First Shot Misfire

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bigbadben

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I've been having this same problem every time I take my gun to the range. Hoping you folks might have some suggestions.

Every time I go to the range my first shot is a misfire. The priming charge goes off, but it's a classic "flash in the pan." This typically continues to happen until I literally pour some FFFFg into the flash hole in addition to what's in the pan. Then the gun will finally go off, but the lock time is terrible. So that first shot is kind of a waste. Then for the rest of the day it shoots fine. It's just that first shot.

It's like there's an oil bubble in the flash hole. But I always clean out the flash hole with my pick prior to loading it. Could there be something I'm leaving behind in the barrel that's corrupting my first powder charge? Moisture or something?

I tried cleaning it out with GunScrubber degreaser this time after cleaning the barrel in the hopes that will help. That stuff looks like it burns off whatever is in there and then dries itself pretty quickly. Should I take a patch and leave it down there to absorb moisture after I clean the gun? It seems like that would also trap moisture, promoting rust. The air is pretty dry here in VT this time of year, so I tend to think that moisture isn't the problem. I do oil the outside of the barrel and the lock each time after I clean it. Is it possible that oil is working its way down into the flash hole?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Ben
 

Mike Brooks

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Probably oil in the breech. After you oil the bore and set the gun aside the oil migrates to the breech. Swab the bore before you shoot and it should take care of the problem.
 

Okwaho

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I agree with Mike and when I get back into shooting real bullets this spring I will go back to storing my shooters muzzle down. :hmm:
Tom Patton
 

paulvallandigham

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Flush the barrel and breech by sloshing alcohol in the barrel and then dry it with patches before loading. You don't tell us what kind of gun you have, but some of the replica flintlocks have a powder chamber in them, and unless this is also thorough cleaned of oils, you can get a misfire. Another member just wrote that he removed the breechplug, and drilled out the powder chamber large enough to allow a .30 caliber brush to be used to clean it. All his misfires vanished after he did this little " surgery ".

When you pick the vent, do so after you load the barrel with your powder charge AND seat the ball. You should feel powder in the chamber with the vent pick at that point.

If you don't, the powder has not gotten back far enough. I would then expect to find one of these reduced diameter powder chambers that some companies are using to make a stronger breech. This is just in case some idiot puts smokeless powder down the barrel, and not because there is any real concern about breech pressures from using Black Powder or most substitutes.

If the powder has not gotten back far enough to fill the area where your vent pick reaches, push some flash powder into the vent, and then fire the load off into the ground. Now clean the gun again, and then try loading it again. Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in your range box, so you can slosh alcohol in the barrel for a quick and easy cleaning even on the range. If you let the gun sit in the open air for a few minutes, and alcohol left in the barrel will evaporate.

To avoid these problems, obviously think about opening that powder chamber some, but also consider storing your gun so that the muzzle is either parallet to the floor, as in a gun rack, or is muzzle down standing in a rack or closet. You might want to put down a rag to soak up the oils that will run down and out the muzzle, but at least the breech area of the gun will be free of congealed oil and lube that plug the flash channel on percusson guns, or powder chambers on both percussion and flintlock guns.
 

Larry Pletcher

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I like the answers given so far, and would add one more item. After you wipe the bore, I run a pipe cleaner through the touch hole to any remove oil. I used to use only a vent pick, however a chance happening made me consider the pipe cleaner. I had run a test on a touch hole in a stub barrel that had a cleanout hole exactly opposite the vent hole. Looking through the cleanout, I could see a piece of fouling in the vent hole. I ran a vent pick through the vent hole while watching from the opposite side. I could see the pick, pick up the crud and carry into the barrel. As the pick was removed, I watched the fouling redeposited back in the vent hole where it was in the first place. So, I don't trust a pick to remove fouling. I use it to push into load of powder prior to priming the pan.

