Lee PrecisionRotoMetals2ADvertise hereWideners
RepackboxInline FabricationTitan Reloading

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 42

Thread: Flintlock priming powder question

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    4,570
    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Myself and the guys I shoot with are competition shooters with flintlocks. We are all in agreement that 4FFFF is faster than 3FFF. Our scores go to hell priming with anything else. I can definitely tell the difference.
    Larry Pletcher has shown this to be true, at least with respect to the speed of ignition. If you live in a dry climate, the finer grained FFFFg is certainly the priming powder of choice because there's more surface area with it. However, in the often humid Hudson Valley where I live, FFFg works a bit better since there's less surface area to turn into "mud" in the pan, even if rigorously wiped between shots.

  2. #22
    Boolit Mold The Old Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5
    I'm new to castboolits, and I'm sure this information is a little contrary to what most flintlock shooters believe.
    I use FFFFG exclusively i the pan, but I fill the pan to the max and all three of my flinters go off like caplocks. Here's the reasons I believe this works like it does....

    First, I reset my locks so the flashhole is visually split by the pan recess where the pan and frizzen meet, or just a hair higher. This prevents the powder from covering the flashhole and becoming a fuse rather than a flash.

    Second, I polish the pan to a shiny finish in the area the FFFFG sets.

    Next, after I'm loaded and ready to prime, the pan is filled completely, the frizzen then closed, rifle held with the lock side up, and tap the lock several times. The rifle now has lightning fast lock/firing time.

    I tried this initally when the "less is more" theory allowed a small part of the main charge to fall out while hunting resulting in a misfire. I also discovered that the flint being no farther than .080" from the frizzen face at half cock was a benefit as well. When closed, the side of the frizzen prevents the main charge from falling through the flashhole vent liner.

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    290
    I use 4F. A few years ago I didn't have any 4F so I ground some 3F with a wooden spoon in a glass bowl! It worked fine!

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    NJ via TX
    Posts
    3,419
    for the very most part, the difference in ignition time between 4f and 3f, and sometimes even 2f, is inconsequential for most flint guns/shooters. coarser pan powder can be beneficial in humid/wet climates, too. it's also nice not to absolutely need a priming horn. anyhoo, been there, done all that, to each their own.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  5. #25
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


    waksupi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    Posts
    17,655
    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Man View Post
    I'm new to castboolits, and I'm sure this information is a little contrary to what most flintlock shooters believe.
    I use FFFFG exclusively i the pan, but I fill the pan to the max and all three of my flinters go off like caplocks. Here's the reasons I believe this works like it does....

    First, I reset my locks so the flashhole is visually split by the pan recess where the pan and frizzen meet, or just a hair higher. This prevents the powder from covering the flashhole and becoming a fuse rather than a flash.

    Second, I polish the pan to a shiny finish in the area the FFFFG sets.

    Next, after I'm loaded and ready to prime, the pan is filled completely, the frizzen then closed, rifle held with the lock side up, and tap the lock several times. The rifle now has lightning fast lock/firing time.

    I tried this initally when the "less is more" theory allowed a small part of the main charge to fall out while hunting resulting in a misfire. I also discovered that the flint being no farther than .080" from the frizzen face at half cock was a benefit as well. When closed, the side of the frizzen prevents the main charge from falling through the flashhole vent liner.
    My fastest ignition is with about a half pan of powder. A properly charged flinter is faster than a caplock.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  6. #26
    Boolit Master Hanshi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    750
    I've been shooting flintlocks for 51 years and have routinely used 4F (FFFF) for prime. It's fast and a pound goes a long way. On those occasions I've had to use 3F (FFF) it worked well enough for my purposes. A tad slower than 4F but not a great deal.
    Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    the Ark
    Posts
    3,373
    I've had good shooting with Jacks Battle, pan and bore, goes bang and I hit.
    Wouldn't use it in the 26" twist .52 bore but does fine in the .46, the .50, 54 and .58. The .61 gets big doses of FFg. The jury is still out on the 1816. Soon will be trying it in a .39 bore.
    And yes, the residue is blackish green.

