flintlock shooting tips?

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JeffS

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Hello, I picked up my Caywood northwest trade gun Thursday. Went out and shot it a few times Saturday. I flinched bad! lol, Pulled it down most of the time. A friend of mine with lots of flintlock experience shot it great. Then I reluctantly took it to our club's monthly match Sunday. The guy I bought it from made me run home and get it, I wasnt even going to try. Again I flinched pretty bad. By the end of the match, roughly 40 shots or so, I was atleast hitting 8" * 11" paper at 25 yards, and actually managed to hit my 50yd tie breaker, barely. I was pulling mostly to the left instead of down by then. Still no real accuracy to speak of, though.

Any tips on getting over this flinching would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much! I hate to admit my flinching, but I would love to get help. :eek: Im left handed and it is a left handed gun.

I LOVE the gun btw, it ran very well even with 2f primer, after I ran out of 3f, as long as I kept the vent clear. Cant wait to start shooting it decent. It's sure a different game than my GPR percussion. I think I have been incurrably infected by the flintlock bug!

Jeff
 

Stumpkiller

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:relax:

You've got to relax your back and neck muscles and give yourself up for dead to beat the flinch. Wear shooting glasses. Concentrate on the target. Follow through (leave the gun on target for a three count). Make sure your hat brim isn't channeling the flash back on your face.
 

No Deer

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I would only add that you should use as little prime as you can get away with, that will reduce any flash you might be seeing. Also, and I will probably get a lot of people to disagree with this, but I would suggest that you prime with 4F, at least for a while. It will go off just a bit faster helping to reduce the time for you to flinch. :imo:
 

roundball

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Hello, I picked up my Caywood northwest trade gun Thursday. Went out and shot it a few times Saturday. I flinched bad! lol, Pulled it down most of the time. A friend of mine with lots of flintlock experience shot it great. Then I reluctantly took it to our club's monthly match Sunday. The guy I bought it from made me run home and get it, I wasnt even going to try. Again I flinched pretty bad. By the end of the match, roughly 40 shots or so, I was atleast hitting 8" * 11" paper at 25 yards, and actually managed to hit my 50yd tie breaker, barely. I was pulling mostly to the left instead of down by then. Still no real accuracy to speak of, though.

Any tips on getting over this flinching would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much! I hate to admit my flinching, but I would love to get help. :eek: Im left handed and it is a left handed gun.

I LOVE the gun btw, it ran very well even with 2f primer, after I ran out of 3f, as long as I kept the vent clear. Cant wait to start shooting it decent. It's sure a different game than my GPR percussion. I think I have been incurrably infected by the flintlock bug!

Jeff

All the above is good...and the bench rest suggestion might help reveal that MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS NOT FLASH RELATED AT ALL...MAYBE IT'S JUST RUN-OF-THE-MILL FLINCHING FROM ANTICIPATING THE SHOT, OR A TRIGGER CONTROL ISSUE, OR WHAT IS REFERRED TO AS 'TARGET PANIC'.

You could take a few minutes in your garage to do some "dry firing" and you may learn a lot in short order...using an unloaded rifle and an old flint or a small piece of hard wood as a flint (someone on this forum suggested the rounded nose of a closepin).

Aim at a tiny target on the wall like a nail head, and concentrate on holding the bead still on the nail as you slowly squeeze the trigger and the hammer drops.

Look past the cock, focus only at the front sight, and squeeze the trigger soooooo slowly that you are completely surprised when it fires.

If you have a set trigger, adjust it and by all means use it.

There will be no worry about flash, recoil, or noise...and after just a few tries and realizing this, you should settle down and notice if you're achieving a smooth letoff, or if you're still pulling the rifle off the target.

