View Full Version : powder for flinter

04-25-2007, 11:35 PM
This is a new field for me so I need a bit of help. I am looking at a gorgeous 62 cal ball gun. Its a flinter built by Judd Brennen. Judd is a local here and as some of you may know builds some nice guns.
Anyway my question is about powder. We cant get black powder here. The only way is to barge it and the minimum charge by barge is a pallet at 700 lbs.
So I need to know if any of the sub powders will work reliably in a flint lock? In my limited experiance with pyrodex it seems harder to light than black. What would work for a frizzen powder.
I would realy like to get this gun but if I cant feed it its of no use to me. Its perty to look at but I want to shoot it too.

04-25-2007, 11:43 PM
I have heard of people duplexing in a flintlock (10 gr of black under BP sub, black in the pan) with good results as a means of extending a supply of black powder and/or using up some pyrodex but I've never heard of anyone that claimed they got good results when only using a BP sub in a flintlock.

I tried a lb of pyrodex in a caplock once but got significantly faster ignition with black and haven't bought a BP sub since.


04-26-2007, 10:03 AM
Firstly, I've only experimented with Pyrodex so my observations are quite limited.

If you try to light your charge with substitute in the pan, you will have at best delayed ignitions, and at worst, well, it won't light at all. I tried it one year deer hunting when I didn't have any real BP, and my buddy Mike still laughs loudly about t it. KLAK.. No ignition, both deer look right at us with surprise. I re-cock, then KLAK, fizzzz, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, KABOOOM..... Took probably two complete seconds from pulling the trigger to charge ignition. What my buddy laughs the most about is how the hell I ever kept the site on the damn deer the whole time with all the commotion! And yes, I did get the deer.......:drinks:

Using substitute as the main charge for me had mixed results, but never good results. Perceptible delay fires and lower velocity (a shoot over a chrony) were the norm. You are not interested in the lower velocities I'm sure, you are interested in making her shoot. Substitutes require a hotter fire to ignite the charge, and the single spark going into the touchhole frequently is not sufficient to get an instantaneous ignition. My hope is that there are those who have experimented with others brands and have some empirical data to provide. If you can get a touch of the real BP (any formulation) save it for the pan. I shoot fffg out of my pan and have shot ffg out of the pan with NO difference in ignition time.

It's hard to believe there are no "clubs" that don't make group orders, but if that's the lay of the land, then so be it. Good luck, keep us posted, and "cmon boys, what have you all been shooting out of those flinters"!

C A Plater
04-26-2007, 10:24 AM
I've never tried this myself but I have met folks that claim (credibly) to make their own and there are a few web sites with information on the subject. Now whether it is easier to get the chemicals needed where you are over the finished product is another matter.

04-26-2007, 10:49 AM
I have never heard of a substitute BP that works reliably in fact Pyrodex used to say their powder doesn't work in Flintlocks. Have you asked the guy you plan to buy the flinter from. Seems to me if he builds them he would have a source.

Have you considered converting it to a cap lock. That may not be to desirable but it is an option. it's been a few years since I have been up there but there was a gun shop in Fairbanks that had allot of BP stuff including (flint) Locks. I can't imagine him having all this BP stuff and not having BP. Sorry I don't rmember the address but I could take you there if I was up there. It was on the NW side of town.

If you finally do find some BP and it looks like it's still hard to come by I would do the duplex thing like mentioned above. 5g in the barrel before the substitute and and some in the pan of coarse. There are some BP clubs up there, if you can find them, they should have a sourse and I remember seeing some at the gun shows but like I said it's been a few years. Best of luck!

04-26-2007, 01:30 PM

I just picked up a Dixie Gun Works flint at a pawn shop and was taking to the guy there. He is into BP quite a bit and he said American Pioneer powder will work in a flinter. They don't make a 4f but they do make a 3f &2f which will work or you could very carefully cut or crunch up some of the 3f to use in the pan. You might even be able to sift the powder abit and get some of the finer powder from it.

04-26-2007, 01:50 PM
Dan, can you order from http://www.mainepowderhouse.com/ordering.php ? Maybe someone would split the order with you.

Swiss! :)

Baron von Trollwhack
04-26-2007, 02:54 PM
Help me understand. Mr Brennen is a noted BP rifle builder all over the country and is there near you and you need help getting BP?

04-26-2007, 03:07 PM
As an old (circa 1966) flint shooter I have found nothing to work as well as regulay B/P. I use either FFF or FFFFg for pan priming, but a good grade of FF will work in a GOOD lock. The cheaper the lock the finer powder you need to get that instant ignition you are looking for. A good flinter goes BANG and a poor one or a poorly loaded one goes WHOOSH bang like on TV. I know what you are laboring under as a friend of mine tired a caribou hunt in Newfoundlan and tried to get his flinter in, gun yes powder no. If you PM me I will tell you how that was made into a sucessful hunt ans how your situation may be resolved.