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    176
    I use 4f when at the range, or in shooting 'competitions' (competitions sound serious... what I shoot at are more just fun shoots for a bit of trade booty).

    When hunting, I start the day out with 4f. But if I get a shot off while hunting (this is both for small and deer game), and I do a very quick reload, I am using my main powder horn (3f), or the powder in my paper cartridge that I pre-made. 3F works just fine. But, I always make sure to have a nice and sparky frizzen, a quick lock, and a well tuned flash hole.

    But then my OCD sets in. If after this 'quick reload', I do not have another shot and I'm back to stalking or sitting, I will dump the 3F in the pan, and re-prime with 4F. I keep a very small brass primer of 4f with me in the bag.


    I know none of this has to do with 'green meal' but maybe it will help someone out.

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    176
    One more thing...

    If I were starting out. I would not buy a can of 3f and a can of 4f. I would just use 3f until I could find a fellow that I could buy/trade for a medicine bottle full of the stuff. It's worth it to have 4f for priming, but not worth it to source a whole pound at great cost and effort. When starting out, there are many more useful ways to spend money. Like finding that right flint for your frizzen.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,432
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimner View Post
    One more thing...

    If I were starting out. I would not buy a can of 3f and a can of 4f. I would just use 3f until I could find a fellow that I could buy/trade for a medicine bottle full of the stuff. It's worth it to have 4f for priming, but not worth it to source a whole pound at great cost and effort. When starting out, there are many more useful ways to spend money. Like finding that right flint for your frizzen.
    I'm new to flintlocks, and my biggest problem has been getting good sparks, not the prime. I just use 2F now, tried 3F and 4F. It works all the same for me. It all fires if you get a shower of sparks on it. It turns out cheap flintlocks are exactly that, cheap. My TC gets 2 maybe 3 shots before the flint is chipped. By 10 or 15 the flint is shattered.

    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a middle ground for flintlocks. You can either buy cheap TC or Lyman and work out the problems as best you can. Or you can spend $1000 and work 200 hours to finish a kit. Or you can spend $3000 for a super fancy rifle. Nobody makes a simple $700 flintlock that works.

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    120
    I am a fairly new .50 cal Flintlock shooter. I've experimented with both the "KISS" 3F barrel / 3F pan and it works good. I prefer the 2F barrel / 4F pan . My reasoning is the fact there is without a doubt a slightly faster ignition sequence with 4F vs 3F. I am trying very hard to rid myself of the infamous "flinch" and while i'm making progress I still have a ways to go. The faster ignition seems to help my shot consistency , especially shooting traditional offhand.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master


    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    NJ via TX
    Posts
    3,419
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    I'm new to flintlocks, and my biggest problem has been getting good sparks, not the prime. I just use 2F now, tried 3F and 4F. It works all the same for me. It all fires if you get a shower of sparks on it. It turns out cheap flintlocks are exactly that, cheap. My TC gets 2 maybe 3 shots before the flint is chipped. By 10 or 15 the flint is shattered.

    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a middle ground for flintlocks. You can either buy cheap TC or Lyman and work out the problems as best you can. Or you can spend $1000 and work 200 hours to finish a kit. Or you can spend $3000 for a super fancy rifle. Nobody makes a simple $700 flintlock that works.
    unlike cap guns, the heart of flintlock long guns is the lock itself. with flint locks (that is, the lock and not the entire gun), you will almost always get what ya pay for, and even so there will usually be some work to be done on the lock to improve its function. i always take them apart and true the plate at the very least. but it's not always the lock that's the only concern. do consider the overall geometry of the lock and its relationship to the touch hole (and/or liner), the touch hole (or liner) itself, the relationship 'tween the cock jaws and the hammer steel, and all the things apropos to sticking on and positioning a flint ... not to mention the pan shape and position to the vent hole, the pan powder and its distribution, and what the gun likes with regards to fouling. then there's the matter of the flint quality, knowing how to keep a flint Sharp during its use, and the inherent hammer steel hardness. this all sounds like a lotta stuff, and it is. but once they're all reasonably sorted out with regards to a specific gun, ignition will be quite good with every hammer drop. so yes, these "simple" guns might not be so simple if their build and/or components aren't up to snuff. you will almost always get what ya paid for, in usage results.

