Author Topic: Modern flintlock anomalies  (Read 2511 times)

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2019, 06:55:25 PM »
If you have ever made a lock from scratch...Not a kit...You will appreciate the BARGIN that a $195 lock represents. Realizing that mass production of a complex component is always a challenge, given the one variable that lock makers have little control of...and that is the foundry work. Deformed wax castings and foundry issues make the assemblers job more difficult than it already is. All in all, I still believe the lock itself represents the best value in this hobby, and to spend additional time to improve the quality is a small price to pay....Just my 2 cents....And if you look at the Christians Spring inventories, you will see the locks represent, in todays dollars, a significant investment.....a gun costing 7 pounds with a 1 pound lock...approximately 1/7 or 1/6 of the total price of the gun, and in todays money a $2000 gun would have a lock costing roughly $285

If you have ever made a lock from scratch as defined by taking unaltered materials and reshaping them into
something that looks like a lock mechanism most of us will agree that the $195 Jim gets is a bargain.
I have done it for decades but also have had other means of income like repairing high end European cars
and a nearby machine shop that subcontracted for bigger shops catering to the coal mining industry.
IF I decide to make any more locks they will not be priced for the low end market and I have no need for
a discount policy.Right now I will be glad to get the 4 or 5 locks I committed to finished and shipped.
NONE are paid for because under NO circumstances will I accept deposits or full prices in advance.
Friendship is near and I will have nothing with me as far as I know unless it's a trigger,(maybe).
Bob Roller

Offline R.J.Bruce

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2019, 08:48:30 PM »
To Jim Chambers, and to anyone else that I may have inadvertently offended.

It was not my intention to stir up trouble, or create animosity with any individual or company/corporation that produces flintlocks.

I was simply trying to reconcile in my mind what little experience that I had with flintlocks, compared to what I thought I was interpreting from the posts that I alluded to in my OP.

My experience has been nothing but positive with one Siler, one R.E.Davis, and two Chambers flintlocks.

I had always been under the impression that a flintlock was "Good to Go", right out of the box as purchased. Like Mike Brooks expressed in his reply.

With the prospect of my first new flintlock muzzleloader in nearly 25 years, and with NO exposure to muzzleloading during that time frame; it was with no little dismay that I was reading the posts where builders were spending so much time to rework locks.

In my youth I spent 2.5 years working as an apprentice machinist for a high-end machine shop that mostly did one-off work for NASA at Wallops Island, and building intricate production machinery for small companies.

So, I have direct experience with the length of time it takes to fine tune a machine built from a blueprint.

For example, the machine to punch out from flat sheet steel, and form into the 1" diameter caps with the rolled thread that fits paint thinner cans.

Less than a 2 foot square footprint, and roughly 30" tall. Two machines at $250,000.00 each at 1974 dollars. Less than 1 month to fabricate the two machines; and nearly 6 months for a master tool and die maker, plus several helpers (myself and others), to fine tune the machines so they could run non-stop without  jamming.

I agree with what Pukka Bundook said about Mr. Chambers locks being a great bargain for $195.00. IMO, they are worth at least twice that sum of money!

To recap, If I offended anyone, I apologize. That WAS NOT my intention with the OP.

R.J.Bruce
Quote
j

Offline Jim Chambers

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2019, 09:11:06 PM »
No apologies needed because I didn't take offense from any of the above comments.  I just wanted to give everyone a little perspective from my end as a manufacturer and supplier.
I also appreciate all the positive comments everyone has made.  We try to provide the best product and especially the best service possible.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2019, 12:55:34 AM »
Having never owned a "tuned" or reworked lock I have no comparison to make between them.  All mine are used just as they came from the maker.  Among them are three Chambers' locks and two LG and two small Silers.  Only the two small Silers had a detectable problem with both being very minor.  One was fixed at home and the other simply benefited from a new frizzen.  The best ones are two of the Chambers locks and the two LG Silers; they are awesome.  The others work just fine but require a bit closer monitoring.  Though unsure of the Silers provenance, They are still as reliable as the sunrise, notwithstanding the two previously mentioned.  I would have to say that the vast majority of American made locks, IMHO, are at least satisfactory with most being quite good.  Considering my lack of meaningful experience with flint locks, I'm not entirely sure a bit of luck hasn't accompanied some of them.   
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Offline JCKelly

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2019, 02:12:04 AM »
Have a Roller lock bought coupla years ago from Red Farris, Ohio. Used on a short rifle til I realized gun had one of those great 12L14 barrels you all love. Sold rifle, kept lock.

Otherwise, consistently best sparking modern locks I have seen are those Caywood uses on his guns.

Dunno who wuilds them, think you can get them thru Caywod. Does have some moderndesignfly on tumbler - yech - but if you can live with that the lock does work very well indeed.

Offline Scotty

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2019, 03:28:05 AM »
Bob,
 I guess its not one of your locks. It has a letter B stamped on the back of the lock plate, on the frizzen, and on the bridle. Also on the back of the lockplate is a large letter S with a small E next to it. I've had this roller lock for years and plan on using it on my next build.

