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Thread: Flintlocks!!!

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    Default Flintlocks!!!

    I had the opportunity to shoot my first black powder rifle this weekend, and it was an old style flintlock. I was at a friends shooting range, and a guy on the line had one. As this type of firearm I have zero familiarity with, I asked him about a million questions. He had built it from parts, which he acquired over time. Its his 3rd one. It was a .45 caliber one, I have no idea the model, so, please, dont ask .
    The double trigger is intriguing, but really neat. I found that the delay, between the flash pan and the firing, at first, was odd. I have heard many people talk of it, I was aware of it, but, well, experiencing it was kind of cool. I shot twice, and, here are my observations, from a complete newb:
    These rifles are actually surprisingly lights, for their size. I expected a beefier feel to it, with the length of the barrel, but it was actually quite manageable.
    The delay between trigger pull & actual expulsion of the projectile forces one to have good shooting discipline. Flinching will assure a miss. Period.
    This rifle was truly a work of art. Its asthetically pleasing to the eye, and something I may look into in the future
    Now, I have a few questions. First, living in MA, we only have 3 ways to hunt; bow, shotgun, and black powder. I am planning on bowhunting this year, but, I think I may try black powder next year. I spoke with the gentleman who let me shoot his flintlock, and we discussed weather issues-primarily, rain when using it. Now, I know black powder & rain dont mix. But, how important is it to keep the flint & striker plate dry? This may seem like an obvious question, but, I honestly dont know, and didnt think to ask. If someone here uses a flintlock in inclement weather, what are the methods for keeping this dry? As much as I loved the flintlock, I think that, for now, I may be leaning more towards a cap & ball black powder, simply for the weather here, which can literally be anything during hunting season.
    I am now hooked though. I am really looking into assembling one of these myself. It may be a project over time, but, I would love to own one of these someday, for fun, possibly hunting, and definitely for the artistry some of these posess!
    My blog: http://oldsoldiersadventures.blogspot.com/ Intermediate cert progression: 2 of 11 classes, 0 of 7 electives, 2 of 3 overnights, 5 of 10 outings.

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    Talking

    I have flintocks and each is a little different on the hang time and the locks waterproofness.
    If its just a quick shower i turn the rifle upside down and tuck the lock under my armpit. If it looks like its gonna rain for a while i brush out the pan, put a dab of grease on the bottom of the frizzen and then hold the lock upside down under my armpit.

    Rob/saltrock


    Your rifle will vary

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    Rain= Two items I have found that work for flintlock, a feather in the touch hole.

    Also a piece of greased leather to cover the pan/ lock area. Called a calfs knee.

    Do not prime until you are ready to shoot, keep your barrel down.
    Good times = Canvas & Campfires

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    Firstly, a good flintlock that is "timed" well, should not have a big noticeable delay (called lock time). It should be almost instantaneous. As has been mentioned, a period correct way to protect your lock area from rain and snow is a greased cows knee. I also smear a bead of grease around the edge of the pan before putting the frizzen down. To assure that I get ignition, I also use 3F powder in the pan as priming rather than 4F. 4F draws moisture quicker. I also change my priming powder often throughout the day to ensure it is dry when the moment of truth arrives. Have fun!

    Scott

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    I couldnt tell you what the ACTUAL delay was, but, it is noticeable-coming from modern firearms. It was in the 10ths of seconds, I would guess. Enough to notice, and, as I wasnt used to it, it was certainly different.
    Thanks all to the methods you use to keep these dry. I kind of figured not to put priming powder into the flashpan until ready to shoot. I really want to build one of these, if for nothing else, than the novelty of saying I built it, and shoot it .
    My blog: http://oldsoldiersadventures.blogspot.com/ Intermediate cert progression: 2 of 11 classes, 0 of 7 electives, 2 of 3 overnights, 5 of 10 outings.

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    Scout Bush Class Basic Certified Jeffro's Avatar
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    I have shot a flinter for many years now and the rifle I own is a Tenesee Mountain Rifle that a fine gunsmith built from a kit and I suffer no perceptable locktime. The Gunsmith who built this weapon tuned the lock by polishing the moving surfaces the same way you polish a trigger sear, he then drilled out the touch hole to the next NUMBER SIZE drill bit to increase heat transfer. Pay attention I now give to you a pearl of wisdom, "on the prarie", just as it was given to me. Heat not flame through the touch hole is what ignites the main powder charge so do not fill the pan to it's utmost capacity and before firing tip the pan away from the barrel to move the prime to the outside of the pan so you have an unobstructed touch hole for the heat to travel through. This act alone should eliminate locktime

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffro View Post
    I have shot a flinter for many years now and the rifle I own is a Tenesee Mountain Rifle that a fine gunsmith built from a kit and I suffer no perceptable locktime. The Gunsmith who built this weapon tuned the lock by polishing the moving surfaces the same way you polish a trigger sear, he then drilled out the touch hole to the next NUMBER SIZE drill bit to increase heat transfer. Pay attention I now give to you a pearl of wisdom, "on the prarie", just as it was given to me. Heat not flame through the touch hole is what ignites the main powder charge so do not fill the pan to it's utmost capacity and before firing tip the pan away from the barrel to move the prime to the outside of the pan so you have an unobstructed touch hole for the heat to travel through. This act alone should eliminate locktime
    Yup..........