04-26-2007, 08:45 PM
Strange the guy had problems getting BP into Canada. I have never had any difficulties, and have never even been asked how much I was transporting.

04-26-2007, 10:26 PM
Long story he was with a filming crew, they had to fly, and they made the mistake of telling what they had.

04-27-2007, 11:09 AM
The place in Fairbanks that did sell black is Down Under Guns, but they dont sell it anymore. There is a club that had a pallet shipped but it was/is for the club and not for sale. I am not a member nore do I want to be. They are 130 miles away in fairbanks and I can not participate in thier events.
Those that do shoot black here have had some powder stashed from the days when you could buy it and wont part with any.
From what I am seeing even with cap locks even they benifit greatly from a touch of black down first. I do have a small stash of old Hodgdons fffg(about 2 lbs) and last year traded for half a case of Goex cartridge grade.
I have no experiance with a flinter and thought the Goex would be too course.
Has anyone tried the Hodgdons 777 powder in a flinter? I can buy this and pyrodex here. I tried a can of the early Pionere powder early on when it first came out and for me it was terribly stuff. It was hard to light and to get any velocity you had to have the barrel half full to the muzzle.
I was affraid I was going to hear this about subbs not being too good for a flinter and maybe thats why this gun is for sale. Its not Judd selling it but a friend of his. Judds guns are sold from him long before they are completed.
I have not asked him personaly what he does for powder as he lives 50 miles away and I dont see him often but I suspeck he is in the same boat with those I have talked to. Thanks for the help I wont give up yet. That sure is a nice lookin rifle and I think if fed right it will shoot too.

04-27-2007, 11:48 AM
Have you tried Canada? I know it's a ways but you are closer than most and it is an option. Maybe they could ship it to you althiugh I know it would be expensive. I will be up there next month but I am flying in for a cruise so I would not be able to bring you any.Have you asked Down Under guns for a recomendation for black substitute? They must have something.

04-27-2007, 06:25 PM
Idon't know about that far north but around here black is hard to find . Iusually stock up if Ifind some.

Baron von Trollwhack
04-27-2007, 09:42 PM
The half a case(of 25 pounds) of GOEX cartridge grade you have will be perfectly satisfactory to use as the charge in a flintlock. Cartridge grade was touted as being more consistent in granulation (FFg) as it was screened with more attention to consistency, meaning less fines. In any event, you can crush some of it down for priming use and be ahead of the game as it will be even faster than FFFFg in the pan. I use 70 grains FFg and a patched roundball in my smooth .62(20 ga.). The same volume of shot as powder also works for a close range 2 1/2 dram equivalent load with an ounce or so of shot. Close range because of the cylinder bore, no choke. To crush the powder for priming, I use an old shoe polish tin. I put half a teaspoon in and wobble, not strike, the flat end of a hammer handle about until it's clearly not 2 or 3 Fg anymore. Dump that and go again till you get what you need for priming. Real studies show crushed down powder is faster because you have mechanically broken down the glazing of powder grains and indeed made some very fine dust plus "chunks" to set off the main charge. The National Muzzleloading Rifle Association lists A Mr. Joe Coe in Chugiak as an affiliated club contact. Perhaps he could help out on the more powder question. BvT

04-27-2007, 11:33 PM
Just off the Top of my head, it takes roughly 700 + degrees to set off pyrodex & only 400 to set off BP. Pyrodex is considered Flamable while BP is classed as Explosive. We only have 2 stores in our county that carry BP because of this. Being a lover of Flinter's I have made my own BP and been very successful at it, although the risk are'nt worth it to me to do it on a regular basis. You have to work it damp! I ground up my powder with a Morter and Pestle that a pharmacist would use. Make sure it's damp, not wet, just damp if you have to grind it up to powder for the Pan. I tried Pyrodex for the main charge and FFFFg in the Pan but it would give me hang fires. Long story short, you'll need BP.

04-28-2007, 10:45 AM
I'm not a proponent of super fine powders in the pan. Anything smaller then 3f is gratuitous in my book. My lock is not a super expensive lock and it will light off 2F, 3F and 4f with equal gusto. Some British muskets were considered "self priming" since their touch holes were so big, they merely tilted the powder from the barrel to the pan and it "self primed". They were using far course powder then 3F, and their guns went BOOM.......

I'm not saying not to of course, I just wouldn't sweat that detail too much to get super fine powder for priming. Try it both ways and see what works for your rifle and weather conditions. Moisture and wind are also considerations for using larger then "super fines"..... just my . 0.05548 Polish Zloty