I don't use pipe cleaner after every shot. In a line match, I'd probably use a pipe cleaner between targets. I would definitely use a pipe cleaner preparing to hunt or before the first shot of the day. JMHO

Regards,
Pletch
 

Rabbit

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Dry "dry firing" a pan or two of priming powder before the first load (similar to snapping a couple of caps on a percussion before the initial load). This will help dry things out.
 

paulvallandigham

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Pletch: Either use a triangular shaped vent pick, or at least file one or two flats on the sides of the round shaped pick you now use. That will give a couple of edges to catch hole of lint, and other obstructions and increase the chance that you can get the stuff out of the gun, rather than re depositing it in the vent again. I used a triangular shaped sewing needle( sold for carpet sewing) to clean a clogged vent years ago, when I didn't have a separate pick, and it works like a champ!
 

bigbadben

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Thanks guys. That's good advice. I think I'll try storing the gun muzzle down. I have one of those racks right now that cradles it horizontally but upside down. It looks cool, but would definitely make any oil flow backwards into the breech.

It's a Lyman GPR. I use a 35cal brush to clean the breech (per the instructions) which I assume means that the breech is about that. So I don't know if I'll drill it out more. But I have noticed that the charge doesn't always settle down into the breech well unless I give it a good couple of raps to settle the charge. So I guess I might drill it out some.

But I'll try the alcohol idea too and see if that helps. At the range it's just an inconvenience. But I need to make sure it doesn't happen in the field.

Ben
 

Birddog6

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If it is a GPR, most likely it is oil residue causing the problem. Before ya go to the range, swab the bore good with a jag & snug patch, then put a loop on a .22 cal rifle cleaning rod & work a clean dry patch down into the patent breech hole & insure the oil is sopped up. Then remove the vent liner & clean it out from the outside using a pipe cleaner.

Also, on most GPR's drilling out the vent liner to .070 - .078 and coning it slightly on the inside & the outside, will cut the ignition time in half & makes a Considerable dif. in overall performance of that rifle. And when ya put the vent liner back in, just a smidgen of never-seize & just barely snug it in... it is not going anywhere.

Then load it, pick the vent hole to insure it is not got powder in the hole itself & shoot it.

:thumbsup:
 

J.D.

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BigBadBen said:
It's a Lyman GPR. I use a 35cal brush to clean the breech (per the instructions) which I assume means that the breech is about that. So I don't know if I'll drill it out more. But I have noticed that the charge doesn't always settle down into the breech well unless I give it a good couple of raps to settle the charge. So I guess I might drill it out some.
I seriously doubt that you can remove the breech on the GPR. I also suspect that the size of the powder chamber is not the problem, in this case.

I have a flint gun with a similar breech by another manufacturer that was considerably smaller that 35 cal. That cavity was enlarged to .30 cal and the problem is solved, so again, that is probably not the problem.

I suspect that a large part of your problem is patch/ball combination, and/or patch lube.

A loose fitting patch/ball and, or improper patch lube can cause the accumulation of more fouling than tighter fitting patch/ball combinations. That fouling can attract moisture that will cause the new powder charge to adhere to the barrel walls and not reach the breech.

Using a tighter fitting patch/ball combination creates more compression of the gasses and probably higher temps that can allow the charge to burn more completely, reducing fouling.

A change in patch lube, away from wax based lubes, can also promote cleaner bores.
J.D.
 

Birddog6

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I don't see how the problem can be the patch lube or a fouling problem in the first shot......... :hmm:
He said the first shot is the problem, then the rifle does OK. That tells me he is contaminating the powder on the first time loading it, after it fires it dries the patent breech & vent liner out......
:confused:
Now should he have a extensive fouling problem After shooting several times, then I would suspect a too loose ball/patch combo or a need of a dif. lube or a modified jag be used to swab.

:thumbsup:

Ben: Don't mess with the patent breech & don't drill it out. There are thousands of those rifle out there preforming fine & they are just like yours. Just dill the vent a lil larger, cone it slightly on the front & back side & clean it DRY before going out & you will be OK. I have had 4 of these GPR's and have seen dozens of them shot & that patent breech works... Personally I would not put alcohol in there to clean out the oil as you will promote rust as soon as the alcohol dries. I would much rather have a wiped dry oil base in the pores of the patent breech than a rust base there..... (IMHO)

When I load a GPR or any rifle with a patent breech, I dump the powder in & then lift the rifle with my left hand & bump the sideplate with my right hand to insure some powder goes into the patent breech, then I put the buttplate back to the ground & load the ball & patch combo.