If you're able to achieve a smooth letoff and solid hold through the letoff after a few tries, then it may mean you were indeed anticipating the flash when at the range;

However, even after settling into a routine in the gareage, and knowing no flash is coming, but you still pull off the tiny taget at hammer drop, it could be one of two common causes:

1) Trigger control...you're "pulling" the trigger as the bead floats across the tiny target...relentless trigger squeeze even with the bead wandering a little is a learned thing...good accuracy can never be achieved by attempting to instantaneously "pull" (jerk) the trigger as you see the bead momentarily touch the target;

2) Target panic, where you're jerking the trigger as the bead starts to even approach the target, and is not even actually centered on the target;

This is a fairly simple excerise to try...just takes a few minutes...and there's no rifle to clean when you're done.

See if you can better determine which kind of problem you're dealing with...either a "flash anticipation flinch" type of problem, which should go away in just a few dry-fires since you won't be having any flash;

Or, a "trigger control" problem which will be apparent even when dry firing without a flash at a tiny target in your garage.

:m2c:
 

ol vern

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Don't shoot too many times at one trip. I would rather make five or six realy good shots than spend the day wasting powder. You do bring a back up gun don't you?

keep your eyes on the sights and try to "call ' your shots. Don't worry about what the lock is doing, it will go off just fine without you looking at it.
Get to the range and shoot as often as possable. Took me over a year before I got over the flinches . Once in a while they will come back if I forget to watch the sights!

If you are having a bad day pack it in, I never had any luck trying shoot my way out of the flinches. :m2c:
 

BLAHMAN

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I'll take a shot at this....(sorry).....flintlocks are fun to shoot, but I think most beginners concentrate on the flash from the lock and flinch from that. That is hard to ignore when it's so close to your face. I always look down the barrel and concentrate on the target, by doing so I forget about that flash. I hope it's not bruising you up or that you're overcharging, that could be a problem as well.
 

cayugad

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Having caught the Flintlock illness because of this forum only a short time ago, I too found the flash a bit distracting when I first started shooting. I had to laugh at myself when the flash spooked me. I always thought I had better concentration then that. To combat this, I would prepare myself mentally and actually talk to myself telling myself in my head, concentrate on the sights and follow through looking over the sights . In fact I used to tell myself to spot the patch falling down range and the ball hitting the target. Concentrating that hard on other things, the flash finally was not all that important. Now I can say it really does not bother me at all...
 

TANSTAAFL

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Try a faux wood flint to learn trigger control, then go to pan firing only to acclimatize to the flash.

If you have a non-sadist friend, let him load/no load the piece with your back turned before taking it to squeeze off the trigger several times. When it doesn't go off and you give it the old deaths grip jerk, you know then where you need to concentrate.
 

musketman

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Any tips on getting over this flinching would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much! I hate to admit my flinching, but I would love to get help. :eek: Im left handed and it is a left handed gun.

Right handed shooters don't flinch, just lefties... :haha:

I am just kidding...

It's hard to overcome, the flash IS an explosion going off right beside your face, many people (myself included) have flinched...

Make yourself a flash guard barrier between the lock and your eye, this will help get you use to it...

Shoot pans of powder only, no charge or projectile, just to get use to the flash going off...

Do you flinch the same way every time?

By "every way" I mean, pull to the right, left, up, down or a combination of any stated?

If so, you can use flinch windage to compensate for the anticipated glitch in your point of impact...

Just aim a tad in the opposite direction to allow for the flinch to pull you on target...

Nah, safety shooting glasses will go a long way too...
 
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I just toook up flintlock shooting also. I shot it off the bench and had no trouble getting groups and sighting it in. Then when I stood on my hind legs and shot offhand I ended up developing a flinch (this during our winter rondy shoot)! The next week I concentrated on offhand shooting and shooting thru the flash. I got better but must still practice offhand shooting. Think I'll spend a lot of time dry firing w/wood "flint" and then w/primed pan. I beleive it takes mind over matter which comes with lots of firing.
 

Guest
For me, my initial problems shooting the flinter were due not only to the flash in the pan, but to the delay in ignition as well. I found that if I focused very hard on the front sight and the target, and forced myself to squeeze and be surprised when the hammer fell, I could shoot an okay group. When I started reading this forum and realizing that if I changed the way I was doing some things, I could get ignition time down to nearly zero delay, I found out that I didn't have to "work" as hard to keep the rifle on target, obviously because there was less time to move the rifle off target between the flash and the bang.

