Learning Curve...Type G Trade Gun

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plmeek

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After reading the thread by lethemgo, who was thinking about a .62 cal fowler and wanted to know more about the learning curve, I thought I would share my recent experiences.

I've been shooting percussion muzzleloaders on and off since the 1970's, but hadn't ventured into the realm of flintlocks until recently.

A couple months ago, I came across a second hand Jack Brooks Type G or Carolina trade gun that seemed like too good a deal to pass up. The gun is just a dream to handle and shoulder. It weighs only 6 lbs and with its 46" Getz barrel, it's 61" long overall. So long and lean like the line in the Bob Wills song, "But a long tall gall makes a bullfrog ball a jack." I had to take her out and give her a try.





My first outing a couple weeks ago didn't go so well. Multiple flash-in-the-pans, hang fires, and no sparks had me pretty frustrated. The best I can say of that first session is, when she did go off, I was able to keep the shots on the paper at 50 yds. When the flint quit sparking, I flipped it over and got a few more shots before it got too dull to spark any more. I gave up and went home with my own version of St. Louis Blues.

After cleaning the gun, I started studying the lock and looking at the geometry of the lock, flint, and frizzen. The gun had a used flint in it when I bought it, so I had ordered some more flints of the same size from TOTW. I suspected that the flints were too small for the lock and made a practice flint from a small piece of wood to see where it should be striking the frizzen. I confirmed my suspicions. It was obvious that I needed a longer flint or move the ones I had further forward to get them to strike where they should.

Today, was forecast to be a perfect day for shooting with temps in the mid-70s. I picked out the best shaped flint of the dozen I had ordered and cut a new leather wrap without the slot in the rear for the screw. I positioned the flint in the jaws forward to mimic the position of the wood practice flint. And off to the range.

It took me a while to get set up on the bench, and I only got two shots off before a cease fire was called to change targets. These shots were high but encouraging (see target below). The sights are true to the originals, but a challenge to aim with. I changed to a six o'clock hold for the next five shots. As you can see, I was jerking the trigger instead of squeezing it and pulling the shots to the left. But at least the flint was sparking and sometimes the ignition was almost instantaneous.



On the next five shots, I concentrated more on the sight picture and trigger squeeze and got some encouraging results. I also picked the vent hole and cleaned the pan and flint between each shot. A friend calls flintlocks "tinker toys" because you have to tinker and toy with them all the time to keep 'em shooting. This time I got 4 in the black and only one flier. The two holes with the blue "X's" are from the previous 5 shot group as Target 1 & 2 were side by side.



The flint was still sparking, so I hung two more targets.

Target three results are shown below. More problems with the sight picture and not concentrating enough on the trigger squeeze and follow through.



All the shooting so far was with .580" cast round balls and .015" patches. I switched to some .588" cast balls and .010" patches.

Jack Brooks slightly funnels the muzzles so one can start the patched ball with thumb pressure. I used a short starter after that so I can get a good grip on the range rod for the long barrel. Both ball and patch combinations required some force to ram home, but I didn't have to swab the barrel during the whole shooting session.

Here are the results with the slightly larger balls. Yes, I cheated a little on this one. After I saw this 4 shot group, I quit before I messed it up.



I got over 20 shots on the same flint, and it still looks pretty good. I learned getting the right flint in the right position keeps it from smashing into the frizzen, and allows it to scrape the sparks from the face instead of chipping them out.

I had three flash-in-the-pans, which I didn't think was too bad for my second session with the flintlock. I just have to continue tinkering and toying to keep things clean and open.

By the way, all shooting was done at 50 yds and from the bench.

Now I feel like I've moved up the learning curve and inch or two.

