Kibler SMR frizzen broke in two

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Early on he said that there was too much waste to try to machine the hammer and the frizzen. Those parts were more cost efficient to cast.

Yup I can see why, the cost fo machining one out from a 8720 or 6150 blank is expensive and a waste of good steel.
 
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Hello all

I received my Kibler SMR kit Thursday and I immediately went to work on it. I got the barrel and tang fit then went to work on the lock. I disassembled the lock and got the lock plate right. I reassembled the lock and it fit quite nicely. Just a bit of wood to remove for the mainspring. Then I went on to installing the set trigger plate. Just a tiny amount of wood to remove. The triggers were perfect. No filing at all. But the trigger pull in the set position was too light for my liking. So I adjusted the screw. On the fourth try, with the flint in of course, something came off. I thought the flint had broken. Mind you the rifle was in a vise with the lock facing up. I looked closer and something didn’t look right. That’s when I realized the frizzen was gone. I’ve called and emailed Mr. Kibler, I’m waiting on his response. I delve in knife making, so I look at the grain. It looks like a bad heat treat. I’m including pictures so you can have a look. The chunk that is missing I could not find. I know Jim is a busy man and gets lots of calls and emails. Was this something I caused? I checked the lock for functionality two times then I took it apart. All in all I think the frizzen broke on the tenth pull/snap. I think this could be clear as mud but if anyone gets my drift, please comment.

Thanks, JonView attachment 91927 View attachment 91928 View attachment 91929 View attachment 91930
He'll make good, 'nuff said.
 

LRB

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The grain structure was coarse because the tempering process never made it far up enough, anyone can make that mistake. I use a special jewelers torch for this.

Tempering the foot of the spring up to the seam needs to be done very slowely until the foot pan cover just at the seam is completely purple/blue.. I go for a dark blue. this provides the frizzen with some give, like a spring. I’ve never broken one, but I do understand how it could break.
Tempering makes no changes to the grain structure. With an average temper there is not enough heat involved to alter the grain structure. What happens in a temper process is an atomic shifting within the crystal structures. To refine grain sizing requires a 3 step thermal heat cycling process before hardening and tempering takes place. But, yes the foot needs more temper than the main body.
 
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"but show what I would consider a clue that this particular lock may be suffering overall from poor casting as well as inadequate heat treating."

The only cast parts are the frizzen and cock. The rest is all machined from bar stock.

This is a non issue, speculation is irrelevant, Kibler will replace the part for free no muss or fuss. He wants his customers to be happy. I complained about a trigger guard, a new one was in the mail that day, free. Just make the call.
Just good it happened now, not out on a remote hunt someplace!
 

JCKelly

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With all due respect, the photos show a pretty coarse grain with inclusions or occlusions. There are traces of more occlusions on the pan, and possibly the plate, both of which of course are of a different steel than the frizzen, but show what I would consider a clue that this particular lock may be suffering overall from poor casting as well as inadequate heat treating. Thermocycling would have refined the grain in the frizzen, but if the parts are poorly cast, thermocycling may not not be enough to over come inclusions or occlusions in critical zones. As well you should know, that break surface on the frizzen should look like velvet rather than a gravel road. Just MHO.
What I wrote is my opinion on what all of us are getting when we buy a commercial lock. There may be assorted casting defects, and they none of them will be heat treated correctly for their intended use.
Supposedly they could be better heat treated IF you in fact knew the actual chemistry of that part - which may or may not be what the lock-maker asked for. Sometimes it is influenced by what that foundry usually casts (expensive experience at Allegheny Industries speaking).
Even if you knew these things, heat treating by eye is chancy. Maybe especially so if you do it once a year or so.
So, I suggest you heat your store-bought frizzen 350F for maybe two hours in your kitchen oven. That will temper it, however it might be heat treated, to make it some less likely to break in use. Just air cool it. Don't quench. And, take appropriate steps here to maintain your marriage.
 
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I never so much as even implied Jim Kibler was anything less than a stand up person with an impeccable and well earned reputation. Top notch, no question. I also said I was judging by the photos, which obviously are misleading, with the exception of the grain structure of the break zone. I still say the grain is much more coarse than ideal. Coarse grain is a weak structure. No matter how much we try, stuff happens, and it can happen to anyone. Even Jim Kibler. The OP was concerned that he may have caused the break. I gave my opinion of the cause with the intent of assuring the OP that it was just a faulty part, and nothing that he caused. If this explanation is not enough to suit you, then that's just tough.
@LRB
I did not think your post was misleading. I agree about the grain structure, although this is cast material. I have no experience with cast steel grain. I found your post most informative. Thanks for your input.

Jon.
 

Tenring

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I remember when my frizzen broke during the French and Indian war campaign with Rogers Rangers it was bad, Ha Ha just a little humor. I to broke one on a large syler lock if I spelled that right ,and only had built the rifle a month before it failed things happen it was fixed. Be cool.
 

Darkhorse

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Around 20 years ago I built a 40 caliber flintlock to be my dedicated turkey rifle. It's legal to hunt turkeys with a ML rifle in my state. I used the Chambers Lefthand large siler lock. After completion I shot the rifle probably 200 shots getting it dialed in and finding the best load.
So one morning right at dawn I got on a hot gobbler roosted in a long hardwood bottom. Once down he moved right down the bottom and to get in front of him required me to run and wade through waist deep water and mud. But I did get in front of him and just managed to get set up and ready when he and another bird came into sight. He was one of the largest birds I had ever seen and he was in my sights. I reached up and cocked my rifle and the mainspring broke.
Things like this happen if you hunt and shoot enough.
Mr. Chambers sent me a new mainspring right away when I called him. He said they had got some parts in that had heat treatment problems. I was in the woods the next morning because I robbed a mainspring from another rifle.
All my rifles have the LH Large siler lock which makes keeping spare parts easy and I do keep everything I might need to get a lock back in action. Most are simply drop in and shoot but occasionally one needs to be fitted to function properly.
Now, a thousand or shots later, I've yet to break another mainspring. That one happened to break at the worst possible time.
 