    with regards to the offshore flint locks, they're at best "okay". some may take a bunch of tweaking to work reasonably well, some never will. an L&R RPL lock replacement may do wonders in this matter. it will usually be the best $150 spent to make a so-so gun into shooter ... that is, as long as the other other things mentioned are cared for and resolved. and these other things includes learning how best to deal with the offshore guns' patent breech.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  13. #33
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


    waksupi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    Posts
    17,655
    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    unlike cap guns, the heart of flintlock long guns is the lock itself. with flint locks (that is, the lock and not the entire gun), you will almost always get what ya pay for, and even so there will usually be some work to be done on the lock to improve its function. i always take them apart and true the plate at the very least. but it's not always the lock that's the only concern. do consider the overall geometry of the lock and its relationship to the touch hole (and/or liner), the touch hole (or liner) itself, the relationship 'tween the cock jaws and the hammer steel, and all the things apropos to sticking on and positioning a flint ... not to mention the pan shape and position to the vent hole, the pan powder and its distribution, and what the gun likes with regards to fouling. then there's the matter of the flint quality, knowing how to keep a flint Sharp during its use, and the inherent hammer steel hardness. this all sounds like a lotta stuff, and it is. but once they're all reasonably sorted out with regards to a specific gun, ignition will be quite good with every hammer drop. so yes, these "simple" guns might not be so simple if their build and/or components aren't up to snuff. you will almost always get what ya paid for, in usage results.

    with regards to the offshore flint locks, they're at best "okay". some may take a bunch of tweaking to work reasonably well, some never will. an L&R RPL lock replacement may do wonders in this matter. it will usually be the best $150 spent to make a so-so gun into shooter ... that is, as long as the other other things mentioned are cared for and resolved. and these other things includes learning how best to deal with the offshore guns' patent breech.
    Well covered! I agree, the lock is the key. I have one rifle I kept track of, and on the first flint got 176 shots from it before it got too short to use in that particular rifle any more. If the lock geometry is correct, they last a long time. You don't get that with a cheap lock.
    Chambers locks give very long flint life and reliable ignition. I just got a Kibler lock, and from first examination, it will take zero tuning to be be top quality, something very unusual for even the best locks.

    Two things you can't go cheap on in a muzzleloader are the lock and the barrel. You are looking at over $200 for any of quality nowadays. I gave around $230 for the Kibler, I see Chambers are in the same price range now. I got a Colerain barrel for $230, a similar Rice would have been just over $300 delivered.

    Think about those factors when you see a rifle offered for $200. You are buying someone else's headache.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  14. #34
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,432
    One very interesting person that all shooters new and seasoned should read is Larry Pletcher. I've found his data absolute gold. Shooting is filled with opinion and data collected by the unreliable human eyes and ears. Larry sets up a flintlock under laboratory conditions to test things scientifically. Some of his data jives with what everyone always knew. The faster the powder, the faster the ignition. No surprises there.

    Some of his best work was with touch hole position, size, and powder distribution. Read the articles yourselves and draw your own conclusions. What I gather from them is that touch hole position does not matter for the most part. As long as it is reasonably in the pan, ignition is not sped or slowed in anyway. The only time he had a problem was when the hole was too high. Even at the very bottom of the pan, ignition was every bit as fast.

    The touch hole size is no surprise. What really blew my mind was the powder distribution. Every where you look, you see don't overfill the pan, and keep an air gap if possible. People try and stop a fuse effect. Contradictory, Larry found no fuse effect. A well filled pan with powder resting right against the touch hole was the fastest.

    Anyway, back to our very basic problems, I have been thinking of getting the TC replacement L&R lock. I am hoping to make sure I like the gun first, and that it shoots good. They are $180, so not cheap. Here is my question though. It looks like they are not yet drilled and tapped. If I drill and tap the hole for my gun, could I later sell the lock to somebody else and expect it to fit?

  15. #35
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    176
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    I'm new to flintlocks, and my biggest problem has been getting good sparks, not the prime. I just use 2F now, tried 3F and 4F. It works all the same for me. It all fires if you get a shower of sparks on it. It turns out cheap flintlocks are exactly that, cheap. My TC gets 2 maybe 3 shots before the flint is chipped. By 10 or 15 the flint is shattered.