Lots of dif ways of doing these rifle, this is just my way. You will find one that serves ya well, just keep at it.

:thumbsup:
 

agill

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Ben,

The next time you go to the range clean your rifle just as you would after firing it. However, do not apply any oil. When you get to the range load and shoot. If it fires then it was probably oil causing the flash in the pan. Eliminate this before changing a lot of variables.

Just a thought.

Flint
 

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Lots of good suggestions here for you to consider. However, give this some thought too. When you fire off a pan of prime, laod about half your normal charge down the bore without patch or ball and let this burn off too. Another thing I suggest is using a cut down feather to clean out the flash hole. The feathers will absorb whatever small amount of oil is left there.
 

akroguy

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Yes indeed. Light off a blank charge and if it fires properly, you're good to go. I've done this for years and it sure beats having to pull the ball if it totally refuses to cooperate. Muzzleloaders can be finicky. Got to wake them up gently or they can get grumpy. :winking:
 

Smoke_Ring

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On my flinter before shooting I would wipe out the barrel but some of the greese stayed in the breech. So the first shot is powder only and not allowed to absorb too much before firing. This has worked well for me.
Smoke Ring
 

bigbadben

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Thanks. The powder only shot sounds like a good idea. Good to hear that other folks have finicky guns too.

I new I was getting into a gun that would be a bit more cantankerous when I got a flinter. But then again, I ride a Harley. So I must be a glutton for that kind of thing.

BTW -what do you guys do if you are hunting with the same gun day after day? With my old Black Diamond I didn't think anything of just pulling out the primer and leaving it loaded. But that was using a 209 primer, so there wasn't much fear of a misfire. Is it best to shoot or pull the charge, clean the gun, and then start out fresh the next morning? Sounds like a hassle. But I don’t want to go to all of the trouble of finding a good buck just to get a flash. So if that’s what it takes I’ll do it.

Ben
 

paulvallandigham

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Unless you have a CO2 expeller, I would recommend just shooting the load out, cleaning the gun, and loading it again the next morning. Why take a chance and not know for sure the gun will go off? If you only fire the one shot, the gun is not going to take much to clean it. The fastest way is to spray window cleaner solvent down the barrel. and on a cleaning patch, put the patch on a bore brush, and run it down the barrel. Then use that smaller brush) I use more than one rod so I don't have to take off one brush to put the next on the same rod- to clean that powder chamber, then flush the barrel by plugging the vent with a toothpick, pouring alcohol down the barrel and sloshing it back and forth. The alcohol will take out the remaining crud, the window cleaner, and begin evaporating which will dry the barrel. Run a final cleaning patch down the barrel to pull out any remaing residue. Let the barrel stay dry over night, and load it with new powder the next morning. I do like to use a pipe cleaner to verify that the vent and flash channel and powder chamber, when there is one, are clear, by running the pipe cleaner into the vent. If you leave the barrel dry over night, there is no need to fire off a blank charge, or flash the pan.

That is a pretty fast way to clean a barrel. If you do live in a warm humid climate and think flash rust might be a problem with your gun if left " dry " over night, then by all means put a good oil on a patch and oil the bore before you go to bed. With oil in the gun, you will need to run a dry patch down the barrel to remove as much of the oil as possible, and then fire a blank charge to burn the oil out of the powder chamber and vent. If you use a kick starter on your Harley,( Its a mortal sin to use an electric starter on a Harley!) you go through more hastle getting that bike started in the morning than the routine you will do cleaning this gun every night, and loading it in the morning.
 

J.D.

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Birddog6 said:
I don't see how the problem can be the patch lube or a fouling problem in the first shot......... :hmm:
He said the first shot is the problem, then the rifle does OK. That tells me he is contaminating the powder on the first time loading it, after it fires it dries the patent breech & vent liner out......
Duhh, I flashed back to a similar problem I had with another gun, but after the first shot. Hey, I'm old enough to have a senior moment? :redface:
J.D.
 

Birddog6

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Hey.... I have one of those moments At Least once a day, whether I need it or not ! ha ha :surrender:
 

Rocky Johnson

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Ben You said that you oil the bore,I just use bore butter in my GPR flintlock and run a dry patch down before loading and then pick the vent and it always shoots. :winking: Rocky
 
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