Quantcast

Lock Tuning

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

58 Caliber

58 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
603
Location
Owego, NY
Brad Emig is my go to for locks. He has done at least 3 for me. Fair price, quick turn around and real sparkers when they return. Can't go wrong with Brad. Good luck.
 

Rifleman1776

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
16,633
Reaction score
1,142
Location
Arkansas Ozarks
Not sure why you’d have to ship the whole rifle to tune a lock. Most quality locks today don’t require a lot of attention. Just some general smoothing and polishing. Where the average guy can get in trouble is changing angles on sear and tumbler. Can get dangerous in a hurry.
Got to know your limitations.
I have fixed a few 'lock' problems by looking to the stock and how the lock was inlet. Not uncommon for the lock internals to be rubbing against the wood of the inlet. I little scraping can often 'fix' the lock. Not to be overlooked is that many rifle owners use too much force when tightening the lock after removal and replacement.
 

M. De Land

75 Cal.
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
5,899
Reaction score
421
Brad Emig is my go to for locks. He has done at least 3 for me. Fair price, quick turn around and real sparkers when they return. Can't go wrong with Brad. Good luck.
Sounds like a good gig for me when I get to old and tired to go out in the cold and up on a ladder to bring in some income. I'll be brushing up on this skill set as it seems an interesting and enjoyable need to be filled in the muzzle loading family. Already have the hand tools , heat treating equipment and shop machinery.
Are there any good books or service manuals on lock tuning recommended by the fraternity?
 

M. De Land

75 Cal.
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
5,899
Reaction score
421
One mod I have been using quite a lot on my own locks of various types and a few friends locks is what I refer to as a "sear lift". These usually are made by drilling a 1/16th hole just under the full cock notch (carbide bit) and installing a small piece of piano wire into the hole. I use red loc tite to keep it there then dress it down with a lead in angle on the back side. This limits the sear engagement without changing the full cock notch geometry. The angle at the back allows the sear nose to ride up without tripping. This has proven to be a very effective/efficient trigger pull mod on simple trigger guns. It is unnecessary for set trigger guns but sure helps the simple trigger ones.
The next thing I want to figure out is how to tighten tumbler bearings through the lock plate efficiently. This will be pretty evolved as it will require either a bushing job or weld up, reamed and re-case lock plate. I'm thinking a hole ream and re-bushing of tool steel will be the most cost effective way to proceed. Another idea is to anneal the plate and peen the hole then ream and lap fit to the tumbler which will also need to be trued radially.
Kicking around some ideas !
 
Last edited:

58 Caliber

58 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
603
Location
Owego, NY
I will now only buy guns/kits with a Chambers or Kibler lock. Two L&R's and a Pedersoli and they all needed work and a tune up. Learned my lesson. Never again.
 

Cpt Flint

36 Cl.
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
92
Reaction score
60
My point exactly. Trying to tune a cheap lock is akin to making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Jim Chambers has told me often that good ignition starts with how many sparks you can put in that pan.
A poor quality flintlock is the work of the devil. Those who tinker with cheap locks are not shooters. They are tinkerers.
 

ZUG

Pilgrim
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
1,563
Reaction score
148
Location
CA
I think the new CNC locks that are being made by some of the manufactures are the cat's meow and will function without issues commonly seen with the cast parts of the non CNCed locks of the past. That being said I have used locks from most of the makers of the cast lock verity and all of them needed some work but they all worked well when done :thumb: .
 

Notchy Bob

32 Cal.
Joined
Apr 6, 2014
Messages
727
Reaction score
867
Location
Florida
I think Pat (the OP) said it is a North Star lock. It probably came on a gun that he bought. I agree with getting a top-quality lock for a new build, but those old North Star trade guns, in my opinion, are historically significant in their own right. Even if he wanted to replace the lock altogether, there just aren't that many options for trade guns. There may be a few of the Davis locks kicking around out there still, but I've heard mixed reviews on these. Caywood makes good locks for trade guns, and I think Track of the Wolf is now marketing a trade gun lock of their own. I haven't heard anything about how it functions, though, and I don't know if any of these would interchange well with the old NSW locks.

