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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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More Newbie Questions

Let me start by thanking all of you who have already answered my other newbie questions, with your help I will , in only a few short years, be beyond newbie stage.

My new Lyman DeerStalker 54 Flint should be here on Saturday, which gives me a couple days to get used to shooting and to buy more items if needed.
Much more to buy than I originally thought, not like going out and buying a box of shells for the 870.
But, based on your advice, I did buy things I think I'll need. No need to name them all, but think you guys got me pretty well covered, but questions remain.

A friend gave me an un-opened container of Triple 7, FFF............will that work? Seems many prefer Blackpowder for flintlocks? I got Goex ffff blackpowder for the pan. I'll be starting with Hornady .530 Round Balls and .015 prelubed patches, thinking to start with 75 grains of the triple seven fff?

Seems there is a piece of leather (that does not have a name?) that holds the flint in the hammer - I've been unable to find these, any substitutes?

I picked up several different types of flint that I could find locally, as I do not have time to order online. How many fires can I expect from a flint without doing that thing where you chip it?? - forget the term for it, but will learn the technique when time permits.

When hunting - when do you load the gun? Presuming I can load the barrel at home in the morning and then prime the pan once in my stand? I plan on firing the gun at the end of each hunting day, I will need the practice.

When shooting off the porch to sight the gun in, I have read that swabbing is recommended between each shot? What exactly does this mean? Presuming it simply means running a patch or two down the barrel? I bought some CVA Barrel Blaster Solvent, should I saturate the cleaning patches with this, or just run em dry?

Once again, THANKS...............just trying to shorten the learning curve.........

I kill because I'm hunting, but killing is not the reason I go hunting.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 08:42 PM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

1. 777 powder: Not great in flint guns w/out a booster charge of black powder. BP ignites faster and easier in a flint gun. If you use straight 777 powder, you will be clicking at lots of deer.

2. Leather: You can also use thin lead. People say the lead actually works better because it allows your flint to knap itself after each shot. Never tried it, but it shouldn't be too hard to find an old piece of leather of some kind.

3. Flint: depends on the quality of the flint, the hardness of the frizzen, angle of the hammer, etc. It is said that good flints in a good lock will be self-knapping. In other words, they should sharpen themselves as you shoot. You may get one shot and the flint shatters. You may get 100 shots and the flint stays sharp. All depends. When it stops sparking, make an adjustment. You can do the knapping with a small knife, just very carefully chip away the front edge of the flint in tiny increments. If you need to adjust the flint in the gun, use a nail inserted through the hole in the hammer screw. Make sure you retighten the flint well so that you don't lose a flint or end up clicking at deer.

4. Loading the gun: I always load before I leave the house. Instead of loading the gun at half-cock, I put a piece of cleaning patch in the pan and set the hammer down on top of it. Shove the load down the barrel. When I get to the woods, patch comes out, half-cock, powder in the pan. Same process in reverse when getting into a vehicle unless I have to shoot the gun out (gun was already shot, end of season, etc.) I usually leave the load in the barrel for the next hunt if the gun is clean.

5. Swabbing between shots: IMO, you are wasting lots of time swabbing between shots. I swab every four to five shots depending on how tight the barrel feels. Also depends on if it is wet outside. In wet weather, swabbing the barrel with T/C 13 bore cleaner or spit will help keep the burnt powder from attracting moisture. Also use it in the pan when it's wet, then thoroughly dry the pan when finished. That will keep your lock from gumming up as bad. I usually just spit on a cleaning patch and swab the pan.

As an alternative, there is a product called Black-off that I carry on q-tips sometimes. Works wonders for removing burnt black powder from the pan in the field.

A bad day hunting rabbits beats a good day of anything else!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 09:05 PM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

Always load with the hammer dropped all the way down, and frizzen open.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 10:24 PM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

Wait, are you telling me you DON'T load the gun in half cock? That leaves the vent exposed to powder leak. When I'm in the woods, the gun always goes in half cock before loading. I know the powder loss may not be huge, but still...

Sorry, I just HAD to look this up:

Quote:
The loading process of a flintlock is quite involved.

1. Draw the hammer to the half cock position
2. Prime the pan
3. Close the pan
4. Charge the weapon (i.e. pour the powder into the barrel)
5. Load the ball/bullet
6. Drive the ball home
7. Draw the hammer to full cock position
This from: http://www.english-for-students.com/Half-Cocked.html

There are other articles on the subject, just look up "Loading a flintlock rifle."

A bad day hunting rabbits beats a good day of anything else!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 12:02 AM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

Yep. Load it with the hammer all the way down. The lock is mechanical. Anything mechanical can't be trusted 100%. If the hammer is all the way down, it can't fall any further. With it down, the frizzen has to be open. No chance of the hammer dropping due to mechanical failure that could be set off by vibration within the loading process. The hammer hitting a closed frizzen results with sparks and there has been several instances where a spark has gone through the touch hole opening setting off the main charge accidentally....Murphy's Law.

This is the way the NMLRA has determined to be the safest way to load. There have been accidents on firing lines. Whenever one occurs, they study the accident, and from that establish safety rules.

From a pure mechanical consideration, a hammer dropping with the frizzen open, can result with a broken tumbler.

So with all things considered, the wisest, and safest loading method... is lower the hammer all the way down.


Go back and read what your source says to do.. Prime, and then load! If the lock should fail, and the hammer drops on the frizzen with a primed pan.......weeeoooo! Think about where your face and hands are in relation to the muzzle.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 12:38 AM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

Priming before loading is different than putting the lock in half cock. In the half cock position, the spring is under only light tension and the tumber is designed in such a way that the sear would literally have to snap off or the tumbler catch would have to snap to allow the hammer to fall. Unless there is a good reason to think this scenario is likely, I think I will go against the recommendations and load with the gun in half cock. Most sources indicate that loading safely is the primary reason for half cock to exist at all. Half cock is a safe position that allows the gun to be shot-ready at all times. Obviously the gun can go off in half cock, hence the term "going off half-cocked." But is it not also possible for the gun to be set off by static? That happened to my dad's uncle once. Personally I don't want to lose half of my charge out the vent so I will lower my frizzen. All up to preference I suppose...

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 12:56 AM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

If your loosing powder out the vent it is way to big and needs replaced. Touch hole should be around 1/16th inch. Always load with lock at rest position frizzen open. Loading otherwise would get you warned and if you continued thrown out of most organized shoots.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 01:00 AM
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Re: More Newbie Questions

There is enough energy from the half cock position for the hammer to create sparks against a frizzen should Murphy's Law show up.

This is about developing good safety habits for the good of the sport. I believe the NMLRA's take on it is the better method.
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