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Rocks will make a workable flint

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Loyalist Dave

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Finding something to start a fire with is one thing, fitting it to a Hawken lock is another.
INDEED
There is a big difference also between what may be knapped to form an arrow or spear point, which then is used vs. flesh, and stone that is knapped that can then be used (more than once) for the flint in a gunlock. Obsidian is amazingly good for knives, spear points, and arrow points, but sucks for a flintlock because it shatters. Obsidian is found thousands of miles from where it exists because of trade, as are various forms of chert, which early colonists called "flint" because it acted like English flint in their guns. Forms of chert are the second choice for things like spear points and arrow points, etc.

The Conquistadors found certain types of quarts would work in their miquelet locks, but..., while the quarts did "spark" it was not nearly as good as flint, nor as reliable, and the miquelet lock is pretty robust and strikes pretty hard. Because they got it to work in their locks doesn't mean it would work in all flintlocks, either.

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Tanglefoot

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Those of us who live in or near the Texas Hill Country have the Edwards Plateau handy. As I understand the geology, the edge of the plateau was a source of Texas chert/flint which was a primary trade item for the local tribes back before traders brought steel tools and weapons to the region. Among other uses, chert makes usable gun flints and fire striker flints. A couple of years ago, a friend complained he couldn't find flint where he lives and asked me if I would send him some of our chert. I filled one of those small "If it fits, it ships" boxes with the stuff and sent it. He said it works fine. When I mailed it, the postal clerk hefted the box and said, "This sucker is heavy! What'd you put in here, rocks?" and I replied: "Yep." I don't think he believed me.
 

M. De Land

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INDEED
There is a big difference also between what may be knapped to form an arrow or spear point, which then is used vs. flesh, and stone that is knapped that can then be used (more than once) for the flint in a gunlock. Obsidian is amazingly good for knives, spear points, and arrow points, but sucks for a flintlock because it shatters. Obsidian is found thousands of miles from where it exists because of trade, as are various forms of chert, which early colonists called "flint" because it acted like English flint in their guns. Forms of chert are the second choice for things like spear points and arrow points, etc.

The Conquistadors found certain types of quarts would work in their miquelet locks, but..., while the quarts did "spark" it was not nearly as good as flint, nor as reliable, and the miquelet lock is pretty robust and strikes pretty hard. Because they got it to work in their locks doesn't mean it would work in all flintlocks, either.

LD
Some facts about volcanic glass (Obsidian) is that it is not as hard as chert or as tough in most instances. Obsidian is about a 3 on the diamond hardess scale where as chert is 7. I knapp both and have been a professional glazier ( glass cutter and installer) for 50 years. I learned to knapp on the ever present supply of plate glass I have available that is thrown in the dumpster literally by the ton. It makes really pretty arrow and spear points but will not spark for beans is not impact durable and shatters almost instantly tried as a gun flint.
 

hanshi

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I imagine there are several common types of stone that can be used with some level of success. I've used obsidian and it did work, after a fashion, but quickly stopped after a few shots.
 

Dan_273

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One things for sure, you are MUCH more likely to be able to “hunt up” a rock to be used in place of a flint (or better yet, find a flint) then find percussion caps laying on the ground.

Once the great ammo shortage of 2020 hit and good brands of percussion caps have disappeared from store shelves, I am all but done with the cap lock rifles. Flints don’t have that sort of kink in the supply chain and can even be knapped yourself.

Flintlocks are more enjoyable for me and I’m finally coming around to them and seeing why so many prefer them over the cap guns.
I’m just getting into BP and that is pretty much why I started looking at inlines, switched to looking at percussion, but ended up ordering a flint. Have buddy who’s a big BP guy and that was one of the first pieces of advice he replied back with when I mentioned I was looking at getting a BP rifle.
 

M. De Land

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I’m just getting into BP and that is pretty much why I started looking at inlines, switched to looking at percussion, but ended up ordering a flint. Have buddy who’s a big BP guy and that was one of the first pieces of advice he replied back with when I mentioned I was looking at getting a BP rifle.
They are a challenge to shoot accurately but once you get the hang of holding hard through the shot they are very accurate indeed. It simply is getting the idea in your head to keep the sights on target as best you can until the recoil occurs. What I think is actually happening is that with this technique the sights do actually move off target while the gun is going through it's cycle of firing but has time enough to come back on target alignment when the ball does get around to leaving the muzzle.
 

smoothshooter

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My suggestion to my critics is to try it for themselves instead of reading about it on the internet.
I have.

Finding something to start a fire with is one thing, fitting it to a Hawken lock is another.
That is a true statement.
A lot of rocks that will suffice for fire-starting fail miserably as gun flints due to unpredictable fracture lines. Usually these pieces of chert/flint/whatever fragment into small brittle chunks and slivers that are of no use.
 