Lots of nice guns have sub-optimal locks, but these can often be made to work. I think that's where Pat is right now. I'll but in another recommendation for Brad Emig. I have a Pedersoli Charleville with the OEM lock and a Jackie Brown "Carolina smoothbore" with an L&R Queen Anne lock. Both had the same problem... Poor sparking, and they would eat flints. Brad fixed 'em up right and proper. He called me just before he returned them and reviewed what he did, and he made some recommendations. I think he did some work on the frizzens, but the main thing was that he balanced the springs. The relative strengths of the mainspring and the feather spring (frizzen spring) have to be tuned so they work together harmoniously. For these locks, he stressed mounting the flint with leather, with the bevel up. He pointed out that flints vary in thickness, and if the bevel is down, the edge strikes the frizzen in a different place for every flint. With the flat side down, any flint will strike the frizzen in about the same place. He said that this consistency is important to the proper function of the lock, the way he tunes them. I've followed his advice and enjoyed excellent sparking and flint longevity with both of these locks.

Anyway, Brad Emig, who advertise his services as the "Lock Doctor," knows what to do, and I have no doubt he could get that old Gostomski lock working well.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

pat i.

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
107
Reaction score
93
Location
Northern Illinois
Thank you Bob. That's where I'm at. Talked to Brad this morning and the lock is boxed up ready to go. Thanks everyone for their help and suggestions.
 

M. De Land

75 Cal.
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
5,899
Reaction score
421
I think that flint edge management should be incorporated into lock tuning thinking as they need to work in harmony for peak efficiency and longevity. What's the point in balancing a cock and frizzen spring to an inconsistent flint edge strike which is forever changing. Proper edge management can best take advantage of the springs being balanced to the most repeatably consistent flint edge.
 

TXFlynHog

40 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
643
Reaction score
192
Location
Michigan
Not sure why you’d have to ship the whole rifle to tune a lock.
Let me refine my post please, because in addition to tuning for spark, I was having an issue with powder falling out of the lock, and for that, he needed the whole rifle because he was concerned that my lock may not be perfectly inlet (not a custom rifle).
 

Spikebuck

69 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2010
Messages
3,996
Reaction score
909
Location
On the Mississippi in SE Minnesota
Why not buy a good lock to start with?
Good point, but not everyone is dealing with a new lock or even if they are, most things can be improved upon. A couple of examples:

1. A used gun that happens to either have a lock with a lot of use, or maybe it was never done properly in the first place. My second flinter was like that. Beautiful gun that was well built, but the L&R Queen Anne on it was, I've been told, of a vintage where apparently they were having some issues with how well they hardened the frizzen...perhaps a base metal issue in what they used in production. I can't remember. Brad Emig had it sparking like crazy in no time. Overall, I'm not impressed with L&R and it wasn't just that lock.

2. I bought one of Roundball's rifles when he was liquidating. Roundball is as meticulous as one can get in his firearms and their care. On all of his custom guns, the Chambers locks were sent to someone in TN or KY (I sure wish I had the name and address yet) that reworked and tuned the lock. I've had several Chambers locks but never, ever one that was like the one on that gun. It was unbelievably silky smooth in function and was so fast it was actually noticeable over any other lock I've had...even the one Brad fixed up for me (of course that was an L&R to start with). Whoever did that tuning was clearly exceptional in that kind of work. That lock taught me that even what is considered as a high quality lock can be improved upon by the right person.
 

Cpt Flint

36 Cl.
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
92
Reaction score
60
Point taken. I can not find fault with your reasoning there. I would just like to know who that is so that I could have a super tuned Chambers' Lock.
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
10,295
Reaction score
1,924
When I checked into tuning one of my flintlocks, the struggle I had was that you have to ship the whole rifle, not just the lock. Shipping out and back gets pricey, and for the rifle that needs to be tuned, that plus the cost for tuning is nearly the cost of the rifle.
I did "trigger jobs" on UnCivil War period guns for over half the years between 1974 and 2005, when the Corps didn't send me away from Virginia. I've also done some lock tuning on flinters, including two world championships.

