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1803 flintlock dimensions

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midat

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Hi all. First post at this forum. While I use new-fangled 20th century guns I am thinking of building a 1803 Harper's Ferry flintlock.

As I'm experienced amateur woodworker (row boats, tables etc) and basement gunsmith (built two 80 percent 1911s and a 2011) I sort of know my way around tools, so I'd like to carve the stock myself. For which I'd like to have actual dimensions.

I've ordered the only existing line drawing, or sorts, that I can find. Hasn't arrived yet, but the online preview doesnt seem to have dimensional figures.

So, does anyone know if they are available anywhere? Thanks much.
 

1950DAVE

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Check out Track of the Woif website, And welcome to the forum. I think you will find a wealth of info here.
Dave
 

Johnny Tremain

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No, not track, Jessy Melot at the Rifle Shoppe, he is on line.
When I build them several decades ago, he was the best source for the most correct rifle you can build.
He measuring every 1803 he could find and makes every part there at the shoppe.
He even has the barrel proof marks from the original arsenal.


I had his blue print for the 1803, musta given it away already. :-(
 

TreeMan

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I have an 1803 from the rifle shoppe kit. It’s a beauty. I did replace the rifle shoppe lock with a Davis Harpers ferry lock last year. I’d started having issues with the original lock. I think the original builder of my rifle didn’t heat treat the lock parts correctly.
 

griffiga

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I wonder how far off the Davis Harpers Ferry lock would be on a Navy Arms 1803? So far, the Navy is doing good, but if I ever started having problems.
 

FlinterNick

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I have a rifle shoppe 1803 and its very close to the original, the only detail that can’t be replicated completely is the barrel, the original 1803 barrel had very deep rifling, my Getz barrel is pretty close but the depth is about 1/4 too shallow when compared to an original.

The stocks were also finished by dipping them in hot linseed and burnishign them with whale bones, this leaves a very heavy satin finish, this is hard to obtain without hot linseed as it must all dry evenly.

The lock is slightly smaller than the RE Davis lock with a screwed in mainspring and no fly, I have both locks. The geometry on the lock is tough too, the sear to tumbler on the Rifle Shoppe pretty critical, I have to change the depth on the tumbler notch for half cock and a very strong sear spring is needed to keep it from slipping. The cast spring I dont recommend, I made one from 1070 steel.

The RE Davis lock is very different internally, the plate, hammer and frizzen and frizzen spring are all patterned after the later 1814-1815 model with the 35 inch barrel.
 

oscarlovel

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I wonder how far off the Davis Harpers Ferry lock would be on a Navy Arms 1803? So far, the Navy is doing good, but if I ever started having problems.
I have switched them out on my Navy Arms. It came out alright, but far from perfect fit. I also had Bob Hoyt reline the barrel from .58 to .54 with roundball twist and deep rifling. It shoots very nice, but was never fully satisfied, so I acquired a group of parts from The Rifle Shoppe, Jeddidiah Smith Trading and TOTW. Was going to build one, but sold the parts set to another Forum member. He built it, then advertised it here on the Forum and I bought the completed rifle back from him. VERY SATISFIED!!! He did change out the Davis lock internals with large Siler parts, IIRC.
 

FlinterNick

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I have switched them out on my Navy Arms. It came out alright, but far from perfect fit. I also had Bob Hoyt reline the barrel from .58 to .54 with roundball twist and deep rifling. It shoots very nice, but was never fully satisfied, so I acquired a group of parts from The Rifle Shoppe, Jeddidiah Smith Trading and TOTW. Was going to build one, but sold the parts set to another Forum member. He built it, then advertised it here on the Forum and I bought the completed rifle back from him. VERY SATISFIED!!! He did change out the Davis lock internals with large Siler parts, IIRC.
The Davis Lock is bigger, I‘ve seen a few attempts at replacing the navy arms lock, all resulted in the use of epoxy or some type of graft weld to the plate to fill the shoulder gap.

The Euroarms and Zoli pattern 1803’s were thought to have been a modified hawken rifle. The lockplate and pan are not even close to an original 1803.

The had a navy arms 1803 and sold it, never liked it.
 

FlinterNick

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I have an 1803 from the rifle shoppe kit. It’s a beauty. I did replace the rifle shoppe lock with a Davis Harpers ferry lock last year. I’d started having issues with the original lock. I think the original builder of my rifle didn’t heat treat the lock parts correctly.
I had issues also with the Rifle Shoppe lock, I replaced the Rifle shoppe hammer with the the Davis hammer becasue the Davis hammer is shouldered around the tumbler. The Rifle Shoppe Tumbler to hammer fit was just too close to the plate.

I used the Dixie gun works 1803 mainspring on mine, and its much stronger.
 

griffiga

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The Davis Lock is bigger, I‘ve seen a few attempts at replacing the navy arms lock, all resulted in the use of epoxy or some type of graft weld to the plate to fill the shoulder gap.

The Euroarms and Zoli pattern 1803’s were thought to have been a modified hawken rifle. The lockplate and pan are not even close to an original 1803.

The had a navy arms 1803 and sold it, never liked it.
Years back I had another Navy 1803 as well and didn't like it. I couldn't get the lock to fire consistently. I think the frizzen needed to be hardened and the whole lock tuned. I ended up selling it as well as I didn't want to mess with it. This one, however, belonged to one of the sales managers for Navy Arms and he had the lock spruced up. This one sparks and shoots really well. It may end up lasting me as long as I want to shoot it, but I was just thinking of a possible replacement if the Lock ever ended up being like the last one. Hopefully not.
 

Cowboy

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No, not track, Jessy Melot at the Rifle Shoppe, he is on line.
When I build them several decades ago, he was the best source for the most correct rifle you can build.
He measuring every 1803 he could find and makes every part there at the shoppe.
He even has the barrel proof marks from the original arsenal.


I had his blue print for the 1803, musta given it away already. :-(
Agreed! 👍
 

FlinterNick

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The Navy Arms 1803 Rifle Lock had issues with the geometry of the bridal and sear and the mainspring wasn’t the strongest. The Rifle Shoppe Lock needs to be assembled correctly in order for it to be a very effective lock, I have one that I had to work on just to get the right feel, it throws a good spark with the flint bevel up. The RE Davis lock is probably the most reliable 1803 on the market, its pretty consistent and smooth. Side by side view of each lock, the Rifle Shoppe key difference i the mainspring is secured by a screw While the Davis lock is notched. The dimensions of both are different in terms of thickness and internal parts, with the Davis Lock being larger dimensionally. Original 1803’s are difficult to find with original parts. By my meaning, one that hasn’t been converted or hasn’t had a flintlock update. Many of the 1803’s were updated around 1817/1819 with thicker flintcocks, and frizzens, these upgraded 1803’s saw extensive use in the Mexican American War. The 1803 at Bass Pro Shops museum in Springfield MO is one of the upgraded 1803’s With the later lock. The upper post on the hammer has less shape, the frizzen is heavier and the Plate has a subtle teat. The barrel on the bass pro shop specimen is 33 inches, while some in 1819 were made with a 35 inch barrel.
 

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