It is a side-lock. I designed the lock-work myself. From what I have learned from gunsmithing, I know that most locks that you can buy from the muzzle loader suppliers are not very efficient. The geometry is not correct on many of them. So, I designed my own lock. It looks like the typical lock, but the geometry is based on my calculations. I designed the lock on my computer, then made steel parts from the drawings to test how they worked. I am making all of the major parts of the lock out of damascus.

Below is a photo of the lock, as of today. The oversize lock-plate will be cut to final dimensions after all work on the lock is completed. The lock-plate is not etched, but it is of the same damascus pattern as is the blade that will be on the opposite side of the gun stock. At the bottom is the block of damascus that will become the flash pan. At top is the damascus forging for the frizzen. The inset at top left are some internal parts; tumbler, sear, bridle.


I put together a video of short clips, from filming that I took while making the damascus gun barrel for the project.

This is not a "how to" video, as there are several critical steps of the process left out to keep the video from being too long. Also not shown, is the very complicated machining required to turn a rough forging into a finished barrel.