Still getting a clack...bang!

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Sparkitoff, Jun 12, 2019.

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  1. Jun 13, 2019 #41

    tenngun

    tenngun

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    Got my first glinted in ‘77, preferred them ever since. All mine shoot when I squeeze the trigger, no delay at all.
    But....
    Every time I let someone shoot one of my guns they always comment on how the see a pause. I can’t see it watching them shoot. What pause are they talking about I wonder.
    Could it be I’ve shot rock in the locks so long I just can’t notice it?
    People talk about follow through. Why do you need it?
    Because there is a delay. Even though a flint lock is the best and most perfect creation to ever come from the mind of mankind, and the penultimate gift to humanity of civilization.... it won’t fire as fast as nipple huggers. I know that is heresy but sadly the truth.
    Thankfully the seeming pause in time quickly disappears in the mind of the shooter as experience with the flintlock grows.
     
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  2. Jun 13, 2019 #42

    hanshi

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    Yep, those of us who shoot only flint are quite jaded and are convinced they fire virtually instantaneously; but we also know better. If there was no lag time between trigger pull and firing, follow through would be unnecessary. Ignition of flintlocks varies much more than even percussion guns. And ignition of flintlocks is, to start with, much, much slower than cap guns. Forget instantaneous; just relish the enjoyment of a beautiful technology that is the only one of its kind to absolutely demand the human element.
     
  3. Jun 13, 2019 #43

    Col. Batguano

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    By nature they are simply going to be slower. You have 3 operations going on. Even in the video shown there is a distinctive click before the bang. The scraping of the frizzen and falling of the sparks is going to take some time for ignition. Since the pan fire is largely uncontained, there is no pressure to FORCE it in to the main charge through the touch hole, and ignite a bunch all at once. No matter how fast it is, that's still going to take some time.

    A cap gun's fire is contained and sends fire forcefully through the powder charge, and instantaneously gets more of the main charge going all at once than a flint gun does.

    The only way I can think of (other than what we do now by having a really sparky frizzen, TH liner, and hole in the charge for the fire to light a bunch of main charge at once) to make it faster is to make the powder faster or of a higher heat yield. The problem with many of those is that they require a higher ignition heat than can be reliably gotten by a frizzen full of sparks. Priming compound has a higher heat and gas yield, but the stuff is pretty unstable--like mercury fulminate. Pretty dangerous stuff to handle in large quantities.

    The modern BP makers might can make their powder faster, like using blasting powder for primer stuff, but that's classified as a REAL explosive (requiring a license) up a grade from the stuff we buy. I'm not sure how they do it (other than granualizing it finer) but they might infuse it with more dextrin or repeat the process more times to get better penetration of the carbon with the sulfur and potassium nitrate. It would be interesting to hear if anyone here with access to the stuff has ever tried it though.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2019 #44

    WRustyLane

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    When shooting my flintlock, I just don't notice the lag time. It seems instantaneous to me. As soon as the cock falls the rifle fires. If there is a lag time I cannot tell it.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2019 #45

    Cruzatte

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    Lots of good advice, I'm certain. Nevertheless, it's difficult to diagnose the problem without being there.
     
  6. Jun 14, 2019 #46

    arcticap

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    Swiss Null B is a faster priming powder.
     
  7. Jun 14, 2019 #47

    SDSmlf

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    Might be time to find some other flintlock shooters to actually hang out with while shooting. Personally, seem to learn something new everytime i shoot. Advantage of shooting with others is they usually point things out to you before you realize them. I usually shoot by myself, but relish the opportunity to shoot with like minded others.
     
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  8. Jun 14, 2019 #48

    Cruzatte

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    Exactly so! :thumbs up:
     
  9. Jun 14, 2019 #49

    flntlokr

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    I Have been reading all of the previous comments; nothing wrong with any of them. I can only give you my technique, and you can work out what works best from all of the info you get. I use home-made flash hole inserts. I use 1/4 x 28 stainless set screws, 1/4 or5/16 long depending on the barrel wall thickness. I drill a 1/16 hole, and use a countersink from the chamber end to leave as short a tube as possible for the flash to travel through; this creates a venturi, which accelerates the flash as it enters the chamber. I never use an insert wire when loading. I normally use horn powder (FFF or FF) in the pan. (In a humid environment, FFFF tends to grab a lot of moisture from the air, and leaves a messy, wet pan) To prime, I place a modest pile in the pan. close the frizzen, roll the rifle so that the priming powder can get into the flash hole. then tip it back the other way, and give it a couple of thumps to get most of it back into the pan, at the outboard end.(this leaves a fine dust of powder right into the chamber; if you fill the flash hole with priming, you make it into a fuse, which is definitely slower than the ball of fire generated by an explosion in the pan) Then let 'er rip! The ignition should be only slightly slower than a percussion gun; you have to hold your aim until everything is done. After your shot, your sights should be pretty much where they were when you squeezed off. If you are getting a definite clack---bang, you might try drying your powder (not over the fire) just lay it out on a clean cloth in the hot sun for a while. Good Shootin!
     