Offline Taylorz1

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2019, 05:37:08 AM »
I did the inflation calculations and $375  in 2011 has the same buying power as $426 in 2019

Offline Mick C

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2019, 06:44:47 PM »
I have the privilege of currently owning 7 guns with Chambers' locks.  I have never had one iota of problems or issues with these locks (or the guns they are on).  I have owned a couple of guns with locks from other makers over the years and in one case I was never able to get it to spark decently, and in another I had ongoing trouble with the frizzen not opening completely (i believe this to be a geometry issue).   Bottom line, I am not a gun builder, I am a collector but I look for and request Chambers locks exclusively these days.  Davis makes a good lock too but I just like Chambers for the looks and consistent quality. 

I have been very fortunate in that the guns I have collected over the years (and one being made by Mr. Chambers himself) have all had the locks well polished and tuned by the gun maker.  I personally think this attention to detail is intrinsic, separating the the good builders from the mediocre ones.  Plus, I think the fine locks we enjoy using today would be a bargain at twice the cost.

Just a collector's 2 cents on this subject. I truly hope this message hasn't come across as boastful nor spoken out of turn....Mick
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 06:48:28 PM by Mick C »
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2019, 07:30:36 PM »
I always get a chuckle at the oft mentioned " a bargain at twice the cost "  .  If Chamber's or others doubled their price, their business's would collapse.  Good, or excellent quality ?....Yes.  Would the majority pay that much ?   Not a chance .
That is the reality of things.

Offline yellowhousejake

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2019, 05:11:33 PM »
I always get a chuckle at the oft mentioned " a bargain at twice the cost "  .  If Chamber's or others doubled their price, their business's would collapse.  Good, or excellent quality ?....Yes.  Would the majority pay that much ?   Not a chance .
That is the reality of things.

I would. I ordered my first set of parts to build from a plank last fall. When I saw what I got for a Chambers Late Ketland at $195.00 I was astounded. If someone wanted a custom made rifle, as in bespoke, a muzzleloader is the best bargain in shooting. If anyone thinks the parts for a muzzleloader rifle or a completed custom muzzleloader rifle by any of the current makers is too expensive, they should get prices for modern parts or a modern made custom rifle.

Muzzleloaders are a bargain.

DAve

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2019, 07:07:53 PM »
I think that if locks are to be made more precisely and at an affordable cost modern methods will need to be used.  They are already cast,  not period correct.  So, 99% of what we use is already not traditional in the first place.

In for a penny, in for a pound?  CNC machining is an obvious answer.  Less obvious is MIM (metal injection molding).  Smith and Wesson and other are using it quite a bit.  I just read an article on 3-D metal printing as applied to firearms parts.  Apparently the density of the steel in the parts is better than MIM.  The new processes have to potential to make shorter runs, or even "one of" parts,  of high quality parts at a lower cost. 

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2019, 07:19:43 PM »
Scota4570, I have wondered for some time about how those parts "printing" works.  For steel parts, how is the steel "delivered" to the printhead, i.e., in what form?  Would having more "layers" in the printing program make the part denser?
Hopefully, you can direct me as to where to find more information about the process.

Meantime, I also think that today's locks are a great plus for our hobby/business, a great buy, so to speak.

I very recently took delivery of a Late English flintlock, and was nicely surprised at the metal work around the pan and frizzen, and the way the pan is "waterproofed" by the little rim.  True, the whole lock has been sandblasted (or bead), making it a right chore to polish all the metal.  But right out of the bag (was going to say box, but they come in plastic bags now), it produced a great quantity of sparks.  Yep, the sear is a bit stiff to move, there is a minor amount of porosity in a few of the casting, but overall, for $170, it is a great bargain.
Craig Wilcox
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2019, 07:21:24 PM »
Chris Laubach is developing CNC lock(s). ETA this year I think.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2019, 09:37:46 PM »
Scota4570, I have wondered for some time about how those parts "printing" works.  For steel parts, how is the steel "delivered" to the printhead, i.e., in what form?  Would having more "layers" in the printing program make the part denser?
Hopefully, you can direct me as to where to find more information about the process.

Shooting illustrated" June 2019, page 24.  It is one of the NRA membership magazine choices.  I can scan it and attach an image if the moderaters are OK with with me doing so.

The "printing" is done with powdered metal and binder.  It then needs to be heated  to amalgamate the steel but not fully melt it.  The density is 99.5% vs 95% for MIM.  They are claiming 0.004" tolerance.  They expect to do 0.002" soon.  The parts are currently being used by major manufacturers.   

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2019, 04:08:24 PM »
Thank you for the reference - greatly appreciated.

So various steels could be powdered, enabling you to use proper type metals for the various parts of whatever you wish to make, bound into the pattern by the print head, then heated to "almost" liquid.  Dang - we are getting fancier by the day!  Next thing I know, running water and electric will be available in people's homes.

Some of the new technology I really like, some I abhor.  Cell phones fall into the latter category for me.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2019, 05:24:40 PM »
I’m thinking the 3-D printing wouldn’t be that much more accurate than wax casting on many parts. New tech therefore exciting but I am guessing most cast tumblers come out within 0.004”. Am I guessing wrong?

