Author Topic: Flintlock experiment  (Read 2665 times)

Offline jerrywh

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2019, 09:15:56 PM »
I built a few flintlocks from scratch many years ago. In doing so I studied the English locks in trying to get the maximum speed of ignition. After about 10 years or so of experimentation this is what I concluded.  Below is a photo of a fine English Flintlock. There are several things that contribute to the speed and maximum sparking ability.  The tumbler hole is farther back on the plate than most modern flintlocks. This causes the flint to hit the frizzen with more of a scraping action rather than a straight on blow. Also the flint when the hammer is down is almost sticking in the powder. Then also the frizzen is slanted more toward the hammer this also causes more of a scraping motion. Then the frizzen screw is slightly lower on the plate than most modern flintlocks. This causes a faster opening of the frizzen and also more of a scraping motion. Note how the frizzen spring contacts the frizzen when closed stopping rebound.  Besides all this all the English locks were pack case hardened.  I used anywhere from 1075 to 01 carbon steel and pack hardened also.  It worked well if I didn't get the frizzen too hard.
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Offline J.E. Moore

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2019, 09:30:14 PM »
Ok, I see now thanks! Similar to getting the right angle on a blade of a plane.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2019, 10:21:11 PM »
My preference leans toward good, strong springs both for the hammer and the frizzen.  The problems of weak springs is something I can appreciate.  An accident that cost me a nice buck is a good illustration of how important spring strength can be.  I was in my stand when a fine 8pt stopped maybe 25 yards right in front of me.  The lock in question was a Chambers Golden Age with excellent springs.  Yet there was only a "snick" when the trigger was pulled.  A quick look showed no prime in the pan.  Even with a strong spring powering the frizzen, it had gotten snagged open enough in route to the stand for the prime to exit.  The only soft frizzen I've experienced was quickly replaced with a good one.  Just a FWIW.
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Offline smart dog

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2019, 01:03:36 AM »
Dave,

I have one of the Davis Colonial locks.  When I got it, the center of the cock was not inline with the center of the frizzen.
The flint would have to be offset in the jaws.  I perceived this as a flaw and with the cock placed in a vise, I heated
and bent it a little.  It all lines up now.

Did your lock come like that?  I am wondering if I fixed something that did not need to be fixed.

Thanks
Hi,
My lock had the flintcock jaws pretty well centered on the frizzen.  It really is not a big deal if not too far off.  You can just offset the flint. My recent experience with the Davis colonial American, Twigg, and English late flint locks suggest to me that they have some serious quality control problems.

dave
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Offline smart dog

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2019, 01:12:57 AM »
Dave
Just out of curiosity why do you rate the round face Chambers lock over the Early Ketland. There is certainly less bounce in an Early Ketland due to lighter hammer and frizzen. my experience shows that both locks when well tuned throw a great shower of sparks. Tim
Hi Tim,
I don't rate it lower with respect to performance.  It has the same internals and basic design as the round-faced English lock.  I just don't have as much experience with it shooting in a variety of conditions. I do rate it lower with respect to design because to make it look right for a British gun the lock plate needs a better defined bevel or stepped molding, or it needs to be slightly rounded.  The flintcock definitely needs better shaping of its edges.

dave   
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Offline smart dog

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2019, 01:16:14 AM »
Dave,
   What specific points on the frizzen and cock did you attach the pull force gauge to get your data? Also, did you pull on a plane parallel with the bore, or some other way?

                                                                                           Thanks, Bill
Hi Bill,
I hook the scale on the frizzen about half way up the face and hook the flintcock around the top jaw screw head.  I pull the force parallel with the barrel as close as possible.

dave
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Offline B.Barker

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2019, 04:57:14 AM »
I like this post a lot. A lock makes or brakes a build in my opinion. Every barrel I've used would shoot better than me but locks can be a problem. Thanks for all the info.

