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!