Looking for my 1st flintlock

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Ben Meyer, Aug 5, 2019.

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  1. Aug 5, 2019 #1

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    40 cal - b

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    1st post here. Lifelong shooter/hunter, but relatively new to black powder. I bought a CVA Optima inline a few years ago strictly for hunting, and an Investarms/Charles Daly percussion Hawken last year for fun. My son has a flintlock KY rifle and pistol, we are both NMLRA members and have been having fun shooting BP as of late. I'm @40min from Friendship, IN, so that's nice.

    I've been saving up since June to buy a flintlock, hopefully at the Fall Shoot in Friendship. I want to do it once, and do it right. I dont want something with all the ornate carving, engraving, silver inlays, etc, but I want a rifle that I'll shoot til the day I die. I prefer .50cal, and like the Pennsylvania/KY Classic longrifle styles best.

    I've bought many guns and think I know what to look for, but I've never bought a flintlock. What specifically should I look out for, test, etc? How much cash SHOULD I plan on spending? We have literally everything else we need to go along with it, just need the rifle. Thx, Ben
     
  2. Aug 5, 2019 #2

    8 BORE

    8 BORE

    8 BORE

    50 Cal.

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    Your quest has just started. Good luck
     
  3. Aug 5, 2019 #3

    Tom Compton

    Tom Compton

    Tom Compton

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    The most important parts of a flint firearm are:
    1. The lock
    2: The lock
    3: The lock
    4. The barrel

    I’ve had good luck with Cochran (no longer made) and L&R. Siler and now Chambers have great reputations (have a small Siler in the works now). Jim Chambers and Tip Curtis are usually at Friendship in September. Visit and learn. The mass produced guns don’t have great reputations for lock performance tho some of their individual locks function ok. I get spare main spring, and frizzen for all my flinters. The main spring on my 30+ year old Cochran broke at a club shoot, went to the big box and installed the spare. Took a couple of months but I located a used Cochran flintlock. It is now in the big box.

    A used gun can be great if it has a great lock and good barrel. Several good barrel makers, Douglas, Green Mountain, Rice, Colrane, Oregon to name a few. I know Douglas no longer makes ML barrels but there are nice used guns available.

    One option I recommend you explore is a gun in the white that you can choose the components. And you can specify the length of pull, barrel length, triggers, sights, etc. Tip Curtis, Kibler, TVM and others in the white offerings. But you’ll need to know the style first.
    Good luck
    TC
     
  4. Aug 5, 2019 #4

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

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    Thx TC. I'm pretty sure Jim Chambers, L&R, and RE Davis all have booths at Friendship. I'd try to stick to them. I've heard good things about Siler(is that a guy, company or "type/style" of lock?

    I dont think I have "custom built to order" money. I'm hoping I can find a keeper in the $1000 or less range. Can I?
     
  5. Aug 5, 2019 #5

    rafterob

    rafterob

    rafterob

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    You should be able to find a plain jane for that $1000, maybe less. You may look for something "In the white" that would save some $$. Quality parts alone are approaching that $1000 mark
     
  6. Aug 5, 2019 #6

    hanshi

    hanshi

    hanshi

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    A quality American lock, pristine bore and a style that fits you. Quality used flintlocks are available and at decent prices. In-the-white is always a good idea if you've ever tinkered and know how to tinker. Plain rifles are less costly and, to me, look better.
     
  7. Aug 6, 2019 #7

    Kansas Kid

    Kansas Kid

    Kansas Kid

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    If you’re right handed there’s a couple great looking deals right on this forum
     
  8. Aug 6, 2019 #8

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    I don't think Tom emphasized the lock enough.

    For a first flintlock, its all about the lock.

    Then its the triggers. Simple single triggers or set? The triggers need a crisp release, but not too heavy. If set triggers, the triggers should be double lever double set. The first trigger will fire set or unset. The second trigger sets the first trigger for a light release.

    Most barrels will be good.

    Then its how pretty of a stock do you want and what style manufacture.

    If you can, visit makers such as Tip Curtis, Jim Chambers, Jim Kibler, Clay Smith and a host of others at Friendship.
     
  9. Aug 6, 2019 #9

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

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    ML'ing is pretty much like any other part of the gun world. The more you get in to it and learn, the more you find out that you don't know.

    I always tell people to peruse the books and web resources to figure out what particular features appeal to them the most. Do you like the looks of the American Long Rifle, or do you prefer something more robust and handier, like plains rifles or some of the European styles? Then refine it from there. Above all, look at lots and lots of pictures and make your list of descriptive FEATURES, not individual styles.

    From there you can refine things about architecture to get more picky. For example; one feature that is not really for me in long rifles is the look of a "pinched" wrist, where the wrist is narrower at the comb nose than at the breech. So for me, I would not choose a Virginia rifle style as my first choice in architectural styles. Others really like it, which is fine too.
     
  10. Aug 7, 2019 #10

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    A Siler is a type of lock. Chambers and L&R both make Siler locks IIRC.
     
  11. Aug 7, 2019 #11

    Don Steele

    Don Steele

    Don Steele

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    Since you're close to it, I have two words for you: Friendship and Patience.
    When you go to Friendship..HANDLE as many rifles as you can to determine what style ( aka: school) you like, or more importantly...that you don't like. Tip Curtis maintains a building on the NMLRA grounds with a BUNCH of rifles hanging on the walls...completely built except for the wood and metal finish that you are welcome to handle and see what you like. Once you have a grip on the ones that you like, either buy one of Tip's ( you won't be sorry...) OR..if his current prices are too far out of your range..patiently look for one of them to come up in a pre-owned condition.
    There are some very nice deals on unembellished pre-owned longrifles, built from QUALITY PARTS showing up from time to time on specialty forums, like this one..and others.
    In today's market...a set of quality parts alone will set you back 900-1000 bucks if you just open your wallet and start ordering.
     