Offline tiswell

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2019, 02:15:27 PM »
Dave,
   What specific points on the frizzen and cock did you attach the pull force gauge to get your data? Also, did you pull on a plane parallel with the bore, or some other way?

                                                                                           Thanks, Bill
Hi Bill,
I hook the scale on the frizzen about half way up the face and hook the flintcock around the top jaw screw head.  I pull the force parallel with the barrel as close as possible.

dave

Thanks Dave!

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2019, 03:13:19 PM »
Dave,

I have one of the Davis Colonial locks.  When I got it, the center of the cock was not inline with the center of the frizzen.
The flint would have to be offset in the jaws.  I perceived this as a flaw and with the cock placed in a vise, I heated
and bent it a little.  It all lines up now.

Did your lock come like that?  I am wondering if I fixed something that did not need to be fixed.

Thanks
Hi,
My lock had the flintcock jaws pretty well centered on the frizzen.  It really is not a big deal if not too far off.  You can just offset the flint. My recent experience with the Davis colonial American, Twigg, and English late flint locks suggest to me that they have some serious quality control problems.

dave

That Twigg lock is an abomination and copying was a bad idea.
I made up 14 of these using only the externals several years ago
and they seemed to be OK but even then I wasn't 100% satisfied.
Internally there isn't as much room as really needed and that big
frizzen and hammer takes a good mainspring to move them.

Bob Roller

Offline Long John

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2019, 04:41:45 PM »
Dave,

Very interesting and informative report!  Thank you.

My go-to lock has always been the Chambers Golden Age lock.  But, I find I have to modify them as I tune the lock.

I find with most commercial locks that the "tail" or "arresting lobe" on the frizzen is too long and too low for my likes.  As cast it does not allow the frizzen to rotate forward enough to prevent bounce- back.  Bounce-back is caused by the tail hitting the frizzen spring before the majority of the mass of the frizzen is forward of the pivot. The momentum of the frizzen depresses the frizzen spring and the spring rebound causes the frizzen to move back towards the cock.  I have found that by reducing the tail in thickness or reforging the shape of the tail I have been able to eliminate frizzen bounce-back because it allows more of the frizzen to be forward of the pivot before the tail hits the spring.  On the French original pistols I have the frizzens rotate until the pan cover is completely vertical.  None of them bounce back.  The French seemed to like frizzens that ended up with the pan cover vertical after the shot whereas the British locks and copies of them don't seem to open as far.

The ability of a flint to generate a spark on a frizzen is proportional to the force per unit area between the flint and the frizzen face.  A sharp flint increases the force per unit area by reducing the area of the frizzen edge.  (Grooving the face of the frizzen does the same thing - look at original blunderbusses.)  And like Jerry showed, the frizzen has to be at an angle towards the flint so that the impact is a scraping action.  (Jerry I saved that photo!)  The flint is shearing off bits of steel that are white-hot due to the friction of the shearing blow. I often have found that I had to slightly bend the cock of a lock to ensure that the flint did not hit the frizzen "square-on".  Going back to my French pistols, all 1720 to 1780, they all will spark without a frizzen spring.  This has led me to believe that the frizzen spring tension on commercially available locks today is too stout.  They are "hard on flints".  I often lighten-up the frizzen springs when tuning up a lock, so I guess I am different than most.

For what it might be worth, I used a Chambers Golden Age lock, modified as described above, on my Journey rifle.  It has shot 50 round matches several times with one flint that was never cleaned or sharpened during the shoot.

Best Regards.