    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a middle ground for flintlocks. You can either buy cheap TC or Lyman and work out the problems as best you can. Or you can spend $1000 and work 200 hours to finish a kit. Or you can spend $3000 for a super fancy rifle. Nobody makes a simple $700 flintlock that works.
    I had very good luck with a Pedersoli 32 cal flintlock before I sold it. It would create a decent shower of sparks and can be tuned to work excellently. Those are around 800 bucks if I remember correctly.

    Fun fact! - even with the best flintlock, there will be moments, or long stretches of moments where you want to wrap that damn thing around a tree.... violently... and with meaning.

    I'm gonna get on a soap box. Because until I learned this, I never had good showers of sparks. There are a hundred really good threads around the internet on how to tune a flintlock, but until you can figure out which of the 50 variables to work on, the shooter can and will get frustrated.

    Here are the basics you need to remember when tuning and maintaining your lock.

    1. How can I get sparks?
    2. How can I get more sparks?
    3. How can I get those "more sparks" faster?
    4. How can I get those "more sparks faster" to go into that pan to ignite
    5. How can I get that ignited pan send it's wonderful flameyness to the load in the barrel?



    We can break that down into two basic systems.
    1) Ignite Pan
    2) Ignite Load


    If you have a flinter that needs tuning, or a flinter you are not happy with, you can see which or both of those systems need adjustment.

    Let's concentrate on igniting the pan. In this system, we can start with a stone hitting metal. When that stone hits metal, it is scraping tiny slivers of metal off that frizzen. There is so much friction that those slivers ignite into sparks, meaning molten metal. You want as much of this molten metal flying into your pan as you can muster. To do that you need to be concerned with:

    1) Your Flint
    2) Your Frizzen

    With the flint
    1)it has to be SHARP,
    2)it has to be SQUARE to your frizzen
    3)it has to be held TIGHT in the jaw of the cock.

    If any one of these things are wrong, you get piddly sparks.

    A flint is a flint is a flint, right? NO!! Like anything with firearms, we need to learn what flint works best with our frizzen. Cheap, saw cut flints are usually worth about what you pay for them. Sometimes you get lucky and they work great, but they generally do not stay sharp. You want to buy 2 pieces of 3-4 flints and give them a try in your flintlock. I like hand knapped flints the best, they stay sharp longer. But like anything that is sharpened, things get dull, and that is when you get less sparks after shooting a dozen times. So you can either replace your flint (and sharpen it later) or do a bit of cockjaw hand knapping. Think about it this way, if you had your favorite chef's knife and banged the blade on a wood stove, would it stay sharp? You would have to sharpen it. It's just maintenance.

    When setting up your flint, it needs to be square to the frizzen. You want the max amount of that stone hitting that frizzen to make those sparks.

    If your flint is not tight in the jaw of the cock, it's going to move either back and not make sparks, or diagonal and only hit with part of the stone. Both mean less sparks.


    With the Frizzen:
    1)it has to be CLEAN
    2)it has to be SMOOTH
    3)it has to be hardened correctly (usually not too much of an issue)

    Every shot, your frizzen should be wiped of debris and burnt powder. If you have gunk on the frizzen, you get less sparks. After every shooting session or even every 12 shots, I use an alcohol swab to wipe down the frizzen (and pan).

    The frizzen needs to be smooth as well. If it's not, there is less surface area ready to receive the flint, and less molten metal will be shaved off. Think about it like this: If that flint is taking metal away, then now you have a very tiny groove in your frizzen. After a bunch of shots, that frizzen is going to have a whole bunch of very tiny grooves. No matter how square your flint is, that removal of metal is not going to be uniform. So at some point you are going to need to re-smooth that frizzen. Personally I just use some fine grit sandpaper 320grit and a half dozen or a dozen strokes depending on how much is needed. You don't have to do this often, but when all other variables are tuned well, this can make a huge difference in the sparks you get.

