New Wheellock

Discussion in 'Pre-Flintlock' started by Canute Rex, Jan 21, 2019.

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  1. Jan 21, 2019 #1

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    Last week I went down to Westhampton Massachusetts to see Len Day Sr. and Jr. and pick up my new wheellock. I thought I'd share my joy with you folks.

    This is a long saga that started with much pipe dreaming. I got kind of obsessed and started looking around for a maker. Of course, the world champion is Bolek, the Polish gunsmith, but he had a wait list years long. Steve, a friend of mine and fellow matchlock shooter had listened patiently to my rambling and that paid off. He was at an event at Fort #4 in Claremont NH and looked over at another sutler and saw a wheellock lock on the table. He asked about it and the sutler, a gunmaker, told him it was a lock made by some Polish guy. Bing! Steve made the connection and I bought the lock. It was a copy of an Italian lock used in the so-called John Alden gun found in Massachusetts. I didn't like that style so I did some research and found a regional Brescian style gun that I liked. I have a Len Day matchlock I like, and he is into wheellocks, so I gave the job to Len and Len. Fast forward a year.

    Here are photos of the original:
    IMG_6449.JPG IMG_6451.JPG
    IMG_6450.JPG
    The original, from the 1640s, is 43" long with a 32" barrel in about 54 caliber. It has a LOP of only about 10", being a transition cheek stock. There are other similar guns with longer shoulder stocks.

    I decided that a longer 14" LOP for me would demand a longer barrel for visual balance, so I went with a stock 42" Coleraine octagon-to-round barrel. I wanted to save my overworked shoulder from recoil so I went for 45 caliber. These two things together are problematic in terms of weight. In retrospect I probably should have gone for a 50 or 54 and/or had the barrel shortened to 36" or so. I'll get steadiness and a left arm like Popeye.

    Here's the new version:
    IMG_6842.JPG IMG_6843.JPG IMG_6844.JPG IMG_6845.JPG IMG_6832.JPG

    I took it out shooting the day I picked it up, but it was about 7 degrees out and fumbling with patch and ball was ridiculous, so I got three shots off. It is heavy (about 10 pounds) but it balances nicely and doesn't waver. The cheek/sighting position is better than you'd think given the stock shape. Len moved the top ridge of the butt to the right a little and the surface is slightly concave. There is essentially zero recoil with 65 grains of 3F. It feels like a 22. The trigger pull is light and the ignition is plenty fast.

    Now I have the happy labor of finding a ball/patch/powder combination it likes.
     
  2. Jan 21, 2019 #2

    russellshaffer

    russellshaffer

    russellshaffer

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    That sure looks good. Is it rifled or smooth? Len did a great job.
     
  3. Jan 22, 2019 #3

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    It's rifled - Coleraine round bottom rifling. The original was smooth, as far as I know.
     
  4. Jan 23, 2019 #4

    Teleoceras

    Teleoceras

    Teleoceras

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    Canute Rex:

    She is a real beauty! The best mix of two great gunsmiths!:thumbs up:
     
  5. Jan 23, 2019 #5

    rickystl

    rickystl

    rickystl

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    Hi Rex

    WOW!!! That turned out wonderful !!! What luck finding that lock at a local show. I too would have grabbed that lock even if I had no plans to build a wheellock. The Days' did a fantastic job of duplicating a Bresican wheellock from the period. (Did I send you some pics/drawings of a variety of butt stock shapes ?) Anyway, a terrific job all around. Most impressive.
    Did you happen to take any close up pics of the lock inside/outside before installing on the gun ? Would love to see those if available. Bolek's work looks outstanding. Wish his wait list wasn't so long.
    Congratulations. Rick
     
  6. Jan 23, 2019 #6

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    Hi Rick,

    I believe you did post some Brescian pics for me. Very helpful, thanks. As to lock photos, glad to oblige:

    IMG_5167(1).JPG IMG_5166(1).JPG
     
  7. Jan 23, 2019 #7

    Flint62Smoothie

    Flint62Smoothie

    Flint62Smoothie

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    Absolutely fantastic! Good on you!

    Just picked up the #786 early Germanic wheellock casting set myself of their large diamond-shaped lockplate from The Rifle Shoppe, as they had them in stock (can you believe it?). Intending to build a Mayflower ‘Alden’ gun replica. The original of that is now about 66-cal and I’m envisioning a 62-cal.
     
  8. Jan 30, 2019 #8

    cw1873

    cw1873

    cw1873

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    That looks fantastic! (and I am jealous) I follow Bolek on Facebook and much admire the construction pictures he posts.

    A wheellock is usually a bit of an attention getter at the range, have fun and give it lots of exercise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  9. Jan 30, 2019 #9

    feamir

    feamir

    feamir

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    I to am totally jealous. I really like the way the smith did the entry/exit of the barrel pins (I'm assuming that is what the stars are, please advise). I will try to do something similar with the musket I'm working on now. (Ref barrel pins in blind holes, removal?)
     
  10. Jan 30, 2019 #10

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    Feamir, those are the barrel pins. A great copy of the original decorative scheme. Slight mystery: The original has *four* barrel pins, and the rearmost one has what looks like a screw rather than a pin.

    In the left hand view you might notice that the original also has a sling attachment. It must have been a carbine for horseback use.

    I'm still figuring out a load for it. I'm also trying to figure the care and feeding of the lock itself. Pyrite is not flint and a wheel is not a frizzen. A lot more moving parts involved and opportunities for crud to get in the mechanism.
     
  11. Jan 30, 2019 #11

    rickystl

    rickystl

    rickystl

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    Thank you very much for the lock pics. Also love that trigger guard !!! A real beauty. So glad you found that lock. Rick.
     
  12. Jan 31, 2019 #12

    good ole boy

    good ole boy

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  13. Jan 31, 2019 #13

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    That is just about THE most beautiful gun I've seen on these fora for ages. You MUST make a video and post it on Youtube so that the rest of us can share the love. And BTW, capandball has recently posted a 30+ minute movie on wheellocks guns of all kinds - long and short - I'd like to think that you could do something like that.
     
  14. Feb 2, 2019 #14

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    At some point when it is a bit warmer (-5F in central Vermont right now, teens during the day) I'll do a video on the care and feeding of this wheellock. Share the joy - that's what it's all about, right?
     
  15. Feb 5, 2019 #15

    cw1873

    cw1873

    cw1873

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    Any idea what is on the stock of the third "stock photo" just rear of the trigger? It looks like the star has something large protruding from it .
     
  16. Feb 6, 2019 #16

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

    Canute Rex

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    cw1873, that seems to be an attachment point for a sling. It comes out from the stock in a curve and has a rectangular slot in the end.
     
  17. Feb 6, 2019 #17

    cw1873

    cw1873

    cw1873

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    thanks, I haven't seen one quite like that....will have to look for more pictures. I enjoy seeing features I think of as more "modern" on very old pieces
     
  18. Feb 7, 2019 #18

    Feltwad

    Feltwad

    Feltwad

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    I built both a wheellock pistol and a rifle way back in the early 1970s my biggest problem with them was the ignition . I first tried the pyrites which after a hit and miss ignition broke into little pieces , second was the flint which was not much better and finally the modern fire lighting flint which did not work, so if I may what do you wheellock shooters use for ignition ?.
    Feltwad
    [​IMG]
    50 CAL Rifle with German style paddle stock
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  19. Feb 8, 2019 #19

    Flint62Smoothie

    Flint62Smoothie

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    RickyStL knows what to use, buys them on eBay ... hang on.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2019 #20

    rickystl

    rickystl

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