JMC
John Cholin


Offline 45-110

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2019, 06:13:53 PM »
the lock Jerrywh shows is pure mechanical eye candy. I am still dumbfounded that in this 21st century locks are still being produced with bad geometry and yet the prices keep going up. We have better metal(s) to work with supported by all kinds of technology.  Yes spring tension is a challenge but surely it can be resolved. Wonder where this would take us.....would a really good lock cost $400 or more yet? Yes I remember Chet Shoults, but at the time was too young to appreciate what he was doing. I thought then Bud Siler locks where the cat's meow after fiddling with so many other dismal production locks.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2019, 02:32:06 AM »
the lock Jerrywh shows is pure mechanical eye candy. I am still dumbfounded that in this 21st century locks are still being produced with bad geometry and yet the prices keep going up. We have better metal(s) to work with supported by all kinds of technology.  Yes spring tension is a challenge but surely it can be resolved. Wonder where this would take us.....would a really good lock cost $400 or more yet? Yes I remember Chet Shoults, but at the time was too young to appreciate what he was doing. I thought then Bud Siler locks where the cat's meow after fiddling with so many other dismal production locks.

After Chet Shoults lost control of the moulds needed to make this lock I started
getting parts made in Michigan from Harold Hess who obtained these moulds from
the foundry.He paid off the bill owed of $777.77 cents and the lock then became public domain.
I made a lot of them along with the Russ Hamm Maslin that was also supposedly in default as
well.At first we all thought the Shoults lock was being made by a machinist but it later came
out that all the lock was castings except the screws.I think all of this started in 1962 with my
involvement but the Shoults moulds were made in 1956 and cost a lot because they were
milled cavity,polished and not plastic or bubble gum as some referred to other moulds as
being made of.These parts have been available for years from Jerry Devaudreuil in Wooster,Ohio
if anyone is interested.

Bob Roller

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2019, 03:01:19 AM »
What Mr. Barker said.....
"I like this post a lot. A lock makes or brakes a build in my opinion. Every barrel I've used would shoot better than me but locks can be a problem. Thanks for all the info."

Offline smart dog

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2019, 02:30:49 PM »
the lock Jerrywh shows is pure mechanical eye candy. I am still dumbfounded that in this 21st century locks are still being produced with bad geometry and yet the prices keep going up. We have better metal(s) to work with supported by all kinds of technology.  Yes spring tension is a challenge but surely it can be resolved. Wonder where this would take us.....would a really good lock cost $400 or more yet? Yes I remember Chet Shoults, but at the time was too young to appreciate what he was doing. I thought then Bud Siler locks where the cat's meow after fiddling with so many other dismal production locks.
Hi,
First, there are some very good locks made today with good geometry.  I listed those models by Chambers that are fine locks.  I would certainly add their classic or late Ketland to the list of good locks with good geometry.  However, my experience teaches me that all can be improved from their performance right from the maker.  Look closely at the lock in Jerry's photo.  Look at the bottom of the face of the frizzen and you will see a little seam line.  That frizzen has a hardened steel sole attached. That may be one reason it works well because the sole can be shaped and hardened optimally for producing sparks separate from the frizzen.  It also adds some mass to the frizzen that may help provide initial resistance to movement  when struck also enhancing sparks.

dave
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Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2019, 03:42:27 PM »
The lock on the fine Leonard Meadows rifle recently shown has the plate,frizzen,
cock and top jaw from the Shoults lock.The frizzen spring is one I made with the
screw coming thru from the inside.Other than the frizzen spring this is what the
Shoults lock looked like.

Bob Roller

Offline JCKelly

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2019, 04:25:11 AM »
To spark, one must machine a nice long HOT curly chip out of a reasonably hard hammer/frizzen/steeel face.
The "horsepower" to do this comes from the main spring.
Since I was a wimpy pre-teen unable to cock that flint musket I'da liked to shoot I kinda noticed the flint guns were harder to cock than the percussion.
I have a few assorted M1816 muskets converted from flint to percussion.
To me they all seem to have stiffer mainsprings than do a couple of muskets with similar, albeit original percusson locks: M1842 Springfield; Springfield M1863, Type II.
Not well measured, just "it seems to me". Still, back when it mattered very  much that your gun went BOOM I suspect the Armory knew  a heavy main spring was needed for a flint. And that heavy spring tended to smash the percussion nipple - look at the so-called Belgian conversions of M1816's used in Mr. Lincoln's war.
My $0.02

