Flintlocks...Do's and Don'ts

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Runewolf1973

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Hello, I am new to shooting flintlocks and would like to compile a reference list for newbies of certain things you should never do, or maybe things you should always do with a flintlock. Such things like maybe dry firing with the pan open could damage something (I don't know)...stuff like that. There must be a few little things that doing so are a no-no and could possibly damage your flintlock mechanism. Or maybe certain do's or don'ts regarding cleaning or maintaining.

Any starters? :)
 

Runewolf1973

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Have you read through the pasted thread "Flintlock Shooting Tips" at the top of this topic page yet? Lots of things in there.
https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/threads/flintlocks-dos-and-donts.115207/
I'm not really looking for general shooting tips. Mainly that which pertains to preventing damage to the lock mechanism itself or even other parts on the rest of the gun. What kinda things can damage the sear? Can certain things damage the frizzen? Will cleaning the lock or barrel with water that is too hot harm anything, or is hotter better? Specific stuff like that...
 
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Zonie

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Here's one that applies to any muzzle loader that has set triggers.

NEVER place the lock at "half cock" and then set and "fire" the set triggers. If you do this you can easily break the nose off of the lock sear or break the half cock notch in the locks tumbler.

You can set and "fire" double set triggers as often as you want to without harming them if the lock is resting in the "fired" position.
 

Brokennock

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Much of what you seek to know, the examples of questions you've given, can and will be hotly (no pun intended) contested. Such as water temperature when cleaning with just water (with or without a drop of Dawn).
That said. I think your premise is a good one.
You are correct about not dry firing with an open pan, the flint (or wood substitute flint) needs to hit something before stopping in its farthest forward position.
Keep your pan and frizzen clean and oil/grease free when shooting.

I'll let others add more and then disagree with eachother.
 

jdw276

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I'm not really looking for general shooting tips. Mainly that which pertains to preventing damage to the lock mechanism itself or even other parts on the rest of the gun. What kinda things can damage the sear? Can certain things damage the frizzen? Will cleaning the lock or barrel with water that is too hot harm anything, or is hotter better? Specific stuff like that...
The shooting section has a lot of how to's and a lot of don't do's. Please don't discount or ignore that section, many folks spent a lot of their time developing that with their experience and to share it with others. Some of those authors are no longer with us. And when you have accumulated your list, please share it with the admins so they can add it to the how to section.
 

Grenadier1758

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Do, tune your lock. Make sure that the parts that slide over each other are smooth. Make sure that the springs don't rub on the lock plate (which should be flat). Use gunsmith quality screwdrivers that fit the slots in your screws and bolts Make sure that the screws and bolts are tightened to the just snug. If you need pin punches, use the sizes that match your pins. Do make sure that lock parts that move are not rubbing on metal or wood parts. If you have a touch hole liner, make sure the touch hole is 1/16" in diameter.

Do learn how to maintain your flint to have a sharp edge to strike the frizzen. Do have a good leather wrap to hold your flint in the jaws of the hammer.

Don't try to tune up the lock unless you have familiarity with metal work and smoothing and fit of metal parts.

Don't get out the Dremel Tool.

Don't use any propellant other than black powder in the granulation that works best in your firearm.
 

nchawkeye

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Do not check the spark with a load in the barrel!!!
A flintlock can fire with no powder in the pan!!!
 

Sidney Smith

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I'd say don't use vice grips to remove the main spring or fruzzen spring when disassembling a lock. Trying to open the vice grips usually results in the main spring becoming a projectile. Trust me I know this from experience. That's why I now own a main spring vice.
 

Grenadier1758

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Do disassemble your lock in a large white bag to limit the search area for when the fly disappears from the tumbler. One of the many reasons to seek out an experienced muzzle loader gunsmith to tune the lock.

Yes, do use a spring vise for removing springs.
 

ol vern

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Do check your lock after every shot. is the flint still clamped tightly in the cock? still sharp? is it time move it forward ? Do wipe the fowling off the flint,frizzen and out of the pan. This little drill will go a long way in making you lock reliable .
 

Rat

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DO NOT wash your lock in the dishwasher, and then spray it down with WD40, or any other liberal amount of oil. Your pan will then "absorb moisture from the air".
 

azmntman

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Here's one that applies to any muzzle loader that has set triggers.

NEVER place the lock at "half cock" and then set and "fire" the set triggers. If you do this you can easily break the nose off of the lock sear or break the half cock notch in the locks tumbler.

You can set and "fire" double set triggers as often as you want to without harming them if the lock is resting in the "fired" position.
Zonie.... what will the damage do, Symptoms)? Maybe this is what happened to one of my rifles that will now fire but only with about a 60lb trigger pull??
 

FishDFly

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Hello, I am new to shooting flintlocks and would like to compile a reference list for newbies of certain things you should never do, or maybe things you should always do with a flintlock. Such things like maybe dry firing with the pan open could damage something (I don't know)...stuff like that. There must be a few little things that doing so are a no-no and could possibly damage your flintlock mechanism. Or maybe certain do's or don'ts regarding cleaning or maintaining.

Any starters? :)
There are a few folks with flint lock knowledge here which are worth reading and some not.

If you really want to learn, buy Eric A. Bye's book, Flintlocks, A Practical Guide for their Use and
Appreciations."

Check National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association for the book.

You will not be disappointed and should be required reading for new flintlock shooters..
 
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Zonie

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Zonie.... what will the damage do, Symptoms)? Maybe this is what happened to one of my rifles that will now fire but only with about a 60lb trigger pull??
If the nose on the sear, that goes into the half cock slot or the full cock notch on the tumbler on the sear breaks off you won't be able to cock the lock to full cock.

If the half cock notch on the tumbler breaks, placing the lock at half cock will seem like the gun is set at half cock but with just a normal pull on the trigger the gun will fire.

Neither of these problems will make the trigger pull 'heavy'. If your trigger pull is too heavy, chances are the screw that the sear arm pivots on was tightened down too much. That screw should be lightly tightened to be "snug", not tight. You should be able to easily move the sear arm up against the force of the sear spring.
The sear spring at the rear of the lock is often too strong to do what it has to do and that will greatly increase the amount of force you will need to pull the trigger to fire the gun but if that is the problem it will be that way since the gun was new.
 

Don Steele

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Most of the critical points have been covered, but I’ll add these:
Pull your flintlock off the rifle/gun frequently and clean it. I remove my lock after EVERY range session.
I’ve found the cheap blue Ammonia free glass cleaner I buy for a buck at the Dollar store will make BP FOULING run off freely.
Add a toothbrush some water to rinse and she’s clean as a whistle. Dry, then lube.
Jim Chambers says to oil anything that moves, and grease where parts slide on one another.
 
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