Quantcast

Matchlock on the range and safety

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

jdw276

40 Cal.
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
609
Reaction score
146
So others and myself work with youth groups pretty much every month, non covid, and work with them on firearms history and let them shoot our flinters and percussion guns. So we start with history of BP. We do not have a matchlock and am considering getting one to add to the class for ignition how it was done. So the question is, where do you keep the match while loading? We use a bench behind the firing line to load, cap or prime on the line to shoot. So i can't take the matchlock cord behind the line to the bench, powder is there and kids. Do you install it each time on the matchlock on the line? I am asking for safety and logistics for our class. I could have a flinter next to me so even a lit march cord on a bench next to it, thinking in this case a handgonne? Trying to picture this on an active range with multiple types of firearms shooting. Safery first is of primary importance which is why we do the loading and priming for the youth always.
 

Rifleman1776

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
16,423
Reaction score
939
Location
Arkansas Ozarks
The matchlock is inherently a very dangerous critter. I'm sure when it was in use a great many people were injured by premature ignition and other unwanted blast offs. I suggest you do not attempt to demonstrate when other shooters are at the range. Better yet, download a Youtube video of a matchlock demo and bring it to the kids on a laptop.
 

rickystl

58 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 24, 2005
Messages
2,622
Reaction score
314
Rifleman's suggestion is probably a good idea. especially with a few youngsters around.

What I have done in the past is to load at the loading bench behind the firing line as you mention. On the bench AT the firing line, I would leave a small, metal, dry quart size empty bucket. I would use only about a 6" length of match cord. After firing, I would remove the match and lay it still lit at the center, bottom of the bucket. That way you don't have to re-lite it each time, and it's out of the way while reloading. When you return to shoot again and you prime and close the pan cover, then I would grab the match, blow any ashes in the bucket, and insert the match in the serpentine. That way both times while inserting or removing the match cord the gun is pointed safely down range.

Rick
 

tallpine

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
139
Reaction score
211
Location
East Texas
Rifleman is dead on. I wouldn't shoot mine around a bunch of kids. You might think about just flashing some powder in the pan with it unloaded for demonstration purposes.
 

JCKelly

36 Cl.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
96
Reaction score
69
I built a matchlock rifle (because I had an unused rifle barrel) using sear bar, not a trigger. Our Michigan "Canoe Shoot" was the only place I ever took it, some forty years ago. Buncha hairy guys in buckskins carrying knives & tomahawks asked "Will that thing shoot?" Never shot better at that match. Even hit the gourds which floated down the river.
I noticed that my gun always went BOOM, yet down the line I heard a lot of CLICK followed by @!!&%$#
Seems to me that a combination of a glowing slow match and black powder pretty much guarantees that something will go BOOM, somewhere.
Enjoyed it.
Burnt only one hole in shirt from match. Lousy match, used clothesline soaked in saltpeter. Would suggest follow Ulrich Bretscher as in:
Slow Match
As I've been told not to Tempt the Lord Thy God. I sold it whilst I yet remained in one piece..
 

dd832

40 Cal.
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
307
Reaction score
100
Location
SoCal - smogville
I built a matchlock rifle (because I had an unused rifle barrel) using sear bar, not a trigger. Our Michigan "Canoe Shoot" was the only place I ever took it, some forty years ago. Buncha hairy guys in buckskins carrying knives & tomahawks asked "Will that thing shoot?" Never shot better at that match. Even hit the gourds which floated down the river.
I noticed that my gun always went BOOM, yet down the line I heard a lot of CLICK followed by @!!&%$#
Seems to me that a combination of a glowing slow match and black powder pretty much guarantees that something will go BOOM, somewhere.
Enjoyed it.
Burnt only one hole in shirt from match. Lousy match, used clothesline soaked in saltpeter. Would suggest follow Ulrich Bretscher as in:
Slow Match
As I've been told not to Tempt the Lord Thy God. I sold it whilst I yet remained in one piece..
That rendezvous match was recounted on ALR months ago by Bob Roller about how this guy with a matchlock out shot the "mountain men" with their hawken guns, even shot floating targets in a river - funniest thing I ever read & it was YOU!

Mike

[the Devil Leads Sinners by a “Flaxen Cord”]
 

toot

32 Cal.
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
1,589
Reaction score
551
I have two match locks, a PETRONEL, with a tiller trigger & an INDIAN one with a trigger. I make my own cord.
 

JCKelly

36 Cl.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
96
Reaction score
69
I liked that "tiller trigger" Easier to carefully squeeze that match down into the priming using four fingers, or so I thought, than just one finger on a conventional trigger.