Gunsmiths want the whole gun when doing many kinds of lock work, because they want to ensure the stock won't cause the lock to catch on half cock or other problems. Also, the only way one can be sure the trigger pull feels good and is in a safe weight of trigger pull and functions properly, is to actually screw the lock into the stock and test it when the rifle or gun is fully assembled.

The worst example of a lock I've ever seen working properly outside the gun, but causing it to hit or catch the half cock in the stock, was in a Miroku Brown Bess. The owner had some knowledge of working locks, but couldn't fix it. After getting everything corrected on the lock, ensuring the sear wasn't hitting wood in the stock, etc., etc. - that Sear in that darn Bess was STILL occasionally hitting the half cock. Before I began cussing or tearing my hair out or thinking I would have to get an Exorcist to rid the demon from the gun; I made and drank two cups of coffee trying to figure it out. I had my magnifying Opti Visor on and slowly turned the lock and stock in many positions to see if there was something I missed?

Fortunately the Brass Trigger Guard was no longer shiny and I was surprised to see a tiny point on the inside of the trigger guard that showed fresh wear. The only thing that could do that was the bottom of the trigger hit it. So I shortened the bottom of the trigger and worked it to look good, then reassembled the Bess and it worked flawlessly from that point onward.

Gus
 

GriscomRun

36 Cl.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
83
Reaction score
33
Location
Delaware County, PA
I sent an L & R to Cabin Creek for a deep clean, polish, and I asked for it to tuned.
Short turnaround. And a perfect job done.
Google them up and give a call.
 

FlinterNick

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
1,039
Reaction score
357
I learned how to tune my own locks a long time ago. The Trick is knowing where to get replacement parts if needed or finding a foundry that can cast out of production parts.

Miruoku parts are probably the most complicated to come by, several people I know have copied them or casted them.
 

pat i.

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
107
Reaction score
93
Location
Northern Illinois
I got my lock back from Brad Emig a couple of weeks ago and it's like a new lock. Brad did a great job and is a nice guy to deal with. It's throwing sparks now for sure. Not real cheap but good turn around and great work. If I ever need another lock worked on I know where I'm going.
 

M. De Land

75 Cal.
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
5,899
Reaction score
421
Good point, but not everyone is dealing with a new lock or even if they are, most things can be improved upon. A couple of examples:

1. A used gun that happens to either have a lock with a lot of use, or maybe it was never done properly in the first place. My second flinter was like that. Beautiful gun that was well built, but the L&R Queen Anne on it was, I've been told, of a vintage where apparently they were having some issues with how well they hardened the frizzen...perhaps a base metal issue in what they used in production. I can't remember. Brad Emig had it sparking like crazy in no time. Overall, I'm not impressed with L&R and it wasn't just that lock.

2. I bought one of Roundball's rifles when he was liquidating. Roundball is as meticulous as one can get in his firearms and their care. On all of his custom guns, the Chambers locks were sent to someone in TN or KY (I sure wish I had the name and address yet) that reworked and tuned the lock. I've had several Chambers locks but never, ever one that was like the one on that gun. It was unbelievably silky smooth in function and was so fast it was actually noticeable over any other lock I've had...even the one Brad fixed up for me (of course that was an L&R to start with). Whoever did that tuning was clearly exceptional in that kind of work. That lock taught me that even what is considered as a high quality lock can be improved upon by the right person.
I just finished tuning up and older L&R about a week ago and after working on Siler/Chambers locks they are definitely a few cuts below in quality of parts and fit. I could copy make a tumbler and sear from solid stock but would certainly take some time.
 

John Strong

36 Cal.
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
81
Reaction score
0
I highly recommend Brad Emig. I am lucky to be within Driving distance of him. I have him do all of my locks now. I just hand him the lock and have him tell me what it needs. When it comes to lock work, cheep is not a good thing. Brad's work is worth every penny. Congratulations on your lock. You will be very happy for a long time.
 
Top