Phil
 

tenngun

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nice shooting friend. Smooties taint rifles and wont never be, but they can put meat on the table and are a hoot to shoot. A little while longer with your rock-in-the-lock and them nipple huggers just aint going to make the grade :thumbsup:
 

Wes/Tex

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It's a good start. If that's the one from the Gun Room, I looked a the pictures but just didn't have the scratch to get in the game. The more you shoot your baby the more it'll become familiar to you. Play a bit with ball size and patch or no patch and tow wadding, etc. Your baby will let you know when it's happy. "Tinker Toy" is a new one to me, hadn't heard it before...in a way it's true because it's a game of trying things till it gets right, Then it'll just be fun and rewarding. Shoot it and use a little logic to figure out things that don't seem right...if that doesn't work, give us a holler! :thumbsup:
 
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Rifleman1776

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Good results. :thumbsup:
Yer choice of patch lube wouldn't be mine, but do wat works for ye.
Very nice muzzle gun, fine finish. I note the rear sight, that helps.
 

Dphar

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If it will shoot under 5" consistently at 50 its pretty good.
With front and hind sights 4" is doable with the right load. But they ALWAYS throw fliers and this is what always bit me when trying to hunt with one of the things.
You might try more powder too.
80 gr of FF is pretty light for a 62.
The 50 smooth rifle I tested shot best with a 480 ball, a heavy patch (.018) and 100 gr of FF Goex.
I cannot imagine the funneling helping accuracy but nobody tests this they just do it cause people think its cool to start a ball with their thumb.

Dan
 

olsmoke

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gratz beautiful smoothy and very nice shooting and i maby learned something from you for next time i git to the range thanks for the post

smoke :wink:
 

matt denison

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I think you did very well. The progress that you made between the first target and the last one is commentable and comendable. The more you shoot it the more you will get used to the trigger and be able to relax when shooting your new flintlock. Keeping four shots in the black at 50 yds. is good shooting with a new smoothbore. :hatsoff:
 

hanshi

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First off, that gun is good looking; and at 6 lbs is a joy to handle. For 50 yards those groups are excellent; but you will probably eventually do even better. Make sure the touch hole is at least 1/16" and test more loads in it. And yes, fliers are perennial with smoothies in general.
 

Rifleman1776

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You might try more powder too.
80 gr of FF is pretty light for a 62.
:doh: You might try less powder.
80 grain is kinda hefty for a smoothie 20 ga.
I get happiest results in the 50 to 70 gr. range with real bp in 3Fg. Wats Dan know? :wink::rotf:
Ain't no critter on earth won't hurt mightly after being smacked with a .60 cal. round ball propelled by 70 gr. of bp.
And, it is kinder to yer shoulder from a light muzzle gun.
 

plmeek

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Thanks for the encouragement guys.

Yes, Wes/Tex, I bought it from the Gun Room. They had reduced the price, and it looked like a good deal to me.

Rifleman1776, I note your comment about the lube. The Hoppe's 9 Plus seems to be doing what it's supposed to do for me. I wasn't shooting muzzleloaders much when the original Lehigh Valley Patch Lube was available, so don't have any personal experience with what some consider the standard. I used spit patches when I first started shooting muzzleloaders. I've also tried the patches pre-lubed with the Wonder Lube stuff. The low humidity here in Colorado requires some moisture in the lube to help with the fouling.

The patches I picked up all look good. They have stains from the powder residue as the ball was rammed down. There is a thin ring of a slight char where the ball contacted the bore and hot gases passed, but the fibers aren't seriously burned. There's a little char in the center of the patch because I avoided putting the lube in the center where it would only wet the powder.

I'm not sure what to expect in terms of accuracy. This faithful-to-the-original rear sight takes some getting used to. Being a smoothbore, I don't think it was meant for precision aiming, but rather to aid in pointing.



My primary goal right now is to learn the proper care and feeding of a rock lock. But it is satisfying to see the holes all in the black.

Phil
 

Wes/Tex

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Basically, it was the standard trade gun from British makers before the N.W. Trade gun became the norm and they dated from the 1720's to about 1760, give or take. Glad that baby went to a good home, took temptation away! :thumbsup: Thank the Lord! About the only difference between yours and the originals is that Jack decided to put the "London" stamp ahead of the rear sight instead of in front of it, otherwise, his early trade guns are almost a perfect match for the very few remaining originals!
 

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