Author Topic: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?  (Read 1332 times)

Offline Brokennock

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Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« on: May 01, 2019, 07:44:42 AM »
I posted this on the M.L.F. and thought it to be a worthy question or topic here too as I've seen the same issue come up here.

I've been wondering about this for quite a while. Everytime I see folks posting shooting advice to new flintlock shooters.

It seems the 1st thing everyone starts going on about is ignoring the pan flash and all the ways to go about not letting it effect the shooter. So, in essence, the 1st thing everyone makes a big fuss about is the #1 thing we don't want the shooter to notice or think about. Before they've even had an issue with it. This doesn't make sense to me.

There are a lot of good marksmanship reasons to focus on the front sight and to follow through at the shot. A lot of good reasons to dry fire practice. Do we really need to make a fuss about the flash and put it in the shooter's head?

Offline alacran

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 02:01:24 PM »
What flash?

Online Frank

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 02:09:50 PM »
What flash?

Exactly! I never really noticed it.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 02:16:11 PM by Frank »

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2019, 02:14:43 PM »
I guess I may be different than most shooters but the only time I notice the flash in the pan is with a failure to ignite the main charge. Yes I know when it happens but it has never bothered me. Maybe not having anyone to instruct me how to shoot a flint rifle may have had something to do with it. Ever since I figured out how to load and fire my first ML (a cheap percussion that fired when it wanted to!) I have had to answer my questions by reading books. No one in my area, that I knew of, shot ML's.
Dennis
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2019, 03:45:55 PM »
Recently I’ve started shooting a percussion rifle quite a bit and now the flintlock seems slow. I too do not notice the flash because I have to concentrate so to get a good shot off.

There are lots of challenges to shooting a flintlock. The most perplexing is when newbies say it’s not going off but do not seem to be able to divide in their mind problems with pan ignition from failure to ignite the main charge.

Not relevant here; I’m also perplexed by folks hardening and tempering frizzens without ever testing that it did get hard.
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Offline Mauser06

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2019, 03:49:54 PM »
Best advice for a new shooter is to buy a couple pounds of powder and shoot it up.   

I struggled a little bit when I started.... typical TC Hawken that left a bit to be desired now that I shoot better locks and touch holes. I was determined to become deadly with that rifle. I burnt a few pound of powder with it over a summer and even shot groundhogs (woodchucks) with it. 

I taught myself to shoot a flintlock accurately.  Focus on the front sight and don't move. 

Like Dennis said, I don't notice the flash except on really bad ignitions...which I learned are usually preventable.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2019, 03:56:40 PM »
It's easy for me to ignore the flash. I'm blind in my right eye and shoot left handed. I hardly see anything.

However, the slight delay in ignition is annoying.
Pete

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2019, 04:02:03 PM »
Odd, I have never noticed giving advice about flash in the pan to exist. The only advice you'll usually get here is "follow through".
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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2019, 04:45:28 PM »
Hold thru, hold thru-  Is all you need to do, if you've ever been any good with open sights.

It's about timing, not the flash.  Using moderns I could relax as soon as the sear broke because the projectile would be gone before my relaxing the hold could affect the path.  So it took me a little bit to get used to delaying my response to feeling the trigger break.

Most kids these days probably need more instruction on open sights than anything--if they've been playing with telescopes and laser pointers most of their shooting days.
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Offline little joe

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2019, 06:35:54 PM »
What flash?
The one when you dry  ball.

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2019, 01:51:25 AM »
They don't call it a flinchlock for nothing. The problem is a lot of new, and old, shooters will shift their eyes to watch what happens at the pan instead of focusing on the target. This results in a miss. Once it becomes a habit then it must be broken.
The disservice as I see it is how the information is given to the new shooter. I've read some of the advice given out and hardly any of it will really cure the problem. Yet the advice giver seems to truly believe his way works. That's why I only work with a problem shooter face to face anymore.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2019, 02:28:51 AM »
I can not, thus I refuse to shoot a flinter without glasses on.  Trusting my glasses is the only way I can shoot without flinching, some of the time. I still flinch, yet I do not have
a flintlock that actually kicks - go figure. Just about over it though, with the .32- stillllllllll
Daryl

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Offline Walkingeagle

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2019, 05:51:19 AM »
For those that don’t see the flash, try shooting with your eye open.
I have tried for years with no success on ignoring it. There’s a reason its generally referred to as a “flinchlock”.