Carbon 6

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That is a true statement.
A lot of rocks that will suffice for fire-starting fail miserably as gun flints due to unpredictable fracture lines. Usually these pieces of chert/flint/whatever fragment into small brittle chunks and slivers that are of no use.
Indeed, I have fashioned a flint out of chert many times only to have it explode on the first strike. Or it fractures during shaping .
 

M. De Land

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Indeed, I have fashioned a flint out of chert many times only to have it explode on the first strike. Or it fractures during shaping .
Knapping a gun flint will reveal most if not all these weaknesses in material long before it ever gets fitted to a cock jaw. Picking a piece up off the ground that has not been worked will often still have these flaws present in them that would reveal themselves in the shaping and trmming of the material.
 

Loyalist Dave

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I knapp both and have been a professional glazier ( glass cutter and installer) for 50 years. I learned to knapp on the ever present supply of plate glass I have available that is thrown in the dumpster literally by the ton. It makes really pretty arrow and spear points but will not spark for beans is not impact durable and shatters almost instantly tried as a gun flint.
SIDE NOTE....,

IF you go on a walkabout in Australia, and see a powerline of poles with an electric cable or two, you may want to use that for a bit of navigation, AND...

As you walk, as you pass the poles, you may find a few original style Coca Cola bottles at the base of the poles, perhaps every mile or so....

Leave them be....they are NOT trash, and were dumped there by the power company for a reason.

See the thick glass insulators on top of the poles are GREAT for napping points for spears, and the Bushmen know this. They have no problem in knocking down a cross bar to get at the insulator, especially when it's a phone line at very low amps. Now the base of an original style Coke bottle is ALSO great for making a point. So..., the power company every now and then has a chap in an SUV inspect the poles, and drops a few original style Coke bottles at the base of a pole, perhaps every mile or so. The Bushmen know this, and leave the insulators alone, as they can simply walk along and eventually find a suitable bottle, so no need to go to the extra trouble of harvesting insulators. ;)

LD
 

Kansas Kid

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Where there’s a will there’s a way. May of us do it with good results. Try it for yourself, it’s part of the hobby.
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Here is a rounded piece of quartz from my driveway making sparks.



It helps that the lock is superb.

dave
 

M. De Land

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They can be made to spark alright for emergencies but they will be hard on a frizzen face for continual use !
 

bldtrailer

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any rock with the hardness over 7 (glass, if it scratches a soda bottle) will spark, it's if it will shatter or can be Knapped to make a good "flint" . It was said the native Americans liked flint guns over cap guns due to the fact they could find sparking chert easier than caps

take a small file and try to spark on any sharp rock edges

In Va NY any colonel ports there is english/french flint tossed overboard it was ballast stone from the old world
 
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D.Summers

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When I was a kid, my father bought me an el-cheapo flintlock for Christmas. This was early seventies. The lock worked quite well. Well, after a few weeks in the forest, the old flint began to dull. Knowing remarkably little, I moved that flint around, from this edge to that, until she played out. No more sparky! And the old man wouldnt, or maybe couldn't, buy me more flints. So I smashed a white quartz stone with the sledge hammer and selected some likely pieces to fit into the lock. Worked ok for a while, but rather quickly became iffy about ignition. As a result I developed a dreadful flinch, not knowing if the gun would go off! I sadly began leaving the long gun at home and went back to the J C Higgins .22 single shot! Maybe quartz in an emergency!
 

ord sgt

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Va NY any colonel ports there is english/french flint tossed overboard it was ballast stone from the old world
I sent some English flint chunks to M DeLand. Some chunks came into my possession from a man who worked on a river dredge near the ports at Philadelphia. The flint was used for ballast, then tossed overboard upon arrival. It made room for cargo on the return voyage to England.
 
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Hi,
Here is a rounded piece of quartz from my driveway making sparks.



It helps that the lock is superb.

dave
This is pretty much what I had in mind. Sure, a well shaped, proper flint is ideal. Without it though, you can still shoot. I can say one thing for certain. If you go somewhere, and forget them at home or cant buy percussion caps, you have precisely a 0% chance of finding them in the wild. Now I can also say for certain that you have somewhere between 1% and 100% chance of finding SOMETHING that makes a spark in a flintlock. Something is better than nothing.

I've gone to the range before and forgot my caps, or only had my one capper full. Nothing you can do but what you can and go home. With a flintlock, you could at least stand a chance. At the very least, the flint in the gun should provide a fair day of shooting.
 

M. De Land

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I sent some English flint chunks to M DeLand. Some chunks came into my possession from a man who worked on a river dredge near the ports at Philadelphia. The flint was used for ballast, then tossed overboard upon arrival. It made room for cargo on the return voyage to England.
I started on that stuff you sent the other night and made a large musket flint out of one of the flakes. It needs a bit more touch up. I'm anxious to hear how those work I sent to you when you get time to test them.
 
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