3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!! - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

Alrighty. I went to the range with my .50 Traditions in hopes of mastering "improper ignition", and making sure my aim is still as bad as it's ever been. Actually, my aim has never been a real problem for me. I've taken 8 or so Deer with my flinter in the limited time I walk with it, and IF it properly ignites, a harvest is almost sure to follow. This due mainly to keeping my shots in the 70 or less yard range I would suspect.

OK, I'll speak less of the shot "grouping", as they were all sufficient vital area marks (at 50 yds.), and more to the ignition. First shot through a clean barrel, frizzen, new flint, etc... no problems. OK, I DID NOT wipe anything after the first shot. I simply put a new charge in, and primed FFFF in the pan. Result = click pffffftttt. Burnt the pan powder, no charge ignition. I reprimed the pan, result = click pffffftttt a second time. Myself, I'd rather have the ole click and no pan ignition, simply because it scares me not knowing if charge ignition is just on a serious delay. So, I break out the tiny packets of alcohol wipes in my bag. I wipe the frizzen, pan, and pick the touchhole with a small wire. I did this same routine on the next 4 shots. Results = click boom. No delay.

Guess you learn every single day. In the past, I would never wipe with alcohol after every single shot. I'd say every 3rd shot or so. Guess what? It will be after every shot from now on. One thing I NEVER wiped in the past, and didn't on the range Saturday, is the flint. I always thought that would reduce spark. Based on Berkscoflinters response in another thread, I guess I should wipe the flint also. Well, all in all, I think I found the issue with my misfires. Wipe, wipe, wipe. Makes you wonder how folks survived a few hundred years ago in a battle atmosphere.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 12:21 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

what lube do you use on your touch hole area? (ok, that didn't come out right). but seriously, if your touch hole area is too sticky, that could be glomming up the works after the first shot. maybe do a alcohol wipe of the whole area before the first shot. with my t/c firestorm i don't have that problem.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

I use no lube at all around my touchhole. Not sure why anybody would lube there other than seasonal storage. Pretty sure the "glomming" you describe is simply from powder burning/caking.

I should also add. After the shot, my pan/hole are, seems to be on the moist side, as opposed to the dry, white hot kind of powder burn. I'm sure that has something to do with it. Maybe the powder type ???? I use Goex 4F to prime and Goex 2F in the chute.

I'm very particular when it comes to moisture when I hunt. I put the gun outside the night before to acclimate it. I change prime powder at least every 2 hr.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 09:22 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

The wiping was not nearly as important as the picking of the touch hole. You were igniting the prime but did not have the vent clear to the main charge when your gun failed to fire.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 10:21 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

I've always felt that the attention you give to the breech end of your barrel, i.e. the lock, flint and touch hole out weights what you stuff down the barrel. Of course, crud from previous shots can work its way toward the breech plug and must be removed to maintain direct contact between a future powder charge and primer explosion.

However, nothing is more important than a good shower of sparks from a sharp flint scraping the surface of a dry, clean frizzen, and this will not happen consistently if the underside of your flint is crud-covered, your frizzen is not clean, and your pan and touch hole are not clean and totally open. And, this all depends on a sharp flint, tightly clamped in the hammer jaws.

The beauty of alcohol is its rapid drying feature. Wipe the flint, the frizzen, and the pan. If you do not need to practice caution when wiping your flint, IT IS NOT SHARP ENOUGH!

All of this may sound overly particular about paying attention to flintlock details, and it may be, but once you experience a once in the season, 30 yard standing broadside shot, and the flintlock doesn't fire, or hang fires, you will either give up on flintlock season or, you will learn to practice the necessary steps a properly functioning flintlock requires, and it certainly is not brain surgery!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:11 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

I always looked at it in this manner. The last thing that I want to do it carry my rifle around all day getting soaking wet, cold or working hard to get a shot at a deer and not have it go off. I clean everything, keep it dry, use a good sharp flint and it ALWAYS goes off. If you fire your rifle when hunting then remove all traces of fouling. Fouling is what attracts the moisture. Powder does not attract moisture; fouling does and does it well. Denatured alcohol is the best thing to clean with and clean and dry everything. Like Berks said too; if it has a "patent breech" like a TC gun does then get down in that powder chamber with a small bore brush with a patch on it. Fouling collects here so take your time and get it clean and dry everywhere. A pipe cleaner is a nice thing to have to make sure there is no clinkers between the touch hole and the chamber.

The first time I show someone how to use a flinter is to have them fire the rifle and then look at the pan; it's usually dry. Look at it again in a couple of minutes and that dry fouling is soup. Just think what the inside of that barrel and powder chamber look like if you didn't swab. If you going to swab at all you might as well do it right.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:37 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

Another possibility is do you pump water thru the barrel when you clean.Often guys will just clean the bore with solvents.The breech area is smaller diameter than the bore.Your jag and patch can't get in there.Often the crud gets pushed into the breech and doesn't get removed.Pumping water in a bucket will swirl and clean the breech area.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:59 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

When I'm done shooting for the day I always use as close to boiling soapy water I can and do the same thing...pumping water through the breech liner hole. If I absolutely cannot get to that, I will flush out the breech area with a good hosing of gun scrubber or Carb and Choke cleaner. It not only disolves fouling but forcefully washes it out of the breech. Plus it dries fast. Clean the barrel first, flush the breech, scrub with a pipe cleaner and flush again. A couple dry patches and a season patch and I'm ready for the next hunt. I have never had any issues cleaning this way, especially if we were hunting out of the motor home or couldn't get to boiling water. As far as the pan, I throw a dry, clean patch under the frizzen and close it after firing. It absorbs some of the moisture and when I'm ready to pick and prime all I do is pull it out, taking most of the fowling with it. Makes it easier to clean the pan and frizzen between shots for me.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 08:27 PM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

i have to agree with long hunter and mossie. i've been shooting a smoke pole since 1979. i've found the key to successful shots is "keep it dry." condensation accumulates after each shot. i always wipe the flint and frizzen after each shot. either with my finger or a cloth. the alcohol wipe sounds good, but it's one more thing to deal with in the field. i like to keep it simple.
also i "always" run a pick through the touch hole after i load the pan. you can feel the barrel powder crunch. this insures a free passage way for the 4f powder to get to the barrel powder.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 01:20 AM
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Re: 3 Cheers for...... ALCOHOL !!!

I carry a prescription bottle filled with 1" x 1" squares of a cut up t-shirt. The squares are dampened with alcohol. I wipe the pan, frizzen, flint, touch hole area, after every shot and in addition to using a pick inside the touch hole. I'm only into flintlock hunting for just about 1 year but I have yet to get a misfire.
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