1st flintlock range trip

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by mushka, Mar 18, 2019.

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  1. Mar 18, 2019 #1

    mushka

    mushka

    mushka

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    Beautiful Sunday morning here in Yuma, too the rifle out and did some shooting with it. I've been loading 50 grns triple F, priming with the same powder but using less prime. I still get the click bang. Bang is about a tenth of a second after the click. Is this normal? With this load at about 38 yards it shoots about 4 inches high. I decided to up the load to about 63-65 grns of the same powder to see what happens as I think added velocity will cause the shot to hit lower. It did shoot lower. About 1 to 2 inches above the aiming point instead of 4.

    When I spit patched the 50 grn load I got residue off the patch, normal. When I spit patched the heavier load I probably doubled the amount of residue on the patch, and when patching the barrel for the second time after firing I still got a bunch of residue. Is this normal or what is wrong here.

    I haven't had a fail to fire yet on this flint and it has about 20 shots on it that I know of. I did nap one edge of it but it worked ok. I like shooting this gun but I know precious little of the normal habits of flintlocks. I only shoot it 8 r 10 times when I take it out as it is a time consuming weapon to use and I can't stay as long as I'd like to.

    Interested in what the board has to say on this stuff I mention.
    Thanks
     
  2. Mar 19, 2019 #2

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    What kind of gun do you have? What make is the lock? How much priming are you using? There are times when my Siler's lock will click bang, but a lot has to do with amount of priming, sharpness of the flint, the angle of the flint, how tightly placed in the jaws it is, etc. There are a lot of variables. A tenth second delay isn't the worst thing in the world. I'd think most would be hard pressed to even be able to discern a delay of such duration.

    As to residue on patches, what you have is normal yes. Black powder is inherently dirty, and after one shot you will get soot. After firing several shots it will take several wet patches before you notice it getting cleaner. Some soot isn't an issue while at the range. You're only cleaning enough out of the bore to facilitate ease of loading, so I'd not be concerned if a couple patches come out black. As long as you can get a ball down the bore fairly easily, that is what you should worry about. Worry about the mirror bright clean after you get home.
     
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  3. Mar 19, 2019 #3

    trent/OH

    trent/OH

    trent/OH

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    I recommend a couple of things. First get the book "Flintlocks- A Practical Guide For Their Use And Appreciation", by Eric Bye. Read it. Read it again. You'll say to yourself things like Really? Oh!, Why didn't I think of that?, and Cool!.
    Secondly, find yourself a good mentor. Someone who already knows what they are doing, will make your learning curve so much easier. And if he says you need to buy a better rifle, or a better lock, don't take it personally. Most of us have bought in too low, and paid to get higher quality guns (yes, plural).

    Click bang can be a bunch of things. My first guess is that the sparks are too few or too cool to set off the prime fast. My second guess is that the vent hole is too small, or partially obstructed. But I've been wrong many a time.
     
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  4. Mar 19, 2019 #4

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    I took a look at the rifle as pictured in the Flash in the pan topic. I can't see the touch hole in your picture. For the most part touch holes have a minor effect on timing. What would be more important is the location of the touch hole with respect to the face of the breech. Does your rifle have a touch hole liner? What is the position of the face of the flint to the surface of the frizzen? I think the flint could be moved forward a bit to get a few more sparks into the pan. What is the diameter of the touch hole? I like a touch hole of 1/16". You may need to enlarge the touch hole. But before you enlarge the touch hole too much, you should get a set of number drills. There are 5 number sizes between 1/16" to 5/64". Personally 5/64" is the very largest size of the touch hole that you should use.

    Drill Size Diameter Area Ratio to 1/16"
    53 0.0595 0.002781 0.90630 -0.09370
    1/16 0.0625 0.003068 1.00000 0.00000
    52 0.0635 0.003167 1.03226 0.03226
    51 0.0670 0.003526 1.14918 0.14918
    50 0.0700 0.003848 1.25440 0.25440
    49 0.0730 0.004185 1.36422 0.36422
    48 0.0760 0.004536 1.47866 0.47866
    5/64 0.0781 0.004794 1.56250 0.56250

    Now then, what to do now with this new to you rifle. Naturally a thorough cleaning is in order. Get some of those dental flossing brushes. These will clean the touch hole and you will be able to get any metal burrs out of the touch hole and also any built up fouling in the touch hole. A breech face brush or breech scraper will address fouling on the face of the breech.