Practice, focus, breathing and follow-through are all important and will make you a better shooter regardless of the ignition type, but you should also be striving to reduce that ignition time on your flinter to as close to instantaneous as possible. Light priming, possibly widening your touch hole, keeping prime away from the touch hole, and keeping the flint sharp and the whole works clean will help make that delay nearly non-existent and shrink your groups even more.

:m2c:
 

aragorn

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As well as all this excellent advice,

i) bench shooting is the only way of knowing your rifle is sighted in. Once you know it's sighted in, you'll be more confident that there's a chance of hitting what you're aiming at when you shoot offhand. Even a tiny extra bit of subliminal confidence may improve your shooting.

ii) Try kneeling, get good that way then shoot standing! I'm tall with long arms and find it difficult getting tolerable accuracy shooting standing, but it could be that more experience plus a better-weighted rifle (mine has a straight barrel) with a longer trigger pull (mine is only 13 inches) will help.

iii) some rifles are just more accurate than others.

Don't be discouraged. I've only been shooting BP for less than five months. I come away from some range sessions feeling that I'll never shoot accurately offhand, other times euphoric (hopefully more of the latter now it's finally warming up here ...)
 

connerm

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Everyone has posted very good suggestions. The key is to shoot, shoot, shoot. You will eventually learn to manage the recoil.

I didn't see it in any of the replies to your post, so I'll suggest another tip. You didn't mention what charge you're using (or maybe I missed it). Lower your charge to a minimum and have a go. I'll bet things become much better for you. If you feel its necessary, work up to a more stout charge. It has always seemed to me that a lot of guys use more powder than is actually necessary both for paper and hunting.

Somoeone also suggested dry firing. This is a great idea. As crazy as it seems, I spend a lot of time dry firing at the t.v. It's really good practice and nobody gets hurt (I love Animal Planet). Make sure your weapon is unloaded.
 

Darkhorse

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Vaquero,
I think the bottom line to why flintlock shooters flinch is that, subconciously, they are shifting their eyes and concentration to the lock at the critical time. Even if you don't flinch, when you shift your eyes to all that commotion right in front of your face your accuracy WILL suffer. Regardless of how much of a charge you have, what your prime is or how good your rifle shoots.
Once you succeed in training yourself not to look at the lock you will see your shooting immediately improve. Some of the previous posts have hinted at the solutions.
Substitute your flint with a piece of wood, or wrap your flint in leather. Now dry fire and concentrate on ignoring the lock entirely, do this until you see your sights stay on target everytime and you are ignoring the lock. This may take several sessions over several days, don't rush it.
The next step is to prime your gun and repeat the entire process until you train yourself to totally ignore the hammer fall and flash. No point in rushing this step either the key to success is repetition. Doing it right once or twice is not training.
The next step is to load with light charges and actually shoot some lead. If you find yourself flinching and missing again, start over because you rushed it.

I actually keep a GPR flintlock with a toothpick in the flashhole thats dedicated solely to doing this on a regular basis. Even after shooting flinters for a number of years its a good thing to reinforce the training occasionally.
 

2172

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All good advice...Musketman touched on my only thought..you're not a leftie shooting a righthanded gun, are you? Extreme flinching as you describe is not uncommon in that situation...Hank
 

FearNot

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I have a question... does everyone wobble naturally? Shooting offhand, my front sight tracks all over the target. Is that normal?? Will this get better with practice?? Someone mentioned on this forum ( or maybe it was another forum) that they parctice by holding 1 minute on a spot on the wall and dry firing sometime during that minute then continue holding for the remainder of the minute. Will strength training help? What about stance? Weight on forward foot? rear foot? equally divided? I so enjoy making smoke that I've never really cared about hitting the target, but now I think it's about time I took this to the next level.
 
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