Online bob in the woods

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #41 on: May 25, 2019, 05:19:49 PM »
Just be thankful that we have such a wide variety of styles of locks available today. Sure, some are better than others, but when I became interested in flintlocks, Dixie locks were common, and other than that Siler locks were on just about everything from southern guns to fowling guns .   Same as barrels....a swamped barrel was rare. Now we have available almost everything you can imagine in terms of being historically appropriate.  The most popular kits which are historically correct , such as Chambers, Kibler, Dunlop, Cabin Creek etc use these various styles of commercial locks to good effect and customers can end up with a decent firearm. The locks work well , and meet the expectations of most of the folks who purchase them. For those who demand better, you can put in the time and effort to "perfect" them , but $1000. locks will simply kill this industry and sport IMO

Offline smart dog

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2019, 05:31:18 PM »
Hi Bob,
Unfortunately, your comment has no relevance to do with this thread. It is better suited to the thread on "Flintlock Anomalies".

dave
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Offline Chowmi

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2019, 04:34:51 AM »
Dave,
Iím late to the game here on this post, but thank you for sharing your knowledge and the way you think about this subject.

I recently had some self-generated issues with a lock that got me thinking about speed vs reliability, and was arriving at the same approach that you have. We all talk about speed, but I think repeated reliability over multiple shots is a must.

You might argue that different applications have different priorities.
The hunter who might only fire one, two or three shots in a short period wants speed.
He can then clean out the frizzen, pan etc while waiting for the next round of game.
The soldier firing a musket wants reliability to shoot all day long without stopping to clean, with speed being secondary.

These are simply my own musings, and not intended to refute your priorities. I think I share your view.

IF ( big IF) you canít have both speed and reliability on a long shot string with fouling, moisture etc etc, then maybe the lock design should tailor to the priorities.
I donít have enough experience with original locks to say whether the good ones had both qualities.

Norm.
Cheers,
Chowmi

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CLA

Offline Rwnblack

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2019, 03:53:51 PM »
I am really enjoing this thread as I love shooting my flinters.  Last week a freind who is building a Beck ask me to caseharden his Davis lock.  I cooked it for about 3 hours at 1330 F  in a crucible with a Stevens 44 project in 2:1 wood to bone charcoal.  I cooled it about 50 degrees below critical  for 30 minutes to prevent warpage and brittle spots.  However when I tried it there were few sparks so I heated the face of the frizzen red hot with my torch and quenched it.  Now it sparks like crazy.  Here are some photos and a link to our Muzzleloading club web site, they posted the video of it in slow motion.  You have to scroll down to photos.

https://www.saskatoonmuzzleloadingclub.com









« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 07:39:33 AM by Rwnblack »

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2019, 03:39:14 PM »
I built a few flintlocks from scratch many years ago. In doing so I studied the English locks in trying to get the maximum speed of ignition. After about 10 years or so of experimentation this is what I concluded.  Below is a photo of a fine English Flintlock. There are several things that contribute to the speed and maximum sparking ability.  The tumbler hole is farther back on the plate than most modern flintlocks. This causes the flint to hit the frizzen with more of a scraping action rather than a straight on blow. Also the flint when the hammer is down is almost sticking in the powder. Then also the frizzen is slanted more toward the hammer this also causes more of a scraping motion. Then the frizzen screw is slightly lower on the plate than most modern flintlocks. This causes a faster opening of the frizzen and also more of a scraping motion. Note how the frizzen spring contacts the frizzen when closed stopping rebound.  Besides all this all the English locks were pack case hardened.  I used anywhere from 1075 to 01 carbon steel and pack hardened also.  It worked well if I didn't get the frizzen too hard.


Thanks Jerry

Dan
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Flintlock experiment
« Reply #46 on: May 30, 2019, 08:14:13 PM »
Exquisite!
Daryl

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