Now I see what you guys were talking about.

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mmb617

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I'm new to black powder having bought my first ever muzzleloader in May of this year. It was a Traditions Deer Hunter rifle and I enjoyed it so much I bought a Traditions Trapper pistol a month later. I took my son to the range with me not long after I got the rifle and he got the black powder bug too, so he bought a Traditions Pennsylvania rifle.

Since then I've fired 1500 or so rounds out of my guns with very few problems. My son doesn't get to the range as often as I do since he's still a working man and I'm retired, but when he goes with me I notice he has very little trouble with his gun either.

I noticed right away when I joined this forum that there is a general disdain for Traditions guns and in particular their locks are considered to be garbage. I couldn't quite understand this based on my own experience. Well maybe I was just lucky up to that point.

I really like my Deerhunter rifle but there were a couple things about it I thought could be better. Although I'm not real concerned about traditional looks I did think a wood stock would be a lot nicer than the modern looking plastic stock on my rifle, and I love the set trigger on my pistol while the rifle has a rather heavy single trigger. So the obvious solution was to buy another rifle - one with a wood stock and set trigger.

When I saw a Traditions Hawken Woodsman in stock at Mid South I figured that fit the bill perfectly. I ordered it Labor Day weekend and it arrived last Wednesday. And now I understand the negative comments about the Traditions locks. While my other flintlocks fire probably 95% of the time this one is about 50%. I've had it to the range three times and tried all I know with changing flints and such but it gets no better. My other guns were good right out of the box and continue to be reliable as I close in on a thousand rounds through the Deerhunter. Something just isn't right with this Woodsman. The problem seems to be with the relationship of the hammer to the frizzen, the angle and spacing is off somehow.

My son thinks I should contact Traditions about it but I figure best case they'd want me to send the whole gun back for inspection and I'm not going to do that. Instead I ordered a replacement lock for it from L&R. I just placed the order today so I'll come back and update this thread once I get it and see if that cures my problem. I sure hope so as I really like the gun as far as how it feels in my hands. The balance is very good, I like the sights and it's more accurate for me (when it decides to fire) than my Deerhunter rifle.

I took my pistol to the range today and did have two misfires out of 20 shots but the flint that's in it now has 126 shots on it so that's just me pushing my flints to the very end of their life. My new rifle won't fire half the time with brand new flints.
 

thompson50

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Well it’s difficult to trouble shoot without seeing it. You may be correct about the angle the flint strikes the frizzen or it could be a poorly hardened frizzen. What kind of flint are you using?
 

Britsmoothy

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Soft frizzens are the common cause of poor ignition.
Will a file skate over it or file material from it?
 

Phil Coffins

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I’m one of those who have “disdain” for SOME Traditions guns, the lock is the soul of the muzzleloader and as you have discovered a fair quality lock is about $185 then a barrel is that or more. For the low price of a complete gun they have to cut costs somewhere. I’m happy you’re having fun with this sport and imagine you will follow the steep path to the better stuff.
Glad you got you’re boy into it with you!:thumb:
 

mmb617

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Well it’s difficult to trouble shoot without seeing it. You may be correct about the angle the flint strikes the frizzen or it could be a poorly hardened frizzen. What kind of flint are you using?
At this point I'm really not too worried about trouble shooting the lock as I've already ordered a replacement for it. It would be nice to know exactly what the source of the problem is though. Part of it may well be a too soft frizzen.

I'm using french amber flints I got from Stonewall Creek Outfitters, which are the same ones that work perfectly in my other guns.

Soft frizzens are the common cause of poor ignition.
Will a file skate over it or file material from it?
I just tried this and the file will leave some small shiny spots but not really dig in. It must be softer than the one in my Deerhunter rifle as this one already looks more worn yet the Deerhunter has over 900 shots on it and this one has only 60.

Still I can't help but think there is something wrong with the geometry between the hammer jaws and frizzen. I have to hang the flint out farther on this gun than my others or it strikes the frizzen too low.

I’m happy you’re having fun with this sport and imagine you will follow the steep path to the better stuff.
Glad you got you’re boy into it with you!:thumb:
Yeah I'm glad he likes it as well. He's already looking at some better stuff for himself as he has a lot more expendable income than I do. Besides there's no point in him buying the cheap stuff since I'm 70 years old and he's my only heir. All my cheap stuff will someday be his anyways.

Did you try flipping the flint upside down? Some locks prefer bevel down.
No I didn't try it bevel down since it's already in my opinion too far from the frizzen causing the flint to strike too low. I did however try different flints in case I just had a bad one.



Thanks everyone for your input. This is just a speed bump in the road, it certainly won't discourage me from enjoying the sport. And I WILL get that rifle working to my satisfaction. Eventually!
 

Britsmoothy

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Still I can't help but think there is something wrong with the geometry between the hammer jaws and frizzen. I have to hang the flint out farther on this gun than my others or it strikes the frizzen too low.
Are you fitting a spacer at the back of the flint to stop it yielding away from the frizzen?
Have you tried fitting the flint upside down?
Another issue sometimes is the frizzen spring offers to much resistance to opening once the flint strikes. How does that feel between your two rifles?
 

Eric Krewson

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My experience with L&R RPL locks ( only one) is they are not a drop in, at least not on a TC.

Hope you have some gun building skills, I do and it was still a chore installing the L&R.
 

mmb617

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Are you fitting a spacer at the back of the flint to stop it yielding away from the frizzen?
Have you tried fitting the flint upside down?
Another issue sometimes is the frizzen spring offers to much resistance to opening once the flint strikes. How does that feel between your two rifles?
No I haven't tried a spacer at the back of the flint, but I always use my flints till they are too short to clamp in the jaws and I have no problem moving the flint forward enough as it wears down that it doesn't contact the jaw screw on my other guns. As long as I make sure it's tight in the jaws that doesn't seem to create a problem with them.

