A Flintlock Has Been Loaded for 5 Years. What Do You Think Will Happen When The Trigger Is Pulled?

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Grenadier1758

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Firing with an empty pan happened to me. After several failures to fire, I knapped the flint, pointed the barrel down range and pulled the trigger to watch for sparks. Plenty of sparks and the gun fired.
 

DBrevit

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Surprising how many threads there are about priming powder, 3f or 4f or should I use Swiss OB,
apparently there is no need for powder, age old problem solved :doh: ;) , :) ,
 

SDSmlf

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Surprising how many threads there are about priming powder, 3f or 4f or should I use Swiss OB,
apparently there is no need for powder, age old problem solved :doh: ;) , :) ,
You should try it, but suggest doing outside with barrel pointed in a safe direction.

Have posted this before. A good sparking gun will light up the main charge with an empty pan. Tried this a few years back with a couple of guns with 1/16” and 5/64” touch holes. Didn’t take more than a handful of attempts before the ‘ah ha’ moment with each gun. When carrying or storing and not intending to shoot, always suggest a plugged vent hole and a hammer stall. Like wearing a belt even if you are using suspenders. Difference is, you may look silly if your pants drop or you reveal plumbers crack, but with a flintlock you may put a hole in something or someone that really doesn’t need it.
 

pab1

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Along the same lines of a flintlock firing with no powder in the pan, more than one powder horn has exploded when a spark from a fired gun entered it. Its lower odds than a gun firing with no powder in the pan but I always replace the plug before taking a shot.
 

Grenadier1758

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Surprising how many threads there are about priming powder, 3f or 4f or should I use Swiss OB,
apparently there is no need for powder, age old problem solved :doh: ;) , :) ,
If there's no powder in the pan, the lag time can be considerable. In my case, it was like slow motion. I watched the orange glow of the sparks rolling around in the pan and I saw a couple of grains of powder, Hmm. Then a larger orange glow began to grow, getting bigger and bigger. Then I felt the recoil starting to push back and I heard the blast of firing in the background. Yes, a gun can be fired without a pan charged. Its not something to rely on however based on the number of pan flashes I have experienced. I have even had cases where the flint sparked and didn't ignite the powder in the pan. The next attempt set the charge off. I did make sure the pan powder (4f) was spread evenly over the pan.
 

TGJaeger

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My cousin bought an old caplock squirrel rifle on a farm sale. He was a gun collector and as smart about firearms as anyone I’ve ever met. He checked the barrel with the ramrod and saw it was still loaded...many times over. He was a farmer and also owned a John Deere dealership. He took the barrel out of the stock clamped it in a vice and started to drill out the bullets and powder. He found almost a dozen different bullets in the barrel including a .30 fmj loaded on top of fireworks powder. The last load was a small, leather wrapped ball on top of a charge of bp. He extracted the ball and started to drill further when the bp charge went off with a loud bang. This was in the 1970’s. BP stopped being commonly available sometime in the 1920’s.
 

TNGhost

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Surprising how many threads there are about priming powder, 3f or 4f or should I use Swiss OB,
apparently there is no need for powder, age old problem solved :doh: ;) , :) ,
If you use 4f in the pan, it is so powerful you don't even need a main charge under the ball ;) :)
 

vintovka

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The late BP guru Bill Wescombe once told me a story about a guy who got a bunch of CW barrels long after the war. Had So many he decided to make a picket fence. For some reason (the story goes) he was heating the tang ends up in forge to beat them into the shape needed. Unfortunately one was still loaded and having muzzle in hand apparently ended the project. I do know the 1-200 1890 dated .43 Spanish RB cartridges i have ( came from Bill) are still live. He used to convert them to .43 reformado in a big press which compressed the charge. Combined with old thin brass they made the RB jump, gave us shoulder bruises and shot the front half of the case down range still attached to the "poisonous" brass bullet. Never trust an unloaded gun or under estimate BP shelf life.
 

Sidney Smith

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I routinely leave my Flintlock "loaded", during deer season. So long as I haven't been hunting in wet or very humid conditions, I will dump the pan priming and store the gun with the cock down, and a pick in the touch hole until I take the gun hunting again. I had one load in the gun for over a month when I shot a doe with it on the last day of our Flintlock season. Properly stored, there's no reason why the gun won't fire.

Now, as to loaded guns harming people, it's the people part that causes the harm. I'm pretty sure that loaded gun, if left to its own devices, isn't going to hurt anyone. That will be the day when the state tells me how to store my firearms in my own damned house!
 

Many Klatch

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I don't agree with you DBrevit.
I've saw a flintlock fire with an empty pan last year. No one was more surprised than me, well, maybe the owner was. Good thing it was pointed down range.

It just takes one spark to find the touch hole, and that's what happened.
Years ago we did a test to see how often a loaded Flintlock with an empty pan would fire. 10 of us loaded a blank charge and then stood in a straight line, muzzles up. On the command fire we all pulled the trigger. One gun went off which surprised the heck out of all of us. So we did it again. Another gun went off. After a number of tries we came to the conclusion that a loaded flintlock without priming in the pan will go off about once in 10 tries.

So to be safe with a loaded flintlock you need to have the pan empty, hammer down and resting in the pan and the frizzen up.
 

hanshi

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Commonly I will leave my flintlock loaded indefinitely if it doesn't get fired or wet. I have a rifle and pistol that were loaded last November and I just have not had a chance to fire them. They're not primed, of course. I've fired mine more than once without any prime, so it's definitely possible. I'd guess without prime it fired about 1 out of every 10 to 15 pulls of the trigger.
 

Greg Blackburn

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My father began keeping two handguns loaded after my uncle had to fight off a home invasion. "Fight off" as in "shoot them in the hallway after they kicked in his back door."

I will not live in a state (or a country) that denies me the right to defend myself.

Some wild stories here! I agree, people can do very dumb things.

So far, nothing bad happening with my muzzleloader, which I miss shooting. I think one day soon, like in two weeks, I'll make time to get to the range and shoot one of my ML's. It's been since 2007 that I shot a muzzleloader!
 

Tanglefoot

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A friend of mine in Houston was a long-time muzzleloader and black powder shooter, worked in a gun shop and made custom rifles in his home shop too. He called one day to tell me about a flintlock smoothbore that a neighbor brought him at home the day before. The gentleman had inherited it from a relative who had kept it hanging over his fireplace for many years because it was his grandfather's gun. Other than being dusted from time to time, it had never been cleaned or oiled or even handled that he could recall, and he wanted to know if it could be restored to working condition. My buddy (Dave) said the first thing he did was to pull the ramrod and drop it down the barrel. It went all the way down until there was barely enough to grab protruding from the muzzle, and he bounced it a couple of times, listening to the "clink" as the brass tip hit what he believed was the metal of the breech plug. It's the same way I was taught to check if there was a load in the barrel. Removing the ramrod, he checked the lock and found that there was a flint in the cock jaws and that the springs still had life. He cocked it, snapped the frizzen down on the empty pan, and snapped the lock. "BANG!" Blew a sizeable hole in his wife's kitchen wall.
Dave told me, "I've thought about nothing else since it happened, and the only thing I can imagine is, the old charge somehow got settled to one side of the bore enough so's the
ramrod - with no jag attached - could slide past it. That doesn't seem possible, but it happened and I can't figure out any other way it could've ---- But I'll tell you one thing: I'll never trust that again as a way to be sure a gun ain't loaded!!"
 

Greg Blackburn

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Yes, I need to get to a range. Hopefully next week. Just so busy with exercise, mowing, odd jobs, etc. Everyone is calling me for something these days.
 

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