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I am new to a flintlock.Why do people use lead or leather on the flint?My buddy gave me one and I forgot to ask.The gun is heavy but good lord willing I would like to get a deer with it.It kept coming loose with either one so I tried it without anything and it stays tight.I get super sparks now.
 

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It allows you to tighten the flint in without crushing or flaking the flint.Also helps hold the flint in place.If you want to go without it I don't see where it would hurt.
 

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I tried lead for a while but couldn't see any advantage over leather and you have to keep checking it to make sure it stays tight. You want your flint to be very tight in the jaws and you should have some cushion between the jaws instead of no holder or you will break some flints.

The reason you may be getting more sparks without a holder is that it is providing a better angle of approach to the frizzen. Try some real thin leather perhaps and try it bevel up and down. Sparks come first with the flinters and the more the better. If a lock has good geometry and good frizzen and a sharp flint you will get pan ignition every time; just work forward from there. One thing I didn't do when I first got into this game was keep the patent breech area clean/dry on my TC guns. Makes a world of difference in my opinion.
 

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A shifting flint is primarily caused by a flaw in the lock geometry but can also be the results of something simple like jaws that are too-smooth or leather that is too-hard. Thin and pliable suede leather is best. Lead and bare-backing flints should be avoided as this will cause excessive stress that will destroy the lock. The traditional, and still the best, cure for too-smooth jaws is to rough them up by lifting hooks from the surface of the steel with a graver. If you're not up for that, the traditional field repair, and still second best yet today, is to apply a thin layer of pine sap to the jaws. Southern longleaf sap is the best; sap should be fresh-drawn from a thin-skinned branch as close to new growth as possible.
 

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Mark is right.The lead it a more solid and unforgiving thats tough on locks.Some still use it.I like a piece of leather.
 

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I too use leather----the softer the better----suede works great too...I am going to try a little pine sap on it to boot
 

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Any major problems a newby has on a flintlock muzzleloader is
1) learning to shoot through the muzzle flash and hit the target.
As I recall it took me practice, and certainly not one time at the range to get good.

2) inserting the flint and getting a perfect arc between the flint and frizzen.
Took a little detail time for me, taught by my expert mentor I must mention, to make sure the frizzen was hitting perfectly and causing a spark. You just don't jam in the flint and expect a perfect hit.

I always had some spare leather, that I cut, to help lock the flint in place. A loose flint does not work real good.
 

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Take a look at the jaws of the hammer(I know not proper term but censor will remove proper description) on most replica flintlocks, they are smooth. Some of the kit guns or custom jobs will use items with jaws of the vice that have slight serrations(for lack of a better term) on their bearing surfaces. The latter may be able to hold a piece of flint without need for lead or leather, but those with smooth jaws will not, especially the hand cut flints that are not perfectly flat. You need the leather or lead to take up the shape of the flint to give the jaws more bearing surface that will grab and hold the flint.

I personally have never used lead and don't intend to as leather woks just fine.

As to flint position, I always lock the flint in place with bevel down. Allows more time and distance for the flint to scrape against frizzen. Some people have had luck the other way, so use whatever works for you.
 

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I found a use for all the old worn out mechanics gloves this way. Cut off the thin leather palms and ditched the rest. I carry half dozen or so pieces to effect repairs on everyone elses guns when they wont fire. Makes me look smarter than I reelly am!!
 

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Im liking the French Ambers too---I pick them up in Bel Air MD on the way home from work.
 

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I've used both. sometimes it depends on the lock. I think you have a better chance of breaking flints with lead plus like someone else stated its hard on the lock. I've been shooting flintlocks for 29 year never had trouble with lead or leather. I shoot more expensive guns now and take care with them. Good luck
 

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It seems that I tried all types of Flints in my Deersralker and for some reason or another sometimes it wouldn't spark. I bought flints from a place in Minn. called Track of the Wolf and haven't had any trouble for about 30 shots so far. http://www.trackofthewolf.com
 
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