    Now it is time to polish up the moving surfaces in your lock. Look for any rubbing on the lock plate. look for any roughness on the mainspring and frizzen. Lightly polish the tumbler axle. Polish the bolt positioning the frizzen. Check the screws holding the tumbler, sear and bridle covering the tumbler. These screws should be just snug or you can induce drag on the hammer and tumbler. Look for rubbing of the sear on the stock or rubbing of the tumbler. Use a light grease on the friction points. Anything that can slow down the hammer strike can reduce the sparks in the pan and slow the ignition.

    I had a similar issue with my Derringer rifle. Moving the flint and shooting the rifle about 100 times really helped to loosen it up nd make the firing almost instant.

    Be patient and see if the cleaning and polishing help. I would expect the touch hole to be close to 1/16". Let us know what you observe when you clean the rifle up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  5. Mar 19, 2019 #5

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

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    If you are getting lots of residue sticking to your fired patches, residue that can be brushed off, that looks like powder granules, then your patches are too wet and you are sullying too much powder with your spit. It takes practice and experimentation to learn exactly how much spit to use. Let the barrel fouling and target accuracy be your guide. If you use too little spit your patches could burn and your barrel could become heavily fouled.
    I also recommend swabbing between shots.
    The delay in your ignition could be a dull flint or soft frizzen are you getting a lot of good hot sparks, the kind that glow and bounce and dance or just a shower that disappears when it hits the pan.

    Also, How you apply spit to a patch matters. The mouth produces two different kinds of spit, saliva and phlegm. Actually spitting like you are spitting on the ground can produce more phlegm, IMO, phlegm make for bad patch lube. I place the patch on my tongue and pin it to the roof of my mouth until saturated to the desired level. This ensure the patch is lubed with the more watery saliva rather than the viscous phlegm. This technique has won me a lot of matches and removed a lot of squirrel heads.
     
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  6. Apr 15, 2019 at 2:10 AM #6

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

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    The main thing I want to add at this time is get rid of the Triple F! Flintlocks work best with real black powder. Most notably as the primeing powder. Fake black powder and fake news should both be outlawed. Try to shoot with someone who knows what he's doing, not someone who's fired a hundred shots and thinks he's a master flinter. Pay close attention if he shows you how to knap a rifle flint.
    Bear down and concentrate hard when you pull the trigger. You should see yours sights and the target clearly right through ignition and follow thru.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2019 at 2:59 AM #7

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

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    Triple F or 3fffG or 3f or fffg is real black powder, where you thinking of Triple 7 ?
     
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  8. Apr 15, 2019 at 11:35 AM #8

    Ames

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    I'm more curious about the size of the bore and age of the gun. I know he said he was fairly new to rock locks, but I don't know if the gun was used. Or used much. New barrel?
    Find the load it wants. Instead of concentrating on the point of impact, much more will be learned working up good groups on the target. Then, once you have found the load, and patch, and lube that puts up tight groups somewhere on the target and shot a hundred through the barrel, you can work on the sights.
     
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  9. Apr 15, 2019 at 12:19 PM #9

    Darkgael

    Darkgael

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    About that little delay......a tenth surely is discernible. Do you take the time to run a wire "pick" through the flash hole and into the powder charge before priming?
     
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  10. Apr 15, 2019 at 1:13 PM #10

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    Sounds like you have a good rifle to me.
    Prick the vent as mentioned.
     
  11. Apr 15, 2019 at 1:37 PM #11

    Rockvillerich

    Rockvillerich

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    Position and design of the touch-hole is critical to lock speed. Don't cover the hole with powder, and a liner is a must if you're expecting quick ignition. I use 4 F for target work.
     
