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My new .36 cal flintlock

3541 Views 33 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  410-er
As far as my wife is concerned, this one fell off the Postal Service truck and onto the porch.

The bottom line is that I now have my squirrel and small game black powder gun.

This .36 caliber lefty flintlock was built by Tip Curtis in Cross Plains, TN:

- 44" Green Mountain barrel (swamped)
- Left handed Siler lock
- Fancy curly maple stock (dark brown stain)
- Iron furniture (still "in the white" - will probably rust brown finish it)
- Davis double set trigger

The wood on this thing looks fantastic and the trigger breaks beautifully, both set and un-set. As you can see by the picture of his signature, Tip ships his guns "in the white", so it will need some steel wool cleanup to knock off light surface rust and ready it for final finishing. Alternatively, I can keep it in the white and just clean up the existing look. A good oil coat after cleaning it up will keep it rust-free, but I will probably just go ahead and brown it to keep the long term maintenance minimal. This Siler lock is FAST, *way* faster than my Lyman factory lock, and the beefy mainspring on it gives a good clue as to why that is.

Tip is an old guy now, into his mid-80s, but he still does great work out of his shop in Cross Plains, TN. I got to shoot it briefly today, and was extremely pleased. The first two shots overlapped at 25 yard and the 3rd shot was just slightly outside of that group. Lock time is excellent as you can see in this brief video clip:

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Thanks a lot! Yeah, she's definitely quick. Here's a clip of it discharging in slow-motion so you can see the works deploying in a little better detail.

The combination of that Siler lock and what appears to be a "White Lightnin'" touch hole liner clearly makes for a seriously fast lock time. After the first shot, I inspected the touch hole and thought that it was plugged. When I looked closer, I realized that what I was seeing was not fouling, but a *single granule of FFFg* staring at me from the main charge! That liner puts you REAL close to the main bang, and that has to play a huge part in the lock time being so instantaneous.

As for the wood, I think I'm going to leave it be. I like the matte look it has and the fact that it's not terribly flashy for practical reasons.

I may do just what you said and leave the metal bright. Tip warned me not to try and take this thing back apart because of how slim and fragile that stock is without the barrel supporting it. Obviously, he'd hate to see me break it. I think I would hate that even more! Since pulling it from the wood is verboten, allowing it to naturally age and patina sounds more and more like a good plan.
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tdd said:
Nice rifle!

Hard to tell from a couple of pics, but that fore end doesn't look overly slender to me...?

Not disputing what you were told, but there may come a day when you do need to dismount that barrel from the stock. Just be cautious and careful and you'll be ok. It's not like a TC Hawken....

Thanks! As for the build, the forend on this little gun is definitely...svelte. It's just one of those things where I don't want to test it unless there's a critical reason to take the gun down, especially given how adamant he was about not attempting it.

To the guys considering a small caliber build in the future, all I can say is that if you have never fired one, you're in for a treat. After blasting 70+ grains of 2F under a .54 cal ball all of this time through my Lyman Great Plains rifle, punch off a 25 gr. charge of 3F behind a .350" ball is a fun, low impact experience.
I tried heavier loads in my .54 cal, but none of them came close to the accuracy I get in lower charge weights.

If you're used to 120 gr., trust me,that .36 cal feels like nothing at all. It's all sound as far as the shoulder is concerned. It's almost weird - like a significantly louder .22 LR that packs a bit more punch.
The way that you kick that project off unofficially is to buy a .36 cal mold and cast a few. I don't know about you, but I've been known to buy a gun or two because, dangit, I can't have ammo layin' around without a gun for it!

Seriously, though, your expression about having to check to see if anything actually came out is fairly accurate. The range I use won't allow me to do a close sight-in on the 15 yard pistiol lanes, so I had to go straight for the 25 yard lane. When the thing discharged, I felt virtually nothing and couldn't see the tiny hole with my naked eye. I wondered if I even had a strike on paper. I used my laser rangefinder and saw the itty bitty puncture, much to my delight.

Another cool thing you'll notice if you watch that slow motion video that I posted: if you look closely, you can see that correspondingly tiny, white patch go whizzing skyward at the shot.
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Yeah, and with that long of tube, you're actually getting something significant out of that powder charge, too. My Lyman Great Plains rifle is nowhere near that long, so a 120 gr. load would waste a lot of powder for not much gain. That said, it really does well with the light loads.
Definitely loving the long tube on this little guy. The catch is that I'm supposed to fly in for a squirrel hunt in Georgia in January and the thing it way too long for my airline-rated gun case!
I'm now looking at hardside ski cases that will take a TSA-approved lock.
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Yeah, I may have to drive. It's not insanely bad of a drive, and once you factor in the cost of a news case + a plane ticket, I figure I'm better off just renting a gas-sipping compact car, dropping the back seat and driving with this thing the roughly 10 hours down.

As for powder, the guy I'm meeting up to hunt with is a huge blackpowder nut and has plenty of Goex 3F that I can bum. He also own some realy impressive smallbore smokepoles!
Thanks gain, fellas! I agree that thing will probably bring many fine years of fun. I will try some hotter charges t to see if there is a significant change in elevation at could work to my advantage for various expected distances. Right now, at 25 yards, it's stacking balls 1.5" over point of aim with a 25 gr. charge. That's about perfect for tree rats, and if it's the only load it likes, I'm fine with that. Less powder used and less fouling accordingly.

Speaking of elk, I got drawn for a Colorado bull muzzleloader hunt and am headed out to there with my .54 cal in about a week and a half (right after Labor Day weekend). I've killed a cow out there before with a modern centerfire, but this is going to be a much more challenging affair. If I get within range, we'll consider that a big win and if I'm cursing with a full pack on the way back down the mountain over multiple hikes in and out, it'll a be a true victory.

As for this smallbore, I'm headed out this weekend to scout with a friend who is letting me hunt deer on his place in 2A. Apparently, the property also has plenty groundhogs we can bust. The .36 cal is packed and I may try put little stalk on to try and shoot one as an inaugural kill.
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Thanks, dogrich! It's exciting to think about this coming Fall, for sure! God willing, I can get a whistlepig this weekend.

410-er - yeah, I'm thinking this thing may be dead on at 15 yard and 50 yards for the sweet spots. If it's dead on at 50, it could make for an effective coyote gun, too. Hopefully, I can get in a decent range seasion next time and not get cut short by the rain like I did this last time. Then I will test it out to see if that's the case.
If that dope proves out accurately on paper, I can't think of a better situation. Now ya really got me spun up to test it out.
That's great to hear. Hopefully, this gun will continue that trend and thank you very much for posting that data.
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