First range trip for first flintlock rifle

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by mushka, Mar 11, 2019.

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  1. Mar 11, 2019 #1

    mushka

    mushka

    mushka

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    Went to the favored shooting place with the flintlock and set a target up at 35 yards. Using a 25 yard pistol target and using the hood of the truck for a rest padded by a folded army blanket and a heavy slicker. First shot hit about ten inches to the left of the black about four inches above the bottom of the black. Use six o'clock hold. Well ok maybe it's shooting to the left. Second shot was a ten at six o'clock, the third shot was an X at one. I figured it was time to shoot off hand. Bad idea. Rifle heavy and extremely nose heavy, missed the whole target. Tried again and did manage to get into the black at about five o'clock. If I'm going to shoot standing with this gun I need a lot of practice. The smoke and fire didn't bother me with the rifle benched but it did affect me shooting standing. Possible using too much priming. Shot at and hit a small campstove gas bottle at about fifty yards shooting off a small table twice.

    Rifle seemed for whatever reason easier to deal with than my caplocks. Don't understand or know why. Maybe because easier to prime than put a cap on a nipple. Only the first shot didn't have a click bang. The remaining shots I was conscious of the hammerfall and a click before actual firing of the gun. I wonder about this, if I'm using too much priming powder or not enough. I was using triple F as the main charge as well as the priming powder.

    A good range session, only 9 shots fired, but every one of them went off which is a positive. Next session we'll experiment with less priming powder. The days load was fifty grains of triple F, patched round ball using .020 pillow ticking with the mink oil lube, and triple F as the priming powder usually filling up the priming pan. It was a fun experience for the first time shooting a flintlock, but taxing.
     
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  2. Mar 11, 2019 #2

    Tom Compton

    Tom Compton

    Tom Compton

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    Jerking the trigger trying to ambush the target.

    raising head to see what happened or taking the rifle down too soon (poor follow through)

    Anticipating the shot (closing eyes or twitching a muscle)

    Or all 3.

    Practice more. Put a piece of wood in the jaws and dry fire at home - often.
     
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  3. Mar 11, 2019 #3

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    What caliber rifle?

    I've only taken one deer, off-hand (standing-unsupported for the military folks who may read this). It was this year at 33 yards. The deer didn't give me much choice, but I'd rather have had a tighter position. :thumb:

    I've taken most of my deer while standing, however. Since it's not a target shooting match, I put my left, "weak" arm, the arm that supports the rifle, with my left hand, forward, palm against a tree, and lay the rifle in the web of my left hand between the thumb and the fingers. Thus with the tree and my legs, I form a very stable "tripod", and can make some well aimed shots.

    IF I am out where there are no trees or shrubs, or even cornstalks (it doesn't take much to steady that outstretched arm and hand), then I will take a hiking staff with me to serve as an artificial "tree". ;) I've seen guys use "cross sticks" formed from a hiking staff cut into two pieces, lengthwise, but I found a staff when there isn't anything stout enough, works fine if I'm sitting on a log, or kneeling, as well as standing.

    LD
     
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  4. Mar 11, 2019 #4

    Rat

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    Ah.........."filling the pan"?? Yeah...you just answered your own question. That is like three times, times four, plus ten times too much priming powder. :) Really just a couple of grains (weight) or so. Depends on the depth and contour of the pan.

    Most will use as little priming as possible, while still getting reliable ignition. Do not let the prime cover or block the touch-hole, and that would be priority one. Numero-uno! With the hole covered, you have....a fuse. Hole un-covered, you have almost instant flash ignition. You want the flash to go directly through the hole and into the main charge. Not powder burning it's way to the main charge.

    Yes, experiment with less. Much less. :) Way less. :) Maybe so much less, that you'll be like: "I don't think this will even fire the rifle" less. :)

    Okay, have fun. Good luck.
     
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  5. Mar 11, 2019 #5

    Brokennock

    Brokennock

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    Too much prime. Since I started doing two things I've not had a pan flash with no boom, nor even a click-woosh-bang that these guns are often accused of.
    1st, very little prime especially using 3f instead of 4f and I mostly use 3f, barely enough to coat the bottom of the pan. If I close the frizzen and give the gun a sharp flick/roll toward the lock side, gently return to upright and check my prime, it's in a little pile to the outside edge of the pan and the rest of the pan is clean.
    2nd, I leave my touchhole plugged with a purpose made wire/pick throughout the loading process. It does not get removed until I prime the pan.

