Best Worst Case Scenario

Discussion in 'General Muzzleloading' started by Are. M., Dec 12, 2019.

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  1. Dec 12, 2019 #1

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

    32 Cal

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    I debated posting this as this is only my second post and I reeeealllly don't want to come off looking like a moron, but I feel like this important.

    I've been shooting muzzleloader for 20 years. Literally 66% of my life. Today, however, I had a kerfuffle that has never happened to me before.

    So a couple of weeks ago I picked up that Traditions Trapper Pistol kit for a sweet Black Friday deal, and I threw that sucker together in a weekend. It looks great. Feels great. Shoots great. Etc. So I began loading the pistol up and cracking off shot after shot at Dr. Pepper cans, wooden sticks with bottles on them, sporting clays, paper with concentric circles, and whatever other debitage shooters had left at the range. The sun was going down and I only had two No. 11's left before I had an empty tin. So I double charged the thing with a reasonable 50 grains FFG, stuffed a ball on top, went to cock the hammer and all of a sudden I see that trademark orange/yellow fire blast from the muzzle, and without the any semblance of grip on the thing, I watched in disbelief as my firearm clattered to the hard matrix below.

    Best I can assume, my thumb slipped off the hammer while my finger slipped inside the trigger guard -OR- the hammer never made it past the half-cock position and slammed down on the cap. No one and nothing was hurt except for my pride...

    ...and my pistol which flipped out of my hands and got scuffed up on the concrete at the range...

    Don't do like I did. I got in a hurry, and got complacent with basic muzzleloader safety.

    Lesson learned.

    DON'T BE DUMB!


    -RM
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2019
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  2. Dec 12, 2019 #2

    Boomerang

    Boomerang

    Boomerang

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    Glad no one was hurt. Yes we must take time to be safe and follow the general safety procedures with all firearms.
     
  3. Dec 12, 2019 #3

    Griz44Mag

    Griz44Mag

    Griz44Mag

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    A lesson for all of us who have done things like that. (but were afraid to admit it)
     
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  4. Dec 12, 2019 #4

    Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776

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    Learning lesson. Congrats on following safety rules having muzzle pointing in proper direction. Glad you are alright.
     
  5. Dec 12, 2019 #5

    Treestalker

    Treestalker

    Treestalker

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    The stunning lack of response to your post will be from many of us who have made total idiots out of ourselves in manifold and fascinating ways too embarrassing to contemplate much less share on a public forum.
     
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  6. Dec 12, 2019 #6

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

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    Yeah. Stuff has a way of happening. Glad you followed the rule of safe muzzle control. It's easier to lose control with a pistol than with a long gun.

    One suggestion I would make is to curtail your shooting sessions when you are down to your last 2-3 caps. After a long string, it sometimes takes 2-3 caps to discharge a load. You don't want to be in a position where you have a loaded barrel but no way to discharge it except for pulling the load.
     
  7. Dec 12, 2019 #7

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    Thank you for your honesty and timely reminder we can all benefit from :cool:

    B.
     
  8. Dec 12, 2019 #8

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

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    ::UPDATE::

    I was thinking today about the steps it took to lead up to the surprise event yesterday. Not to toot my own horn, but I do consider myself to be safer than most around firearms. The DNR range outside of Union, South Carolina proved that to me multiple times today, but that's not the topic at hand. So I went back to the range after work for some self talk about fundamentals, and how to be more deliberate when preparing an ML pistol to be fired. Lo and Behold, as I went from half cock to full, the sear did not catch. I deprimed and promptly took the pistol apart. When I removed the lock, the rear trigger's striker was WAAAAAAYYY up inside the inlet. It happened that the trigger mainspring was turnt and the backlash screw was not turnt enough. I pulled the trigger ass'y, turned that little screw, and just like that my problem was solved.

    In the end, it seems that I'm not as dumb as I thought I was. At least as far as safety was concerned.

    Trigger smarts, though. That's a whole nother issue.

    Either way. I feel like we all learned something, all the while becoming better, safer individuals.