I didn't try flipping the flint because I can see that won't work just by looking at it.

I did compare the feel of the frizzen spring with my other rifle and they feel about the same. My pistol has a noticeably stiffer feel to it's spring yet it fires reliably.

My experience with L&R RPL locks ( only one) is they are not a drop in, at least not on a TC.

Hope you have some gun building skills, I do and it was still a chore installing the L&R.
I was a little concerned about that so I got them to send me a picture and dimensions of the RPL lock. The length and width they specified are exactly what I have and the picture looks to be an exact copy of the shape of my backplate. It would appear that if any work is needed to fit the plate to the cutout it would be very minor.

There may well need to be some wood removed from the interior if this lock has parts that extend deeper into the opening on the back side, but I think I can handle that easily enough.

The rep I talked to said this RPL 07 lock is a new one for them and it specifically is supposed to fit the Traditions Hawken Woodsman. I guess I'll find out.
 

Grenadier1758

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The one place that modifications may be required is in the length of the sear lever. L&R sears are often long and the tip of the sear lever will drag on wood in the lock mortise. This is a necessary manufacturing practice as L&R locks may be installed in firearms of differing widths.
 

hanshi

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Traditions rifles are basically good, solid and accurate guns. I received a DeerHunter thirty years ago and hunted with it for over 20 years until I used it as part of a trade. Locks can sometimes be hit or miss on imported muzzleloaders as your experience proves. Even a Pedersoli caused me all kinds of headaches until I replaced the lock.
 

Britsmoothy

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Traditions guns are the equivalent of Zebco fishing gear. Yeah you can catch fish with a Zebbie, but they're not something you're going to show up to a Bass tournament with.
You maybe right but I have turned up at pheasant shoots with some really junk guns and still taken more than the rich man's guns did!
 

Eterry

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You maybe right but I have turned up at pheasant shoots with some really junk guns and still taken more than the rich man's guns did!
Amen Brother, when I had young eyes and didn't know I could miss I would smoke all challengers with my $99 CVA Kentucky rifle.
But..it was a percussion gun.
 

Britsmoothy

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Amen Brother, when I had young eyes and didn't know I could miss I would smoke all challengers with my $99 CVA Kentucky rifle.
But..it was a percussion gun.
I had one of then too when I was young and dafter than I am now even.
No wabbit was safe under100yds or more!
 

Sidney Smith

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Don't get me wrong fellas, I've always said you buy what you can afford. If a Traditions gun is all a person can afford, I can't fault, or argue with that. I too used to be young and back when I was raising a family, I had to watch my pennies, so I did own a few Zebcos. However, when I could afford better, I always went for the better quality item. In the long run you're better off.

My gripe here is with anyone who can afford better quality but still chooses to fish at the bottom of the barrel. But, then again, it isn't my decision to make in what people choose to buy.
 

Gunny5821

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Nothing wrong with Traditions if you have a few skills and like to tinker. I've been looking at the Crockett and will probably buy one to tinker with and convert to flint once I get my hands on one of their small replacement flint pistol locks. You'll also find that folks are also down on any production guns whether it be T/C, Pedersoli, Pietta, or Uberti. I have several of each and have been extremely happy with them over the years, although, I just renewed a serious interest in black powder rifles last year after a 40 year absence.

If not for Val Forgett and Turner Kirkland, renewing interest with the reproduction black powder market, I seriously doubt that the sport would have grown to where it's at today. The Italian and Spanish made guns allow folks to get their feet wet, or just to find out if black powder is their cup of tea.

I also have a few Zebco and Johnson reels, but on occasion, I can be caught using a cane pole with bobber.
 

mmb617

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My new L&R lock arrived on Thursday and I got it installed that day. There was a fair amount of wood that needed removed inside the cutout to allow it to function as it's a good bit beefier than the stock lock. I used my router and did a lot of minor removal and test fitting till it seated properly. Not really that hard to do.

Yesterday I went to the range to try it out and at first I was pretty disappointed as I was still getting a lot of failures to ignite. After playing around with the flint placement a while I finally remembered reading in the manual that proper placement was with about 1/4" gap between the flint and frizzen at half cock. All my Traditions flintlocks with stock locks like the flint really close to the frizzen at half cock, something like a 1/16" gap, and that was what I was using with the new lock. As soon as I moved the flint back to get the recommended 1/4" gap she started lighting them up every time. The whole hammer to frizzen relationship is completely different on this lock compared to the Traditions ones so it makes sense those measurements would be different.

I only shot 20 rounds with the new lock so far but all indications are that it will be a big improvement over the stock lock. The little wheel on the bottom of the frizzen that rides on the spring makes frizzen operation so much smoother than it was just sliding across the spring. I'm also using 5/8" wide flints as that's what I had on hand, but the manual recommends 3/4" ones which I have ordered. I don't think that will make any real difference though as my measurements show only 0.040" wider frizzen on the new lock, at 0.685" at it's widest, so a properly squared up 5/8" flint (0.675") should be able to scrape pretty much the entire width, and 3/4" would be a bit over wide to my mind.

I'll report back once I have more shots on this lock.
 

sawyer04

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I'm also using 5/8" wide flints as that's what I had on hand, but the manual recommends 3/4" ones which I have ordered.
the 3/4" will make another difference for the better. Make sure to keep the bearing loose and free on the hammer (frizzen). There is some good you tube videos about the relation of the cock and hammer with flint placement. It is possible to remove the hammer on your old traditions lock, heat to a cherry red and and quench in water. Be careful, I have over hardened hammers that just snapped when the cock and flint hit it. 🙂
 

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