    Now that you have a good amount of sparks, how can we get more? Well that's where tuning the speed/strength of your lock comes into play. The harder (within reason) you have that flint strike the frizzen the more dependable you can get your sparks. I have tuned 2 of my flinters, but I would not say I know enough to post about the subject. So google "How to tune a flintlock" or "How to speed a lock" or something to that effect.

    I didn't come up with all this my self. I read a bunch online, and spent way too much time at the range learning. Most of the time coming home black fingered and cussing. There are TONS of variables with the flintlock. Which is why I break them down into more manageable areas and work on them.


    So the difference between a 700 dollar flintlock and a 3000 dollar one (other than aesthetics) is Manual Labor. Someone has to do all this work to find the special sauce. Somedays I wish it wasn't me. But other days I know I would just be sitting at home playing video games rather than being at the range smelling that sweet smell of bore butter.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,432
    I think that last part pretty much hits the nail on the head on why there isn't a moderately priced flintlock. The people who know how to do this work care greatly about building guns. People like that take great pride in fine details. Nobody is willing to put that kind of work into a gun and stop with just plain jane wood and barrel.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master


    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    NJ via TX
    Posts
    3,419
    L&R RPL (replacement) flint locks are (or were) specified by the gun brand and model. there is no drilling or tapping required. there WILL be some amount of inlet work for fit in the gun's mortise. the bottom line is that if yer shooting a fair amount to a lot, and you like yer gun, these locks will be a better bet than the stock offshore locks. been there, done a bunch of 'em. that's about it.

    https://www.lr-rpl.com/index.php?opt...d=36&Itemid=62
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,432
    I see you are right. I need to shoot mine a little more to make sure, but I'll likely buy the L&R lock. It seems like some can get these old style Thompson Center locks to work, but most were just flint shattering machines. I wish I had known there was a new style that works great before I bought this old one. TC no longer has the new style locks for sale either. I couldn't find any on Ebay. A little whittling should be no big deal. It sounds like they just need a little extra room for a wider leaf style spring.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    1,469
    [QUOTE=megasupermagnum;4805649]One very interesting person that all shooters new and seasoned should read is Larry Pletcher. I've found his data absolute gold. Shooting is filled with opinion and data collected by the unreliable human eyes and ears. Larry sets up a flintlock under laboratory conditions to test things scientifically. Some of his data jives with what everyone always knew. The faster the powder, the faster the ignition. No surprises there.

    Some of his best work was with touch hole position, size, and powder distribution. Read the articles yourselves and draw your own conclusions. What I gather from them is that touch hole position does not matter for the most part. As long as it is reasonably in the pan, ignition is not sped or slowed in anyway. The only time he had a problem was when the hole was too high. Even at the very bottom of the pan, ignition was every bit as fast.

    The touch hole size is no surprise. What really blew my mind was the powder distribution. Every where you look, you see don't overfill the pan, and keep an air gap if possible. People try and stop a fuse effect. Contradictory, Larry found no fuse effect. A well filled pan with powder resting right against the touch hole was the fastest.

    I shot flintlocks for 20 years and argued with blokes the whole time about this - saw Larry Pletchers tests last year sometime - man was I pleased to be finally vindicated ----never stopped a vent in my life because that whole charge separation deal just made no sense whatever to me at all! So I went about my business with a full pan and the prime right up agin the touchhole - she went boom pretty good most times - got lotsa comments from observers on how fast that little flinter went off - then I show em the cheap little dikar lock and tell em I dont stop the vent - ........they walk away or start another subject .............

    caveat - the little lock has had some work - but - no patent breech ! no sir ! drill the barrel direct and put a 45 degree coned touch hole liner in - the main charge is right there peekin out the window at ya - no fuse effect !

    If ya buy an L&R lock - maybe get a spare mainspring for it - they were a kind of a cast deal - seen a couple busted . The ones with a roller frizzen and stirrup on the mainspring (like the real Mantons had) are a pretty sweet lock .
    Last edited by indian joe; 01-16-2020 at 08:54 PM.

  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    120
    I highly recommend Dutch Shoultz' "black powder accuracy" ebook. A wealth of knowledge for a new muzzleloader shooter !

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check