A Brief Tour of a Really Good Musket Lock

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Surfinator58

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To be a little more non-biased would mean the people that generally wholeheartedly support expensive Out Of Reach custom-made flintlocks are the same ones who tell newbies not to waste their time on a serviceable India made gun that needs tuning in order to be usable the choice should be up to the individual whose funds may be limited and resources guide them to places like military heritage or other India importers just saying
 
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Hi Surfinator,
Go read my posts in that other thread on India-made guns. I don't advise people not buy them and I mention several times the barrel safety issue is a red herring. India-made guns are no competition for me so I have no axe to grind or ulterior motive. In fact, I never have competition because I don't build guns to make a living income. I build them because I like to and select only projects that interest me. I am constantly busy though including building one or two historically accurate muskets a year for deserving and serious reenactors at very little cost, sometimes just the price of parts depending on the person's need, because I care about the fact that their affordable commercially made choices are so limited. I don't think I have built a musket during the last 8 years for which I charged much more than parts and I've made about 12 of them in that time, maybe a few more. No, I inform folks who ask about India-made guns to just realize they are not historically correct and that there is some risk they will purchase a lemon like the guy who posted his lock in this thread. I may in fact be the one who fixes that lock because I care about his dilemma.

dave
 
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Surfinator58

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Hi Surfinator,
Go read my posts in that other thread on India-made guns. I don't advise people not buy them and I mention several times the barrel safety issue is a red herring. India-made guns are no competition for me so I have no axe to grind or ulterior motive. In fact, I never have competition because I don't build guns to make a living income. I build them because I like to and select only projects that interest me. I am constantly busy though including building one or two historically accurate muskets a year for deserving and serious reenactors at very little cost, sometimes just the price of parts depending on the person's need, because I care about the fact that their affordable commercially made choices are so limited. I don't think I have built a musket during the last 8 years for which I charged much more than parts and I've made about 12 of them in that time, maybe a few more. No, I inform folks who ask about India-made guns to just realize they are not historically correct and that there is some risk they will purchase a lemon like the guy who posted his lock in this thread. I may in fact be the one who fixes that lock because I care about his dilemma.

dave
Thank you for posting and being so honest! I would like to add a brown bess to my collection I am willing to send you $550 for the completed project please let me know when it's ready
 

Brokennock

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that needs tuning in order to be usable
The lock in question here needs more than just "tuning."

Maybe you should put aside your own bias and reread the replies from Mr. Persons in this topic and others about India made guns.

Maybe also consider the nature of the the response from our Veteran Arms representative and consider that there are other sources of India made guns. Other sources that when you reread those other topics one realizes have better reputations for quality, and don't have their people coming here with rude and self-serving replies.
 
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Hi,
I've been attending quite a few Rev War period living history events over the last few years and it is clear that many Rev War units are getting pretty old. I noticed that some folks struggle to cock their muskets because the springs are often way too stiff and they are not as strong as they once were. So, when I can and have time, I will help some of those folks "age in place" with their musket locks. That means I weaken the mainspring and balance the frizzen spring along with it. The end result is as good or better performance without so much strain. Ironically, I usually have to strengthen the frizzen spring because many reenactors subscribe to the notion that the frizzen spring just needs to be strong enough to hold the pan cover closed. That is one reason why when they pull the trigger 10 times, they have 3 misfires. They don't believe me when I tell them the British Army expected their Brown Bess lock to ignite the pan priming 40 times in a row with no misfires and using 1 flint.

At Kempton, a friend handed me his Navy Arms Charleville musket to "age in place" his lock and improve its performance. These muskets were made by Miroku and were the best reproductions of any Rev War musket commercially made. The lock is superb and I just needed to clean up the lock, polish the bearing surfaces, weaken the mainspring, and adjust the frizzen spring. I also adjusted the sear spring to allow a lighter trigger pull. I had not worked on one of these for years and forgot how good they are.





The musket reproduces the French model 1766 or 1768 infantry musket. It was also known as the "light 63" because it was a substantially lightened version of the first model 1763 musket issued. Didier Bianchi wrote in his book "French Military Small Arms" that the locks on these muskets were the best flintlocks ever used on French muskets and probably on any 18th century muskets. They were expected to ignite the pan 120 times without a misfire and using only 3 flints in the process. There are many features of this lock that are superior to the British Brown Bess locks. The double throated flint cock is incredibly strong and the geometry of the lock puts the sparks right in the pan. The throw of the cock is shorter than the Brown Bess making it a faster lock. The detachable pan is a very nice feature when it comes to cleaning and servicing the lock. One feature I wanted to highlight is the way the mainspring and tumbler interact. The first photo shows the hook of the mainspring on the tumbler foot when the lock is at rest.



The next photo shows the lock at full cock. Note the end of the hook is positioned right in the inside corner of the tumbler foot. What happens, is the tumbler both lifts the spring up as you cock the lock but also rotates around the round nose of the mainspring hook.



