Author Topic: Lock conversion identification..  (Read 2561 times)


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Lock conversion identification..
« on: June 30, 2009, 02:47:31 PM »
Quick question...I have seen some pictures on this site and then read comments where it was stated that the lock was converted from perc. to flint, etc.  On some I think I can see, but on others I can't see how  you can tell.  What do you look for in determining if a lock has been changed?


Online Longknife

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Re: Lock conversion identification..
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2009, 03:22:51 PM »
Tuen, Did you mean converted from FLINT to PERC???There are about many things that will show if a lock has been converted. I have often thought if making a diagram of a lock or a picture of a converted lock and insert labels on the things to look for. Here are some off of the top of my head:

1) Converted locks usually are converted by the use of a drum and nipple BUT many guns were built with the drum system.  You should also look for one or more of the following.
2)Remains of the "fence" between the drum and the hammer .
3)Filled or open holes where the frizzen and spring were.
4)If the lock was engraved the hammer might not match and there will be no engraving where the frizzen was.
5)The wood on the stock, behind the hammer will be "cut back" fot the old flint hammer as they used the top of the lock plate for a stop.

As far as a RE_CONVERSION---FLINT to PERC and BACK to FLINT. Theses can be very hard to tell if done right!!!

1)Obvious "style" differences,germanic looking lock with english ,hammer, frizzen or pan. or visa versa.
2)Miss matched or no engraving on hammer
3)plugged hole in barrel where  drum was.
4)patina or wear not consistent.
5)A percus. cap will burn the wood away and pit the barrel much more.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2009, 07:51:46 PM by Longknife »
Ed Hamberg

Offline G-Man

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Re: Lock conversion identification..
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2009, 05:44:08 PM »
Longknife covered it well.  I am no expert by any means - there are many folks on this board who are - but here are a few more thoughts of things to look for:

There have been nice antique percussion guns that have been "enhanced" by installing flintlocks, to attempt to increase their apparent age and value.

Most (not all, by any means) original flint guns used two lockbolts.  However, there are a lot of examples of later flint southern mountain rifles with single lockbolts that appear to be legitimate.  But a single lock bolt on a flint gun is a starting point to indicate you should at least examine the lock and mortice area very carefully.

Sometimes on old guns, the original locks were just lost, and if the locks were lost, often the sideplates too.  So it is not uncommon that locks have been replaced along the way for the legitimate reason of simply trying to restore an essential element of the gun.

If a lock has been replaced, either as flint or percussion,  take a careful look at the mortise.  You might see that wood has been hogged out or filled to make the new lock fit.  This is usually pretty easy to spot. If the mortice was opened up, often the moldings around the lock will look "off"  - too narrow at some points relative to others, etc.

Take a close look at the notch in the wood behind the cock - does the slot need to be as big as it is to clear the cock that is on ther now? If  there are double wear lines or the slot has been really hogged out wide and deep, it may indicate the original cock was possibly replaced and the replacement didn't exactly fall into the original slot, so they made the slot wider to hide that. 

Take a look at the shape of the lockplate too - better replacements will sometimes carefully fit the metal to the existing wood mortise to leave the original wood on the gun as intact as possible.  This is very hard to spot though if an antique original lock was used for the replacement.

Lockbolts moved or angled slightly - i.e. doubled/oversize holes in the wood, but not in the lockplate.

Look at the sideplate - inside and out - does it match the type and patina of the other mounts on the gun?

Good luck