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  10. Jun 14, 2019 #50

    mushka

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    I am fairly new to flintlocks and are used to the way caplocks and modern guns fire. I am more inclined to believe that people who started out with the flint rifle are not as aware of a delay in ignition regardless of how long the delay is. It is simply what they are used to and it doesn't cause them concern. Me however picked right on delayed ignition and it bothered me some as I thought I was doing something wrong or the gun itself was having problems with something. After reading a lot here I found that delay, however short, is normal and that with experience one will learn to live with it without concern. I was surprised that I was able to ignore the pan smoke etc, and could concentrate on the site. I think concentrating on the site with a flint gun is more important that with modern stuff. Keeping the front sight in sight as long as you can steadies the rifle better. It's all a learning process, and I am for the most part enjoying the process. Now, if I can only quit thinking like I'm shooting a fast loader, to slow down to 1840 loading times instead of 2019 loading times I'll get along even better.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2019 #51

    Col. Batguano

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    It's all a part of what makes flint shooting so much more challenging than the others. It's not just the lock, but the totality of the barrel dwell time. A cap gun will have a total barrel dwell time around .03". A flint gun around .095". A fast cartridge gun around .010"

    Think about how much "distance" your front sight can move on the target in that much time and you get the picture of what makes flint so challenging. In standing position my front sight might cross the entire bull in .1" if I'm wiggly that day.
     
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  12. Jun 15, 2019 #52

    Dr5x

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    The more frequent reason for a delay between trigger pull and a flintlock firing is as a result of piling your pan powder up against the touch hole which prevents the FFLASH OF OF PAN POWDER'S IGNITION BEING SENT DOWN THE TOUCH HOLE.
    IF YOU DON'T THINK THERE IS ENOUGH OF A FLASH TO HAVE SOME PART OF IT FYING DOWN THE TOUCH HOLE. TRY DRY FIRING THE FLINTLOCK AT NIGHT IN THE DARK/YOU WILL BE SURPRISED AT HOW BIG AFLASH IS CREATEDWHEN THE PAN POWDER IGNITES..

    DUTCH SCHOULTZ

     
  13. Jun 16, 2019 #53

    Pletcher

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    I planned to stay out of this one, but got suckered in anyway. Of course there is a delay with flint, and it can be measured. In timing I have done, I based my conclusions on twenty trials and the resulting average. Timing a flintlock been done since the early '80s and written up in MuzzleBlasts. The fastest lock I have timed was an original J. Manton at .0299 seconds. No reproduction has matched it as yet. Most flints fall .0350-.0450 seconds. Any lock under .0400 is pretty quick INHO.

    Ignition from pan to vent is another can of worms. Here how well the shooter maintains his lock makes the difference. Placement of prime makes a difference. I timed prime against the barrel, level, and banked away.
    Close to vent average was .037. Banked away was .046. after seeing the results I would never try to keep prime away from the vent.

    On my gun, the fffg Swiss barrel charge can be seen through the vent. I want my Swiss Null B priming to be as close to the vent as possible. When I prime I try to cover the whole pan, but there will be prime directly under the vent as close as possible. I think of this as the bonfire effect - "the closer your are, the hotter it is."

    Vents located high or low made less difference than where the prime was located. This was the reason for doing the experiment. I heard a conversation with Gary Brumfield and Wallas Gusler when they spoke of Spanish military guns with vents at the bottom of the pan. I told Gary I could test that.

    That brings us to the percussion comparison. A friend and I timed a Small Siler percussion on a pistol stock from Jim Chambers. Using a stub barrel, we got around .020 sec. To compare though you must add the flint ignition time and the vent/barrel times. If one uses .0400 for the lock and .037 for the vent ignition you get a flint barrel ignition is .077. With some variation you could use.075 to .080 for flint barrel ignition - compared to .020 for percussion. That means around .040 -.060 sec difference, depending on your care of flint, vent, etc.

    One item that I don't remember being mentioned is are the sparks actually landing in the pan. I have pics of sparks landing in the pan and some landing in front of the pan. How many land in prime determines how fast the pan fire builds. 15 sparks in prime is obviously better than three sparks.

    I didn't to be so long winded. If you want to see the testing, check out the link below. It's divided into 6 parts. If you like to bank your powder, be sure to see part 3.

    https://www.blackpowdermag.com/pan-vent-experiments-an-introduction/
    Regards,

    Pletch
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  14. Jun 16, 2019 #54

    Pletcher

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    One other thing. It is a myth that a pan can ignite before the flint gets to the bottom of its travel. I have video of 80+ locks filmed at 5000 frames/second. None do this.
    Regards,
    Pletch
     
  15. Jun 16, 2019 #55

    Zonie

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    Thank you for getting into the discussion Pletch.
    You are the only one I know that has the real numbers so every time I get into one of these conversations, I'm going by memory and that's not always a good thing now that I'm getting older.

    Sometime earlier in this topic someone mentioned that they didn't understand the need to "follow thru" after pulling the trigger on a flintlock.

    I think your combined time of .08 seconds between the time the cock starts to fall until the time the gun fires makes it pretty clear that maintaining a good sight alignment with the target long after the trigger is pulled is the only way to shoot a flintlock accuretly. That's what "following thru" means.
     
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  16. Jun 17, 2019 #56

    The Crisco Kid

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    Add to this the time it takes for the ball to exit these long barrels and follow through becomes even more important.

    JS
     
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  17. Jun 17, 2019 #57

    nit wit

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    I always prick my charge!
    Nit Wit
     
  18. Jun 17, 2019 #58

    arcticap

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    If a flintlock won't fire while being held upside down then something is wrong with it. ;)
     
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  19. Jun 17, 2019 #59

    Pletcher

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  20. Jun 17, 2019 #60

    WRustyLane

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    After seeing those videos I think, wow, that's next to yer face!
     
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