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2019, 09:39:31 AM »
I shoot with my eye open and focused on the front blade and target. I see the flash from the pan and ignition in my peripheral vision but never take my eye off the target. I know when I have slow ignition and usually keep my eye on the target and shoot right through the delay. Over the years I've trained myself to do this. I keep a wooden flint in a rifle and dry fire it several times a day  year round to maintain my concentration.
I had problems when I got my first flintlock. Crummy flash hole liner mostly. The rifle only fired 1/2 the time and when it did there was a long delay. After a couple of days I was ruined. I had not expected this, with a percussion I was used to match winning offhand groups at 50 yards, with this flintlock all my groups were low and left and large.
I didn't have a mentor so I had to figure things out on my own. I seriously considered selling the flintlock and just buying another caplock. But I didn't quit though it took me a long time I finally got over the hump and started shooting those little groups again.
I can't imagine shooting caplocks again. It's a flintlock or nothing.
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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2019, 04:01:00 PM »
For those that don’t see the flash, try shooting with your eye open.
I have tried for years with no success on ignoring it. There’s a reason its generally referred to as a “flinchlock”.

My eye is on the target and front sight, but I don't "see" a flash, that's all periphery and not important.  Yes, it's attention-grabbing, but not important for me to look at the lock as the gun fires.

If I was shooting with my eyes closed, as you suggest, I doubt my shooting results would reflect any accuracy at all.  But no one likes to shoot against me.  :P 

I have helped lots of shooters through their flinches, even with non-pan equipped guns.  First trick is to SHOW them their flinch as most will deny it, even after you've seen it and their scores/results reflect it.  It's up to the flincher to want to work on it. Some just don't care enough to put in the time-and I'm not inferring that to you, just know that it happens. Best of luck.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2019, 04:05:54 PM »
I was lucky enough when I started to have several excellent mentors steer me to having a gun with an excellent lock and vent liner. If you have a quality gun and lock you have 90% of your trouble taken care of, the last 10% is follow through and flint maintenance. I don't know how many new guys I saw back in the old days that would buy a commercial flint gun and not be able to shoot it because of slow or undependable ignition. They always went rapidly back the their cap guns never to go back to flint again. If those guys would have started out with a quality gun they would have stuck with the flint gun. Probably cheap foreign made flint guns have ruined more people on flintlocks than any other factor.

My Grandfather told me only one thing about  shooting. "If you're going to flinch you might as well not shoot."
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Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline tilefish

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2019, 09:54:19 PM »
I have been shooting percussion rifles for 25 years mostly T/C Hawken. Just started shooting flintlocks recently and can't believe how long I have been missing out.Took the advice of many on this forum to start out with a quality rifle and lock.Sure glad I did the only difference I can tell between the two is percussion is a little faster ignition. Never really notice the pan flash.The flintlock is actually more accurate than my percussions.
Chad

Offline hanshi

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2019, 11:02:41 PM »
I'm one of those who never notice the pan flash.  The locks pan flash never bothered me from my very first one in the 1960s and still doesn't.  All my concentration is on the front sight and it's difficult for me to even vaguely see the target.  It may actually be, in my case, "tunnel vision".  I never had a mentor and was completely self-taught.  As such I learned from my many mistakes.  I'm not completely convinced that the flash from a flint lock is the major problem for new shooters/owners.

I learned quickly that a flint lock was slower than a cap lock.  Yet this is only noticeable when a hangfire occurs; and it takes a mere tiny fraction of a second to qualify as a hangfire.  Rarely do I shoot anything other than flintlocks, despite owning three quality percussion rifles.     
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Offline Sharpsman

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2019, 01:22:44 AM »
I was away from ML for fifty some-odd years. Got back into it five years ago and I shoot a right-handed flint rifle from my left shoulder. The flash doesn't hinder me whatsoever because my focus is upon the front sight at ignition and through recoil as much as possible. The eye can't focus upon two different objects simultaneously and if the focus of vision is not upon the front sight, calling the shot is impossible! And whomever it was that alluded to buying a quality firearm with a great lock is absolutely correct! Cheap rifles and troublesome locks are akin to putting a washing machine motor in a Corvette....IMO! One can dry fire until Hades freezes over but the only way good marksmanship with a flinter will occur is through shooting and remembering that all the bad stuff goes on at the muzzle...not the back end! I like the accuracy my flinters give!

