Vent/Touch Hole Pick

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hanshi

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I rarely need a pick but have a variety of them and even cobbled up a couple of copper ones.
 

pab1

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Looks great, but I prefer to use brass or copper wire which is softer and with less wear on the touch hole.
Good point!

Copper wire is very traditional, and will not as Old Colonel Hawker put it, "Run you through, if you fall on it" :)

The thought of "run you through" came up as I was filing the point. I have some thick copper wire on hand. Maybe this one will be used as a small awl rather than a vent pick.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Yes I like brass too, and my wife has asked about the portions of brass coat-hangers in one of the tool drawers, and I use them for picks as well as pins on some guns for the barrels. A lot easier to remove than steel if there is a problem.

LD
 

MtnMan

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I've never found a steel pick to open the vent liner hole. If it's the same size as the hole. All it will remove is the build-up. The only way it can make the hole bigger is if it's bigger than the hole and you force it through.

I use one just like the OP's and the hole hasn't got bigger.
 

M. De Land

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I think folks are making a big mistake to make or buy flash hole picks out of hard steel,particularly with a twist. You have just made a reamer that keeps right on enlarging the hole size. I make mine out of soft iron wire with a hemisphere point. They push out the fouling and don't speer the other side of the barrel across from the flash hole. They don't snap off in the vent either when used in a hurry.
 

MtnMan

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I agree with how it's used is important too. How it's made is important too. If it's tapered it acts like a drill if it's twisted through the hole. Mine is the same diameter as the hole the full length if the pick.
 

firestick

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I think folks are making a big mistake to make or buy flash hole picks out of hard steel,particularly with a twist. You have just made a reamer that keeps right on enlarging the hole size. I make mine out of soft iron wire with a hemisphere point. They push out the fouling and don't speer the other side of the barrel across from the flash hole. They don't snap off in the vent either when used in a hurry.
Pretty easy to soften them up by tempering them with a propane torch. I don't think most have been hard tempered. Just heat twist and toss aside to let cool.
 

M. De Land

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Pretty easy to soften them up by tempering them with a propane torch. I don't think most have been hard tempered. Just heat twist and toss aside to let cool.
Most of the commercial ones I've seen retain the point which means they are pretty hard. These often spear the off side bore opposite the flash hole roughing it up and making it more fouling prone. There is no need for the pick to be hard or pointed, a simple rounded or even flat end works fine to clear the vent of fouling without damage to vent or barrel wall.
 

flinter1977

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it's all in how you use it. I use a metal one and only clear the hole with minimal effort after 5 or ten shots . if you're reaming it out bigger tjats too much force.
 

MtnMan

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I use the pick after loading for every shot. Not so much to clear the hole but to make a channel in the powder for the flame to travel in. Some leave the pick or a feather in the hole before pouring in the powder to do the same thing. I like to do it afterward. So, the hole never has much of a chance to clog up on my gun.
 

BJm

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Been using Stainless steel bicycle spokes for vent pricks for over 30 years & never damaged a touch hole yet. Cut a small length, taper it using drill & sanding belt, bend a loop on the other end & decorate with a couple of bone beads near the loop. I tie through the loop a fine leather strap & attatch the other end to the trigger guard & that way it is not lost if dropped when loading or blown out when loading , as i load with the vent prick in. Guaranteed clear passage from the pan to the main charge & instant ignition. Maybe not traditional but down-under we do things a little different i guess.
 

TarponStalker

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I’ve just started using a pick. For now I find a paper clip works well. Maybe I’ll get fancier soon. I keep one in my patch box.
 

Bob McBride

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Looks real nice. ‘Nothing fancy’ is my fav. I use brass rod snipped to length, turned a bit to just fit, and looped at the end, because I always have brass rod around the shop. Once in every 4-5 shots removes the flashes in the pan caused by a clogged th in most of my guns.
 

Pukka Bundook

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I think modern touchholes are a bit smaller than the way many originals started out, hence some need to use a pick.
I make my touchholes 5.64" and only use a feather to keep powder dry if it's raining cats and dogs.
Don't use a pick otherwise.
Mind, I had an original tool, and for what it was made I have no clue!...but it Did make an admirable touchhole pick. (if you needed one);

It was maybe 3 1/2 inches long, brass, flattened out into a handle that was serrated for grip, the other end tapered to a dull point, And, a groove down the entire length of the tapered round portion, so it looked like a miniature wood gouge.
This, if a touchhole Did get plugged, could be inserted and turned, and would clean anything out so Very easily and well.
This tool , whatever it was made for, came from the old farm in England, and I lost it over there when carrying it as a touchhole pick, in the 1970's!
 

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