And - Yep, dd832 it was I
 

Melchi577

32 Cal
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
19
Reaction score
14
Location
Devon, England
for range use i have a perforated tube with a cap on it clamped to the firing point this has a right angled cut out at the bottom so i can stick the lit end of the match up the tube and hook in in place in the cut out. its only lit at the FP, only leaves the tube when I'm ready to fire. goes straight back in after and is well and truly put out when i finish.
you don't need distractions when using a matchlock.
I love using mine but if you take one rabbiting don't wear a modern fleece (i don't want to discuss how i know this)
The flashing the pan option sounds like a reasonable plan.
 

Rudyard

45 Cal.
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
835
Reaction score
534
Never blown up as yet. When hunting I would, if expecting a shot. Carry the match between my fingers holding the butt in a slope arm fashion (.If not expecting a shot I carried a ' Pre 1840 high plains' Bic ! )But Internationals keep the match in a pop tin affixed to a post of the ranges between shots .Though on firing the match cord unless secured does tend to fly away.. Yet for all the potential hazards we shot them in public shows with out incident . Exploding jumpers ! Do tell !. Regards Rudyard
 

russellshaffer

36 Cal.
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
406
Reaction score
175
Location
Klamath Falls, Oregon
I have had a couple of unintentional discharges with mine. Always while pointed downrange but it's still a shock. I use a very short match and light it in the serpentine with a little butane torch from Home depot when I'm ready to shoot. After fireing I snip off the burning end into a safe place. There's no fire anywhere near until I'm ready to shoot. I haven't had any surprises since I started the "light in the serpentine" method. I might shoot it with a kid around if there was only one kid.
 

Canute Rex

40 Cal.
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
279
Reaction score
45
These days I have a match case I made from a 6" long piece of 1-1/2" copper pipe with caps soldered on the ends. I drilled a bunch of 1/8" holes in one side and the bottom and a 1/2" hole in the top. I have it slung on a cord on my left hip. The edge of the 1/2" hole is sharpened a bit so it catches on the match. I usually carry a 3-6' length of match looped around one strap of my bag. I leave the end of the match burning in there in between shots.

The other important thing is, right after priming and shutting the pan cover, tip the musket to the right and blow any loose powder away. If you want to blow on the match while it is in the serpentine, extend the forefinger of your right hand along the barrel to cover the crack between the pan cover and the barrel. It's the details like this that will prevent embarrassment.

If you want to put out your match without snipping it, just stick about 4" of it down the muzzle of your barrel. It will snuff out in 15-20 seconds. It needs air flow to keep going.
 

JCKelly

36 Cl.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
96
Reaction score
69
Assume your matchcord is made without any saltpeter?
 

jdw276

40 Cal.
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
609
Reaction score
146
With yutes running around with us as we teach them about firearms, safe handling, operating them, with flintlocks, priming tools, loading bench-not with open powder containers, but with powder around, just general chaos with bodies. All done safely as we control our firearms, rather than a matchlock on the line i think i will go with a cannon. Sounds safer!
 

JCKelly

36 Cl.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
96
Reaction score
69
Cannon have their own protocol to prevent loosing a limb, vision or life.
Follow the ten step procedure shown here:
National Safety Rules of the American Artillery Association
cwarartillery dot com/mrty/marty dot html

Some think this too fussy. Some require an ambulance.

More to the point, attention to formal safety rules matters. We have such rules where I shoot (shot) but I can't say I've always been comfortable with their observance. Perhaps they were the "yutes" to whom you refer? I have gradually come to prefer shooting alone. Too many morons

Our cannon guy is first class.

And no, I was not at all impressed with the one guy I saw with a matchlock. Because he was mishandling a GUN, and not because it was a matchlock.
 

Belleville

32 Cal.
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
150
Reaction score
60
A matchlock should not be reloaded with a mounted burning match. I put the tip of the sword in the ground a safe distance behind me, dismount the burning match and hang it on the sword when reloading. After closing the pan, remount the burning match. But no children are involved.
 

jdw276

40 Cal.
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
609
Reaction score
146
A matchlock should not be reloaded with a mounted burning match. I put the tip of the sword in the ground a safe distance behind me, dismount the burning match and hang it on the sword when reloading. After closing the pan, remount the burning match. But no children are involved.
That is where i thought my loading procedure would go. Just like a flinter or percussion rifle back on the loading bench and load, take to the firing line, prime or cap. In this case mount the match. Then i realized that there maybe a flinter next to me, where do i put my match on the firing line while loading? not on the bench like with the caps or pan charger and you have lit match next to this, folks walking around, maybe bump something, then stuff goes poof, or bang and i don't want that ever. Reliting the match 30 or 40 times is not a picture i want to see. I know we have a safe operation, we don't let kids load, prime or cap our guns, just shoot em from a bench where we place the gun for them. They pull the trigger after instructions. I can't see how to put a matchlock into the mix of firearms safely and let many shoot it.
 
Top