Author Topic: Flintlocks  (Read 970 times)

Offline OldMtnMan

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Flintlocks
« on: January 06, 2022, 03:47:43 PM »
Paul was a good guy. He was my friend. Sadly, he's gone now.

I'm not going to give my opinion on this article he wrote but i'm curious what you guys think about it. Good or bad. What do you think?

https://www.chuckhawks.com/flintlocks.htm
Pete

Offline Steeltrap

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2022, 04:09:49 PM »
Many years ago I read a lot of articles that 'ol Charlie had on his web site. After maybe ten or so I quit reading 'em as (and I don't recall which article(s)) a few of 'em were just nothing but plain nonsense.

'Ol Charlie writes a lot of stuff that I believe he gleans the information from other on line writers and posters.

Just not my cup of tea.

Offline bones92

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2022, 04:44:18 PM »
I found this part of the article interesting.  I've always understood that one should seat the PRB firmly on the powder, but the author seems to think otherwise.  I'm curious as to whether he is correct or not.  (FWIW, I've not noticed any adverse effects from seating the PRB firmly on the powder).

1. In a flintlock, you don't pack the powder by ramming the ball down hard on the powder charge. A flintlock has to burn the powder one granule at a time, while a percussion cap sends a flame burning or pushing its way through the powder charge, igniting lots of powder all at once. A percussion cap actually detonates the powder, much like the primer in a cartridge does today.

The flintlock was designed to start a fire that quickly ignites all the powder to create the gases needed to expel the projectile. Load the ball using a marked ramrod, so that you load to a mark you have made on the ramrod that represents where the ball just begins to touch the powder under it. (You can feel and sometime hear a grinding action when the ball touches the powder). Leave extra air between powder granules, to speed the burning process in a flintlock. Actually, there is enough oxygen in the powder itself to provide all the O2 it needs for combustion. But extra oxygen helps it burn faster. (That is the secret!)
If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2022, 04:56:06 PM »
He had some untested ideas he thought were facts. I guess thatís true of most folks. But he wrote as though he was an authority. I guess thatís true of many folks.  8)
Andover, Vermont

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2022, 05:03:59 PM »
Many years ago I read a lot of articles that 'ol Charlie had on his web site. After maybe ten or so I quit reading 'em as (and I don't recall which article(s)) a few of 'em were just nothing but plain nonsense.

'Ol Charlie writes a lot of stuff that I believe he gleans the information from other on line writers and posters.

Just not my cup of tea.

Who is Charlie and what has that to do with this thread?
Pete

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2022, 07:30:36 PM »
Seems to me to be a lot of fill material in that piece and some of it is wrong IMHO. Lead instead of leather flint wrap for one.  :o  I have gotten up to 80+ shots on a flint and never had steel build up on the flint.

Offline Maven

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2022, 08:31:29 PM »
BP burns one granule at a time?  Really? ???  I remember the late Paul V. from the Traditional ML Forum and generally agree with him, but sometimes he was way off base.
Paul W. Brasky

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2022, 09:05:31 PM »
Another one, no short starters before 1870! Well they did'nt call them short starters they were called " Bulgers " . Written reference from someone at one of the western Rondezvous (sp) discribes a group of trappers leaving the event for their trapping grounds and how they were dressed and equipped. One item that some of them had was a bulger, a short stick, almost bore sized, some times with a nob on the end for starting the ball into the muzzle. This would have been in 1840 or earlier so I think we can assume they were in use before that. Back then just as today not every one used one but that dosent mean no one used them.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2022, 09:08:38 PM »
Another one, no short starters before 1870! Well they did'nt call them short starters they were called " Bulgers " . Written reference from someone at one of the western Rondezvous (sp) discribes a group of trappers leaving the event for their trapping grounds and how they were dressed and equipped. One item that some of them had was a bulger, a short stick, almost bore sized, some times with a nob on the end for starting the ball into the muzzle. This would have been in 1840 or earlier so I think we can assume they were in use before that. Back then just as today not every one used one but that dosent mean no one used them.

That's the first time I heard that. I don't feel bad about using one now but i'll have to start calling a bulger.  :D
Pete

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2022, 09:49:16 PM »
Some of that is utter nonsense. Secrets #1 claims that the powder burns differently in a flintlock versus a percussion gun.  That the firing of the percussion cap causes the entire charge in the percussion gun to detonate rather than having a flame front rush up through the charge.  Both charges actually burn the same.  You are just igniting a little more powder faster with the cap. But how the grains burn is the same. 

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 09:52:37 PM »
That reference was made by someone who was at the event. It MIGHT have been Washington Irving, who I think was a writer and traveling sportsman of the times or another journal keeping trapper/trader. :-\