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    I have been lusting after a flintlock for a good long while. I look at hunting the way I look at a lot of things in life. Why make things so easy that there isn't a challenge at all? I like the older things in life ( to a point ) and the nostalgia behind them. Currently I bow hunt exclusively but when I start my black powder hunting it will be by way of the flint lock.
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    Growin' up the flintlock users put a "mules ear" which I suspect is same as a calf's knee over the lock to keep it dry .

    Nothing wrong with starting out with a flintlock if that is what tickles your fancy.

    A well set up lock, using ffffg powder for priming and fffg for the main charge (up to 50 caliber) is the best choice. Given a choice I would like "french flints" (used to be able to buy them, sadly the supply is long gone)

    The lock time with a proper charge and flint is negligible.

    Without being there I suspect that more modern priming of a coarser nature and probably a coarser main powder were used. Perhaps also the priming pan was "over filled"?

    To add to your black powder knowledge, the rifling twist rate impacts the choice of projectiles and charges. a 1 turn in 66 inches twist or slower (2nd number higher) tends to favor patched round balls. A faster twist such as 1 turn in 48 inches tends to favor conical maxi-balls.

    By adjusting the powder charge one can get good accuracy with patched balls in a faster twist, sadly, the slower twist just will not stabilize the longer conical as well.

    A percussion lock (well maintained) performs similar to a modern cartridge. All one needs to do is pay attention to the charge and cleaning etc. If you soften a dab of wax and crimp it over the cap it tends to pretty much waterproof the percussion nipple.

    Also if you manage to look at older original rifles and shotguns (fowling pieces / muskets etc) they often had a "cork" stopper to keep moisture out of the barrel. For modern usage a simple piece of electricians tape serves as well and blows off when you discharge the piece. (Also a balloon or condom can serve to keep water out of your barrel.)


    I'm not gonna go into modern in line percussion sabot firing rifles because they do not appeal to me any more than arrow launching machines do (compound bows). Nothing wrong with them, just not something I care for, tried them out and then went backwards where I usually prefer either a hawkin style percussion or a Kentucky style flinter.

    Also (not sure if it is a gobt approved hunting tool) but the older sharps rifles offered a lot. The 1863 was a breach loading weapon that used "paper cartridges" and a percussion cap to fire. These were as capable as the 1874 metallic cartridge firearms but used "nitrated paper" (think cigarette rolling papers) that burnt up when fired. The breach cut open the rear of the cartridge as it closed, and then you capped the nipple and fired it. (I have heard of just loading a bullet with loose powder behind it, but never tried it. Nitrated paper can be made by getting some salt peter and soaking cigarette papers in it then drying them and rolling them around a dowel then glue in a bottom or twist the bottom closed, put in the charge, use a string or glue and tie in the bullet.

    If you can get a replica Enfield or Springfield "war of northern aggression" rifled musket it makes a fine hunter. Also the earlier "Mississippi rifles" will do the trick. These are front loaders so should come under the black powder muzzle loader regulations. Being in 58 - 62 caliber usually they pack considerable wallop and would be fine for most anything one chose to shoot.

    Do not underestimate the "trade rifles" which are often 69 caliber (20 gauge) smooth bore flinters. These can fire both shot, buck n ball , or ball or mini bullets. Treat them similar to a slug gun for hunting purposes of large game, and switch to shot for birds, squirrels, rabbit and such. A good foraging choice IMHO.

    If you wish to build a rifle, consider getting a copy of Dixie Gun Works catalog. (Great reading even if you don't care for traditional stuff.) Also they carry a lot of things like tinder box, and period clothing etc.

    Be warned, once you go down the buck skinner road, you will find it an addictive hobby. One that builds confidence in your ability to feed yourself and loaf in the bush as long as you wish.

    There are many rendezvous that you can attend to explore more of this if it please you.

    Keep your powder dry and your top knot safe.

    Thad

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    Thad, to be honest-thats my fear. Going down this road, never to return!!! But, I think I would be OK with that .
    I will definitely give dixie gun works a look-as I am just dipping my toes in, and fear I will be jumping in to the deep end, clothes and all, before too long. I am OK with that too though!!!

    To everyone offering advice, thank you. I have been around firearms since I was young-shooting with my dad, 13 years in the Army as an Infantryman, serving on several different crew served platforms, earning my armorers certificate-but, I have zero experience with the older shooting arts. And, I am truly looking forward to this journey!
    My blog: http://oldsoldiersadventures.blogspot.com/ Intermediate cert progression: 2 of 11 classes, 0 of 7 electives, 2 of 3 overnights, 5 of 10 outings.

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