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« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 01:26:03 AM by Sharpsman »
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Offline J.E. Moore

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2019, 04:35:01 AM »
What seem to get me when I started shooting a flintlock was the scrape of the flint on the frizzen. Being use to the first thing you would hear with a modern rifle would be a boom, I would start to lift my head from the stock to see where I hit. Never payed much attention to the flash of the prime. But like Mike said a quality lock and vent makes a world of difference, the rifle I stocked up has a white lightening vent and Chambers Dale Johnson lock, I think it goes off most of the time before the frizzen tips all the way over.

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2019, 11:36:24 AM »
I too am self taught at shooting a flintlock and never notice the pan flash.

I have a brother who has never shot a flinter and told me why he is not even interested in doing so. After watching close up slow motion video's of a flintlock going off on the internet. The spray of sparks shown in the video scared the …. out of him!   

He is actually a gun guy and an accomplished life long hunter. Mostly modern stuff but does use percussion muzzle loaders for our states special season.   He knows my love of flintlocks and once told me that I should wear a welders face mask when out at the range!  ;D
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 11:46:14 AM by Majorjoel »
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Offline alacran

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2019, 02:36:17 PM »
  I built my first flintlock rifle because I got tired of being told by a good friend "but you shot a cap lock" every time I would best him. I don't see much difference in shooting a cap lock and a flintlock. All my guns are fast and dependable.
The main problem I see with new flintlock shooters, is that they haven't mastered basic shooting discipline before taking on a flintlock.
Most don't understand proper sight picture proper breathing or trigger control.
 Most started their shooting careers shooting scoped modern rifles.
When they go to ML"s, they start out out with cap locks with set triggers, so they never learn to follow through on their shots.
 When they go to a flintlock, specially one with a single trigger. which usually run in the 3 to 5 pound range, their lack of experience shows by way of jerking triggers, flinching dropping the muzzle etc. 
Most ML shooting matches consist of offhand shooting. If you do not master the basics you will never do well, it is just amplified with a flintlock.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2019, 03:43:43 PM »
The late Tom Dawson said, and he was right,"You can have the finest,fastest lock ever made
and lose the advantages it offers at the vent.His 16 bore Manton rifle had NO noticeable lag when
I shot it. With a sharp flint that lock would produce white hot fire and it sizzled in the pan.
I have NEVER been able to get that result from any lock I ever made.Some better than others but
NOT up to that Manton. The 58 caliber flintlock rifle I cobbled together 11 years ago was fast,
very fast and the lock was what I called a variant Ketland and as far as I know I am the only one that
ever made any quantity of them.I made my own vent from Byrillium,reverse tapered and used one
of Guenter Stifter's cut white agates.One of these locks made by me in the 80's recently sold for$600 :)

Bob Roller
 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 11:16:20 PM by Bob Roller »

Offline Wingshot

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2019, 04:03:30 PM »
On the rare occasions that I’m consulted to give tutorial to an aspiring smokepole shooter I like to take the time to go over the basic accouterments and usage of same. I go over in detail the difference between BP and conventional smokeless powders, I go over range safety issues that apply to BP shooting and most importantly I drive home the point that developing a consistent loading procedure and between shots wiping, vent clearing, etc. type habit. That advice goes a long way toward avoiding a “dry ball” scenario. I also show them what to do should it all goes south and they actually have to remove the ball. I’m also a big proponent of encouraging shooters that intend to hunt with their flinter to do A LOT of offhand shooting practice, standing, kneeling, sitting so as to simulate hunting type shooting situations. Hitting a playing card from a shooting bench at 100 yards is world away from plugging a whitetail deer in the vitals at 50 yards.

Offline wmrike

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Re: Are we doing new flint shooters a disservice?
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2019, 09:57:52 PM »
The only time I have noticed the flash is when I got to close to the wrong side of the rifle, and one episode fosters a long-lasting caution.