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  12. Aug 7, 2019 #12

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

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    Thx Don Steele. Yeah, I've been going to Friendship since I was a little kid(read, a LONG time). My best friend has family and about 10min from there that we've hunted on forever. My son bought his flintlock there last year.

    I want a finished rifle, and not a project, kit or one I have to work on. I want to be able to buy it and shoot it that day. I know many there(and here) are builders, but I'm not and really have no desire TO be. Just not my thing. Like I said, I've been saving for a while. I'm here primarily to educate myself. I'll probably wait til the fall shoot to buy....but I do kinda like that Dixie Gun WorksTennessee Mountain Rifle here in the classifieds;-)
     
  13. Aug 7, 2019 #13

    Big Rviers

    Big Rviers

    Big Rviers

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    My first flintlock was also my first percussion muzzle loader. When Dixie brought out their first Tennessee Mountain rifle I couldn't decide on flint or cap so bought the flint conversion kit as an accessory. That decision allowed me to switch locks as I wanted be that for hunting or flintlock only events or simply to change it up and the rifle was superbly accurate with flint or cap. Accurate that is once I discovered to compensate for the minuscule difference in lock time. 45 years later Ole Sure Shot is still punching five shot clover leaf's flint or cap lock.
     
  14. Aug 7, 2019 #14

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

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    Thx Big Rvers. So the general consensus is that the Dixie Gun Works TN Mtn rifles are of good quality? Better/on par with Pedersoli? I wont be able to afford a $2k custom build anytime soon and for now want to stay $1000 or under.
     
  15. Aug 7, 2019 #15

    Boomerang

    Boomerang

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    A Dixie gun works should be a good rifle. You can get a Rifle from Tip Curtis at friendship with all top quality parts for around $1500.
     
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  16. Aug 7, 2019 #16

    jbwilliams3

    jbwilliams3

    jbwilliams3

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    The dixie mountain rifles are pretty good. My friend has owned one for thirty years or so and it still shoots well though it has funky looking triggers. The kicker with those is the straight, HEAVY barrel. He doesn’t shoot that gun much anymore now that he’s in his 60s and shoots lighter smoothbores mostly. I much prefer (both aesthetically and handling wise) a swamped/tapered and flared barrel, and though a straight barrel is fine for a Mnt. Rifle, the Dixie barrel is just crazy heavy.

    I would handle as many muzzleloaders as you can based on your statement that you want to do this once. If you were a young guy starting out and just wanted a starter gun, I’d say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go for the Dixie gun or a Pedersoli or a Leman if you want to get in the game quickly and maybe upgrade later on. Even then, a lot of rock lock beginners get frustrated and burn out quickly due to poor locks. That said, I’m sure you could possibly be happy with the Dixie mnt. Rifle. My friend did some tuning to the lock on that gun some years back so it functions great. I couldn’t tell you how decent that lock is pre-fiddling.
     
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  17. Aug 7, 2019 #17

    Big Rviers

    Big Rviers

    Big Rviers

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    Good advise. Try as many rifles as you can to tell what fits you. My DGW Tennessee Mountain rifle feels light and balanced compared to many others I've tried. I'm 72 and still can carry it all day in the woods with no problem. I too had to fiddle a bit with the flinter action, but it was mostly getting used to flint over cap.
     
  18. Aug 8, 2019 #18

    Greenjoytj

    Greenjoytj

    Greenjoytj

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    For my first foray into the flintlock style I choose an off the rack Lyman GPR in 54 cal with the available slow twist rifling specifically for shooting patched round balls (PRB). The 54 caliber was chosen with deer hunting in mind as it punches a bigger hole and the ball has more mass weight. The only modifications I have added is to replace the vent liner with an RMC liner this has improved ignition to 100% provided I don’t dry ball which I do about once a session. I mounted the Lyman peep sights front and rear so I could see the sights. Also added a tied on sling as this rifle is heavy. I still use the cut style flint that everyone poo poos they work fine for me and I can resharpen them on a flat diamond file under some water.
    I use the dry lube patch system but with an greased over powder wad. I cast my own .535” balls with a 6 gang lee mold and a Lyman mold. The Lyman leaves a sprue and the Lee makes a flat spot, both mold and balls work fine. I prefer a tight PRB fit so get or make a flat faced short starter, the type with a big round wood ball are hand killers.
    Be sure to wipe off the frizzen face every few shots other wise you will start getting failure to fire.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  19. Aug 8, 2019 #19

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

    Ben Meyer

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    I really want a KY/PA/TN type longrifle being as I already have a Hawken. It's a Charles Daly/Investarms Italian percussion .50cal, but it's a great shooter. With 80gr FFG Goex, a .490 ball and dry lubed(moose milk) pillow ticking patches, I shot a 4" group offhand at 50yds and a 2" from a bench. I'm much more apt to hunt with that one from the ground and the scoped CVA Optima from a stand. The flintlock will be for fun.
     
  20. Aug 8, 2019 #20

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

    Col. Batguano

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    As was said above, the lock quality is the most important thing. Try to spark what ever it is you're thinking of buying before you buy it if you can. Good quality locks like Chambers' are expensive, but should be a LOT less troublesome than lesser quality ones. If it doesn't spark well, there are usually things you can do to make it work, but that sounds like it might be more work than you are willing to jump in to, or is at this stage anyway.

    If you are patient, looking over the ads for used custom guns may work out better than buying something new. But, there is going to be a bit of caveat emptor involved there too.
     
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