    I too find flintlocks easier to deal with than cap locks. Easier to prime than to fool with tiny caps. Easier to clear a dirty vent than to clear a plugged nipple and cap lock flash channel system.
     
  6. Mar 11, 2019 #6

    mushka

    mushka

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    Thanks for the responses. I guess I was using too much priming. As for the marksmanship, the rifle is heavy and very nose heavy and I'm not as strong and powerful as I once was. Also have a bp cartridge 45-100 that is extremely barrel heavy and I've had the same trouble with it. I shot competitively for many years using the unmentionables and was very good. They are a different animal than these mz rifles though. Think I'll get me a stick as someone mentioned and see how that will work rather than using the hood of the truck. Kind of hard carrying a truck around while hunting. I had less trouble shooting standing with my caplocks but they are balanced more to what I am used to shooting. I think I'll shoot this rifle exclusively for a month and see how it goes.
     
  7. Mar 11, 2019 #7

    Redstick Lee

    Redstick Lee

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    let it break in for 50-100 shots before you worry too much about accuracy
     
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  8. Mar 11, 2019 #8

    hanshi

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    I rarely shoot offhand standing. Never shot a deer from that position, either. The only time I recall when that would have been a real possibility for an offhand shot was quite a few years ago. I was walking back to the truck when a couple of deer emerged onto the path at maybe 20 yards in front of me. The first one flashed by but the second one stopped. Even at that close range I didn't want to stand there and shoot. I took the second and dropped into a kneeling position and made the shot.

    There's nothing wrong with practicing offhand shooting, it's good practice. But sighting in and load development is best done from a rest, or at least a field position. Get used to the flash, practice a lot and you'll then have it nailed.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2019 #9

    Brokennock

    Brokennock

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    Get a cheap 2 pound dumbell and every night while watching t.v., or whenever you've got a few minutes. Hold it out in front of you with your support hand, both to the side and straight out in front, hold it out there as long as you can, then rest. Only a few seconds of rest then hold it out as long as you can again. Repeat as often as you can mixing it up between out to the side and out in front. Getting too easy, use the dumbbell held out in front of you to write the alphabet in the air at chest height, imagine yourself writing on the blackboard in school but at arms length. This will build strength and muscle control.
     
  10. Mar 11, 2019 #10

    EC121

    EC121

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    That style of rifle has a straight barrel, and it will be muzzle heavy. It will also feel muzzle heavy if the LOP is too long for you. I built a rifle almost like that in percussion. It was a GRRW barrel, one inch .50cal. 36in. long. Worked fine, but I never did like it it. Too heavy. I even had the barrel turned octagon to round by a machine shop and restocked it. That helped some, but I eventually got rid of the poplock. Now all my rifles are flintlocks and have swamped barrels. Lighter and better balanced. Even my .62cal. rifle hangs well.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2019 #11

    smo

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    Get a wooden “flint” and Dry fire, dry fire , dry fire and then dry fire some more!

    Hold on your target as long as possible after the hammer falls.

    It builds strength as well as get the eyes use too focusing on the front sight.
     
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  12. Mar 12, 2019 #12

    Sidney Smith

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    Pan should be no more than about 1/3 full of priming, any more than that and at best you are wasting powder. At worst, you are getting long hang fires, or a flash with nothing else.

    I never fire at deer unless I have my gun on some sort of rest, be it with my forearm against a tree, or elbow on a knee if sitting. Its too easy to miss even with modern firearms taking offhand shots.
     
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  13. Mar 12, 2019 #13

    Rat

    Rat

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    You mentioned a small table, if you have a small table, and a chair, throw them in the truck and set up a bench-rest. Then I'd shoot it off the bench quite a bit while working up an accurate load and getting used to the rifle. Can you use the tail gate for a bench, and then just bring a chair?

    Even though a standing/off hand shot is not the best medicine, it's good to practice it just in case. Don't want to absolutely rule out any offhand shot. Forget the bar-bells! (or dumb-bells, or tinker bells) Just have that rifle in your lap while watching T.V., and periodically hold it up in a free-hand/off hand position, for as long as you can. Repetitions! Could combine that with dry-fire. (with the wooden flint) :) For sure, first accuracy off the bench, then sitting and kneeling positions, THEN offhand, as I'm sure you already know.

    What does the rifle weigh? MY 1861 Springfield is ten pounds, but shoots offhand "okay", probably is not as muzzle heavy as your Hawken. I am limited to how long I can stand there and aim, and either have to make the shot, or not.
     

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