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  12. Apr 15, 2019 at 2:58 PM #12

    Ames

    Ames

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    All good advice to smooth it out and speed things up.I've worked on lock speed to a point on my collection. To a point.
    Then I learned just to shoot through any delay still there.;)
     
  13. Apr 15, 2019 at 9:12 PM #13

    hanshi

    hanshi

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    Post some photos of the rifle; I didn't see any with your post.
     
  14. Apr 15, 2019 at 10:15 PM #14

    Rat

    Rat

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    It's nice to have instant ignition, and my Jeager is faster than light, (sometimes when I pull the trigger, it goes off yesterday) but sometimes you might get a delay...and indeed the trick is to still make a good shot, follow through, even if it's a long delay, and still make a good shot.

    There's like a billion things that can make a longer or shorter delay. Where you position your flint will make a difference. My Brown Bess has/had a slight delay, compared to my Jeager, (still not as fast as the Jeager I'm sure) but it never bothered me, did not effect my accuracy or distract me, so I never worried about it or tried to improve it. Just recently I positioned my flint much closer to the frizzen than normal, and wow! Much quicker lock time. And I'm just talking about a 1/8" difference in flint position. Different size flints, and type of flint will make a difference.

    So, I could live with a 1/10 second delay, probably about where my Bess was, faster ignition will come with time and experience and experimenting. Certainly nothing to worry about. When you get "click-whoosh-bang", then worry.
     
  15. Apr 15, 2019 at 10:37 PM #15

    Rich

    Rich

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    Place the prime powder on the far side of the pan away from the touch hole. Mine see to give fast lock time with 2 or 3 grains of 4f or about 2 grains of 3f
     
  16. Apr 16, 2019 at 7:08 AM #16

    Darkhorse

    Darkhorse

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    I guess I was thinking of Triple 7. Now if he had written Triple fg I would have gotten it right off. I can't recall seeing or hearing it as Triple f in the last 40 years, it's always had the g associated with it to avoid confusion. But then again, I don't get out much anymore as I have my own range.
     
  17. Apr 16, 2019 at 2:26 PM #17

    Livbucks

    Livbucks

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    When hunting, the gun is put in many positions. A quick tilt to the right before firing will set it. I have experimented with piling the powder away from the TH and found it hurt ignition time. I got the best ignition from a full priming pan. Dont know why when so many others seem to favor less prime.
     
  18. Apr 16, 2019 at 5:47 PM #18

    Pete G

    Pete G

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    High speed photography seems to verify your experience, contrary to convential wisdom.
     
  19. Apr 16, 2019 at 8:03 PM #19

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

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    Variance in ignition time is just one of the variables that adds to the challenge of shooting flint.

    With touch holes, I would suggest keeping it as small as possible that still gives you consistent and fast lock time. The bigger the hole, the more it will vent gas (and greater your pressure loss) before the pressure builds up enough to start sending the ball down range. The more the gas escapes, the longer it will take the pressure to build, which will then lengthen lock time. It's something of a balance, so I typically start with a # 55 drill, and SLOWLY open it up 1 size at a time, and usually quit at a # 53.
     
  20. Apr 16, 2019 at 11:40 PM #20

    Rat

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    The reason less prime is usually faster, is that it is less likely to pile up in front of the touch hole. Lot's of prime will work, as long as it doesn't get in the way of the hole...which is more likely with a lot of prime. My Bess likes a lot of prime, but my pan is deeper as you get further away from the hole, so even with handling it's not likely to block the hole....tends to stay in it's little dip, or depression. Makes sense that if the prime is all the way, away from the T.H., then it has to build more flash before that flash hits the main charge. I try to keep my prime as level as possible, and have developed that little "shake" when I'm walking with the rifle in my right hand. I call it the "flintlock Shake".

    The bottom line is, always be prepared for, or anticipate a delay, no matter how fast your rifle "usually" fires, by not forgetting follow-through, and concentrating on the sights.
     
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