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Modifying touch hole liner?

13278 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  blitzinstripes
Hi all,
In the last couple of weeks I'm all of a sudden having a tough time getting ingnition in my Cabelas .54 cal Hawken. In most cases, the only way I can get it to go off is shoving 4f priming powder into the hole. I've got to do something before the 26th and I don't want to open a can of worms at this point. Since Im getting a good spark and the touch hole is well placed in relation to the pan, I'm thinking about trying to open up the original touch hole liner with a countersink bit very carefully. The liner is frozen. I haven't been able to remove it in years. But then again I haven't had to. After the season I think I'll drill it out and replace with a "white lightning liner". Any thoughts on the countersink option?
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When I had a lyman, I just used my cordless drill, and drilled the entire hole out a little bit bigger. I use 2FF in the barrel, and I drilled it out just big enough that I got better ignition, but no so large that the powder would fall out from the barrel. I also pick the touch hole after I load, and make sure the spark has a good path to the powder inside the barrel. maybe that would help you, without having to drill it out? I now have a TC Renegade, and and put an aftermarket touchole liner in it, and it works flawlessly. I'm sure someone else will have much more insightful info than me, but that's how I fixed mine
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If you never had problem and do now, you have dirt, soot etc... Impeding your flash. Take 1 size up and drill it out. Too much will hurt. Try soaking pb blaster or whatever, a little bit twice a day and see if you can take the old liner out and put an uncle mikes or whatever aftermarket you would like. Better than trying to just "bandaid" the problem.
Your touch hole liner is coned from the inside. Drilling it out could result in having your main charge sift out into the pan while carrying the gun around. The touch hole is supposed to be small enough, that when the main charge is loaded, you see a few grains of powder hanging inside the touch hole.

Your flash channel to the main charge is most likely a hole about 1/4 inch (metric) into the side of the barrel and then meets up with the hollow inside the threaded part of the breech plug. Investarms breech plugs are much like Thompson Center breech plugs. where the bore meets the threaded breech plug shoulder, the breech plug is hollow, but only about 3/8 of an inch. (Which is why you never see the ram rod tip go back as far as the touch hole. Gunk gets pushed down into the hollow and can constrict the flash channel. The little bit of 4f you push in the touch hole isw enough to blow through to ignite the charge. Some times, a burr left from the drilling process at the factory is hanging and can help keep powder from falling back to the touch hole. If the powder of the main charge is not getting back to the touch hole, drilling it out won't do any good.

Normally the venturi effect of sticking the breech in hot soapy water and pumping up and down will flush out any debris.
Just in case it isn't, just get a new touch hole and pull the old one. (soaking the breech in a can of kerosene or penetrating oil will usually permit the tough hole to be removed.)

When you pour powder down the bore, do you give the gun a couple of good bumps from the side to settle the powder into the flash channel? At this point, you should see grains of powder at the touch hole. If not, your flash channel is restricted for some reason.

You will have to pull the touch hole and use pipe cleaners or something to make sure it is open. Some times a small grinding tip on a dremel (being careful not to grind the threads that hold the liner,) can open the end of the flash channel enough to make a big difference.
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Once you get that touch hole liner out replace it with an RMC liner(size M6-0.75). It uses a hex wrench instead of a flat screwdriver....this acts kind of like a cone on both ends of the liner(it is already coned on the inside) and helps promote better ignition in my experience. I played around with mine and got the best ignition after I opened up the flash hole, but I can't remember to what! It wasn't much though...maybe .067"....I have access to all the number drills I need though and you might not even need to open it up at all.

EDIT: Be sure to put anti-seize or teflon tape on the liner threads before you install it and start using it!
Wow! nice pics and explanations. Yeah, I do always tap my powder down the barrel. One thing i've never seen with this gun is any ffg at the touch hole. I do use a pick and can feel the powder although lately not so much. I did soak the barrel for a few hours in PB blaster with no luck (burred up the screw driver slot also) which brought me to the countersink idea to get rid of the burrs and then allow more area to direct the spark into the touch hole. However if its coned from the inside I guess it could be easily screwed up by trying to cone it from the outside also. Does a scraper get down to the touch hole? It does sound like I might have some internal clogging issues. Thanks again for your comments.
ON most custom long rifles with out the hooked breech, there is no need to remove the touch hole for cleaning. Having the cone entirely on the inside, permits a few grains of powder to be hanging right there at the surface of the barrel flat next to the pan. Those allen wrench liners move those grains of powder another 1/16th to 1/8 of an inch away from the pan. IMO just another obstacle/distance the sparks and flame from the pan need to traverse to ignite the charge. The counter theory is that it funnels the flame into the hole. My thoughts are that it is like hand grenades. going off immediately next to the target is better than ten feet away. In the overall scheme of things, there are so many things that can delay the ignition of a flintlock, that 1/8 of an inch is relatively minor, but it is something. Making sure your spring bearing surfaces are oiled and smooth, that the frizzen pivot pin is lubricated, that the flash channel inside the touch hole is clear and open. using the right amount of primer in the pan, etc. Each one alone if done wrong, adds a delay.
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thanks zimmerstuzen, but not really talking about delay here. I'm just trying to get the dang thing to go off consistently right now. But your input is well received. Thanks. I think its pretty clear that I have an obstruction problem since this is something that just cropped up in the last month.
JasonN said:
EDIT: Be sure to put anti-seize or teflon tape on the liner threads before you install it and start using it!
I use a high-speed synthetic gear lube from the auto parts dept on the liner threads (advice from Dixon's). If you're cleaning your barrel, take the time to unscrew the liner and dry and clean the threads.
I did a few for myself and a few friends, First see what size hole is there now. You will need a number set of drills to do this, Put the back end of the drill in the hole and see what size it is. go up .005 and try it. If nogo go five more etc. The biggest one from a factory gun I ever worked on was.078 I would not go over this, I also am in the ne pa If you pm me with a number I will call you. Near hazleton.

When you clean do you pump water thru the barrel or just clean with patches?Could be crud in the breech area.
JasonN said:
Once you get that touch hole liner out replace it with an RMC liner(size M6-0.75).
I also use these with great success and that is with igniting 777 in the barrel under field conditions, no barrel primer charge. Not sure how long I've been using them but it is over 20 years. With the Lyman GPH and T7 it's been 8 years, never had a failed ignition. Even with a low pan level the powder flows into the allen head recess putting it in direct contact with the main charge. If you want to add some more spice to your ignition try Swiss Null-B in the pan, that stuff is HOT and ZIPPY!
Thanks guys,

lots of great comments. I haven't done a hot water cleaning since the liner got frozen. I'll give that a try. If that don't work, new liner (sooner than later). Thanks again for all the responses and good luck all in the late season!
Its a good idea to remove the touch hole liner during every cleaning session. Helps that "venturi effect" while you flush hot soapy water in the breech, and it will prevent those tough seizes that are giving you a headache right now... Mine removes very easily whenever I need it, because I remove it every cleaning. A performance upgrade part is your answer.
410-er said:
When you clean do you pump water thru the barrel or just clean with patches?Could be crud in the breech area.
That, too, given the o.p"s last response. I ALWAYS flush with hot soapy water before any solvents, and do it religiously at every cleaning. Black powder is a lot of fun, but it comes with a lot of meticulous cleaning. I recently had the misfortune of cleaning a relative's flintlock that had sat for approx seven years without a proper cleaning. It wasn't fun.
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