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I received the new frizzen today. Minor filing involved to fit. I installed it and have snapped it twice outside the the stock. Seems to work well. Lots of sparks. I have already started finishing the stock so I’m not ready to put everything together yet. Should I snap a few more times? It’s sparking good but the supplied flint is only striking a line down the middle of the frizzen. It’s the flint of course. It does sound better snapping though. But I’m not sure what it should sound like. I am convinced that it was a heat treat issue. I showed it to a knife making friend that knows a lot more than me. He said even for cast steel the grain is too large, I can’t back up his reason on it but I’ll take his word for it. Again, should I snap it outside the stock a few more times?

Thanks, Jon
 

rich pierce

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No idea why snapping outside the stock would do anything one way or another. I’m sure it’s fine. Is this your first flintlock? They sure are fun.
 
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No idea why snapping outside the stock would do anything one way or another. I’m sure it’s fine. Is this your first flintlock? They sure are fun.
No sir. This will be number 3 when I get it finished. My first was a TOTW Bedford County build in .36. My second is a Kibler colonial in .50. Also a pistol in the works. I’m still really new at this, I just finished the first one a few months ago. And yes they sure are fun. Addicting actually.

Thanks, Jon
 

54ball

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1632409253097.png


Jon,
That piece had been cracked for quite some time. Notice the speck at the peak....looks like rust to me. Also the dark gray (Old crack) and the light gray(new Break). That frizzen was doomed to crack when it was made.
Sometimes it happens....
Nobodies fault.
 
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Hello, 54ball.

Yes, I agree with you. Jim Kibler told me himself that these things happen. Just a heat treat that wasn’t quite right? No one person’s fault. Although I’m sure these are heat treated in batches. It was more likely a poor casting. There’s going to be some bad ones in the bunch. That’s how it is. I’m not down on it. I got the replacement frizzen and it’s working well. No muss no fuss as it were. Jim Kibler could not be recommended by me more.

Jon
View attachment 95398

Jon,
That piece had been cracked for quite some time. Notice the speck at the peak....looks like rust to me. Also the dark gray (Old crack) and the light gray(new Break). That frizzen was doomed to crack when it was made.
Sometimes it happens....
Nobodies fault.
 

LRB

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Looks like an occlusion that caused a weak spot that led to a crack. Notice it is in alignment with the mold mark.
 

duca

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Uuh it happened to me today on the range....36 cal SMR Left a message with Jim. 40 years shooting Flintlocks first for me. Things just happen. Love this rifle!
 

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The grain structure was coarse because the tempering process never made it far up enough, anyone can make that mistake. I use a special jewelers torch for this.

Tempering the foot of the spring up to the seam needs to be done very slowely until the foot pan cover just at the seam is completely purple/blue.. I go for a dark blue. this provides the frizzen with some give, like a spring. I’ve never broken one, but I do understand how it could break.
So incorrect tempering would be a mfg fault lol Im not concerned I bought one colonial and afew smrs plus some spare frizzen and springs.. heat treatment correct this. Hate to bother them I know they are swamped but I wonder if sending the frizzen back to be reheat treated would be over board? I’d like to avoid a broken frizzen down the road?
 
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What I wrote is my opinion on what all of us are getting when we buy a commercial lock. There may be assorted casting defects, and they none of them will be heat treated correctly for their intended use.
Supposedly they could be better heat treated IF you in fact knew the actual chemistry of that part - which may or may not be what the lock-maker asked for. Sometimes it is influenced by what that foundry usually casts (expensive experience at Allegheny Industries speaking).
Even if you knew these things, heat treating by eye is chancy. Maybe especially so if you do it once a year or so.
So, I suggest you heat your store-bought frizzen 350F for maybe two hours in your kitchen oven. That will temper it, however it might be heat treated, to make it some less likely to break in use. Just air cool it. Don't quench. And, take appropriate steps here to maintain your marriage.
JC Kelly great info; so a simple 2 hour bake at 350 might mitigate the issue? Me I’ll just give her more money and send her shopping for a few hours
Thanks!
 

James Kibler

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Okay, here's the story. Hopefully, this will clear some things up. Frizzens, cocks and top jaws are castings that we then cnc machine on critical areas to fit with the remaining cnc machined parts of the lock. Castings sometimes have defects. In the example shown, the black dot is undoubtably acted as stress intensifier and location for crack growth to occur. When it reached a critical size, the frizzen broke.

We make thousands of locks a year. Occasionally things happen. We have had a handful of frizzens brake. This is a VERY low percentage of our total production, but we are aware of the issue and are working on it.

We brine quench our frizzens rather than oil quench. No water quenching is done. We choose to brine quench to maximize as quenched hardness. This particular lock is by far the best quality, fastest and most consistent lock that can be purchased today. In fact, timing has shown that this lock is knocking on the door of what was accomplished by the very best late english makers. We push it's performace to the limit which. With this, the occasional problem can occur.

JC Kelly,

Perhaps you have forgotten that I am a degreed metallurgical engineer as well. The difference between myself and you is that I don't choose to remind everybody of this fact.

We have everything under control.


Thank you everyone for the kind words and support. This year has proven to be beyond what any of us would have guessed here at Kibler's Longrifles. A lot of exciting stuff is in the works as well!

All the best,
Jim
 

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