The drilling and fitting seems to me to be where very small inaccuracies lead to things being out of tune. As opposed to very precise part dimensions. If the mainspring or frizzen spring is located 0.050” off it impacts performance with interchangeable parts.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline JCKelly

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2019, 09:56:28 PM »
MIM (Metal Injection Molding), PM Powderd Metal and 3D Printing/whatever are the most modern way to produce complex parts without the high cost of machining them from nice, solid metal. These are high production methods or which one invests $$$$ in the means of production

These are ways to make large quantities of parts, QUALITY is not in the picture. Well,the guys who do all this will tell you I'm wrong. Personally I think the equilibriiun state of a PM/MIM part is broke in two, but then I am just a cynic. 

Since no one, no one at all, will be financially sucessful forging their new flint locks out of wrought iron & steel, then machining each part and heat treating it - what is wrong with investment casting? The current method? You may have quality problems due a variety of usually ignored causes, but they can all be fixed. Investment casting most alloys is meant to make complex parts in rather small quantities. That is, not so suited for automotive production.

Oh well. I am just a P.I.T.A. metallurgist involved at some level with production since 1963.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2019, 10:37:02 PM »
I saw what appeared to be high quality investment castings for some sort of missile
fuel control system back in 1963.The dies made to produce them may have bankrupted
a government someplace but it can be done.My own opinion is that a LOT of dies,moulds,
whatever you want to call them for muzzle loader parts are low end items made with cost
in mind because of a very limited market.I think it all comes down to the cost/market ratio
and in muzzle loading guns of the not too distant past,if it wasn't low quality and CHEAP it
was doomed to failure.

Bob Roller
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 02:28:48 PM by Bob Roller »

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #43 on: May 30, 2019, 07:52:19 AM »
One thing that would help us lock makers would be for all you guys to get together and agree on exactly what constitutes a well made lock.  Unfortunately, that is just wishful thinking because different gunmakers want different things in a lock.  For example, some guys complain about our springs being too strong.  They want a lock that can be cocked with just the flick of a little finger.  The next guy that calls wants springs like he's seen on some early European locks where it almost takes two hands to bring them to full cock.  How can I satisfy both customers without custom making each lock?  And, how can I make a living custom making each lock to each customer's specifications at the price we now charge?
I have a collection of original locks both import quality pieces, hand forged American pieces, and the high quality English locks, and I agree that some of those English locks are made with all the precision of a fine watch.  Can I make locks like that?  Yes.  Can I make a living making locks like that? NO.  Believe me, there's no market for locks in the thousand dollar range.  A lot of guys at Friendship almost have a cardio event now when I tell them a flintlock is going to cost $195.  After all, for most people, this is just a hobby, and a muzzleloader should not cost anywhere near as much as a modern rifle.  We actually hear this from guys new to industry on a regular basis.

ML shooters are notorious tite wads. Nor is quality appreciated in many cases.
 
Dan
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Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2019, 02:47:03 PM »
Have a Roller lock bought coupla years ago from Red Farris, Ohio. Used on a short rifle til I realized gun had one of those great 12L14 barrels you all love. Sold rifle, kept lock.

Otherwise, consistently best sparking modern locks I have seen are those Caywood uses on his guns.

Dunno who wuilds them, think you can get them thru Caywod. Does have some moderndesignfly on tumbler - yech - but if you can live with that the lock does work very well indeed.

Jim,
A coupla years ago from Red Farris". Farris passed away in 1981.

Bob Roller

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2019, 03:03:40 PM »
I did the inflation calculations and $375  in 2011 has the same buying power as $426 in 2019

I went into my folders on my OLD Email system and found the note from the
English man about prices on high quality locks.He said the two Brazier locks
would be 1500 Pounds Sterling in 2007 when I got this information.WHAT is
the Pound worth today??
Bob Roller

Offline Ky-Flinter

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #46 on: May 30, 2019, 03:41:16 PM »
Today, 1 Pound sterling equals 1.26 United States Dollar.

-Ron
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 07:57:25 PM by Ky-Flinter »
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Offline JTR

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #47 on: May 30, 2019, 06:26:28 PM »
In 2007, 1 Pound sterling was about $1.98 dollars.

http://www.likeforex.com/misc/historical-exchange-rates/GBP/USD/2007

John Robbins

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2019, 10:07:19 PM »
Quote
One thing that would help us lock makers would be for all you guys to get together and agree on exactly what constitutes a well made lock.
The one thing you lock makers should do is to go on strike for a year.  Pull all your stock off the market and let all these nitpickers stew a bit on how lucky they are to have the choices they currently do.
Dave Kanger

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Offline JCKelly

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Re: Modern flintlock anomalies
« Reply #49 on: May 30, 2019, 10:35:08 PM »
Bob -  bought your lock from Mr. Farris when I first moved to Cincinnati. 1966 I believe. If ever I shoot one of these things again I will use this lock on an imported rifle I have. Good steel barrel, though miserable lock & inauthentic styling. Will remake it into a Lehman, painted stripes & all.