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 10:23:10 PM »
I read through the article patiently.  I disagree with a lot of what was written.  I doubt that people shy away from shooting flintlocks because they think they are too much trouble.  I suspect folks starting out buy percussion guns because these are closer to that with which they are familiar, ie: cartridge arms.  I am interested in his concept of sealing the bore.  On one hand he says that the patch material needs to go to the bottom of the grooves and on the other, he says one needs a coned muzzle to load a muzzleloader.
I know for sure that not all antique rifles have coned bores.  In fact, few have what we today would call a decent 'crown'.  I have made my rifles so that I can load a combination that will seal the bore without the use of a wad, clean the bore each time a new load is seated, load easily with a wooden ramrod, and give superlative accuracy without the need to clean between shots.  If what I am doing is not the same as shooters of the 18th and 19th centuries, I don't care.   My goal is not one of nostalgia, but of competitive excellence.  I'll bet the shooting line at friendship is devoid of shooters employing his techniques and philosophies.
I found the article entertaining, but not a useful treatise on how a beginner should proceed.
Wiping the flint's bottom to remove moisture that will cause a misfire...good way to cut your finger on one of my flints.  Spring weight:  largely incorrect.  ASO...
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2022, 10:26:18 PM »
He had some untested ideas he thought were facts. I guess thatís true of most folks. But he wrote as though he was an authority. I guess thatís true of many folks.  8)

You would have to go through a bunch of declassified papers published by the group down at Aberden Proving Grounds in the 1970 to see how may black powder myths were laid to rest regarding how black powder burns.  They were trying to find out why some odd black powder used as an intermediate primer in large caliber artillery and naval guns.  In the process they tried to reinvent black powder and spent a small fortune in the process and never did figure out their primer failure that caused these big guns to blow up was simply a chemical stability problem in the black powder they were using as an intermediate primer.  They ended up redesigning the loading in the 155mm howitzer to compensate.  They did a lot of work looking at how sticks of solid black powder burns and how that happens in powder made into grains.   Some of the 19th century gunpowder makers had some strange ideas of what was going on in their powder making process.  That was a driving force in my look at the powder making process and the results in the field.  I was lucky enough to have a bunch of lab equipment that could look closely at the powder.  I was the first guy who could take a black powder apart and look at the actual particle size of the ingredients.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2022, 10:51:52 PM »
Even though he was a friend. My reaction to the article was pretty much what i'm reading in this thread. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't wrong.
Pete

Offline Daryl

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2022, 11:15:22 PM »
The "lads" pretty much covered it. 8)
Daryl

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Offline HighUintas

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2022, 11:28:06 PM »
I'm new to this forum and don't own a muzzleloader (yet). I'm planning my first to be a flintlock!

What are some of the other "facts" in this article that are generally agreed upon by today's flintlock afficionados to be false? Widening the pan? Piling the priming powder away from the touch hole?

Offline Daryl

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2022, 11:37:11 PM »
I'm new to this forum and don't own a muzzleloader (yet). I'm planning my first to be a flintlock!

What are some of the other "facts" in this article that are generally agreed upon by today's flintlock aficionados to be false? Widening the pan? Piling the priming powder away from the touch hole?

The highlighted statement is FALSE. In timed slow motion ignition films, banking the powder against the vent actually quickened ignition of the main charge. Stands to reason, the heat alone of the pan powder flashing would more rapidly ignite the powder in the barrel, if it was closer. Some people make "things" up that perhaps sounds good to them, or simply repeat what other "writers" have written on the subject, who have made things up to match their 'thoughts' on the topic.

A wider pan can increase the surface area of the pan powder, making ignition quicker, IF the lock does not throw the sparks into the narrower pan very well, so that's a maybe.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 11:46:12 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2022, 11:37:50 PM »
Widening the pan might not be needed but might not hurt any thing if you do. If your vent is off center somewhat it might help. Depending on the situation, what type of shooting you do, the use of null B, or 4f for prime might be better but a lot of people use their regular charge powder for prime with good results.

Offline Ric Carter

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2022, 06:40:47 AM »

[/quote]

That's the first time I heard that. I don't feel bad about using one now but i'll have to start calling a bulger.  :D
[/quote]

Appropriately named, every bulged barrel I have ever seen was caused by one!

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2022, 05:22:09 PM »


That's the first time I heard that. I don't feel bad about using one now but i'll have to start calling a bulger.  :D
[/quote]

Appropriately named, every bulged barrel I have ever seen was caused by one!
[/quote]

Because they used the ball starter and then forgot to finish with ramrod?
Pete

Offline Daryl

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2022, 02:34:05 AM »
Another one, no short starters before 1870! Well they did'nt call them short starters they were called " Bulgers " . Written reference from someone at one of the western Rondezvous (sp) discribes a group of trappers leaving the event for their trapping grounds and how they were dressed and equipped. One item that some of them had was a bulger, a short stick, almost bore sized, some times with a nob on the end for starting the ball into the muzzle. This would have been in 1840 or earlier so I think we can assume they were in use before that. Back then just as today not every one used one but that dosent mean no one used them.

That's the first time I heard that. I don't feel bad about using one now but i'll have to start calling a bulger.  :D

The British rifle brigade called the issued short metal peg, a "peg". Every other solider got one I think, same issue with the mallet with the wooden starter rod that ran between the belt and the mallet knob. Now I do not know the "loading sequence", likee by the numbers, used for the rifles - as in the Baker regiments.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Flintlocks
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2022, 10:50:14 PM »
I'm new to this forum and don't own a muzzleloader (yet). I'm planning my first to be a flintlock!

What are some of the other "facts" in this article that are generally agreed upon by today's flintlock afficionados to be false? Widening the pan? Piling the priming powder away from the touch hole?

Rather than write a parallel article to the one presented above, and refute all of the inconsistencies, which would be quite a job, it would be easier to look up in our search engine what has already been written over and over again about topics that you are concerned about.
D. Taylor Sapergia
www.sapergia.blogspot.com

Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.