    -RM
     
  9. Dec 12, 2019 #9

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    I think your Traditions Trapper pistol has double set triggers? If it does, the lock has a "fly" in it.
    The fly is there to prevent the sear from entering the half cock notch as the hammer and tumbler are falling from the full cock position.
    This is needed in a gun that uses double set triggers.

    That fly can cause a unexpected and dangerous condition if you have cocked the pistol to some position that is past the half cock position and then let the hammer fall downward into "half cock".

    The problem is, after the sear has passed the half cock notch by more than a little bit, the fly, which sticks up above the outside of the tumbler, will sometimes stop the tumbler from turning. This can make the gun act like it is in a true halfcocked, safe condition but in reality, things are only "hung up".
    In this condition, the slightest bump or jar can cause the sear to jump over the half cock notch and the hammer will fall on the capped nipple.

    The moral of the story is, if you have cocked the hammer more than a little bit past the half cock position, you MUST lower the hammer almost completely down and then carefully pull it back up until you hear the "click" of the sear entering the half cock notch.
    Once this "click" is heard, then lower the hammer slightly and the sear will remain engaged with the notch.

    This sear/fly thing happens with all guns including rifles, if they have double set, double lever triggers installed in them.
     
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  10. Dec 12, 2019 #10

    azmntman

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    Do those famous and beloved Davis Triggers have double set? I would like to change most mine to single stage myself.
     
  11. Dec 12, 2019 #11

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    I guess I forgot to describe how a fly works in a gun that has double set triggers. If you already know, this is old stuff but for those who don't know, it might help them understand the situation.

    The tumbler usually has two notches in its outside surface, the half cock notch and the full cock notch.
    The fly is located in a cutout at the half cock notch.

    When the hammer is down on the nipple, the sear is resting on the outside of the tumbler, held there by the sear spring.

    As you pull the hammer back, the tumbler, which the hammer is connected to begins to rotate which causes the half cock notch to approach the pointed nose on the sear. When the pointed end of the sear (the nose) gets to the half cock notch it pushes the fly out of the way, exposing the entire half cock notch. If the hammer is allowed to fall forward after this has happened, it will safely enter the half cock notch.
    Pulling the hammer back a little further causes the nose of the sear to ride up over the fly and then return to its earlier position resting on the outside of the tumbler.
    As the hammer is pulled further back, the full cock notch approaches the nose of the sear and when it finally gets there, the nose of the sear is pushed into the full cock notch by the sear spring and there it rests until the trigger is pulled.

    When the trigger is pulled, the sear is rotated so that its nose comes out of the full cock notch and the tumbler starts to rotate, driven by the locks mainspring. As it rotates, the hammer is falling.

    When the nose of the sear gets to the fly, it pushes it forward, blocking off the half cock notch. Because things are moving pretty fast, normally the nose of the sear will ride up over the fly that's now covering the half cock notch and the hammer will continue to fall with the nose of the sear riding on the outside of the tumbler.

    This is where the situation I mentioned in my post above comes into action.
    If the sear is above the fly and the hammer is slowly lowered, rather than jumping over the fly it can become hung up on it making it seem like the lock is at half cock but it isn't.
    In this condition, the slightest jar or bump on the stock, barrel or trigger can cause the hammer to fall.

    Hope this helps someone. :)
     
  12. Dec 12, 2019 #12

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

    Are. M.

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    That's exactly what I thought was happening at first. I got to the range and everything was fine for the first 6 shots, then It got all weird and my anxiety went through the frikkin' roof. The sear wasn't even engaging the tumbler because the mainspring was pushing the striker of the rear trigger up into the sear bar. It was like the trigger was being pulled without pulling the trigger. I had never seen this before and didn't even know it was a thing.

    Luckily I didn't have to troubleshoot a funky fly.

    Is there an appropriate amount of play/backlash/travel the rear trigger should always have to avoid this problem in the future? Is it a mainspring tightness thing, or is it a backlash screw thing?

    And if it is one of those things, then why now, all of a sudden.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019

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