In the photos below, the black tape marks the position of the mainspring at rest showing how far the spring moved going to half cock. Then the tape is moved up and the lock is drawn to full cock so the tape shows how little the spring moved from half to full cock. That combination of limited movement up and rotation of the tumbler around the hook provides mechanical advantage making the force required to pull the lock back to full less than the force required to pull it to half cock. That offers options for a lighter trigger pull without sacrificing any power in the mainspring. It is an excellent design and Miroku did a great job reproducing it.






Of course the proof is how well does it spark. Even with a dull flint it does really well! In the last photo, which is the next instant after the second photo was taken, you can see residual sparks still burning inside the pan and out like a sparkler.







This lock teaches a lot about good lock design.

dave
Wow! Great posting! I have one of these Charlies. I did Rev War enacting for 10 years starting just before the Bi-Cen. Yes, the manpower is aging, too! Thanks.
 

Surfinator58

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The lock in question here needs more than just "tuning."

Maybe you should put aside your own bias and reread the replies from Mr. Persons in this topic and others about India made guns.

Maybe also consider the nature of the the response from our Veteran Arms representative and consider that there are other sources of India made guns. Other sources that when you reread those other topics one realizes have better reputations for quality, and don't have their people coming here with rude and self-serving replies.
Not rude or self-serving! I don't think my offer was out of line that is the going rate for an India made Flintlock and he said he could produce a custom gun for the same price so I took him up on his offer! Show me where that's rude or out of line and I will be glad to apologize if I misread any of his implications
 

Surfinator58

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don't think I have built a musket during the last 8 years for which I charged much more than parts and I've made about 12 of them in that time, maybe a few more. No, I inform folks who. I live on a fixed income because of a disability and enjoy shooting black powder therefore it is incumbent upon me to manage my resources well $550 is the going rate for an India Flintlock I can afford that I cannot afford $3,000 for a custom gun which many on this website say is a basic requirement for those starting out in black powder I disagree. therefore my post stands I would love to get a custom-made black powder musket for the same price that the India guns go for
 
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Hi,
It sounds like the India-made guns are a good fit for you. I'd say save up for a Bess, although the prices are about $749 now I believe. I don't use India made parts on muskets although I salvaged some from one to make a fowler for my blind friend who is a re-enactor and shooter.
dave
 

Surfinator58

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Hi,
It sounds like the India-made guns are a good fit for you. I'd say save up for a Bess, although the prices are about $749 now I believe. I don't use India made parts on muskets although I salvaged some from one to make a fowler for my blind friend who is a re-enactor and shooter.
dave
Thanks Dave for keeping it civil I hope I didn't ruffle too many feathers although I do get riled when people go after India made flintlocks! As I said my brother and I have a bunch of them that we received from military heritage in Ottawa! They are pretty rough some of them but I enjoy working on them and it's satisfying to get a working version out of them after refinishing and spring work I see a lot of custom guns on this website that are beautiful but I just can't afford or Justify spending that kind of money thanks again
 

Brokennock

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Not rude or self-serving! I don't think my offer was out of line that is the going rate for an India made Flintlock and he said he could produce a custom gun for the same price so I took him up on his offer! Show me where that's rude or out of line and I will be glad to apologize if I misread any of his implications
I meant the response from Vetarms was rude and self-serving.
 

Va.Manuf.06

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Hi,
I apologize for not answering you more quickly. Somehow, I missed seeing your post. The Miroku mainspring is too strong for anybody. It does not need to be anywhere near that stiff. I could have simply ground the lower leaf thinner and put more bevel on it but I sped things up by first annealing the spring. Once soft, I ground the lower leaf thinner tapering it a little toward the hook. I also compressed the main bend just slightly by heating it bright red and tapping the bend with a hammer on an anvil. Then I heated it bright red, quenched in canola oil, and tempered it at 750 degrees F for 1 hour. That did the trick. I also annealed the sear spring and closed the bend a little as well. I thinned the lower leaf a little then hardened and tempered it. I also worked over the frizzen spring. Miroku makes them with a big wide bend such that the top leaf is almost horizontal. It works but does not look like the originals. So I closed the bend a little and angled the upper leaf upward slightly. Then hardened and tempered it. I polished the upper surface of the spring highly where the toe of the frizzen slides. Finally, I simply polished all the bearing surfaces on the inside of the lock and the inside of the plate, making sure it is really flat, which it was. After assembly, I checked the relative power of the frizzen spring and mainspring with a small hand held luggage scale. I wanted the power needed to open the frizzen to be about 30% of the force needed to bring the cock from rest to full cock. I ended up with the frizzen force at about 20-25%, which seemed to work best for this lock. The frizzen is large and heavy, and that mass works in its favor causing resistance to the flint without the frizzen spring needing to exert a lot of pressure. My hope is the owner can now cock his musket with the thumb of his right hand rather then having to grab the cock with his whole hand. I did not have the musket in hand so I could not adjust trigger pull but changing the springs and polishing probably brought that pull down to 3-4 lbs or so. On a reenactor's gun I rarely go any lower than that.

dave
Dave, thank you for your reply and the fine suggestions.
 

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